Research,Art,Hinges and bus driving

My dad’s job was a bus driver, from that its quite easy to work out that he drove buses.  A lot of jobs are like that. Its easy to tell what the job involves from its title. So a builder builds things, a designer designs things and a accountant accounts for things, but what does a scientist do all day?

I work in an environment surrounded by objects all connected to science, engineering, medicine and technology.  Not a day goes by where I am not amazed by the objects themselves or the discoveries and achievements that they represent. However  Its not always easy to understand the work that goes into making  scientific discoveries.

So when I found out about the Opening of the Research as Art at The Royal Institution I was keen to go along and see if it would provide an insight into the working life of scientists.

Another reason I wanted to visit the exhibition was after a recent visit to a evening event at the Natural History Museum I was a little bit jealous of them.  They just seemed to be able to show amazing pictures of fossils and exotic and rare species that simply look amazing.  image

By comparison we have grey hinges,


No one looks at one of those and thinks  Wow, a grey hinge thats amazing.  These hinges feature in the 3D Printing the future exhibition at the Science museum,  They illustrate how 3D printing is being used in Aerospace engineering to produce lighter and stronger components.   We have to put in a lot of work with animation and lighting in the gallery  to highlight the story of the development of these hinges  to our visitors.

So any visual ideas I could take away for future projects I knew could be useful.   

The Exhibition is organised and curated by Dr Richard Johnson of Swansea University from where all the works on display originate.   

It was really interesting to speak to Rich and find out that the artworks were selected not to show the most beautiful image but to illustrate the work of the scientists that created the images.  

I really liked the wide variety of work on show,  a  selection of the images are on the flickr page  . Sadly it doesn’t have my favourite one which is a X-Ray image of a tooth from a crew member of the Mary Rose.

The X-Ray was taken to see if it would be possible to extract DNA from the void in the tooth that is known to preserve DNA well. Sadly the X-Ray shows a tiny crack in the tooth meaning the chance of extracting good DNA are reduced.

I think I like it because of the connections between the Imaging, the genetics DNA stuff and the history.

I was going to write  a full review of the Exhibition but there is one already on the London City Nights blog   and I would only be repeating it. I would go and have a read of that if I was you.

The exhibition is on at the Royal Institution until 15th November

One comment

  • November 4, 2013 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Interesting question - 'what does a scientist do all day?' - I once started a blog just about detailing the life of a scientist but I didn't carry it on as I ran out of time. My PhD didn't really lend itself to images that would go into a 'research as art' exhibition, but looking back, I wish I made more time to actively find some. I'll have to make a longer visit to the Ri exhibition - especially since I now work there!

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