For the Love of It

28 April – 2 August 2015


By Robyn Haggard

Do you have any particularly fond memories of science or scientific objects? It turns out that when we put our minds to it we can often recall many. For the last couple of months we have been collecting memories for our small exhibition, For the Love of It. It’s a celebration of people who did scientific work for, well, the love of it, and it is curated by history of science students at the University of Oxford.

Man with microscopeThe physical exhibition, which opens today (28 April 2015), showcases five personal memories provided by visitors to the Museum. These are illustrated with objects from the Museum’s collections to link the development of scientific instruments and ideas with our experiences. It also contains the historic stories of two scientific enthusiasts, Charles Boyle (1674–1731) and Washington Teasdale (1830–1903). These passionate men celebrated science away from a professional setting just as many of us do now, by collecting and enjoying scientific objects.

We also have a For the Love of It blog, which is the place for us to share more science-related personal stories and fond memories that have been contributed to the project. The subjects of these memories vary widely, and help us to see how science plays a role in what we often consider to be non-scientific activities. Think of the illuminated globe in a child’s bedroom, or the metronome used to keep time in a musical performance. Both these devices have been developed from scientific principles, but often we do not think of them as ‘scientific’ things.

Man with globeWe hope to be able to collect a range stories from visitors to the Museum and via the blog we’ll show that you don’t need to be a scientist to enjoy or interact with science. If you have a story do let us know via the site and we’ll try and illustrate it with a relevant object from the Museum’s collection of scientific instruments.

There’s more: My Memories of Science is a public event that we are hosting on Saturday 2 May and Sunday 3 May during Museum opening hours (12-5pm). We will be encouraging visitors to think about memories that they could add to the project, but it is also a chance for you to bring along your favourite scientific object to share and create new memories with. We hope to see you there!