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Looking for things to do in London that embrace science and technology in all their geeky glory? We look at the museums, events and galleries which are perfect for enriching your inner nerd.
1. Science Museum: The Information Age
The Science Museum has a permanent exhibition celebrating over 200 years of the Information Age
London’s Science Museum is a fascinating place to spend a few hours — or while away the day — but the Information Age gallery is the bit (geddit?) that will really appeal to your inner geek.
Charting the history of communications from the age of telegraphs to the latest mobile phones, the exhibit takes you on a tech journey through six areas — there’s even one that puts cables in the spotlight. The collection encompasses everything from historical telegraph machines to Google’s first web server.
The Information Age gives a feel for the immense scale of work and historical innovation which has gone into letting us tweet from our smartphones. The aim is to make visitors think about the technology and infrastructure that connects us and makes our modern lives possible, and it does that brilliantly.
The Science Museum is open from 10 ‘til 6pm every day, and admission is free, although IMAX screenings, flight simulators and some special exhibitions cost extra.
2. The Royal Institution: Michael Faraday Museum
The Royal Institution’s Michael Faraday Museum shows how the geniuses of science and engineering developed their ideas
The Royal Institution (shortened to Ri in a geeky nod to Pi) has been home to some of the most famous scientists and inventors in the world.
Over three floors you’ll discover inventions such as the first Thermos flask and a miner’s safety lamp. You can also explore the magnetic laboratory of the museum’s namesake, Michael Faraday — restored to look like it did in the 1850s.
Touchscreen apps help visitors to learn about the science behind the innovations, with fascinating excerpts from scientific notebooks and photos of the scientists’ early laboratories. Also on show is an interactive periodic table, where visitors can listen to Tom Lehrer singing his periodic table song while the 10 elements associated with the Ri light up.
The Ri is open Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm, and admission is free. The museum has been designed to appeal to 11 year olds and above, but also holds one-off Ri Lates evening events for adult visitors. On 6 November (this Friday), the Ri Lates: Gunpowder, treason and plot event will examine how fireworks work, the science of betrayal, and whether humans are the only animals which plot against each other. Standard tickets are £12, and concessions £8.
3. The Victoria and Albert Museum: The Digital Art collection
The V&A Museum is about design in all its forms – and includes a large collection of digital works
Since computers first whirred into action, artists have been fascinated by their potential — and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London proves that computers can be every bit as emotive as a brush or a pencil.
Comprising of a selection of works which date back the late 1960s, the digital art collection resides in the V&A’s Prints and Drawings Study Room. But, this being computer art, you don’t even have to leave the house; you can also view 1,000 pieces from the collection online at collections.vam.ac.uk.
The V&A Prints and Drawings Study Room is only open from Tuesday-Friday, but the museum is open from 10am-5.45pm every day, apart from Fridays when it’s open until 10pm. Admission is free.
4. Nerd Nite London
Drink beer, geek out with like-minded folk and learn about a wide variety of topics at Nerd Nite
When the days turn to night, where do you turn for your geeky kicks? Fear not, for Nerd Nite is just what you’ve been hankering for. This is where beer, geeking out and like-minded nerds collide.
Nerd Nite sprung into life back in 2013. Back then, Every third Wednesday of each month at a bar in east London, a trio of speakers turn up to nerd out on their topic of choice, while attendees rack up a couple of beers and listen in.
Coming up on 18 November, Nerd Nite puts the spotlight on, fittingly enough, brains! As Nerd Nite London’s website puts it: “In three informative and entertaining presentations we’ll learn about how the secret messengers of your body can control your brain, how your brain lies to you, how neuroscience has shaped our understanding of art, and how art has shaped neuroscience. Nerds, brains, beer.” Nerd heaven, no?
Tickets are £7.50 a pop, but ‘early nerds’ get tickets for £6. Doors open at 7pm.
Interested in going further afield for your tech and science kicks? Then click here to check out Alphr.com’s Geek Day Out guide to the best space, science and technology exhibits and locations in the UK.