Monday, 13 July 2009
After a very nice sleep (not being nervous about presenting a paper) at Granta House, I looked forward to an entire day of relaxation and touring Cambridge. Here’s the street where my bed and breakfast was:
Our first stop was the Cambridge University Library to see the exhibit A Voyage Round the World, showcasing the library’s collection of documents, maps, drawings, books, etc. dealing with the voyage of HMS Beagle. An awesome exhibit, but unfortunately no pictures were allowed. I couldn’t even take a picture of a banner for the exhibit in the main lobby of the library. So Richard and I decided to pick up the exhibit’s companion book (Richard spotted me the tenner for it, thanks!). The library and the book:
Next we headed to the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, to see the new permanent exhibit Darwin the Geologist and the rest of the museum, which, if you like lots of old stuff (fossils, rocks, etc.) crammed in large wooden cabinets, is definitely a place to check out when in Cambridge. On the way there, though, we passed an interesting spot for history of science buffs, the Mathematical Bridge at Queen’s College, built in 1749:
The Queen’s College website debunks the myth that Isaac Newton designed and built the bridge without using nuts or bolts:
For those who have fallen prey to the baseless stories told by unscrupulous guides to gullible tourists, it is necessary to point out that Isaac Newton died in 1727, and therefore cannot possibly have had anything to do with this bridge. Anyone who believes that students or Fellows could have disassembled the bridge (and then failed to re-assemble it, as the myth runs) cannot have a serious grasp on reality, given the size and weight of the wooden members of the bridge. The joints of the present bridge are fastened by nuts and bolts. Earlier versions of the bridge used iron pins or screws at the joints, driven in from the outer elevation. Only a pedant could claim that the bridge was originally built without nails. Other baseless stories are that Etheridge had been a student, and/or had visited China.
Now some pictures from Darwin the Geologist:
Now a look at the rest of the museum:
In my next post I will share some images from the University Museum of Zoology, including the Darwin exhibit Beetles, Finches and Barnacles.
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