Molecular Medicine Makes History

Weekends are sacred for students, so what better Saturday activity than to visit nearly a dozen of Oxford’s historic sites of scientific discovery?  (Hint: add charades to it.)

Armed with an archaic map (probably at least as old as the early 2000s), Molecular Medicine embarked on an epic journey to follow in the steps of giants such as Alexander Flemming, Robert Boyle, Edmond Halley, Stephen Hawking, and Dorothy Hodgkin.  Our MolMed historians deciphered the scientific importance of each site and preserved it digitally (teams used charades at each site to photograph the significance).

A plaque honoring James Sadler, the first English aeronaut, hangs upon the wall that runs along Deadman’s Walk to commemorate his flight in 1784 in a “fire balloon” from Oxford to Woodeaton.  Corresponding photographs: “The bliss of a pink balloon” and “Rise of a not-dead man”.

High Street marks the site of the 1600s laboratory of both Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke.  Boyle’s law, entails the inversely proportional relationship between the volume and pressure of a gas (think canned air).  Among Hooke’s many achievements, he designed the first compound microscope and thereby was the first to identify a living cell.  Corresponding photographs: “Arrrr matey, Hookes all around.”

A stone memorial and rose garden outside the Botanic Garden honors the flagship discovery, isolation, and purification of penicillin.  During its wartime development, as a contingency plan in the event of enemy invasion, the Oxford researchers were to smear the penicillin on their coat linings so that they could restart the culture elsewhere if they escaped. Corresponding photographs: “This is how you get knighted” and “Honestly, I’m fine”.