We made it! Day 1 in London

At Newark International Airport, the students passed the time while waiting to board our flight by thinking about their thesis ideas (or at least that is what we thought they were doing).

After a bit of a delay, we left Newark International Airport for London. Morning was upon us very quickly and we landed at Heathrow. It felt more like 4am than 9am, but we were all excited to have reached our destination. We picked up our bags and Dr.Firenze handed out the rail passes for the week. After verifying that everyone had their rail pass and would keep it with them at all times, we took the tube into London. Some of the students tried to catch up on some sleep while riding the tube.

After settling into our apartments, we headed to The British Museum. The Museum, founded in 1753, is only a few blocks from our apartments and was a fitting place to begin the London part of our course. We visited the Enlightenment Wing of the museum. The Enlightenment Wing was originally the library of King George III. It now houses many objects that represent how society and culture were changing during the Enlightenment Period. Each student had been given an object to research earlier in the semester. They found “their” objects and gave a short presentation on the significance of the object and how it relates to our course.

Dr. Firenze gives a brief history of The British Museum.

On the steps of the museum.

A first look at the great hall.

The students enter the Enlightenment Wing.

Derek gets up close and personal with his object: “The Merman”.

The students did a fantastic job presenting their objects and made some really great observations about The Enlightenment  and the Victorian period.

In addition to The Merman, we heard about “The Colossal Foot”, “Dr. Dee’s Mirror”, “The Australian Bark Shield”, “The Moche Warrior Pot”, “The Winged Phallus”, “The Stone Hand Axe”, (350,000 years old!), “The Birds of Paradise” and many other fascinating objects. Below are some pictures of the students discussing their objects.

After finishing up at The Enlightenment Wing, we headed out for a little walk around our neighborhood and showed the students Russell Square. We planned to meet in the square tomorrow morning for class. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed the beautiful setting. Andrew was particularly excited about an old suitcase that he found in the street.

Everyone was very tired from the long, exciting day. We decided to head back to the apartments for some rest. Dr. Firenze did manage to make it to the couch before falling asleep.

We are looking forward to a great day tomorrow. After class in Russell Square we are going to The British Museum of Natural History and will enjoy a tour of the Darwin Wing.

It is particularly exciting to be in London as the city prepares to host the summer Olympics. In honor of this special event, Dr. Firenze and Dr. Saraceno have decided to try out some of the Olympic events while we are in town. They began the week with some track and field events.

We were all quite impressed with how well they were able to get off the ground! Check back in tomorrow for an update on Day 3!

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~ by Dr. Musa on May 22, 2012.

2 Responses to “We made it! Day 1 in London”

  1. Wow – looks like a great trip – please give Darwin my regards! Robin

  2. Wow! Dr. Firenze began his lecture on the history of the London Museum by first teaching the students the Hokey Pokey.
    By the way, having know this Zen Master for over forty years, I can tell you Dr. firenze is not asleep, he is in a higher state of cognitive being. Few know he has the ability to lower his body metabolism to that of a turnip.

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