Yesterday's geekfest was to visit three museums on the one day. Yee-hah!
We started off at the Natural History Museum, which we spent a couple of hours in and only saw a little of we spent our time in the "Red Zone," which is the geology stuff. The volcanoes-and-earthquakes section was terrific; I love that stuff! (None of my photos turned out, alas, as there wasn't enough light for my camera. But you can always look at the web site.)
Next, we went to the Science Museum, where I did get a few photos:
The relatively recently built full, working model of Babbage's Difference Engine II. We owe the Internet to this! (Or at least to the idea of it, as it was never actually fully built in Babbage's time.)
A huge Fresnel lens. I love Fresnel lenses, I think they're both beautiful and ingenious.
Stephenson's Rocket. This is particularly interesting because I don't remember learning one blessed thing about this machine when I was a child. Houston was aghast to hear that, because as it happens it's one of the most important machines ever built, and ushered in the Industrial Age. Here's why, in case you want the details.
Finally, we looked briefly into the Victorian and Albert Museum, mainly just long enough to walk a few hallways and look in at the incredible Cast Courts a collection of full-scale replicas made of architectural and archeological treasures, done for study purposes. In several instances, the original subsequently was damaged or destroyed, and the cast remains the best record of it. It's big, and spooky-looking, and very Indiana-Jones-looking:
Finally museum'ed out, we stopped in at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, where our friend pointed out an unobtrusive bit of sculpture that had been used as a dead-letter drop by the KGB during the Cold War. We did not see any messages there yesterday. (No photos permitted, alas.)
And, for our final stop of the day, we did the Ultimate Anti-Geek Visit: the memorial to Diana and Dodi in Harrod's. (Sorry the picture is blurry; they keep the lights reverentially low.)
Today, we fling ourselves with relief back into geek mode, as we are off to Hampton Court. The maze is of particular interest, especially as we have been holding ceremonial out-loud family readings from Three Men In a Boat. (I did a blog post on this remarkable book waaaaaaay back when, should you be interested.