NNFN: Science for everyone – a guest post by Toby Parkin, Wonderlab Curator

Ever thought that science isn’t for you? Let Toby Parkin, Wonderlab Curator at the Science Museum in London persuade you otherwise in today’s guest post for National Non-Fiction November.


“Many young people grow up thinking that science isn’t for them. They might think that it’s too hard, too boring or just something for old men with beards who work in labs. They might think they are more of an arty person and so science doesn’t have any room for creativity, or that we know everything we are going to know or even that there is no way we can fully understand the world.

A large part of what we do at the Science Museum is to try and ignite curiosity in science and help people see that science is for them. We want people of all ages of to see how science affects our lives and that in engaging with it you can learn skills and gain knowledge that will help you whatever age you are or whatever job you do.


We created This Book Thinks You’re A Scientist to help with that mission. The book compliments the Science Museum’s new interactive gallery Wonderlab: The Statoil gallery, which is a gallery for all ages that shows the wonder and beauty of science through 50 hands-on and immersive experiences. The gallery helps people use the skills that scientists need; skills like curiosity, close attention and creativity. There is a slide with three lanes made of different materials so you can test which is the fastest. We have a huge rotating turntable you can walk on that models the solar system so you can see how we get day and night, seasons and eclipses. You can touch a cloud, see lightning strike or have your own chemistry experiment made at the chemistry bar. These amazing experiences are grouped together in 7 zones: Light, Space, Sound, Matter, Forces, Maths and Electricity.



In This Book Thinks You’re A Scientist we have tried to replicate some of these experiences. The idea is that for many of the experiments you don’t need any equipment other than the book itself. Like the gallery, the book is promoting the skills of curiosity, close attention and creativity and has 7 sections that relate to the 7 zones of the gallery. You can make your own model of the solar system, race coins down a slide or turn the book into a drum kit. The book even has its own portable lab pages for you to experiment on and work on your investigations.

Through the book and the gallery we hope to show that science is far from boring. It’s beautiful , dynamic and interesting. You can look closely, ask questions and start to wonder about the world. Before you know it you are thinking like a scientist.”




Our thanks go to Toby Parkin, for reminding us today that we can all be scientists!

2 responses to “NNFN: Science for everyone – a guest post by Toby Parkin, Wonderlab Curator”

  1. Sarah Litt says:

    Looks a fantastic book, but do you think the publishers realise they’ve used a picture of Christa McAuliffe in their Earth and Space section? The joke about forgetting her toothbrush doesn’t seem so funny considering she tragically died along with her fellow astronauts in the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

    • Laurence says:

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are deeply sorry that the image of Christa McAuliffe was used out of context in our recent publication. We have updated the book so that all future editions omit the image. We apologise for such an unfortunate oversight.

      Thames & Hudson and the Science Museum