What's on at the Science and Engineering Collections

Current Exhibitions

A Very Special Pop-up - Ramsay and the Nobel Discovery.

Ramsay's Nobel Medal

Sir William Ramsay was arguably one of the most famous
scientists of his day. Between 1894 and 1898 he discovered five new elements -
helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon; commonly known today as the noble
gases. Not only was this impressive in itself, but these new elements did not
fit onto the periodic table as it existed at that time. This led to Ramsay
adding a whole new arm to the periodic table. In 1904 the Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences chose to award Ramsay the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for his
discovery of the noble gases. He was the first British person to win this
prize.

2013 marks 100 years since the retirement of Sir William Ramsay from his post as Head of Chemistry at UCL. To mark this UCL Chemistry Collection will be taking part in a very special pop-up exhibition in the Rock Room, UCL’s Geology Museum.


Objects on display will include his original discharge tubes (which still light up), his lab work books (some of which are slightly radioactive) and his Nobel Prize citation and medal.

The pop-up will run on November 1st from 12.30 - 3pm in the Rock Room. For the location please see the Geology Collections on the visit us page.

Digital Frontiers: Smart, Connected and Participatory.

5 July 2013 - 20 December 2013. Location: The Octagon Gallery
(Wilkins Building), UCL.
Octagon exhibition


Digital Frontiers and the themes of the exhibition - smart, connected and participatory - aim to explore how emerging technologies are changing the way we access and experience culture and asks questions about the nature of art and technology.

The Science and Engineering Collections will be represented by a large number of objects including three examples of Ambrose Flemings Original Thermionic Valves, a rare Nautical Galvanometer from the Physics Collection and a Curta pocket calculator from Geomatic Engineering.

For further information please visit the current exhibitions website.

Ramsay spy cartoon

Sir William Ramsay Display

Ongoing. Location: UCL Engineering Building, UCL, Gower Street.

A small display exhibiting objects exploring the work of William Ramsay, the discoverer of the Nobel Gases. Ramsay taught at UCL between 1887 - 1913, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1904 "in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air".

The display features original lab equipment and geissler tubes from the Chemistry Collection, displayed alongside the original sample of Cleveite from which Ramsay identified Helium from the Geology Collection.

For further information on the Chemistry Department please visit their website. Please note that visitors will need to pass through a manned security barrier to view this display. Staff and students are asked to bring their UCL ID with them. Outside visitors will need to talk to the security officer on duty.

Foreign Bodies

18March - 14th July 2013. Location: North Cloisters (Wilkins Building), UCL.

An exhibition by UCL research students, re-interpreting the museum collections through the theme of ‘foreign bodies’. Through seven very different research projects, audiences are invited to explore the idea of what is alien – biologically, psychologically, socially and politically – and how this concept has shifted across history, culture and even species.

The Science Collections are represented by a series of forceps from the History of Medicine loans box.

Please visit the Researchers in Museums website for more information.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Digital Frontiers

Start of June - November 2013. Location: The Octagon Gallery (Wilkins Building), UCL.

Digital Frontiers and the themes explored in the exhibition - smart, connected and participatory - will aim to explore how emerging technologies are changing the way we access and experience culture and asks questions about the nature of art and technology.

The Science and Engineering Collections will be represented by a large number of objects including two examples of Ambrose Flemings Original Thermionic Valves, a rare Nautical Galvanometer from the Physics Collection and a Curta pocket calculator from Geomatic Engineering.

Previous Exhibitions

Model Translations

27 November 2012 - 30 April 2013. Location: The Octagon Gallery
(Wilkins Building), UCL.


Model Translations was the first ever exhibition in the Octagon Gallery. It aimed to explore creative encounters and explorations between scholars and the natural and made environment, but at times materialise world views that are problematic and difficult to reconcile today. Objects from Chemistry and Electrical Engineering featured in the exhibition.