Summer is an unpredictable being in our fair city, one minute dark, stormy and sleet filled clouds are closing in, the next, the sounds, sights and foliage set the city alight.
In celebration of the season, the Natural History Museum will unveil its Colour and Vision exhibition, on a Friday summer’s eve. The Natural History Museum will be guiding visitors through an formerly unimaginable 565 million year journey using processes, innovations and inventions designed by generations of gloriously curious historophiles and will be displaying hundreds of rarely displayed specimens, immersive art and, somewhat controversially, LG OLED 4K TV digital imaging honed by the academically astonishing sponsors of the Colour and Vision exhibit.
The exhibition gives insight into why humans and other animals perceive the world differently, and how colour-shifters and stealth experts deploy colour to survive.
Striking birds, metallic beetles and iridescent butterflies show structural colour and pigments that inspire the latest dyes. Extraordinary fossils show the first creatures to have image-forming eyes and rare examples of colour preserved over millions of years.
"Colour is so fundamental to the way we see the world that it is hard to imagine life without it, but that world exists for many animals – even for some that have eyes that can form an image," says Dr Greg Edgecombe, vision evolution researcher at the Museum. "Museum scientists use the fossil record and genetic tools to document the earliest eyes, reconstruct the evolution of colour vision, and learn about the genes that produce pigments."
The wide diversity of vertebrate sight is celebrated in a Wall of Eyes, which combines striking photography with more than 100 eyeballs from across the animal kingdom, a selection from the National Eye Collection behind the scenes. Three LG OLED 4K TV screens will display images of the human eye, including shots submitted through social media using #MyEye.
"The evolution of the eye was the classic challenge to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and this exhibition reveals the pioneering work in evolutionary biology driven by that challenge," says Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum. "The linked evolution of colour and sight has a fundamental impact on the survival and diversity of life on Earth and influences the world humans create, from design and fashion, even through to our choice of mates. Evolution doesn’t just tell us about the past - it tells us about ourselves and our future."
Now - 6 November 2016; nhm.ac.uk