Picture the scene: it’s Saturday, you’re incredibly bored and really can’t be bothered to work on that coursework that you’ve been putting off all semester. So, you decide to brave the tube and see if the wonders of modern science can help you drum up some motivation. But where should I go? You may ask. Luckily for you, The Print has you covered:
No list of sciencey entertainment would be complete without The Natural History and Science Museums, located just around the corner from South Kensington Station. These amazing museums are free to visit and between them cover pretty much all areas of
modern, and historical, science. More interested in biology? The Natural History Museum’s dinosaur exhibit is world-renowned, even if Dippy the diplodocus is still on-tour, and for those interested in photography there is a gallery of 25 shortlisted images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which is on display until the end of May. If engineering or physics is more your cup of tea, then the Exploring Space gallery at the Science Museum contains some fascinating artefacts; including a unique remainder of the UK’s ill-fated space program in the form of the Black Arrow R4.
On the other side of the river you can find the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Home to the historic Prime Meridian line, which is always fun to play along, the observatory is an astronomy and navigation museum, covering the history of naval navigation, international timekeeping and early astronomy. There’s also a planetarium, which has showings throughout the day, although make sure that you don’t fall asleep in the dark…
If you’re willing to leave the M25 though, my recommendation would be to visit Bletchley Park, a mansion/estate in Milton Keynes that was famously home to the Allied code-breaking team, headed by Alan Turing, during World War 2. Today, Bletchley Park is home to a museum on the history of the codebreakers that once worked there, as well as the National Radio Centre, the National Museum of Computing, and some lovely gardens to enjoy your picnic in. Well, when the sun is out that is.
It’s also well worth keeping a look out for events that might be happening across London throughout the year. New Scientist Live occurs every October at the London ExCeL Centre and features talks and experiences from famous scientists and industry professionals; whilst during the summer The Royal Society run their annual Summer Science Exhibition. Here university researchers from across the country come together to share their research with the public, entirely free of charge.
But if you, like me, are fond of both comedy and spreadsheets, then I highly recommend catching An Evening of Unnecessary Detail, a monthly comedy show held at the Backyard Comedy Club in Bethnal Green featuring Queen Mary’s very own Standup Mathematician Matt Parker. Full of science, maths jokes and miscellany, it’s well worth a laugh if you can grab a ticket.
Whatever activity you choose for your source of inspiration, don’t get too carried away and forget about that coursework. We still haven’t quite mastered time travel yet, although those of us here at The Print will be sure to let you know yesterday if someone does.