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The DIY science revolution that’s happening beyond the lab

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When we think of science we tend to think of big laboratories filled with hi-tech machinery and lots of people in white coats. But science isn’t always like that. A new exhibition at the Science Museum, Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution shows how ordinary people are taking science into their own hands.

Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution © Science Museum

Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution © Science Museum

From patients empowered to make their own medical treatments to data-collecting citizen scientists, accessible technologies and the internet are making DIY science a reality. Strides are being made beyond the labs as well as inside them.

It’s true that throughout history ordinary people have contributed to scientific discovery, from amateur astronomers observing new stars to families counting butterflies in their back gardens. This type of citizen science focused on the natural world and lots of data collection. But now this spirit of innovation is spreading to the fields of medicine and microbiology.

Developments like 3D printing and cheap wearable technologies mean that it’s easier than ever to make extraordinary innovations, like designing and printing a prosthetic hand, or to track the effects of medication for better understanding of your own treatment.

Timothy Omer works on his xDrip © Angela Moore / Science Museum

Timothy Omer, who has Type 1 Diabetes, works on his xDrip device © Angela Moore / Science Museum

Communities are helping to spur this movement on, with the internet allowing greater sharing of information, tips and instructions for everything from making your own microscope to diabetics hacking their medical devices.

These stories and many more are explored in Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution. Stay tuned for insights from some of the DIY scientists themselves in future blogs, and come along to some of our events to meet these extraordinary innovators.

Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution is a free exhibition, open at the Science Museum until 4 September 2016. The exhibition is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union and will go on a European tour following its run at the Science Museum.

Eleanor Magson is Assistant Content Developer on Beyond the Lab: The DIY Science Revolution.

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