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  • Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    London's Science and Natural History Museums

    For me the best reason to visit London is for its free museums, but admittedly I'm kind of a nerd, as you'll soon see. The presentation and buildings themselves are as impressive as the items they contain. And it's amazing how much the museums of London contain. The next visit on my museum tour was the Science Museum...
    This is one of Michael Faraday's magnet and coils! I know, right?? I don't have to tell you why this was so exciting, but I'm going to. Faraday, of course, discovered that an electric current flows in a coil of wire when it is moved through a magnetic field (a term he created). This lead to electric motors and electricity generation, which completely changed the course of humanity. Not bad for a guy born in poverty with only an 8th grade education. He used this magnet and coil in these experiments and it was in a box low to the ground that I nearly walked right by. I went through this museum twice to make sure I didn't miss any other amazing things.
    This rock was formed billions of years ago in an ancient lava flow on the moon. It was part of a larger rock collected by astronaut David Scott during the Apollo 15 mission. 

    This is the Apollo 10 Command Module. Inside this capsule, three astronauts traveled around the moon in a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon landing.

    A great example of how science and art often co-exist, this is the One Million Volt Particle Accelerator built in 1937.

    Up next was the Natural History Museum. Built in 1880, it is one of the most beautiful museums I've seen.

    This is the main hall where you're greeted by the cast of a Diplodocus skeleton. Walking into this room was like walking into a great cathedral.

    I could wander these halls for hours. I wonder if they need a security guard?

    The only thing I love more than a two-toed sloth is an alive two-toed sloth. 

    So you can imagine my excitement when I saw these bones from the extinct Giant Sloth. 
    The main hall from above. I wanted to hide in the restroom's drop ceiling then pop out after they closed so I could wander this place alone at night. Actually, that has been a fantasy of mine for almost 30 years. 

    You don't appreciate how big a blue whale is until you see something like this up close.

    I also appreciate how Blue Whales always look like they took a big drink of water a moment before someone said something really funny and they are trying to hold back a spit take.

    I had to keep going back to the main hall. I just needed to be in there. If I could replace all those people with one really comfortable sofa this would be the perfect room.
    I walked outside to get a picture of skaters on the museum's ice rink...

    Then stopped to get a photo of the building at night
    ...then one more look before heading back to the hostel.