Google’s Luvvies and Boffins at the Science Museum

Google's Luvvies and Boffins

Last night I attended the second Google Luvvies and Boffins event at the Science Museum, after the inaugural event at Google’s UK HQ near Victoria in December.

The context for these events was Eric Schmidt‘s MacTaggart lecture last August, in which he spoke about the importance of bringing the worlds of art and science back together if Britain’s creative industries are to succeed in the digital era:

There’s been a drift towards the humanities –- engineering and science aren’t championed. Even worse, both sides seem to denigrate the other. To use what I’m told is the local vernacular, you’re either a ‘luvvie’ or a ‘boffin’…

Luvvies and Boffins badges

Luvvies and boffins, he said, need to work together, identifying the idea of STEAM (rather than just STEM) education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. While the idea of a ‘digital luvvie’ may conjure up images of Nathan Barley, it is an interesting concept, especially in light of the Next Gen. report published in February 2011 (which, amongst other things, advocated the teaching of computer science in UK schools) and the wider importance of the digital and creative industries in the UK.

This event (which coincided with the monthly Science Museum Lates) was also celebrating the opening of the Science Museum’s new year-long Codebreaker: Alan Turing’s Life and Legacy exhibition, with tours from the curator. There was also the opportunity to see a demonstration of the Babbage Engine (video), as well as some hands-on science with the Technology Will Save Us team, creating your very own Lumiphone from scratch:

Lumiphone kit

Overall, an excellent evening — where else could you solder and drink cocktails? — thank you to Google and the Science Museum for hosting.

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