Museum scientists come out of the lab for Science Uncovered

20 September 2011

Have you seen a team of 'scientists' roaming the streets of London with a Baryonyx claw and a banana spider recently?

Claw of Baryonyx, one of the most important British dinosaurs, uncovered in Surrey in the 1980s.

Claw of Baryonyx, one of the most important British dinosaurs, uncovered in Surrey in the 1980s by Museum scientists. It belongs to the dinosaur family called spinosaurs. Look out for other dinosaur specimens on the night.

If you have, you may have spotted they are not real scientists! However, the specimens are, and they are also a taster of some of the exciting things to come this Friday at the free Science Uncovered event at the Natural History Museum.

The real scientists are coming out from their labs, with many weird and amazing specimens with them, for the biggest late night event yet at the Museum.

More than 300 scientists will reveal their research and bring visitors closer to their cutting-edge work in this festival of science. 

Set in the Museum's Central Hall, Earth galleries and Darwin Centre, Science Uncovered follows last year's successful event that welcomed more than 7,000 visitors. It is even bigger this year and stays open until 11pm.

Bars will be open for drinks and food to fuel an evening packed with over 150 scientific activities. And there's free Wi-Fi at the Social Media Bar.

Relax and have a drink at one of 5 bars at Science Uncovered 2011.

Relax and have a drink at one of 5 bars at Science Uncovered.

From behind-the-scenes tours to see the giant squid, the DNA Lab and treasures of the library including Darwin's first edition of Origins of Species, to a walk on the wild side searching for bats in the Wildlife Garden.

Help scientists debate controversial issues at Science Fight Club sessions, including 'Should we save the giant panda?.'

Precious never-before-seen specimens such as the teeth of Boxgrove man, the oldest human remains found in Britain, will be unveiled at one of the many Science stations.

Nature Live events will be in the Attenborough Studio, with topics ranging from the secrets of spider dating and animal vision, to finding out more about space and Mars from NASA. 

Suckers on the tentacles of the giant squid, Architeuthis dux

Suckers on the tentacles of the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, that you can see on a behind-the-scenes bookable tour.

And bring along your unidentified specimens as Natural History Roadshow experts will help identify them for you. Or just hang out at the Science Bar and chat to scientists over a relaxing drink.  

Online community

There is also an online community where you can get involved before the night, for example by suggesting hot topics to debate at the Science Fight Club events. And find out more from scientists involved with the event about what you can expect on the night.

Museum Director Dr Michael Dixon says, 'We’re looking forward to welcoming even more people to this year’s event, and inspiring them to take a fresh look at a subject they thought they already knew.'

The Science Street Team outside Tate Modern promoting Science Uncovered

The Science Street Team pass the Tate Modern, London, to promote the Museum's Science Uncovered event.

Science Uncovered is part of the European Researchers' Night with events taking place in 300 cities. 

'Researcher’s Night gives young people the rare opportunity to talk to a world expert face-to-face,' says Dr Dixon. 

'During our event last year over 7,000 visitors met our researchers, discovering what goes on behind-the-scenes at the museum as a world-leading centre of research.'

Science Uncovered at Tring

This year, Science Uncovered will also be at the Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire where the world-class bird collection is looked after.

‘It’s the first year we’re holding our own special free event at the Tring Museum to coincide with our London Museum’s big event, and we are sure our visitors will enjoy every minute of it,' says Paul Kitching, Manager of the Museum at Tring.

Highlights include seeing how Museum curators prepare bird skin and skeleton specimens, discovering how they can identify a bird from a microscopic feather fragment, and meeting live snakes, lizards and other reptiles.

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