Wednesday, January 11, 2006

London's Dana Centre

In 1974, I walked into the Registrar’s Office of Colorado College and announced that I was sure there was not one single science course which I was capable of passing. The helpful Registrar assured me that spending a lovely summer studying the eco-systems of the Pikes Peak region would solve my problem. She was right. I learned neat stuff about ecology way before it was fashionable and passed the course but I did not change my opinion that science was not fun, not cool and not sexy.

Yesterday, I changed my mind. My faithful readers might remember that I was off to the Dana Centre to brighten my day in the Light Lounge, said to ward off Seasonal Affected Disorder.

As it turned out, the Light Lounge was huge fun. It looked a bit like a white Austin Powers shag parlour, and for 20 minutes you get to lounge around with 4 other SAD individuals, feeling slightly stupid but happy. Mostly we read. It’s not a good place for gals to pick up guys since most SADS victims are women and my group reflected the 80:20 ratio. Obviously, it’s a great place for guys to pick up gals. Plus, you can learn a lot about light deficiency and what happens to your serotonin levels when the gray days set in.

Yet for me the big revelation was the Dana Centre. Imagine a place that makes science hip, fresh, fun and dare I say it, sexy. The Centre, part of the Science Museum, can be found in a cool, purpose built building on Queensway near the South Kensington Museums. There is a café/bar which served good looking meals for amazingly fair prices (for London), free internet access with plenty of free terminals, and an exciting experimental events program such as the Light Lounge guaranteed to provoke dialogue.

The calender of events covers everything from “Edinburgh-Fringe-style comics debunking science myths to updates on radical research. On January 18, for example, there is an evening about Bio-Bling:Bone Jewellery – Learn all about it and grow your own. Best of all, most of the events are free although booking is recommended. For anyone looking for a kid-free refuge, please note that the Dana Centre is open to anyone over the age of 18.

It’s free, its hip, its centrally located and its fun. If you live or plan to visit London, put the Dana Centre on your itinerary and make science your new best friend.

The Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
South Kensington
LondonSW7 5HE
+0044 (0)207 942 4040

Photo of cafe/bar from Dana Centre website

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