Jan 5th 2017

Museums to tell stories of local science heroes


From Orkney to Cornwall, communities across the UK are celebrating the scientific heroes on their doorsteps with the help of the Royal Society’s Local Heroes scheme.

Lawrence House Museum has secured funding for a project From Bodmin Moor to Neptune that explore the legacy of John Couch Adams, a local hero who co-discovered the existence of Neptune through calculations made whilst studying the moons around Uranus. The scientist was also known for his interest in the mountains on the moon, comparing them to the hills of Bodmin Moor.

Lawrence House Museum will introduce the life and achievements, of this significant local scientist to a new generation in Launceston. Creative activities will give the young people an opportunity to enjoy the story aspect of our science hero, as well as to consider the importance and impact of his discoveries, interests and methods. Further research into his life will be undertaken by local scientist, educator and Adams expert Malcolm Wright for a monograph. Led by Dr Joanna Mayes the project aims to engage local communities with science through creative activities, and to understand and enjoy their local heritage.

15 museums and galleries from all over the country have been selected to take part in the Royal Society grant scheme which provides funding of up to £3,000 for exhibitions and events which reveal local stories of scientific brilliance.

The projects receiving funding from the Royal Society Local Heroes scheme unearth the stories of scientists from across the ages – from pioneers of the industrial age, to intrepid Victorian dinosaur hunters and the discoverers of Polythene- an invention that changed the world.

Professor Jonathan Ashmore FMedSci FRS, a neuroscientist at UCL and chair of the Local Heroes judging panel which selected the projects said:

“The Royal Society Local Heroes scheme is a fantastic nation-wide celebration of past and present scientists and their influential achievements right across the UK. The UK has a rich and diverse history of science which provides important routes for modern day society to deepen its understanding of the modern world. Science drives local and international economies and is an important ingredient in our history, identity and cultural heritage, which is why it’s so important for it to be recognised through schemes such as Local Heroes. The scheme will unite and encourage local communities to run creative workshops demonstrating local scientific triumphs, and will attract audiences to engage with the life and work of scientists in their area.”