Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 1: British Royal Society and Greenwich

By Nathan Hunter

We have now been in London for two days. We arrived on Tuesday the 8th. After dropping our stuff off at Lancaster Hall Hotel, we went on a walking tour of London. We passed by Hyde Park, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square. At the end of the walk, we had dinner at St. Martins in the Field Crypt. After dinner, we were all very tired from jet lag, so we went back to the hotel and all went to bed.

 The next morning, we went and saw the Royal Society. The Royal Society is a scientific organization started in the 1600's. It started out as a sort of gentleman's club for scientists under King Charles II's patronage, and is now a leading supporter of sciences in the UK. We got a tour of the Society, and in the library we got to see a copy of the Society's charter document, which has the signatures of every member through the history of the Society. We also got to see several mathematical manuscripts from their library, including copies of Isaac Newton's Principia.

After visiting the Royal Society, most of us went to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. We then took a boat to Greenwich, where we visited the National Maritime Museum and the Greenwich National Observatory. At the Observatory, we saw some of the timekeepers involved in the search for longitude, a problem in navigation from the late 1600's. We also had fun standing on both sides of the Prime Meridian, which is marked at the Observatory.

After taking the boat back, most of us went to see some plays. Two groups went to see The 39 Steps and Mousetrap, which were both mystery comedies. We've all been having a great time, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the trip.

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