Invention and reinvention

28th June 2013 at 01:00


New berth

For almost 450 years, the Mary Rose lay undisturbed on the seabed, sunk by a French cannonball in the Battle of the Solent in 1545. The ship foundered in full view of King Henry VIII and it is said that he could hear the cries of his men as they perished.

The Tudor warship was raised in 1982 and exhibited in a museum at the dockyard in Portsmouth, where she was built. But now she has been revived again, along with a host of artefacts, at the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. There is even a reconstruction of the skeleton of Hatch, the ship's dog.

Forensic scientists have also produced facial reconstructions of some crew members. About 500 crew died when the ship sank and the museum is dedicated to them.

Maritime archaeologist Alex Hildred was part of the team that excavated and raised the wreck, and has since discovered more about the crew, aged from 12 to 40. They were clearly well fed on the ship but their bones show evidence of childhood conditions such as rickets and scurvy, and healed fractures from wounds most likely received in battle.


Forced out of their homes

It is not only wild creatures that live under constant threat. Across the globe, tens of thousands of people do not know whether their homes will still be standing when they return from school or work.

Every year, communities are made homeless and destitute in entirely unnatural disasters. From Romania to Brazil, Italy to Kenya, people have been forced out of their homes and off their lands with little or no notice, often with the threat or use of violence. They have lost their livelihoods and neighbourhoods and their access to medical care, water and sanitation.

Children are particularly badly affected by forced eviction, missing out on schooling and often having to move far from friends and extended family.

Now Amnesty International has developed a creative resource that introduces young people to a community at risk of forced eviction and encourages students to take action on their behalf.

"Forced evictions, which happen all around the world, are a tragedy for people and their communities," says Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International UK dignity campaign manager.



On and off the wall

From the discovery of fire to the latest breakthrough in materials science, The What on Earth? Wallbook of Science and Engineering tells the story of human invention from the dawn of civilisation to the present day.

The wallbook, which is A3 in format and opens into a 2.3m-long, fully illustrated timeline, can be either read as a book or stuck to the classroom wall.

Teach your students about the people, animals and inventions that succeeded - and failed - over the centuries. On one side of the wallbook is a 10,000-year timeline linking a spectrum of achievements. On the other side, a second timeline identifies 18 breakthrough moments from ancient Greece to the present day.

The accompanying text provides a snapshot of the achievements, discoveries and insights of scientists and engineers over the years. But you might tell your students that some knowledge was forgotten as empires faded. It was centuries before humankind rediscovered some of the science used by the Romans, for example.

The wallbook - one of four of this kind - has been developed in collaboration with experts from the Science Museum in London, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Association for Science Education.

For more information, visit

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