Back to London Trip 2009: Part 5
I dedicated an entire day for the Science Museum because I knew there would be too much things to see. And I was right. I didn’t manage to cover everything.
Fay had to leave early for work. I was up early to wait for Sel to bring over Joanne’s stuff to bring over to Birmingham. Fay’s nocturnal sister was still awake and probably sleep deprived, so I figured that it was better that I let myself out of the house instead of keeping her up.
Managed to squeeze another hour of sleep before I finally got ready to leave Canada water and to the Science Museum. Didn’t lose my way to the station this time. But the snow last night made the paths slightly wet and I had to be careful not to slip and fall.
The Science museum, located just beside the Natural History Museum, is a geek’s dreamland. At least that was the case for me. Amazing exhibits, live models and very informative displays. I can spend a few days here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t extend my stay due to my finite annual leave days. Should have came when I was still in college. But then air fares would have killed me.
I didn’t have a shot of the building because I used the underground tunnel straight from South Kensington tube station.
Very early steam turbine. This is the ancestor of our current power turbines which are used in power plants and also in jet engines. The arrival of the steam turbine meant that for the first time in the history of mankind, work can now be done by machines instead of using human or animal power.
Rockets especially the German V2s paved way for modern space rockets, just one of many examples where war technologies were eventually used for the benefit of mankind.
Had lunch with Sel at the museum after she finished her classes early. Being a medic student, she went over to the medicine section of the museum while I continued slowly up the museum.
Cray-1 supercomputer. It has a curved design to shorten cable runs.
The mechanical computers were by far the most interesting exhibits on display. By using carefully designed mechanical engines, these “computers” were capable of making calculations. Of course, with the invention of microchips, our pocket calculators are now far more powerful for a fraction of the cost.
Charles Babbage’s Analytical Computer.
The Analytical Engine is a mechanical calculator so it uses gears and levers to perform calculations. This computer can only perform calculations that it was designed for. Any other calculations would require a redesign of the computer.
Electronic computers that we use today are more versatile. If we want extra functions, we just need to install additional software. Aren’t you glad that computers were invented? Life was so much difficult before.
There was a section in the museum on ships and navigation too.
This is a ship log (1861). Notice the propeller shaped fins? People would throw this down behind their ships to measure how fast they were moving. The water moving across the fins will make the log spin and since one side of it is anchored to the ship, the speed of the ship will be proportional to how fast the log was spinning. Now we just need GPS to tell us that.
I was more interested in the aviation section. They were showing mainly the evolution of flight and old planes. Old planes are actually very fascinating because they are mechanical in nature and you’ll be amazed at how engineers solved problems before the arrival of computers.
Spitfires used during WW2.
The Boeing 777′s glass cockpit.
There was just too much to see and touch at the Science Museum. I’ll probably need 2 days just to go through everything. It’s well worth visiting if you love to see interesting things. And best of all, it’s free!
At night, we met at my aunt’s place (also the place where I stayed most of the time during my trip in London) for a scrumptious steamboat dinner. You have no idea how welcoming a steamboat dinner is during a cold winter evening.
Thanks Aunty Peng for the wonderful dinner and photos! We were stuffed to the brim!