Yesterday afternoon, I spent an interesting few hours behind the stacks at the Natural History Museum.
I was meeting Prof Adrian Lister. And in fact, while we had to walk through the stacks to get there, we ended up in a rather beautiful corner office with windows curving around a large corner of the building with an aspect looking out across the main entrance plaza. I was there to collect some laser range finders, learn about how to measure elephants in the field, and gather as much background I could to support the scientific, data gathering exercise connected with my upcoming expedition to Nepal.
Prof Lister’s office looked so much like my father’s used to I immediately reverted to a fascinated 13-year-old. While my dad’s desks, drawers and shelves had been scattered with lumps of rock and mineral, this Prof’s surfaces were covered in the most stunning fossil’s I have seen in a long time – baring in mind that I still haven’t had time to actually walk round the public galleries of the museum which have the best ones on display of course. And, of course, he had various little elephant photos, models and do-dahs everywhere. Very appealing!
Once I finally managed to sort myself back towards some semblance of adulthood, we settled down over cups of tea and I had the joy of listening to a passionate, well versed man speaking about a subject in which he was expert. As a professor’s daughter, moments like these are always highly cherished. To me, listening to science being communicated with real verve is a homely experience.
Measuring the halls
Having discussed the fine art of gathering useful data and recording elephant populations (and, believe me, there is an art to it – more of which I will share in another blog) I was provided with three laser range finders. We then went into the long stacks so I could be shown how to use them.
I will need to pass this information on to my fellow travellers at this weekend’s briefing day.
What a great meeting! Fascinating.
One for the journal.