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Yellow submarine visiting schools
By Joanna Kaselis Tzouvelis
Fri Apr 03, 2009, 06:03 AM EDT
Burlington - The Burlington Science Center has a new exhibit traveling to elementary schools, currently at Francis Wyman. The focal point of the “Ocean Exploration” is a 20-foot long, restored, full-scale model of the Perry Cubmarine, which hung from the ceiling at the New England Aquarium for nearly 40 years.
“It was fondly referred to by many as the Yellow Submarine,” said Science Center Coordinator, John Papadonis, who obtained the Cubmarine from the Aquarium as a result of his long time ties with the institution since 1971.
With the help of interns and Burlington public school parents, it took two years to restore the one-person sub and build a roll-around cradle for it, explained Papadonis.
It sits in the lobby of each school for about 2 weeks.
Wendy Pavlicek, a science specialist for grades kindergarten through eight and Papadonis also created a variety of hands-on activities to support the science and engineering related to the sub. Many students had the opportunity to build their own eyedropper submarine and watch a “baking soda” toy submarine sink and float in a tank of water, said Papadonis.
According to Papadonis, the original Perry Cubmarine was designed and built in the early 1960s by Perry Submarine Builders in Riviera Beach, Fla. and was capable of holding one or two individuals and diving to a depth of about 600-feet. The goal was to use the mini-sub for marine life studies, underwater photography, archaeological research and mineral surveying.
The cubmarine's most important mission was in 1966 when it attempted to locate three unarmed hydrogen bombs in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain.
Scientists were not concerned with the bombs exploding, but rather the fear of uranium contaminating the ocean if it leaked out. In the end, another mini-sub, named “Alvin,” hailing from Woods Hole, eventually located the bombs for recovery.