Imaging and Analysis Centre, Natural History Museum

Imaging and Analysis Centre, Natural History Museum The Imaging and Analysis Centre is one of the Museum's scientific laboratories. We wanted to share some of the amazing things we get up to. If you have any questions or want to see more, let us know.

The Imaging and Analysis Centre has its roots in the Chemical Analytical Laboratories which were established in the Mineralogy Department in the early part of the 19th Century when the Natural History Museum was still known as “The British Museum (Natural History)”. The X-ray diffraction labs were founded in the mid 1930s and electron microprobe analysis and electron microscopy facilities were added in the late 1960s. In 1997, the EM labs (Electron Microscope Unit and Electron Microprobes), sample preparation labs, electronics workshops and the chemical analytical laboratories were moved to new purpose-built laboratories in the basement of the former Geological Museum (we’re directly below the giant globe in the Natural History Museum’s Earth Galleries - the Red zone). Since then, we’ve been developing and improving the facilities; adding confocal microscopy in 1998 and a dedicated micro-CT facility in 2008. In 2012, when the Museum’s facilities were brought under one management structure, we added microscopy facilities from Life Sciences (The Sackler Biodiversity Imaging Laboratory) which acts as a focal point for high quality light microscopy and digital imaging and the Earth Science’s Imaging Suite which concentrates on surface imaging techniques using laser scanning or infinite focus microscopy to capture high resolution 3D surface data from samples. The end result is a uniquely coherent and complementary set of facilities which covers all aspects of sample preparation, imaging and analysis for the Museum’s staff, visiting researchers and the wider scientific community.

Mission: We specialise in the analysis of rocks, minerals and biological natural history specimens and carry out methodological and instrument developmental research to improve our understanding of non-destructive techniques. We are part of the Museum’s Science Facilities Group and include mineral and rock sample preparation laboratories, wet chemistry labs, instrument-based inorganic chemical analysis, X-ray diffraction, electron beam micro-analysis, high-resolution light and confocal microscopy, surface imaging, laser scanning and metrology, digital image capture, cabinet-based and EM-hosted micro-Computed Tomography, FTIR, transmission and scanning electron microscopy.

Operating as usual

22/09/2018
Natural History Museum, London

Come along and find out about 3D scanning!

Join us at Exhibition Road Day of Design on Sun 23 Sept. Dive to the depths of the ocean with a VR experience from Jason Bruges Studio, the team behind the mesmerising bioluminescent display in our #LifeInTheDark exhibition. Find out more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Day-of-Design

12/07/2018
Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

This #TBT we’re taking a look back at what we were up to this time last year. We welcomed Hope the blue whale to the newly redeveloped Hintze Hall, where it took three and a half days to raise the 221 bones of the 25.2-metre-long skeleton.

Her downward pose reflects the latest research into how these huge animals eat krill, their tiny prey. You can hang out with Hope and dozens of other specimens in Hintze Hall: http://bit.ly/NHM_HopeTBT

Microscopy Specialist job advert
29/06/2018

Microscopy Specialist job advert

We will shortly be advertising a number of posts in the Imaging and Analysis Centre. They'll be summarised here, but in ...
25/05/2018
careers.nhm.ac.uk

We will shortly be advertising a number of posts in the Imaging and Analysis Centre. They'll be summarised here, but in the meantime keep an eye on our careers page: https://careers.nhm.ac.uk/templates/CIPHR/job_list.aspx?_ga=2.21998395.1480038982.1527171440-431614453.1516787004

The Museum employs around 900 people in a variety of roles, including 300 scientists, with a further 500 volunteers. We are always looking for talented people to help maintain the Museum's status as a renowned scientific institution and one of the most popular UK visitor attractions. The Natural His...

22/05/2018
British Museum

Excellent video from our colleagues at The British Museum.

🖐️The gloves are off! Or are they on? We’re often asked why our conservators and curators are (or aren’t) wearing gloves in our videos.

We put your questions to our conservators – when should you wear gloves while handling objects?

We always love coming to Lyme Regis fossil festival, even if we can't talk for the next two days!
10/05/2018

We always love coming to Lyme Regis fossil festival, even if we can't talk for the next two days!

What an amazing weekend! Thanks to everybody who attended and a special thank you to all our partners and traders who put in outstanding effort to make this an amazing weekend. Lots of happy people! Photos are of the 3D scanning done by the NHM in the Hub. These were created by the children, scanned and uploaded onto the 3D program. 😊

We're at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival this weekend. Come and find us in the hub.
05/05/2018

We're at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival this weekend. Come and find us in the hub.

Natural History Museum, London
27/04/2018

Natural History Museum, London

Steve has one of the most dangerous jobs at the Museum. T. rex doctor. He's got a great bedside manner - apparently it's a pussycat (if you say so Steve) 🦖 #professionsMW #MuseumWeek

Home - Lyme Regis Fossil Festival
07/04/2018
Home - Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

Home - Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

Enjoy one of Dorset's largest science festivals. Find out all about the amazing Jurassic Coast with specialist talks, walks and incredible interactive activities.

Natural History Museum, London
29/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

For a roarsome Friday night, roam around the Museum at this month's #NHMLates with a dinosaur twist.

Hear talks on these ancient creatures from top palaeontologists, see specimens at our pop-up science stations and meet their reptile relatives.

Fri 30 Mar, 18.00-22.00

Find out more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Dino-Lates-01

Marengo: a warhorse's makeover
18/03/2018
Marengo: a warhorse's makeover

Marengo: a warhorse's makeover

Watch a Museum conservator reposition the delicate skeleton of Napoleon Bonaparte's horse, Marengo.

Natural History Museum, London
12/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

#WomenInSTEM: Minerals curator Robin Hanson on career inspiration:

'I love science. The inspiration for my career path came from my parents - my dad was a science teacher and my mum worked in science education, having also studied geology and gemmology. I grew up with a love of minerals and rocks and knew I would do science of some kind at university.

'My mum said, 'Just try one unit of geology, you might really like it', and I was hooked. Now I have the honour of looking after one of the greatest mineralogical collections in the world.

'Following my university degree in geology, I worked in iron ore exploration for three years, planning drilling programs and supervising a team of drillers in remote Western Australia. I then moved to England where I worked for a company selling gorgeous mineral specimens to collectors and museums.

I was based both in England and California and I travelled to different mineral exhibitions around the world. This job was an incredible opportunity to learn about minerals and where they come from. To continue my learning I decided to study gemmology to learn more about cut gemstones, and the minerals and gem materials used to create them.

'The first time I visited the Museum as an adult I remember walking into the Minerals gallery and thinking, 'Wow, how do I get a job here? Even if it is just dusting the minerals'. I spent the rest of that day and the following looking at every single specimen on display.

'15 years later, the opportunity arose to apply for my dream job and I was thrilled to be offered the role as Mineral and Gemstone Curator.'

Read more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Women-in-Curation

Natural History Museum, London
11/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

#WomenInSTEM: Lu Allington-Jones on her role as a senior conservator at the Museum:

'I was never interested in (or particularly good at) pure science at school, but loved the offshoots of geology and archaeology. I took Geology at uni but soon realised that my dream to be a volcanologist would not be realised, because my chemistry skills were just not strong enough.

'Nor did I want to spend six months a year on an oil rig. However, there are many other jobs in science and I thought that museums would be my best chance to work with geological material, especially fossils.

'I love the variety in museums: one day I could be undertaking research on how to clean a particular mineral and the next dismantling a mastodon or installing an exhibition showcase.
Getting to work with so many amazing specimens and knowledgeable people who are enthusiastic about their subject specialism is also a huge plus.'

Read more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Women-in-Curation

Natural History Museum, London
09/03/2018
Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

She sold sea shells by the sea shore. 🐚 Today we commemorate the legendary fossil hunter Mary Anning who died on this day in 1847 #WomensHistoryMonth

Natural History Museum, London
09/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

Today in our #WomenInSTEM series, bird curator Jo Cooper reveals how she became responsible for 40,000 skeletons and pickled birds.

She says, 'I am responsible for nearly 40,000 bird skeletons and pickled birds. I started my first fossil collection (complete with labels) aged about four, and only a few years later I was collecting and cleaning bird skulls. Clearly, I discovered my niche early on, long before I even knew that such jobs even existed.

I reached the Museum via research, working on Pleistocene birds from Gibraltar for my PhD, following that with a stint at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, before joining the Bird Group at Tring as a curator in 2001.

'Interestingly, I was following in some distinguished footsteps, as renowned palaeontologist Dorothea Bate also researched Pleistocene birds from Gibraltar and also came to Tring during her career.

'I now work part-time, balancing work life with family life with two young children. What inspires me most about my work, whether doing research, curating historic collections, preparing new specimens or answering enquiries is the ever-present opportunity for discovery. Sometimes, it's just something new to me, but sometimes it’s new to science and natural history. The moment when you realise that… well, that’s why I keep coming back for more.'

Read more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Women-in-Curation

Natural History Museum, London
08/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

Happy International Women's Day♀️from female staff at the Museum. They include researchers, educators, curators, writers, visitor assistants, leaders, marketers, developers, designers, conservators and engineers.

#IWD #WomensDay #IWD2018 #WHM

Natural History Museum, London
07/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

#WomenInSTEM: Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Curator of flies and fleas, describes the best bits of her job:

'Whilst studying for my PhD on wetland invertebrates I needed the help of experts. I was advised to seek this help at the Museum and in doing so I saw the collections for the first time. From the first moment, I was hooked - I started volunteering, I was given some contract work, this became a longer contract till eventually I was offered a full-time position in the Diptera section.

'I am now lucky to work with one of the world's greatest collections, on the world's best species. I know that the specimens that I am curating and researching are helping in all aspects of science including disease outbreaks, food security, climate change and global biodiversity.

'I get to work alongside some of the best natural historians, taxonomists and curators in our sector, and I also get to work with researchers from other institutes as well as travel across the globe in the name of science. The value of women in STEM is an obvious one to me as many of these collaborators are female - not in post for any other reason than being experts in their fields.'

Read more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Women-in-Curation

Natural History Museum, London
06/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

Today in our #WomenInSTEM series we are hearing from Dr Silvia Bello, a researcher in human evolution.

She says, 'I graduated in Turin and completed my PhD in Marseilles before arriving at the Museum in 2002 with a post-doctoral European grant. I joined the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project in 2005, and since 2012 I have developed my own projects.

'Over the last 12 years I have been researching the evolution of human behaviour through the analysis of bone assemblages, aiming to recognise and interpret different expressions of human actions. These include hunting, butchering and feeding choices, the production and use of bone and antler artefacts and the cultural modifications of human remains in funerary and cannibalistic practices.

'I have always been interested in history, but after reading Lucy by Donald Johanson aged 13, I realised I was interested in the human story: how we evolved, and how our behaviour and beliefs changed. Holding old specimens or artefacts is a privilege and the starting point for questions and clues about our past.

'I particularly like the research part of my work. When I was a teenager, I wished I could be a student forever. I am lucky because being a researcher is not very different from being a student.'

Find out more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Women-In-Science

05/03/2018
Blue whale skeleton

We've finally published the 3D model for Hope, the blue whale skeleton which now hangs in the Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall, on our Sketchfab account https://skfb.ly/6x6Dq
You can find out more about the history of this fascinating specimen here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/bluewhale/

#NHM_3DVislab #nhm #naturalhistorymuseum #laser #laserscanner #laserscanning #3d #3dscanning #imaging #london #southkensington #southken #museum #faro #creaform #research #science #lab #3Dprint #hope #bluewhale #whale #sketchfab

The Natural History Museum’s blue whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling in Hintze Hall. It is 25.2 metres long. Find out more about the specimen’s history: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/wexford-blue-whale.html

Natural History Museum, London
02/03/2018
Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

#WomenInSTEM: Andie Hall is a research assistant in our Molecular Biology labs, spending her days playing with DNA.

She says: 'I studied zoology at university, spending my gap year and holidays in pharmaceutical labs. Pharmacy wasn't what I wanted to do but it was good experience. Turns out it was just the right experience for my first job at the Museum, which was a junior lab manager in entomology, which eventually evolved into Research Support, Molecular Biology Labs.

'I love working in science. I often wake up wanting to come to work, to see if my experiment worked or to try something new. I sometimes describe my job as poncing about in a white coat because I play about with DNA until it works. In a very controlled and scientific way of course! I never say, 'eureka!'. More often I say, 'it doesn't work', but that's science.

'As my manager says, if it were easy, someone else would've done it by now. In science you are always thinking and always learning. To discover new things we need to think in new ways. Our lab hosts scientists from all over the world, all thinking differently. That diversity really drives our science.

'My advice for starting-out in molecular biology? Be proactive. Get experience wherever you can, keep reading, keep learning and get out and meet scientists (for real or online).'

Find out more: http://bit.ly/NHM-Women-In-Science

Natural History Museum, London
02/03/2018

Natural History Museum, London

This month we're celebrating #WomenInSTEM by featuring female scientists from all over the Museum 👩‍⚕ Find out why these women chose their careers in science and hear tips for following in their footsteps.

We're starting off with palaeontologist Dr Xiaoya Ma:

'I have been working at the Museum as a palaeontologist for seven years, and my research focuses on animal fossils from the Cambrian period (about 541-485 million years ago) when the Earth saw a great flowering of animal life.

'I study the early ancestors of animals in a group called Ecdysozoa, which includes nematodes, tardigrades and arthropods such as millipedes, crabs and spiders.

'One of my greatest achievements has been leading a new field of research called neuropalaeontology. Most palaeontologists work on hard parts of animal fossils, but colleagues and I were the first group to report fossilised neural tissue, which rarely survives through fossilisation. We found nervous structures in some of the oldest ecdysozoan fossils from the Chengjiang Biota, a World Heritage Site in China.

'I study the central nervous systems and cardiovascular systems of ancient animals, which helps us to understand how they lived and evolved.

'We have since published several other papers on the subject, and now the discipline of neuropalaeontology is growing. It's been fantastic to work in this field of science because I am able to make exciting new scientific discoveries and to contribute towards solving the puzzle of early evolution of animal life on Earth.'

Find out more: http://bit.ly/WHM-Xiaoya-Ma

Giant squid: from the deep sea to display
01/03/2018
Giant squid: from the deep sea to display

Giant squid: from the deep sea to display

Curator Jonathan Ablett tells the tale of how an elusive monster from the deep came to be one of our popular attractions.

3D printed models of Biomphalaria glabrata and Bulinus globosus
20/02/2018

3D printed models of Biomphalaria glabrata and Bulinus globosus

3D printed models of Biomphalaria glabrata and Bulinus globosus

Today we've been scanning an angler fish. This is part of a complex project...
16/02/2018

Today we've been scanning an angler fish. This is part of a complex project...

A bit of a different afternoon for us today. We've been 3D scanning beautifully carved spoons!
09/02/2018

A bit of a different afternoon for us today. We've been 3D scanning beautifully carved spoons!

We've been waiting a long time to be able to talk about this project! Whilst we were preparing the blue whale skeleton f...
24/01/2018

We've been waiting a long time to be able to talk about this project! Whilst we were preparing the blue whale skeleton for exhibition in the Museum's Hintze Hall, we also had a chance to carry out some 3D laser scanning of the Museum's iconic Diplodocus carnegii skull and femur. These scans were rendered to create a 3D model and later 3D printed. The 3D prints will go out as part of the public outreach assets for "Dippy on Tour", but the 3D model has now been made available through our Sketchfab account: https://sketchfab.com/models/f0372c208d174e83ab4b56512c6b2fd6

We have a full-time, permanent post available in our Micro-CT lab.This is a really excellent position in a dynamic and d...
22/12/2017
careers.nhm.ac.uk

We have a full-time, permanent post available in our Micro-CT lab.
This is a really excellent position in a dynamic and demanding part of the Museum.

In particular we are looking for candidates with experience in the use of a Zeiss Versa 500-series micro-CT system, relevant theoretical and practical experience in the application of micro-CT in a research environment and experience in user training and laboratory management.

Candidates will need to supply:
• A comprehensive curriculum vitae giving details of relevant achievements in recent posts as well as your education and professional qualifications.
• A covering letter that summarises your interest in this post, providing evidence of your ability to match the criteria outlined in the role competencies. Please ensure your letter includes details of your latest salary and notice period.
The full application details are here: https://careers.nhm.ac.uk/templates/CIPHR/jobdetail_388.aspx

Applications close at 9am on Friday 12th of January 2018 with interviews expected to take place on Tuesday 30th of January

The salary range will be £35,797 - £40,250 per annum plus benefits

Regards and good luck if you intend to apply!

Alex

This post will lead the development of the micro-CT laboratory and operate the micro-CT instrumentation for the benefit of Museum users, scientific visitors and commercial customers. The role involves training users to a high level of skill and interpretation and conducting research relevant to micr...

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