The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity Image courtesy NASA
At 3.32pm on Monday August 6, over a hundred people in the Museum’s Coles Theatre erupted in cheers as word came through on the live feed that we were watching from the mission control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California that NASA’s latest Mars explorer, the Curiosity rover, had landed safely.
Continue reading ‘On the Path to Curiosity’
Penicillium notatum samples. Powerhouse Museum Collection, object 99/30/1.
These two historic petri dishes are on display at the Powerhouse Museum during Ultimo Science Festival as part of the Science Snaps activity. The sample of green penicillin-producing mould on the left grew for one day and the one on the right for four days. Letters that complement the samples provide glimpses of the 1940s penicillin research project led by Australian-born scientist Howard Florey at Oxford University. They also give us some insight into the hardships faced by families in Britain during and after World War 2.
Continue reading ‘Penicillin mould from Howard Florey’s laboratory’
90/322 Machine Gun, Owen Mark 2/3, Lysaghts, Port Kembla, NSW, Australia, 1948 – Powerhouse Museum Collection
Firearms are a polarizing issue. The middle ground is a stripped no-man’s-land. The argument against prevalent gun ownership is of course more than ever legitimate. And honest gun ownership, confined to sportspeople, professional shooters and primary producers is provisional; and reasonable. Ownership outside these areas, except where the firearms have been irreversibly disabled, is criminal. One of the most fundamental reasons humans have designed and engineered firearms – for protection and self-defence – is not a legitimate reason for firearm ownership anywhere in Australia.
Continue reading ‘Guns and public opinion’
B1258 Velocipede Collection: Powerhouse Museum
This early pedal bicycle is a good example of a velocipede or boneshaker. It is on display in the Powerhouse Museum during August 2012 as part of a small exhibition titled ‘Bicycle: simple idea, complex evolution’ that I curated for the Ultimo Science Festival. Eight bicycles tell the story, starting in 1817 and moving through to 1994; bicycle innovation did not cease with the first pedal bike, the magnificent penny farthing, or even the modern-looking safety bike of 1885.
Continue reading ‘The first pedal bicycle’