Aug 09: @ the London Science Museum
As part of its centenary celebrations the London Science Museum hosted an exhibit titled "The Making of the Modern World" -- featuring 10 "icons" [Steam Engine, Stephenson's Rocket, Electric Telegraph, X-ray Machine, Model T Ford, Penicillin, V2 Rocket Engine, Pilot ACE Computer, DNA Double Helix, Apollo 10 Capsule] which changed the world as we know it. One of these icons is "Stephenson's Rocket", the first commercially successful steam locomotive, which is credited with launching the railway era, 180 years ago. However the Science Museum is not just about celebrating the past, but looking towards the future. Exhibited alongside "Rocket" were two ULTra Personal Rapid Transit vehicles, which may become the 21st-century equivalent of Stephenson's Rocket. (Stephenson's Rocket: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephenson's_Rocket).
Press coverage from The Times of London:
The main gallery of the Science Museum contains George Stephenson's Rocket and a Model T Ford, machines that revolutionised transport in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Yesterday morning, beside that pair, were two lozenge-shaped vehicles designed to effect a similar transformation in the 21st century.
The doors of one of these capsules folded back like a pair of butterfly wings to reveal a grey-and-white interior, seating for four and no sign of a driver or anything that one might drive it with: only a button set in the wall, with the word "start" written beside it. Mark Simmons, 6, from South London, followed his grandmother inside. "It looks like an alien spaceship," he said.
It was built by a designer of the space age. Martin Lowson worked on the Saturn V Rocket, which launched the Apollo missions. He later designed the rotor blades for the world's fastest helicopter.
The bubble-shaped, driverless cars with black, bug-eyed windows are his solution to the problems of urban travel. He began working on the system in 1995 and next year they are due to start operating at Heathrow, carrying passengers from car parks to Terminal 5.
"This could have the same effect on transport this century as the Rocket had on the 19th," he said, the bright zeal of the revolutionary gleaming for a moment in his eyes.
Thousands of visitors at the musem:
More press coverage:
More museum photos: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=podcars&w=all
More than 20 news articles covered the showcase.
There are 240 museums in London. The Science Museum has the 5th most visitors. The top museums for annual visitors (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_London#Visitor_figures):
- Tate Modern / Tate Britain - 6,769,949
- British Museum - 6,037,930
- National Gallery - 3,914,000
- Natural History Museum - 3,613,953
- Science Museum - 2,711,680