Public Science

Strictly Science

Keeping one step ahead: 10-day exhibition at Imperial College

As part of the Centenary programme of events and activities in 2013, a free interactive exhibition – Strictly Sciencekeeping one step ahead – invited visitors to engage in the past, present and future of medical research. The public watched scientists conduct century-old experiments and interact with contemporary neurotechnologists investigating the brain. This was a rare opportunity for the public to learn about the enormous contribution taxpayer revenue has made, and continues to make to medical practice in Britain and worldwide.

From 4th-14th April 2013Imperial College London played host to a series of installations, each telling different but overlapping stories, revealing the origin of the Medical Research Council 100 years ago. A century-old laboratory introduced the stories of Sir Henry Dale, Almroth Wright and Dame Harriette Chick, whose pioneering work on the nervous system, vaccination and vitamin-deficiency disease respectively, has transformed our lives today. The 1913 lab installation was juxtaposed against a contemporary neurotechnology lab headed by Dr Aldo Faisal, whose team uses bespoke software, video game technology and computer algorithms to interrogate how the brain helps us move. A future sound installation explored our hopes and fears for the next century. What will the world be like in 2113? The opinions of public figures, from Melvyn Bragg to Robert Winston, were shared alongside those of UK primary schoolchildren. The public was invited to add to the growing video archive of talking heads recorded in the act of imagining the future.

Strictly Science was funded by the Medical Research Council and possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of:

Andree Molyneux and Kiki von Glasow – research and curation

Professor Amanda Fisher – science direction

Brona McVittie – project management, curation, editorial and schools engagement

Haberdashery – design and build