Letter: Forgotten Dome

Sir: Does anyone remember what was in the Dome of Discovery at the Festival of Britain in 1951? I vaguely recall that British industry displayed its achievements, but I've no idea what they were.

On the other hand, 46 years on I can still draw a reasonable sketch map of the Science Exhibition in the basement of the Geology Museum at South Kensington, showing where to find the giant carbon atom, the spiral periodic table, the Brownian movement, the electron microscope, the chromosomes, the tortoise robots, the house-sized computer ... The significant difference was that these exhibits were designed not by PR experts but by enthusiastic boffins, eager to share their knowledge.

I wonder whether we are still capable of putting on a show like that for the millennium, now that research scientists spend their time patching up old equipment, begging for funds and undergoing interminable audits and assessments.


Plant Sciences Department

University of Oxford