I’ve always fancied staying overnight in London’s Natural History Museum. I imagine there is something eerily magical about a night cosied up in a sleeping bag under the whale bones, dreaming of the creatures stirring from their displays and prowling the corridors. Sadly, I’ve yet to tick the museum sleepover off my bucket list, however I did get to do the next best thing this September– take part in the Friday night “Museum Lates”.
On the last Friday of each month the Natural History Museum opens its doors after hours, tempting in curious minds with the promise of interactive displays, conversations with leading scientists and a peek inside the museum machinery. Thanks to my earlier Famelab adventures, where I entertained a UK crowd with a cup of tea that stirred up science, I found myself invited back as the 2014 UK champ to represent the home team in the European Researchers Hall of Famelab 2019 special. A new stage, another 3 minutes and a different judging panel watching my every move for the 3C’s of Famelab: content, clarity and charisma.
Whilst Famelab is a science communication competition, that really is only a tiny part of the event. The joy is the chance to share your work with a lovely audience and meet scientists and researchers from around the world, swapping stories and learning about new areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. During our 90 minute show, the fun Museum Lates audience heard from speakers representing Ireland, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and of course the UK (that was me!). From pathogens to pineapple DNA, smart coding and my own talk on cosmic rays and space balloons, I like to think this was fun, free Friday night science at its best. We laughed, clapped and cheered our way through the evening before heading to the nearby pub for a celebratory post-show drink. Strangers 24 hours before, our love of exploring the unknown had converted us into scientific show buddies. That is the beauty of Famelab. It provides a platform to share what you love with an appreciative and warm audience and to make alumni friends through the Famelab family.
So whilst I’ve yet to snooze under the whale, I did have an amazing late night in the museum. Using my 3 minutes of Famelab time to transport the audience on an adventure into the stratosphere to measure radiation. Next time, I just need to come back to Earth and stay the night!
Thank you to the British Council for hosting Hall of Famelab 2019 (image credit)
If you are thinking of taking part check out the information here.
Oh, and I’ve made a video on all things Famelab here (back in 2017 but still current info!)