Brian Cox cheerfully admits that his TV documentaries are part-scientific exposition, half eye-boggling travelogue. “The original, very good idea,” he says, “was that we should use places on Earth as analogues for the solar system.”
Wonders of the Solar System, Wonders of the Universe and different reveals have impressed numerous younger and never so younger minds. But Cox nonetheless thinks the display is “no substitute” for really visiting nice websites of scientific discovery: “TV can light the flame. But to go further you need to go to the places where cutting-edge science was done.”
For this checklist we gave him a strict transient: no Namibian deserts or Chilean glaciers. So listed here are Cox’s prime 10 locations in Britain and Ireland that modified the world.
Jodrell Bank, Cheshire
My mum and pa would take me there after I was rising up in Manchester. You really feel that this huge factor pointing into the sky is able to discovering locations you’ll be able to solely dream of: it’s an emblem of all the pieces that’s magical about astronomy. It continues to be one of many world’s largest radio telescopes and the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, which is constructing the world’s largest telescope, in Western Australia.
• Daily 10am-4pm, grownup £eight, little one £5.95, household £26.50-£31, jodrellbank.web
Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London
This place reveals the shut connection between astronomy and seafaring. To navigate, you could know what the time is. So telling the time is in the end linked to astronomy, and to the nice problem of defining longitude. Greenwich has an incredible customer centre: you’ll be able to stand on the zero longitude line. The telescope dome is sort of small however very evocative.
• Daily 10am-5pm, grownup from £9, little one from £5.85, rmg.co.uk
Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire
The apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor upon which the apple is alleged to have fallen on Sir Isaac Newton’s head. Photograph: Alamy
Isaac Newton was the primary trendy scientist, and his Principia Mathematica of 1687 is the primary trendy scientific doc. The key concept that the legal guidelines of nature that you just encounter right here on Earth are the identical that govern the universe is made actual. It was an enormous leap. Did the concept come to him when he noticed an apple fall from a tree? Well, you’ll be able to go to his home – and there’s an apple tree there, in addition to a Science Centre the place children can play with gentle and learn how gravity works.
• Opens at 11am, closing time varies however is 5pm from April, grownup £eight.50, little one £four.25, free to NT members, nationaltrust.org.uk
Trinity College School of Physics, Dublin
Erwin Schrödinger was one of many founders of quantum mechanics however he additionally impressed Crick and Watson, who usually cite his e-book, What Is Life?, because the inspiration for his or her quest. The e-book was based mostly on a collection of lectures Schrödinger gave at Trinity College in 1943. It was additionally the inspiration for my collection Wonders of Life. On 5 and 6 September, the 75th anniversary of Schrödinger’s lectures, Trinity will host a conference referred to as The Future of Biology in Dublin’s National Concert Hall.
• General admission free, conference €100, tcd.ie. The College’s Science Gallery is open Tues-Fri noon-8pm, Sat-Sun noon-6pm
Saddleworth, Greater Manchester
Saddleworth was the centre first of wool manufacturing, after which cotton. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal goes straight by means of the city and over the Pennines – straight by means of the place I used to be born, mainly. I’m fairly geographically targeted in my information of early industrial Britain! The canal has been restored: you may get boats and float alongside and see the way in which the economic revolution unfolded.
The Royal Institution, London
Michael Faraday on the Royal Institution, c.1850. Photograph: Alamy
In this genuinely highly effective place, you’ll be able to see the lab the place Michael Faraday laid the foundations of recent civilisation together with his discovery of electromagnetism in 1831. Even extra vital for me is the lecture theatre. Faraday, and Joseph Banks earlier than him, actually understood that science was not one thing to maintain to your self. Faraday – an apprentice bookbinder – was impressed by Humphrey Davy, whose public lectures he went to in 1812. I, too have given a lecture there: mine was The Science of Dr Who, with Matt Smith.
• Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, free, rigb.org
Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
I really like the aerospace gallery, and particularly the English Electric Lightning, which has at all times been my favorite plane. I used to go to Manchester airport with my dad and write down aircraft numbers within the 1970s. The first passenger railway station can also be within the museum, which was constructed on the Manchester-Liverpool line. You can see why a buddy of mine, Peter Saville [the Factory Record graphic designer] calls Manchester the primary trendy metropolis. You see the economic revolution starting.
• Daily 10am-5pm, free, msimanchester.org.uk
University of Manchester
The Rutherford Building, University of Manchester. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
This is the place I studied, and now educate. In the Rutherford constructing, you’ll be able to go to the lab (little room, huge plaque) the place Ernest Rutherford found the atomic nucleus – nuclear and particle physics was invented on that spot. There can also be fairly a pleasant museum. I just like the Egyptology bit: we’re well-known for our mummy assortment. The National Graphene Institute can also be right here, in a spectacular constructing. When they had been digging its foundations, they found the membership which Friedrich Engels belonged to when he was working with Karl Marx, and a sink from the membership is on show within the foyer. Konstantin Novoselov, one of many two Nobel prizewinners who found graphene, insisted it was put in within the foyer.
• Daily 10am-5pm, free, manchester.ac.uk
The Eagle, Cambridge
Scientists are excitable individuals. What do you do while you’ve had some superb revelation, reminiscent of discovering the key of life itself? You go down the pub and inform individuals. That’s what Francis Crick did one lunchtime in February 1953 after he and James Watson had found the construction of DNA. You can see the trail he ran down from the outdated Cavendish lab. [Crick and Watson were regulars at the pub, and there’s a plaque above their favourite table.]
• eight Benet Street, greeneking-pubs.co.uk
Cromford Mills, Matlock, Derbyshire
This makes a pleasant facet journey should you’ve been to the science museum in Manchester. It’s most likely the oldest mill within the world and, once more, one of many locations the place the economic revolution started. It’s a Unesco world heritage web site now, and a superb place.
• Daily 10am-5pm, grownup from £5, little one free, cromfordmills.org.uk