Visit London Blog » who am i Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:51:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Science Museum: London Cab Drivers and The Knowledge Fri, 25 Jun 2010 09:00:52 +0000

On the eve of the new Who Am I? galleries opening at the Science Museum, Jenny Wong, Content Developer of the gallery, explores how London cab drivers learn The Knowledge.

“Everyone recognises the black cab as a London icon, but have you ever wondered what makes London cabbies different from the rest of us?

Science Museum staff caught up with seasoned cab driver Al Fresco and a novice taxi driver in action for the Who Am I? gallery to bring the story of London taxi drivers’ brains to life.

In order to become a cabbie, you have to remember “the Knowledge” – 320 routes and all notable landmarks in the six-mile radius around Charing Cross Station. After achieving this feat of memory and surviving a gruelling face-to-exam at the Public Carriage Office, wannabe cab drivers gain their licence to start taking fares.

So what does this process do to you? Scientist Eleanor Maguire scanned London taxi drivers brains to find out. Using a technique known as MRI scanning, she investigated an area of the brain called the hippocampus which supports spatial navigation and memory. The back of this small, seahorse shaped area of the brain was bigger as a result of the learning each taxi driver had been through.

Something to think about next time you’re in the back of a black cab…”

The new Who Am I? gallery is open from 26 June 2010. Visit for more information

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Who Am I? Gallery Launches at the Science Museum Thu, 24 Jun 2010 14:00:42 +0000  

Who am I? What makes me unique? A new gallery at the Science Museum addresses these questions and more, with exhibits ranging from a cat with seven toes, to a chimpanzee’s brain, and models of the average UK man and woman.

I took a look around the Science Museum’s new Who Am I? gallery this morning and it was fascinating stuff. 

I learnt how DNA profiling has allowed people track their ancestry with surprising results; how the latest scientific techniques can help repair people’s bodies; and that the human brain might be the most complex structure in the known universe!

The new gallery also looks at sleeping and dreaming, memory, intelligence, phobias, gender identity and ageing.

And on 30 June, there’s a chance to visit the Science Museum after hours, at a free evening event entitled The Science of You, where you can listen to expert speakers, dance to a silent disco, and play with hands-on exhibits normally reserved for kids. 

Who Am I? opens at the Science Museum on 26 June 2010. Entry is free

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New Who Am I? Gallery at the Science Museum Thu, 03 Dec 2009 14:30:39 +0000 Boy in the Who Am I? galleryWho Am I? It’s a question fundamental to our existence, and one that the Science Museum has been exploring for the last ten years in its Who Am I? gallery.

In that time, there have been significant advances in genetics and related scientific fields, so the gallery is being updated next year. I went along to the Science Museum to see what the new gallery has in store.

Who Am I? explores our identity through brain science and genetics. The new gallery will be divided into four zones, looking at areas such as what it means to be human and how our physical attributes define us.

Each zone will look at individual case studies, as well the science behind them. These true stories include reconstructing the entire jaw of a man who had been shot in the face; creating an immune system for a baby born without one (who has grown into a healthy child); and the life of man unable to form new memories.

Girl in Who Am I? galleryOf course, it wouldn’t be the Science Museum without some impressive interactive exhibits! In the new galleries you can explore what happens to the brain when faced with a moral dilemma; do your best to spot “micro-expressions” which give away even the most accomplished liar; change the gender of your voice and, if you’re brave, see how your face will age in the future.

Additions to the Who Am I? gallery include a new entrance, brand new artworks by Dryden Goodwin and Revital Cohen, new objects, and an updates area where the newest scientific techniques will be added.

The Who Am I? gallery will be relaunched in June 2010. If you can’t wait until then, the current exhibition is open until early January. And it’s free!

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