The Science Museum in London is easily one of my favourite places in the world. To the best of my knowledge it's the first museum I ever went to. I grew up in London and always enjoyed going with my dad, he was an engineer and never missed an opportunity to talk science with me. It's not just the museum though. Walking down Exhibition Road we would pass Imperial College; you could look down into the workshops and see all the machinery and stuff. As a child I had no idea what most of it did but I knew one thing: Science happens here!
On Monday I took a student to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. They've done a wonderful job recreating some of his designs from sketches. A moving platform for scene changes in theatres was particularly good, it draws its power from a crossbow mechanism!
My student absolutely loved a cross-section of a helicopter rotor blade showing the honeycomb-like structure inside.
Walking home I got to thinking about the distinction, or lack of one, between doing science and teaching science. All scientists' careers can be traced back to the right sort of learning experiences when they were young. On Exhibition Road science doesn't just happen at Imperial college.
As the summer holiday approaches, an appeal to parents: go to the science museum. Science happens there!