Science museum

10.10.2007 22:04

I took a break today from natural language processing and visited London's Science Museum.

I visited Science Museum several years ago and one thing I remember the most from that visit is the big running steam engine you see right beyond the entrance. Well, there are still some steam engines in the first hall (right after you go through mandatory backpack search), but I got the feeling that they're there simply because they're too large to move away. The focus of the museum seems now to be more recent technology.

Right after the first hall you go through the space flight exhibition.

That's a full size replica of the Apollo LEM and the authentic Apollo 10 command module (that was the last lunar orbit mission before the first landing). What amazed me was the size of this thing. From the pictures I never got the impression just how much larger the landing module is compared to a human. The complete Saturn V stack must really have looked incredible.

On to the computing and electronics section. I didn't know that Ferranti was a known name in electronics well before integrated circuits. Judging from Google results you get today I had the feeling that they were mostly known by their innovative ASIC technology that made Sinclair Spectrum's ULA possible.

This is a mechanical analogue computer that was used to research and predict economic changes. It uses water as an analogue for monetary value.

One of the first experiments with artificial intelligence. According to the looks and age of this device it probably uses some analogue electronic circuit to model human reactions.

The replica of Babbage's Difference engine is one of the highlights of Science museum's collection. They are building another replica for display in an American museum.

There were also some art installations on display. This particular one caught everybody's eye because of the big "DO NOT TOUCH" sign. Of course, who can resist touching a shiny unusual object, especially if there are no obvious obstacles? In the end it turns out that it will only give you a slight electric shock and emit a loud "Bzzzt" sound.

Ok, according to some screams maybe it's not so slight.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life

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