In 1854, the Crystal Palace Park was opened by Queen Victoria to an estimated crowd of around 40,000 people. Situated in large grounds at Syndenham (South London), this featured Joseph Paxton’s beautiful Crystal Palace – a large structure made mostly of cast-iron and plate glass. This building had been moved from its original location at … Continue reading The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
The most common question I’m asked when I tell people that I work in fruit fly research, is why the fly? Why do so many researchers dedicate their time to studying flies? Drosophila melanogaster (more commonly known as the fruit fly) has been a prominent figure in a wide range of biological research for over … Continue reading Why the fly?
Anyone who has visited a fossil track site will know that there’s something wonderful about being able to follow the steps of a creature that was alive hundreds of millions of years ago. It’s remarkable to consider that we can find not only the remains of these organisms, but also some of the various traces … Continue reading Traces of the Past
Dinosaurs – one of the most famous groups of extinct animals – are ubiquitous in popular culture today. From Jurassic Park to The Lost World, their images are everywhere and instantly recognisable. It can be difficult, therefore, to cast our minds back to a time when dinosaurs were completely unknown, when they were first being … Continue reading The Road to Dinosauria
On the 6th June 2012, at around 4am, I stood on top of a blustery Dorset hillside and waited for the sun to rise. You may wonder what would compel someone to get up at such a ridiculous hour; in this case, it was the chance to see something that would not be seen again … Continue reading The Transit of Venus
What I love about science is its ability to give us insight into aspects of the world that we cannot see or touch – that are invisible to us without the tools it provides. As I discussed in an earlier post, microscopes allowed the discovery of a vast array of microorganisms that were previously hidden … Continue reading Bacteria vs The Immune System
I can’t write a post about the geological timescale without the obligatory quote form James Hutton – in his famous words, time has ‘no vestige of a beginning, - no prospect of an end’. James Hutton (1726-1797) is perhaps most well-known for his work that contributed to the ‘Principle of Uniformitarianism’, the idea that the … Continue reading The Geological Timescale
I often wonder what it must have been like to be one of the earliest people to use a microscope – to look through it and see a microscopic world that no human eye had ever seen. It must have been truly amazing. An example of this early excitement comes in the form of Robert … Continue reading Fluorescence Microscopy – the power of light in biology