The Culture24/7: Science and Nature Picks for September 2011

By Culture24 Reporter | 01 September 2011
A monochrome photo of an Arctic explorer wearing a fur coat
Roald Amundsen takes the biscuit at the Scott Polar Research Institute this month
© Scott Polar Research Institute
Roald Amundsen, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, September 2 – November 19

Saluting both the superhuman achievements of first South Pole conqueror Roald Amundsen and the strong current alliance between British and Norwegian scientists, you can check out sledging flags, ice axes, film cameras and waterproof containers for matches from his chilling expedition here.

There’s even a sledge compass used by Amundsen – dated at the zenith of his adventure on December 14 1911 – and a framed and signed biscuit he took to the Pole. None of these artefacts have ever been displayed in Britain until now.

Dinosaur Gallery: Exploring Lost Worlds, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester, from September 3

Journeys into the Jurassic for kids are always an easy draw for venues during the summer, but New Walk has gone way beyond the call of dinosaur duty for a new show full of fossil hunters and amazing discoveries including the Rutland Dinosaur, a Cetiosaurus found in a quarry in 1968 which sprawls as one of the most complete dinosaurs ever found in Britain.

David Attenborough will be turning up to open it but, for those who can’t make it, an excellent series of podcasts revealing some of the star exhibits and stories offer a glimpse into the tantalising depth of the show.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year, The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, from September 9

The entrants in Greenwich’s finest display of intergalactic voyeurism are battling it out for the £1,500 top prize between now and the announcement of the winners of a multitude of categories, awarded the day before this show opens.

The rest of us get to enjoy stunning shots which include swirling pink clouds of hydrogen gas, the spider-shaped Tarantula Nebula, a lunar rainbow against a background of star trails in the Yosemite Falls and the ever-spectacular Northern Lights above Scandinavia. Visit the prize's Flickr group for more of that sort of thing.

Words as Things: Visual Metaphors and Scientific Explanations in the Context of arts and Health Research, Centre for Life, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, September 9-30

Northumbria University inquisitor Marianne Wilde presents the results of a three-year research collaboration with experts at Newcastle University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine, contemplating how complex diagnoses are simplified into metaphors during the treatment of neuromuscular disease sufferers.

From scientists to doctors, patients, parents, children and friends, Wilde draws parallels between the endeavours of artists and physicians to put the unexplainable into words, merging groundbreaking lab work and aesthetic creativity in the process.

Just What the Doctor Ordered: 75 Years of Medicine on Screen, The Old Truman Brewery, London, September 17-18

Turning the Old Truman into a pop-up 1980s hospital ward where visitors can receive therapy through the reassuringly recuperative medium of film, this run-through of 75 years of medicine on screen explores surgical ethics through a range of events and discussions.

Led by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Roger Graef, it features a special showing of One of Them is Brett, his debut production made for the Society of Thalidomide Children in 1965, as well as an introduction to The English Surgeon by its director, Geoffrey Smith.

White Sound: An Urban Seascape, Wellcome Collection, London, September 22 – October 16

Widely condemned as one of London’s most suffocating and suffocated arteries, Euston Road gets a soothing blast of glistening coastal air when celebrated sound sculptor Bill Fontana creates an installation on the pedestrian approach to the Wellcome Collection’s exhibition headquarters in the capital.

The live sound for it comes from the tranquil Dorset suntrap of Cheshil Beach, transmitting the sound of waves gently breaking over pebbles in a spoonful of Zen to contrast all that bustle.

Player Festival, Science Museum, London, September 28 – October 2

Kicking off with a late-night opening for adults in which they can defend the trembling venue from aliens and moving on to a hotly-anticipated Games Jam uniting gaming geeks with theatrical designers, the Science Museum hosts a digital dalliance extraordinaire.

Calculators of randiness, midnight hide and seek and arcade games moving human avatars through the space all feature, although a giant, heat-sensored version of Pong projected onto the museum floor sneaks up on the rails as a gloriously simple winner. See our Preview.
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