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biology

Collecting stuff is generally the bit I like most about my job. That’s probably why I’ve got a bit over excited about the new acquisitions we’ve made related to synthetic biology – from no other than Tom Knight widely described as the “father” of the discipline. Synthetic biology is research that combines biology and engineering. Sounds like genetic engineering by another name? Well yes, but it goes much further. It looks to create new biological functions not found in nature, […]

One bottle is a killer. The other is entirely safe. They’re identical in every other way – indeed from the same manufacturing batch. This new acquisition was donated by Professor Barry Cookson, former Director of the Laboratory of Healthcare Associated Infection, HPA. But what happened to make one so deadly and the other not? These bottles of dextrose are sad reminders of the life and death hunt for 500 similar bottles in March 1972. Five patients died at the Devonport Hospital […]

The third and final installment of Miranda Bud’s blogs…  The Watson and Crick discovery of the DNA double helix is an iconic image of our scientific age. It is considered the milestone of contemporary genetics and is such an integrated part of our society that saying “it’s in my DNA” is a commonly used phrase by many people. Working with Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin they unlocked the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. It led to countless advances, solved […]

On Saturday I had tickets to see the Men’s Road Race competition. It was terrifically exciting as they zoomed nine times round Box Hill. Shame about the result but ho hum. In recent times Britain has become bike mad. Bicycle bits crop up a surprising amount of times – in rather unusual ways – in the medical collections.  So even if it all goes wrong for Bradley Wiggins in the time trial (and fingers crossed not!)- here’s some ideas to put his bike to good use to: […]

We have some amazing volunteers doing fantastic work helping us uncover more about our collections. Regina and Alix started volunteering with the Science Museum in October 2011, and are currently working on a project to catalogue the museum’s extensive microscope slide collections. Here’s the first in a series of blogs they’ve written to let you know more about what they’ve discovered in the basement of our store at Blythe House… Imagine a room full to the brim with curious wooden […]

Today would have been the 15th birthday of the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep. Named after the singer Dolly Parton, Dolly caused quite a storm when the news first broke of her birth. In September 1997, a competition called ‘Do a Design for Dolly’ was launched by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and supported by Portman Building Society. In March the following year, a 12-year-old girl, Holly Wharton, was announced as the winner. Her design was made from Dolly’s wool […]

Wrapped up beneath these bandages is a mummified animal. How did it die? What material is it wrapped in? Are there amulets we can’t see inside? Is it an animal at all – could they be human remains? To answer question like these and more, the Science Museum is collaborating in a new nationwide project analysing the remains of ancient Egyptian animals. Led by researchers at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, the Ancient Egyptian Animal Biobank project is aiming to scan, sample […]

Valentine’s Day is like herpes: just when you think its gone for good, it  rears its ugly head once more (and perhaps it’s no coincidence its initials are the same as Veneral Disease?). Are you cringing from all the cutesy declarations of love? Avoiding all aphrodisiacs (including heart-shaped vegetables – no seriously they exist!)? Well here’s some suggestions from our collections of what not to give the love of your life on VD day… 1. Cosmetic Enhancement. Breast pads to enhance cleavage, cork discs to plump […]

February 4th marks World Cancer Day. Alongside surgery, chemotherapy and hormone treatment, radiotherapy has been a mainstay of cancer treatment for well over 100 years. Just weeks after Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in 1895, student doctors began experimenting with the mysterious rays to treat cancer, and other conditions such as ringworm. By the 1920s, x-ray generators weren’t capable of making the intense beams of radiation needed to treat certain tumours. Hospitals turned to experimenting with radioactive materials such as radium. […]

It’s that time of year again – time to bellow “five go-oold rings” at the top of your voice. We’ve put together a Christmas cracker of a treat for you with our own alternative version of the Twelve Days of Christmas On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… A partridge in a pear tree Well – a sauce container shaped like a partridge at any rate. A rather fetching centrepiece for the festive dinner table […]

There are some stories you read in the press that you immediately react to as a curator. For me recently it was reading about the first UK Service of Dedication for lives lost to eating disorders that took place at Southwark Cathedral. Sensing an acquisition in sight, I contacted b-eat – a UK charity for people with eating disorders – to get hold of a copy of the Order of Service. Eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa […]