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Something's happening down by the Clyde. The BBC, the Daily Record and Beat 106 are relocating to Pacific Quay, and now there's a new kid on the block. The Glasgow Science Centre is getting ready for business.

lit/0'05: Louisa Pearson

Dolphins (above) and Blue Planet (far left) will be the first to put Scotland's biggest cinema screen to the test. An artist's impression of the finished Science Centre (left)

Take it to the MAX

THE ARMADILLO HAS A BABY BROTHER. IF YOU'VE BEEN ANYWHERE near the SECC recently. you'll have noticed that across the river. three futuristic structures have been taking shape. The first member of this titanium-clad family to come to life is the [MAX Theatre. Our initial taste of the Glasgow Science Centre (due to open in its entirety in spring 200]) will be via Scotland‘s biggest cinema screen. At 24m by [8m visualise a five-storey tenement block if you're not good with figures the [MAX is designed to extend the image so far that it engulfs your field of vision. You. the viewer. will be right in the thick of it.

This cinema format is a tech-head‘s dream. Developed in the late (30s. it relies on a projector with xenon lamps so bright they could be seen from the moon. They require two people wearing protective clothing to install and dispose of them. With a [2.000 watt sound system and using 15/70 film (ten times larger than the traditional 35mm). [MAX promises bigger. sharper images. You get the picture.

All very impressive. but what about the movies? Well. the [MAX tradition is in producing educational science and adventure films. with titles like Stmvm'hasers. Search For The Great Sharks and the utterly terrifying prospect. Praying Mantis. These films are informative and visually spectacular. even if they are lacking in the action department (those in search of cheap thrills are likely to be disappointed in Show Job and Bearers). But that could all change thanks to L'ncle Walt.

10 THE LIST 3—‘9 Oct ZCCC

The Disney Corporation's release of Fantasia 2000 has opened the floodgates for Hollywood studios to take the [MAX format seriously. Currently in development are an adaptation of Stephen King novella The Sun Dug. backstage and concert footage of Santana. BB. King and Macy Gray in a film called All Access. while expectations are high for Cyberimr/d 31). an animated bonanza of scenes from The Simpsons. Ant: and others.

But before you rush to your box room seeking out those long-lost 3D glasses. hold on. The GSC's media manager. David Grimmer. expects the Glasgow lMAX‘s programme to stay on the sober side. ‘I wouldn‘t rule out seeing more commercial projects being screened.’ he says. ‘but there will always be an educational focus.‘ The opening films will be Dolphins. an underwater epic narrated by Pierce Brosnan. and Blue Planet. which combines startling images from space and an environmental message.

Once you come out of the [MAX Theatre. knees-a-tremblinO. look around and sniff the anticipation in the air. The giant Science Mall and Tower will be home to more innovative items than a bumper junior inventor’s kit. Whether it‘s the virtual reality theatre. the planetarium or one of the hundreds of hands-on exhibits. the GSC is the one to watch.

The IMAX Theatre, Pacific Quay, Glasgow opens Sat 14 Oct. 0141 420 5000.