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chemistry

Today (10 December 2014) marks exactly 50 years since Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, on 10 December, 1964. Hodgkin won the prestigious prize “for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances”. She was only the third woman to win the prestigious prize – the crowning achievement of a 30 year career spent unraveling the structures of proteins, including insulin. Hodgkin first found fame when she finally solved the structure of […]

In this week’s blog linked to The Rubbish Collection, Curator Sarah Harvey follows some of the unexpected stories and personal objects that were found in the Museum’s bins. As the exhibition nears its end, what will happen to all this ‘rubbish’ afterwards? Much of the feedback I have received about Joshua Sofaer’s The Rubbish Collection, from both visitors and staff, has been about the surprising personal items and stories that have come out of the bins. When we were first […]

Joshua Sofaer’s art installation The Rubbish Collection showcases the sometimes surprising materials that are created from the everyday rubbish produced by staff, contractors and visitors at the Science Museum. After documenting all the Museum’s waste for 30 days we have traced where it goes, and how it is recycled and transformed from rubbish back into valuable materials. For recyclable rubbish put into the Museum’s recycling bins, the first port of call in the journey is the Grundon Material Recovery Facility […]

Steph Millard in the exhibitions team looks back over 100 years of stainless steel, first cast in August 1913 by Harry Brearley.  Today’s journey into work sets me thinking. Looking at the queue of cars ahead with their stainless steel exhaust systems I repeatedly glance at my wristwatch – with its stainless steel back – to check I won’t be late. To my right, the Canary Wharf tower – with its 370,000 square feet of stainless steel cladding – glints majestically in […]

Electron density map and model of Penicillin.

The things and objects of history are important because they provide a tangible connection to the past. Seeing, or better yet holding and touching, the stuff that generations now dead made and worked with enlivens history, shucking us from the present and its endless clamour for our attention. The Hidden Structures exhibition at the Science Museum trips us into the history of X-ray crystallography with a small but intriguing display of objects from the 1940s through to the 1970s. The […]

How many people do you know that have had a cataracts operation? Cataract (the clouding of the lens of the eye) have been operated on for hundreds of years. One of the earliest operations was couching – pushing the clouded lens out of the way to restore some vision. By the 1740s, methods were developed to remove the lens completely. However it wasn’t until the 1940s, that a successful artificial alternative to the eye’s lens was found, the intra-ocular lens. While working […]

To celebrate the centenary of X-ray crystallography, the Science Museum has just opened Hidden Structures, a new display of molecular models made using the technique writes Boris Jardine