Christmas quiz and lecture
Saturday 9th December 2017
This last meeting of the year was held in the PA135 Meeting Room at the Natural History Museum and followed the usual pattern, with a quiz, refreshments and a lecture (The Grant Museum of Zoology, by Hannah Cornish).
Dennis Fullwood ran the quiz, which was intended to be more difficult than the 2016 one.
Dennis Fullwood asking the questions
Tie Break Question
Full marks would be 26, and Robert Ratford was the winner with a score of 20. David Linstead scored 21, but excluded 4 answers because he took the photographs, and came second. After a tie break, Kit Brownlee came third with 16.
Christmas lecture “The Grant Museum of Zoology”
The Club’s President, Joan Bingley, introduced Hannah Cornish who gave an entertaining and informative lecture on the Grant Museum of Zoology.
Hannah Cornish and Joan Bingley
The Museum was founded in 1828 by Robert Edmond Grant, who became the first professor of Zoology in England when UCL was founded in 1827. The Museum was largely funded by Grant and supported his zoology teaching, and included material from the University of London, London Zoo, the British Museum and scientists such as Gideon Mantell. The collection has grown over the years, and includes anatomical material that was being discarded from Imperial College, Queen Mary University and teaching hospitals in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Museum opened to the public in 1997and was re-named the “Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy”. In 2011 it moved to a new location, the old medical school library in the Rockefeller Building. It is the last university zoological museum in London, has 68,000 specimens, supports student practical classes, researchers and artists, and is open to the public.
Grant taught microscopy as part of his zoology courses, as did E. Ray Lankester and subsequent curators. There are more than 20,000 microscope slides in the collection from the 19th and 20th centuries, covering zoology, palaeontology and comparative anatomy. Sadly, they are poorly documented.
Microscope slides are not easy to display to the public, so the Museum devised a Micrarium with over 2000 microscope and lantern slides lit from behind in a converted store room. This is not best conservation practice, but has won awards since it opened in 2003 and displays a wide range of specimens. The Micrarium is one of the most popular selfie spots in London.
Micrarium at the Grant Museum of Zoology
Click the arrow to watch the video (65 seconds)
Hannah brought one of the Museum’s treasures for us to admire, an arrangement of 100 diatoms by J. D. Möller complete with the original list of species.
Diatomaceen-Typen-Platte II (Verzeichniss der Diatomaceen, Catalogue of the Diatomaceae, Catalogue des Diatomacées)
J. D. Möller 100 diatom arrangement [by Robert Ratford]
Case of Möller diatom arrangement [by Robert Ratford]
Hannah’s lecture was recorded, and will be available in the password-protected Members’ area of the website.
The Grant Museum of Zoology is well worth a visit, admission is free, and it is open to the public Monday to Saturday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is located in the Rockefeller Building, University College London, 21 University Street, London, WC1E 6DE.
Report and photographs of participants by Alan Wood