Strictly Science: keeping one step ahead

“Absolutely fantastic!” said one mother after visiting the Strictly Science exhibition. “My daughter thinks it’s ‘the best museum ever.’ She got bored of the Science Museum, because there is not enough interactive stuff for kids.”

From 4-14 April, the main foyer of Imperial College was transformed into a series of live and cinematic installations showcasing science past, present and future to commemorate the 100th birthday of the Medical Research Council. The exhibition saw around 5000 visitors.

Visitors sampled vitamin-rich recipes to cure rickets, learned how a clockwork kymograph was used to discover the first neurotransmitter, and how a spiky test-tube helped improve treatment for war wounds, all within a laboratory from 1913. “People have been finding the experiments quite fascinating, even if they didn’t necessarily understand everything,” said Jan Huisman (University Museum Groningen), who brought the kymograph from the Netherlands. “We’ve had a lot of interaction from the audience.”

Demonstration of war-wound experiment in the YESTERDAY lab
Demonstration of war-wound experiment in the YESTERDAY lab

Guests got to play with interactive tools used by neurotechnologists to study the brain. Balance boards were used to engage young and old in the effects of ageing on movement. People played classic computer game, Pong, using only their eyes. And experiments using a full body motion capture suit were happening live throughout the exhibition. “My favourite part was playing Pong on the Blink interactive,” said one young visitor. “My favourite part was when you were on the balancing thing and you had to see if you could move the ball,” commented another.

Members of Dr Aldo Faisal’s research team engage visitors in neurotechnology
Members of Dr Aldo Faisal’s research team engage visitors in neurotechnology

“It was very interesting hearing all the famous people and children saying what they think the future will be like in 100 years time. Very soothing. I could quite happily sit there all day just listening to those voices.” commented one lady shortly after experiencing a 3D sound sculpture, which united the future hopes and fears of professionals and primary school children for 2113.

A visitor enjoys a light display in the TOMORROW lab, which united the voices of professionals and primary schoolchildren
A visitor enjoys a light display in the TOMORROW lab, which united the voices of professionals and primary schoolchildren

Strictly Science was a collaboration between the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and Haberdashery.

Brona McVittie
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre

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