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UCL events news and reviews


‘The Blob’ On The Big Screen, Film Night at The Grant Museum

By James M Heather, on 16 December 2011

Without a doubt, Film Night at the Grant Museum was the most entertaining event that I’ve attended at UCL. On 6 December, they screened the 1958 sci-fi/horror cult classic, The Blob.

Dr Joe Cain holds court. A senior lecturer at UCL by day, he is an avid film fan by night. And possibly by day at weekends.

This is the first ‘On The Big Screen’ event at UCL that I’ve attended, despite this being the 21st showing. However, it’s clear that the event attracts a regular following, and by the time I arrive the large Darwin Lecture Theatre is almost full. All ages are represented in the crowd, and the mood is both jovial and excited.

In what seems to be a regular feature, Dr Cain gives a short but engrossing introduction of the film we’re about to watch. He’s clearly done his homework, as he talks us through the background of the production, the foibles of the film, and gives us tips on what to look out for.


Fish in Science: Zebrafish at UCL

By George Wigmore, on 7 December 2011

Tomography image of an adult zebrafish

Related to the much-maligned minnow, many are unaware that zebrafish are in fact one of the giants of the genetics world. While more-well known, and controversial, model organisms continue to dominate the limelight, the humble zebrafish continues to plod along in the background. But a current exhibition at UCL’s Grant Museum on zebrafish and their role in science aims to change all that.

Well-understood, easily observable, and with many similarities to mammalian physiology, it should be no surprise that zebrafish studies have resulted in such a huge number of advances in a plethora of different fields. Ranging from development biology, to toxicology and evolutionary theory, its composition makes it an ideal model organism for studies of vertebrate development and gene function.

Yet despite all the incredible work, outside of the scientific community zebrafish continue to live an anonymous existence, tucked away in their domestic tanks in homes across the world.


How to get a head. Or, what your skull is saying about you.

By Katherine Aitchison, on 30 November 2011

Can you read a skull? Did you know that the human is actually a fish? Can you tell your synapsids from your diapsids? Well read on to learn all the skull can tell us about life and evolution.

The UCL Grant Museum of Zoology has been a teaching collection for more than two decades, but last night it opened its collection for a public workshop for the first time, and I was one of the lucky souls who bagged a ticket and went along looking forward to getting my hands on some bones.

To begin, we took a seat at tables displaying a range of notably different skulls. We were then asked to take a look at the specimens in front of us and identify a number of key features that would help tell us more about what animal the skull had come from.


Zoology and Mythology: Looking at Angels, Fairies and Dragons

By Ben Stevens H P Stevens, on 23 November 2011

From a very young age, each of us learns about winged creatures such as angels, dragons and fairies. But how many of us stop to ask exactly how these creatures are able to fly in the first place?

This was precisely the question that Professor Roger Wotton (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment) sought to answer in his witty, playful lecture, Zoology and Mythology: Looking at Angels, Fairies and Dragons, on 16 November.

Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello

Paolo Uccello, Saint George and the Dragon, about 1470 © The National Gallery