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Urban Sputnik Free in Mayfair

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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Urban Sputnik Free in Mayfair

A small scale art/science exhibition is currently running at the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street.


Urban Sputnik is a show devised by Vanessa Harden and Dr. Dominic Southgate along with scientists from Imperial College London’s Astrophysics Group. It aims to express "the frontiers of astrophysical research in a non-technical, more inclusive way, which uses art and design as its primary language."

There are only a couple of exhibits. This is Shape of the Universe


This beautifully made "copper Pringle" explores Einstein's insight "that matter causes space to curve, and that the curvature of space in turn causes the matter in it to move." The piece deals with the concept through light, as in curved space parallel beams of light may cross or separate according to the curvature.  Looking through the magnifying glass an elemental image is revealed.


The other exhibit is Redshift




This steam-punk like object looks at the Doppler Effect. Placing your head inside the "helmet" one can glimpse red lights at the end of each of the protruding arms. It is as if each light is moving away from you. Were the lights to be moving towards you they would appear blue.


The show maybe very small but it is an interesting collaboration between craft, art and cutting-edge astrophysics. It is located in the Royal Institution's Lower Ground Floor Gallery, within their museum. The show, like the museum, is completely free and is open from 9.00am till 9.00pm Monday to Friday. The show finishes on July 29th. There is a free closing event including a talk by the team behind it, on the 28th July at 7pm details here.

If you haven't been to the museum before, it is well worth a visit. It contains Michael Faraday's lab as it was in 1850, as well as a state-of-the art nanotechnology lab, along with original equipment used to discover ten elements, develop the thermos flask, the miners safety lamp and countless other inventions that have helped to shape the world, it also has exhibits on the the 14 Nobel Prize Winners who have worked at the Ri over the years. More details on the museum from the Ri website here.


The author of this blog is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who runs unique walking tours throughout Westminster, see tabs for details.

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