UCL Earth Sciences


Kathleen Lonsdale Building Re-Opened by Sir David Attenborough

18 April 2018

The Kathleen Lonsdale Building constructed in 1915 has undergone a £27.5 million refurbishment and is now home to Earth Sciences department.

Sir David Attenborough at UCL

Kathleen Lonsdale was a scientist, Quaker and pacifist, whose ground breaking research in crystallography was conducted at UCL under the shadow of World War II. She was the first woman to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society when, in 1945, it was decided that the term ‘Fellow’ could encompass women. Furthermore, she was the first female President of the British Association. 

Hosted by Professor Lars Stixrude (Head of UCL Earth Sciences) and Professor Ivan Parkin (Dean of UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences), the re-opening ceremony: ‘An audience with Sir David Attenborough’ celebrated the outstanding completion of the renovation of the Kathleen Lonsdale Building by UCL Estates as part of Transforming UCL. 

The day began with a morning reception in the Rock Room, which showcases the highlights of the department’s rock collection, including rocks, minerals, and fossils, some of which have been with UCL since 1855. 

This was followed by an arm-chair style discussion with Sir David Attenborough facilitated by Professor Lucie Green from UCL Space & Climate Physics and followed by a Q&A from the audience. 

In the afternoon, Sir David met with the staff and students working in the different departments of the Kathleen Lonsdale Building. They showcased activities, discoveries, and research – from machine learning to earthquake geology– in their newly renovated surroundings.


The day ended with the unveiling of a new plaque by Sir David, followed by refreshments with staff, alumni, and students.  Read the full story: UCL MAPS Faculty News

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