LONDON – The London Science Museum previewed a gallery space on Wednesday that presents the United Kingdom’s capital as a global hub for science, research and education.
Science City 1550-1880: The Linbury Gallery explores how London morphed from a thriving city to a leading center for science and research through an interactive installation with a large display of objects, instruments, machinery and archive material.
Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum, told members of the press that the exhibition presents “this fascinating story of how London helped shape science and, in turn, how science helped shape the city during this period.”
Visitors can expect to see fascinating objects on display, including Isaac Newton’s paper Principia Matematica, which was published in London in 1687 after the scientist swapped the university city of Cambridge for the capital.
Alongside the groundbreaking academic book, Newton’s reflecting telescope made in 1671 is also on show, a tool he used to prove his Theory of Light.
The objects all belong to the Science Museum, King’s College London and the Royal Society.
Other highlights include two globes from 1599 designed by Willem Janszoon Blaeu, a Dutch cartographer who was the map-maker for the Dutch East India Company.
A microscope designed by Robert Hooke as well as a copy of his first best-seller Micrographia, which for the first time featured the word “cell” and illustrations of images that had been obtained via a microscope, has been loaned by the Royal Society.
Several of the scientific objects on show belonged to King George III, including a philosophical table commissioned by George Adams for the Royal family.
“What we realised was that these objects told a really rich story about how London transformed from a relatively modest commercial center in the 16th century to be a world city and a world-leading center of science en 1800,” Alexandra Rose, curator of the show, said.
“This collection charts the birth of experimentation and the growing desire for precision measurement that became the basis of modern science.
“It also shows how London fostered its own particular brand of scientific enquiry.”
The Linbury Gallery space, which takes the shape of a cityscape, was designed by artists Gitta Gschwendtner and she drew inspiration from London architecture over the centuries.
Visitors will be treated to a minimalist installation that evokes what the city would have looked like between 1550 and 1810.
The space opens on 12 September to the members of the public free of charge.