“In some strange way, any new fact or insight that I may have found has not seemed to me as a “discovery” of mine, but rather something that had always been there and that I had chanced to pick up.”
― Subrahmanijan Chandrasekhar
We’re not sure if mathematician Subrahmanijan Chandrasekhar was thinking about geocaching, but we know that geocachers have been experts in the Science of Discovery since the game was in its infancy. We see this expertise in their dedication to finding new caches and in their creativity when they discover new ways of creating and hiding geocaches.
Many geocachers take inspiration directly from science when they come up with ideas for their hides. To celebrate this chemistry between geocaching and science, we put together a list of five fantastic caches and one excellent Adventure Lab® with scientific themes. Each of these caches highlights different scientists or fields of science. What would your science-themed cache look like? Share in the comments!
- Vienna Science Quest 7 – Frauen in Wissenschaft (GC4RXAA)
GC4RXAA is one in a series of caches dedicated to the history of science in Austria’s capital city Vienna. This Multi-Cache takes cachers on a seven-stage tour through the city, while teaching them about the scientific discoveries of a number of important women in science. Learn about famous nuclear physicist Lise Meitner and chemist Anna Simona Spiegel-Adolf as you gather the information to find the final coordinates.
- Spåralogi (GCJG9V)
With this geocache, you’ll discover an obscure field of science you likely haven’t heard of before: sporalogy. Sporalogy is the “science” of making predictions about a person based on the movements and positions of streetcars at the time of a person’s birth. Some might call this more of an art than a science, but the father of sporalogy, Finnish physicist Nils Mustelin, would have something to say about that. To find this cache, you must visit different streetcar stops in Helsinki and take note of the numbers on each stop in order to solve for the coordinates of the cache.
- The Crazy Dendrologist / Blaznivy dendrolog (GCMH1V)
This find gives cachers a crash-course in dendrology, the scientific study of trees. To find the hiding place of this Mystery Cache in a public park in Prague, cachers must go to nine different areas in the park and identify nine of the most common trees in Central Europe. Each tree has a number and with this number and the trees’ scientific names in Latin, you’ll have all the information you need to fill in the final coordinates. This cache is currently unavailable due to closures related to COVID-19, but will hopefully be available again soon!
- Homenagem a Avelar Brotero (GC3MFKE)
This cache honors Félix de Avelar Brotero, a well-respected Portuguese botanist. Brotero wrote a number of important texts about general botany, and specific texts about plants native to Portugal. The cache sits in a public garden in Lisbon named for Brotero. Cachers can observe the beautiful botanic elements of the garden as they make their way to the Multi-Cache’s hiding spot.
- The Physics Series – The Curie-ous Cache (GC7Q6FC)
Anyone looking to find this cache has to be ready to get deep into some scientific formulas. Actual scientists will definitely have an advantage here. This “curie-ous” cache gets its name from the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie, who was a pioneer in the study of radioactivity. Cachers must first find the names of the two elements which Curie discovered. Then they must use the formula for exponential radioactive decay, to find how many days it takes for 250 particles of one of those elements to decay into 211. Once you’ve got your answers, you’re ready to make a discovery of your own, the location of the cache!
Adventure Lab: Pasadena Solar System Adventure
With NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and The Planetary Society both based in Pasadena, this Southern California city is a logical location for an Adventure all about the Solar System. This Adventure is a virtual scale model of the Solar System and takes you to various Pasadena landmarks as you travel to the five planets known to the ancient world.