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In under 8 hours, from 16.00 today Friday 23 September 2011, Science Uncovered officially opens.

 

For those who aren't in the know, this is our big science festival welcoming 8,000+ visitors to the Museum to celebrate European Researchers' Night with over 300 over cities across Europe.

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The Museum welcomes 1000s of visitors in to Science Uncovered tonight, 23 September 2011, from 16.00 to 23.00.  After dark, out on the Wildlife Garden evening tours you may even spot a bat... Select all images to enlarge

Many of the pre-bookable events are already sold out now. But for those who are planning to just arrive and see what's on, there may be the chance of a few unbooked tours and plenty of activities you can just drop in and join or visit during the evening.

 

These include 18 science stations spread out across the whole Museum including the Central Hall and adjoining galleries, the Earth galleries and the Darwin Centre.

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Highlights for families in the Darwin Centre: Entomology Station, more interesting insects to identify at the Natural History Roadshow and the Animal Vision show.

The event starts with the late afternoon activities that are more family-oriented, including the Animal Vision Show and Secrets of Spider Dating talk, 16.00 and 17.00 respectively in the Attenborough Studio.

 

While you're over in the Darwin Centre, you could join A Walk on the Wildside tour and step out into the Museum's lovely Wildlife Garden for an afternoon tour - later on these will include bat walks - admire the London Design Festival installations on your way - and head straight to the Natural History Roadshow to meet our identificaion team and see some interesting specimens.

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Science Station highlights near the Central Hall: Left: Scelidosaurus specimen at the Palaeontology Station an example of this oldest British dinosaur species in Fossil Way. Right: Section of the Thames Greenwich whale in Mammals Gallery.

Most of the evening's more adult activities and tours will start from 18.00 including the Meet the Greenwich Whale Station in the  Mammals galllery, where a section of the Thames Greenwich whale skeleton will be on show (above).

 

You can enter the Museum after 18.00 at both the main Cromwell Road entrance or the Exhbition Road entrance - head to the Welcome points at  either entrance to locate your tours or the activities, research and displays you're interested in. If all the tours or bookable events are full, seek out a nearby science station or drop-in activity.

 

From Central Hall into the Museum along Fossil Way - Marine Invertebrates gallery -  you'll find the Zoology Station where we're very

excited to be displaying a Tasmanian Tiger cub and our research into this species and are offering the chance to name an unnamed deep-sea worm...

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Upper Central Hall galleries include the Giant Sequoia where you should look out for some ancient remains....

If you're in the Central Hall area, you can migrate into the upper gallery for The Vault tour or visit the science station by the Giant Sequoia and be fascinated by the ancient human occupation of Britain with its intriguing early remains.

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Check out the Red Zone's Earth and Space Stations for meteoric, starry revelations...

Over in the Red Zone's Earth galleries, look out for the Earth Station with real meteories (above) and the Space Station featuring asteriod research. Or jon in the Science Fight Club sessions to see who wins some tough science debate rounds. In the Flett Theatre we also have the pleasure of hosting our prestigious Losing Our Principles? debate with David de Rothschild in the hot seat.

 

Bars are open to all visitors In the the main areas of the Museum, that is the Central Hall, Earth galleries and the Darwin Centre..

 

As discussion is one of the most important aspects, there are a myriad of opportunities to chat with scientists across the Museum. And particularly at The Science Bar in the Museum's Restaurant, where you can choose a tasty science topic from the menu and chat with scientists at tables over a drink.

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In the Central Hall's Social Media Bar take advantage of free Wi-Fi and there are 2 computers to log on to our online Science Uncovered community.


The Social Media Bar in Central Hall is open to all visitors and also offers hot food. It will be the last bar open till 22.30. Maybe I'll see you there with some of my colleagues...

 

Find out what's on at Science Uncovered and download a map


Right: Look out for two London Design Festival installations at the Darwin Centre. Osmosis: Regeneration image by Susan Smart
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Following the amazing success of last year's event, we're gearing up for our second Science Uncovered festival on Friday 23 September.

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The Museum's Science Uncovered event celebrates European Researchers' Night in London, and we join over 300 other cities across Europe in our festivities.

 

This year looks set to be on a much grander and more impressive scale than in 2010. We're opening a lot more of the Museum on the night. The dazzling array of shows, discussion opportunities, behind-the-scenes tours and fun activities such as Crime Scene Live and Science Fight Club, will reveal just how varied and cutting-edge our scientific research is here.

 

To avoid disappointment through some activities being over-subscribed on the night, you can pre-book tickets in advance. The evening is free to attend and all the activiities are free. Even if you don't pre-book, there are lots of things to drop-in on and enjoy during the evening and some family activities that start in the late afternoon.

 

I asked Stephen Roberts, the Museum's Nature Live team manager, who's masterminding this science extravaganza to tell us more:

 

'This year's Science Uncovered is a mind-boggling realisation! There are hundreds of different opportunities for visitors to spend time with some of the world's greatest scientists who are coming out, for one night only, in the stunning setting of the Museum at night, and over a drink too.

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A star attraction at the Zoology Science Station in Fossil Way is sure to be the Tasmanian tiger cub specimen held in our collections. The above is a mounted adult specimen of the now extinct Tasmanian tiger.

'Two hundred of our own scientists are joined by over 100 other researchers from around London whose expertise ranges from mammoths to Mars, phytoplankton to philosophy and surgery to spiders. There is, quite literally, something for everybody.

 

'As well as the amazing objects coming out of the collections for the first time, like the now extinct Tasmanian tiger (pictured above) an unprecedented 92 tours will take visitors to some of our favourite places and spaces in and around the Museum.

 

'The word unmissable is bandied about in the media, but if ever there were a time to use it for something happening at the Museum, this is it!'

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Meteorites like Tamdakht above, which fell in Morocco 2008, are helping our scientists reveal the secrets of our solar system. The meteorite is on show at Science Uncovered's Space Station in the Museum's Red Zone.

Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum says: 'We’re looking forward to welcoming even more people to this year’s event [about 7,000 visitors came in 2010], and inspiring them to take a fresh look at a subject they thought they already knew.'

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So with five bars open and over 150 activites to join, it should be a great night out.

 

Have a look at our website to find out what's on. And if you're nearer Hertfordshire than London, our Tring Museum is also joining us on the night with its own celebrations.

 

See what's on at Science Uncovered at the Natual History Museum, London

 

Find out what's on at Science Uncovered at the Tring Museum

 

Book online for Science Uncovered ticketed events

 

You can also join our Science Uncovered community online now to see what scientists are preparing to discuss on the night and for more news and views.

 

Right: One of the Museum tours at Science Uncovered takes visitors into our Conservation Unit, pictured here, where you'll see how we mend everything from broken bones to casts and books.