Monthly Archives: May 2011

Stitched chromosomes

Stitching the solar system

This June we’re teaming up with Stitch London to stitch all things science…

Stitched chromosomes

Stitched chromosomes

Last year the Stitch London crew came to the Museum to create their stitched selves in our Who am I? gallery about brain science and genetics.

This year we’re thinking even bigger – Stitch London are going to help us stitch the world’s largest handmade stitched solar system.

Plus they will be creating lots of stitched science specimens – anything from stitched skulls and stethoscopes to James Watt and Einstein. Tiny stitched Professor Brian Cox anyone? 

The Stitch London team are already busy stitching away as but they can’t do it all on their own - they’ll need your help. From pom pom planet rings to knitting a giant Jupiter, your skills are needed to help create this piece of art.

A stitching session

A stitching session

Can’t stitch or knit? Don’t worry! The Stitch London experts will be running a number of workshops over both days to help you master the science of knitting. Learn the ‘knitting jenny’ technique, create a Mars martian and discover how to turn a plastic bag into yarn for our planet Earth. Find out more about the events.

And on that note we’re on the hunt for green and blue plastic bags - if you have any unwanted ones please send them to Stitch London at the address below:

Stitch London at The Fleece Station,
Courtyard Studio (First flooor),
The Old Police Station,
114-116 Amersham Vale,
London, SE14 6LG

The event will be on the 25 and 26 of June – hope to see you there.


Meet the Chronophage beast

Guest post by Selina Hurley, Assistant Curator of Medicine

Meet the Chronophage beast, who chomps down on each minute, devouring a whopping 86,400 seconds each day.

The Chronophage beast

The Chronophage beast

Casting its glass eye across the museum, the beast sits atop of the Midsummer clock, one of only two clocks in the world to try and show our varying experience of time. Its sister clock, the Corpus Clock, lives in Cambridge.

The clock’s inventor, Dr John Taylor, wanted to examine our perception of time. The Chronophage (Greek for time-eater) sometimes speeds up, slows down or stops altogether.

The grasshopper escapement was developed by another inventor, John Harrison (1693-1776), when he was battling with the longitude problem.

Over 200 people were involved in the making of the Midsummer and Corpus clocks.

Dr Taylor has spent his life inventing. Inspired by his father, he has patented over 200 ideas, mainly domestic thermostats. His most successful invention has been the third level kettle control, the Taylor blade. Developed as a fail-safe for plastic kettles in the 1970s, 600 million Taylor blades have been sold.

There’s plenty of time to see the clock as it will be on display at the museum until 30 October 2011. Time flies though, so make sure you don’t miss out…

The Oramics Machine during conservation

Electronic musicians wanted

We are looking for musicians with a passion for electronic music to co-curate an upcoming exhibition. It is centered around one of the oldest and most intriguing electronic music devices, which we acquired in 2009.   
The Oramics Machine was invented by Daphne Oram, who had founded the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and later set up her own studio.

The machine was a tad dusty, to say the least, so over the last year, our conservators have lovingly restored it. And now this grande dame of electronic music will return to the stage once more. In honour of its return, we are organising a temporary exhibition about the history of electronic music.

Among other things, we will be exploring how electronic music has influenced and been influenced by society over the last 60+ years. In developing this exhibition we would like to work together with people who know electronic and digital music from the inside.

In a series of workshops we will explore the history of electronic music and relevant objects in the Science Museum stores. You will get a look behind the scenes and contribute to an exhibition that will open in the autumn of 2011.

If you want to be a part of this, please email us at and tell us in 300 words or less:
1. Why you love electronic music
2. What kind of music you make and how you share it with others
3. How much you know about the history of electronic music

It doesn’t have to be an essay - feel free to be creative in your response.

And finally, let us know whether you would be able to work with us in London during the day on Tuesdays in June and July this year.

Please make sure to send in your submission before the deadline of 12 pm, 30 May 2011.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ps. Check out the Oramics Machine on Facebook if you want to be the first to know about upcoming events and competitions.