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The Science Museum

Listed under Museums in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
  • Photo of The Science Museum
Photo of The Science Museum
Photo by flickr user Gaetan Lee
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Having children is definitely a bonus when it comes to South Kensington’s epicentre of discovery. Museum officials seem to think adults have long grown out of a good old fashioned sleep over, but uncover the secret of “Science Night” and you’ll be wishing you were 10. The “all night extravaganza with a twist” lets you perform various experiments and then camp out under “Stephenson’s Rocket”, jet engines, early steam engines and “Puffing Billy”. Have breakfast in the Dana Centre and begin another day exploring.

Control time in a particle accelerator, learn the secrets of flight and space in an Apollo space capsule to create your own brief history.

Science Museum Website.

Written by  Sybilla Harvey.

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Science Museum Video Text

Anyone who thinks science is uncool obviously hasn’t been to the Science Museum. Colour, movement and light bounce around the exhibits: you can touch things, make things move and explore some of the more exciting human inventions - from familiar machines like cars and rocket ships to pieces you need to read the explanations for before you can understand what they do.

The Science Museum was started in 1857 with the leftovers from the Great Exhibition, and was called the Museum of Patents. Though this name reeks of fabulous new inventions it doesn’t do justice to the mind expanding variety of pieces in the three hundred thousand strong collection. More than just new or successful inventions, there are a couple of unusual near misses and some forward thinking musings which await the technology of the future.

Puffing Billy, the oldest surviving steam locomotive is shown in a great hall with its decedent steam engine, Stephenson’s Rocket, a world speed record breaking boat, several generations of car, a bi plane and a graceful silver Beech 18 model plane. The first jet engine, thrusters from a space shuttle and a rocket, complete this abridged history of human propelled movement.

As well as propulsion machines, medical inventions have pride of place, this is the grandparent of the MRI machine, and this is the future of medicine, a pig’s heart engineered to replace a humans. The clunking, shopping trolley sized first artificial heart is displayed in the gallery of the Modern World with the steam engines and the cars.

This is the hulking great grandparent of the computer you’re watching this on.

In the background is the forebear of your video and this is what your lawn mower used to look like.

You won’t have any items from the Space Gallery in your garage, there are rockets, satellites, telescopes, a full sized replica of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong’s “Eagle” moon lander, and a space suit, just to name the recognizable objects. Above you is a United States made Scout rocket which shot hundreds of payloads into orbit. The other huge rocket is a British made Black Arrow. Today’s scientists are looking past the moon: this is a replica of the Huygens lander which landed on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.

Closer to home, the 'Who Am I?' exhibition appeals to our vanity by allowing us to examine, scientifically, what makes us unique. From DNA structure to hereditary traits, this interactive gallery examines the age old question of nature versus nurture, and the origin of our personalities and tastes. Impatient young visitors will appreciate an exhibit which takes a photo of you and morphs you up and down in age.

The newest exhibition examines the way humans can deal scientifically with the climate and energy issues we’ll be challenged with in this, and the next generation’s, future. The interactive screens pose questions which will hopefully inspire budding scientific geniuses to innovative breakthroughs.

For the slightly less scientifically minded there is a simulator ride and an IMAX theatre.

Museum entry is free but you have to pay for the ride, cinema and some exhibitions.

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