UCL News


Lottolab officially opens at Science Museum

16 November 2011

Dr Beau Lotto

A unique scientific research space, headed by Dr Beau Lotto (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology), has now officially opened at the Science Museum in London.

Lottolab seeks to engage the public in a way that has never been done before inside the Science Museum – involving them in actively designing and running live science experiments.

Many of the experiments explore the theme of illusions and colour, as seen on two BBC Horizon programmes broadcast this year. People can also engage with art and sound installations that fill the space.

The focus of Dr Lotto’s work is to deepen people’s understanding of human perception, but over the last decade he has also sought to bend people’s perceptions not just of science but of themselves. His hope is that by engaging and involving the public directly in his perception research, he can transform the way people think about themselves and also about the world around them.

Working directly with the public brings tremendous implications for scientific discovery.

Dr Beau Lotto

The front area of Lottolab, supported by the Wellcome Trust, is now open to museum visitors from 1–4pm, Monday to Thursday, until March 2012. These sessions are designed to allow people to experience live science experiments and also to interact with Lottolab’s unique objects and installations.

Dr Lotto commented: “Perception is universal, it underpins everything we feel, think and believe. It’s also an area of neuroscience that is accessible to the general public, which is why we are pleased to be able to bring this subject to the many visitors who come to the Science Museum. Lottolab’s work touches many fields, including art, design and education, as well as pure neuroscience.

“Working directly with the public brings tremendous implications for scientific discovery and being based at the Science Museum, we can run experiments on hundreds, and potentially thousands of subjects – something which is almost impossible to do in a conventional lab.”

The Lottolab project is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Photography competition

How the Vertical Gallery will look

In another project, Dr Lotto is running a competition to solicit photographs for a brand new public exhibition space. Called the Vertical Gallery, the space is located at the junction of Old Street and Great Eastern Street, on the borders of Shoreditch and Hoxton. Photographs can be taken by any member of the public as long as they are of the local community and taken on a mobile phone. The idea is to create not only a public gallery but a local landmark and a unique reflection of the local community.

The new gallery is the latest incarnation of the Beacon, a six-metre high light installation commissioned by the Shoreditch Trust and TfL and designed and built by Lottolab in 2008. Now, in collaboration with long-standing Shoreditch-based designer Paul Daly, Lottolab is transforming the Beacon into London’s first public gallery designed to exhibit photo­graphic images that are by the public, of the public and for the public.

The Vertical Gallery will exhibit 16 original black-and-white images, each of which will be mounted onto 1.2m x 1m Plexiglass sheets that will be visible during the day by natural light and at night from the tower’s internal lighting. A team of experts and novices, adults and children will select their favourite 16 images from all those submitted.

For more information and to enter the competition visit the Lottolab website.


Science Museum
UCL Institute of Ophthalmology