Tag Archives: objects

Talk Science Seminar

The Talk Science Seminar is something we are all excited about, have been busily preparing for, and happens on Wednesday!  It’s the first in a series of seminars exploring the potential of museum collections to support the teaching of science. 

As we who work in museums know, collections and the stories they tell are wonderful sources of inspiration, stimulating awe (‘that’s REALLY been to the Moon!’) and creativity; objects can open up discussion around science today and in the context of history, making links between technology and its implications on society. 

Would you have bought a ticket to fly on the first passenger plane?

How can we use our collections to support science teaching at all levels? Can we bring the museum learning philosophy to the classroom? What can we gain by doing so, and what are the challenges?

We’d like the seminars to be an opportunity to address these questions from different angles, as well as a forum for ideas- so they are open to anyone who has an interest in this.

So whether you are a museum or a science centre professional, a teacher or educator, a scientist, or undertaking a museum studies degree- we welcome you to come explore and discuss how we can use our collections to engage young people (and others) with science.

 We are excited to see where this takes us- the findings from this Wednesday will be disseminated online (watch this space), and if you would like to register your interest for future seminars, drop us an email at Learningresources@sciencemuseum.ac.uk

Hope to see you here soon!

Wonderful Things – the great and mighty Telegraph

How do you say hello to your friends living 100km away from you? You may send an e-mail or a message with your mobile phone and your friends can get your message as soon as you send it.

But how about 100 years ago? Was it possible to send your words like an email as today? The answer is YES, they used the telegraph at that time.

The first commercial electric telegraph was developed by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, and was first used on the Great Western Railway in Britain. It ran for 13 miles, from Paddington station to West Drayton and came into operation on 9th July 1839.

Advert by Great Western Railway telegraph services, 1845. Image SSPL

Advert by Great Western Railway telegraph services, 1845. Image SSPL

In fact, the telegraph was patented in the UK in 1837, and first successfully demonstrated by Cooke and Wheatstone later that year between Euston and Camden town in London.

 The concept of the telegraph was based on Oersted’s recent discovery that an electric current flowing in a conductor could move a nearby compass needle. With the addition of a suitable coding system, it found an ideal market in the developing railway network. Interestingly, because the diamond grid on it only had space for 20 letters of the alphabet, the 6 missing ones had to be left out of messages!

Cooke & Wheatstone five-needle telegraph, 1837

Cooke & Wheatstone five-needle telegraph, 1837. Image SSPL

After World War II new technology became available that radically improved the telegraph, such as the coaxial cable and microwave links. The advent of the digital computer in 1960s brought an end to much analogue communication, but it didn’t change the fact that the telegraph was actually was the first practical use of electricity for long-distance communication, and radically changed the world.

How is the telegraph like an iphone?

Telegraph vs playstation: which one changed more lives?

If you were to throw a birthday party for the telegraph, which other inventions would you invite? Who would NOT be invited?

 Come and see the iconic telegraph in the Making the Modern World gallery on the ground floor.

  Raynold, Masato & Maki – Tokyo Institute of Technology

Wonderful Things

Hello to all after this summer (and then a few weeks) hiatus!

So, we’ve been concocting ways to shake this blog up a bit, and we think you will like what is coming…

The Science Museum has some rather extraordinary collections (if we may say so ourselves), so we are going to start featuring some of our objects and their stories on this blog- we will be looking at groundbreaking inventions that revolutionised people’s lives, and that are still very much relevant to the way we live and the scientific issues and questions we face today- and also a few ideas for how you can engage your students with them.

If you are visiting the museum, you can of course go see the objects in person with your students to facilitate a discussion around a topic you are teaching… But even from the comfort of your classroom, you can use objects from our collections to start your students buzzing. Just seeing a photo, drawing , or model, can help your students conceptualize the idea even if you cannot get to the museum.

To start with, check out our Brought to Life website to browse through some of the medical collections- there are over 4000 beautiful images and supporting material you can use in your classroom…

Turtle-shaped amulet of human remains

Turtle-shaped amulet of human remains

And watch this space! Coming up soon, a device that changed the world and the way we communicate… what ever will it be?