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Astronomy and space exploration are among the best examples of international endeavour and cross-cultural collaboration. The current involvement of over 15 nationalities in the International Space Station and the emergence of China and India in the space technology field are backed by a rich historical tradition of world fascination with what lies beyond Earth and the need to pool knowledge to explore it.

Simon Schaffer, Professor of History of Science at the University of Cambridge and presenter of the BBC TV series Light Fantastic, will talk about historical global astronomical projects including India’s Jaipur Observatory, a centre for excellence almost three centuries ago. Doug Millard, the Science Museum’s Curator of Space Technology, will look at the more recent past and the shifting balance of competition and collaboration between the Soviet Union and the USA during the Cold War. And Craig Underwood from the Surrey Space Centre will discuss the new players in the field of satellite technology and all the countries that have used the facilities of his world-leading centre.

Then join us as our experts bring these examples to life through a guided tour of selected objects and exhibits in the Science Museum galleries 1001 Inventions and Cosmos & Culture. From centuries-old observatories, through precious astrolabes, to Soviet Union telescopes, find out about the rich history of countries and cultures exchanging knowledge and technology to explore what lies beyond our planet.


Doug Millard, Senior Curator of Space Technology, Science Museum
Simon Schaffer, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
Craig Underwood, Deputy Director, Surrey Space Centre


Alison Boyle, Curator of Astronomy, Science Museum

Guided tours:

Alison Boyle, Science Museum
Doug Millard, Science Museum

Event organised by: Science Museum

Image: NASA

This event runs alongside the 1001 Inventions exhibition hosted by the Science Museum.