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Brisbane’s newest landmark open: QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre

28th February 2013

World-best technology - unveiled in Brisbane today by the Prime Minister of Australia the Hon. Julia Gillard MP and Queensland Premier the Hon. Campbell Newman MP - will revolutionise science and engineering teaching and research.

The Cube, at two storeys high and one of the world's largest touch and display systems, is a centerpiece public feature of QUT's new $230 million Science and Engineering Centre at its CBD Gardens Point campus.

The Cube is a unique technical accomplishment that took QUT developers more than two years to build, and offers unprecedented learning and research opportunities.

It comprises 190 sqm of high-definition screens including 48 touch panels, which integrate with 14 high-definition projectors to reach a massive 115-megapixel resolution.

Open to the public, The Cube will enthrall, as it inspires future scientists.

Thousands of high school students are already booked in to explore the gigantic digital science lab and take part in national curriculum linked workshops.

QUT is the only Australian university with an embedded LEGO Education Learning Centre, located in the Centre, where high school students take part in hands-on sessions focussing on robotics, mechanisms and energy.

The Cube's Physics Playroom provides a game-like environment where people of all ages can learn about the concepts of physics.

The capacity of The Cube will help researchers analyse and visualise complex systems and other data, driving collaboration among researchers - and with the real world.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said The Cube and the new Science and Engineering Centre would be transformational in many ways.

"The technology developed by QUT will transform the way people think about science; the spectacular public spaces and first-class community facilities have transformed the Gardens Point campus; and as a city landmark, the Centre transforms the gateway to Brisbane," Professor Coaldrake said.

The Science and Engineering Centre is headquarters to QUT's newest research institute, as well as housing some of the nation's most advanced electron microscopes in a $17 million analytical research facility.

The new Institute for Future Environments is working to solve some of the world's most pressing problems, from tackling global food security to managing scarce natural resources.

It brings together more than 300 scholars from the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, and law to seek solutions collaboratively.

"The entire Science and Engineering Centre is built around an ethos of collaboration," Professor Coaldrake said.

"The benchmark design of the Centre's open, stimulating spaces with flexible technology and inviting lounge areas was informed by new understanding of how people learn."

Among the high-level research labs, workstations, glass-lined meeting rooms, and hi-tech public areas are quaint, retro spaces designed to give personality and warmth to the Centre.

From its subtropical surrounds to the rooftop, the Science and Engineering Centre is a sustainability showpiece, so green that it is even powered by trees - solar trees, of course, that are programmed to follow the sun, thereby drawing maximum energy every day.

The Centre is a certified 5-star Green Star rated building in "Education v1" for "Design".

It is powered by a combination of grid power, natural gas and solar energy, generating enough electricity to power itself and put power back into the QUT grid.

This tri-generation system has been engineered to reuse rather than lose heat, with heat being used to cool the air-conditioning systems, de-humidify labs and heat the swimming pool.

The Science and Engineering Centre was jointly funded by the Commonwealth Government ($75 million), the Queensland Government ($35 million), Atlantic Philanthropies ($25 million) and QUT ($95 million).

Download media pack which includes press releases, fact sheets, high-resolution photogrpahs and videos here or at http://www.qut.edu.au/sci-eng-centre/mediakit/web/

Media enquires:
Janne Rayner QUT media on 3138 3026 or 0478 408 263
Rose Trapnell QUT media on 31382361 or 0407 585 901

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