24 March 2022

A unique laboratory is opening for curious, knowledge-hungry young people who want straight facts, far from all the sensationalism and the noisy, opinionated comment fields in social media.On 9 April 2022, Wadströms Exploranation Laboratory in Norrköping will open to the public.

Vy över Wadströms Exploranation Laboratory
Wadströms Exploranation Laboratory. Thor Balkhed
The lab is on the top floor of the Visualization Center C, and is part of Linköping University. LiU researchers in fields such as climate, environment and sociology joined forces with visualisation researchers, to create completely new opportunities to understand and explore the world around us.

The word Exploranation is a merger of explore and explanation, and this is what makes Wadströms Exploranation Laboratory unique. On active screens, a globe and a number of visualization tables, visitors have access to facts in areas related to sustainability, for instance climate, biodiversity, marine environments and not least, how we live, eat and exist.

Experience in three steps

The first step is about experiencing, absorbing correlations and seeing the big pictures.
The next step involves a guide, where even more data can be accessed, and the questions that are answered are increasingly tricky.
In the third step, for instance, pupils in and upper secondary class can create their own research projects, and with the assistance of the enormous data volumes that are accessible, can discover completely new correlations and create presentation to show to their classmates and teachers in the vast dome theatre of the Visualization Center C. There are also computers and a recording studio for the pupils to use.

“Wadströms Exploranation Laboratory is the final component of the vision we had when the Visualization Center was founded more than 10 years ago. It's a place where children and young people get to explore reality and be inspired to take an interest in science and technology”, says Anders Ynnerman, professor of scientific visualisation and director of the consortium Visualiseringscenter.

Long-term funding

A laboratory of this type cannot be built without long-term funding; in this case the funding comes from the Stig Wadström Foundation.
“Stig Wadström was very interested in technology and innovative solutions. This campus is located on the site where the Wadström family’s textile mill once flourished, and we are convinced that Stig would have appreciated that his name will live on in the form of a laboratory where young people can develop their interest in science and technology”, says Robert Willén, chairman of the Stig Wadström Foundation.

“This is world-class research with enormous potential for the future. We are extremely grateful for the long-term donation and the good collaboration we have with the foundation. This is just one example of a long journey we will make together”, says Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, vice-chancellor at LiU.

More donations are welcome. The Noss Foundation is funding the development of an installation about biodiversity. The Swedbank Foundation for Scientific Research has made a donation for the establishment of a laboratory in Norrköping, and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is funding a ten-year visiting professorship in Exploranation, or visual science communication, at Linköping University.

Sister laboratory

At Universeum in Gothenburg there is a newly opened laboratory: Vislab. Both Vislab and Wadström’s lab have been developed by Visualiseringscenter C and Universeum.

“With Universeum’s expertise in teaching and learning, combined with our knowledge of visualisation technology and software, we’ve developed two unique laboratories where visualisation technology meets research data. This was made possible thanks to the Stena Foundation’s donation to Universeum and the Stig Wadström Foundation’s engagement in Wadströms Exploranation Laboratory here in Norrköping”, says Anders Ynnerman.


Visualization Center C in Norrköping is also the hub in a major initiative from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation by way of the anniversary donation to WISDOME, the Wallenberg Immersive Science Communication Dome. In Norrköping they create installations, films and presentations that will be shown at dome theatres around the country.
In Stockholm, construction recently began for new dome theatre next to Tekniska museet. A dome recently opened in Umeå, and construction is underway at Universeum in Gothenburg, and in Malmö.

Translated by Martin Mirko

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