UCL Museums & Collections Blog
  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Archives

  • Science + Art = ?

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 6 May 2014

    What happens when you give a Geology Museum to a set of Art Students? Well we are about to find out…

    Photo taken in Geo-Chemistry Lab

    Geo-Chemistry Lab at UCL.

    Last year a group of sculpture Masters students from the Slade School of Fine Art took over the Rock Room (UCL’s Geology Museum) for a day, created a load of new art works relating to the space and the collection, and then opened it up to the public to view their work. It was a great day, we had a lot of visitors and the students seemed to enjoy themselves.

    This year I met with the Slade organiser, Lecturer in Sculpture Karin Ruggaber, early, and we decided that we would build on the work of last time, by offering a tour of some of the lesser seen parts of the Geology Collections, and the Earth Science Department here at UCL,


    Human Evolution – The Story Of Us

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 27 February 2014

    Ever wanted to meet your ancestor?

    Ever wanted to meet your ancestor?

    On Friday 7th March the Rock Room (1st Floor Corridor, South Wing, UCL) will host a special pop-up exhibition featuring rarely seen objects from UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection, and in particular their collection of early hominin fossil casts.

    UCL’s Biological Anthropology Collection is held by (unsurprisingly) the Biological Anthropology Section of the Anthropology Department. Biological anthropology focuses on the study of primate ecology and evolution, including the study of human evolution.

    In order to study and teach these subjects the department has built up a wonderful collection of over 2,000 bones, casts of bones and fossils, ancient tools and other types of objects (which I like to think of as ‘misc’). These are stored in the department and heavily used in teaching, helping students to bring the subject (back) to life.


    Ramsay and the Nobel Discovery

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 25 October 2013

    Sir William Ramsay's Nobel Prize Medal

    Sir William Ramsay’s Nobel Prize Medal.
    UCL Chemistry Collection.

    Sir William Ramsay was arguably one of the most famous scientists of his day. Between 1894 and 1898 he discovered five new elements – helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon; commonly known today as the noble gases. Not only was this impressive in itself, but these new elements did not fit onto the periodic table as it existed at that time. This led to Ramsay adding a whole new group to the periodic table. In 1904 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences chose to award Ramsay the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for his discovery of the noble gases. He was the first British person to win this prize.

    2013 marks 100 years since the retirement of Sir William Ramsay from his post as Head of Chemistry at UCL. To mark this UCL Chemistry Collection will be taking part in a very special pop-up exhibition in the Rock Room, UCL’s Geology Museum.

    Between 12.30 – 3pm on November 1st a range of objects relating to Ramsay and his work will be on display. I have picked out a few of my personal favourites…


    Impact! – A Pop-up Exhibition

    By Nicholas J Booth, on 21 March 2013

    On Friday 1st March the UCL Geology Collections hosted a special Pop-up exhibition, called Impact!, curated by two PhD studnets from the Centre for Planetery Sciences (CPS), a ‘virtual’ research centre that comprises of staff and research students from both UCL and Birkbeck.

    The aim of the Pop-up was simple. We wanted to advertise the opening hours of the Rock Room (1-3pm every Friday); we wanted to advertise the existence of the Regional

    View of a Meteorite down a microscope

    View of a Meteorite down a microscope
    (Photo: Andrew Freeland)

    Planetary Image Facility (RPIF) at UCL; and we wanted to showcase some of the amazing research carried out by PhD students at the CPS.

    The process started when I emailed the data manager of the RPIF to see if he knew of any research students or staff who might be interested in putting on an event in the Rock Room. Luckily for us there were two who were. These were Amy Edgington, a UCL PhD student studying the interior of the planet Mercury, and Louise Alexander, a PhD student from Birkbeck, whose work focuses on Basaltic samples from the Apollo 12 landing site and what they can tell us about the magmatic evolution of the Moon.