London lab snaps

Submit your geeky photos 21 May 2012

Win tickets to the Enlightenment Café in London, where science and art mingle in an imaginative and creative space!

Thanks to the Café’s lovely organizers, we have five pairs of tickets to give away for this unique and entertaining event coming up soon in Central London (31 May-3 June).

To win, we want to see your best candid lab snaps. The world of science is colorful, unusual, and hidden from all but the people who inhabit its labs and field stations. Although science is intensely mental, its trappings are often visually striking. Armed with only a camera phone, a scientist should be able to capture fleeting, candid scenes of their world that are informative, humorous or merely beautiful. Remember, to you, that bacterial plate, centrifuge, beamline or telescope might look mundane and everyday: to everyone else, it could be wildly exotic!

In short, send us snaps that surprise, amuse and amaze us - from anywhere in the world.

If you are not in or near London, despair not – we’d still love to see your photos: we’ll highlight a shortlist of the best on the website along with the London-area winning entries. And if you're not a scientist but want to try to snap something of scientific or geeky interest, then do please have a go.

To enter, send your snaps to editorial[at] along with a one-sentence description of what it is (in case it’s too abstract to identify) and where it was taken. We’ll close the competition at 7 PM British Summer Time on 27 May, 2012. Feel free to spread the word: the hashtag is #labsnaps.

More information about the Enlightenment Café:

The Enlightenment Café is a unique theatrical project that combines the beauty of science with the power and imagination of immersive performance.

Originating from the Coffee Houses of the 17th century, Enlightenment Cafés (also known as Penny Universities) were ‘theatres of exchange’ and social hubs for new thinking in science, philosophy, politics and arts - places where ideas came together and bubbled with excitement. LAStheatre brings this concept into the 21st century and promises it will be just as intellectually promiscuous.

The Enlightenment Café is a place of exploration where people from all walks of life can debate, play and laugh the night away. There will be fire scientists, neuroscientists, microbiologists and botanists. Confirmed 'scientists' in residence iclude Tim McInerny (Psychiatrist and advisor on Bedlam at the Globe), Stuart Clark (The Sky's Dark Labyrinth author and astronomer), Alex Bellos (Adventures in Numberland author and mathematician), Katheryn Harkup (chemist, Bright Club member and founder of Surrey Science Circus), Andrew Holding (molecular biologist and Skeptics in The Pub regular), Helen Keen (UK Funny Women Finalist and Winner of the Channel 4 New Comedy Writing Award), Quentin Cooper (Presenter of BBC4′s The Material World), Paolo Viscardi (Curator at The Horniman Museum) and Claire Benson (Fire and Explosion Scientist).

This is an interactive adventure where we can moot new theories as to why things are, how they got there and what will happen next. The Enlightenment Café will delve into topics ranging from astronomy to paleontology, from My Little Pony to zombies and from art to invention. Only the tedious will be off limits.

Doors to the Old Vic Tunnels will open every night at 7pm (from May 31 to 3 June) and the evenings will be split into three sections: firstly, a period of immersive theatre and free exploration; secondly, stage pieces and panel discussions; and, finally, live music and entertainment. Each night will have a different theme and aesthetic but will all inspire, breaking away from the idea that science and facts can only be learnt in a lecture theatre or laboratory.

The Enlightenment Café aims to provoke imagination and intrigue; it is a place where scientists demonstrate their art and artists demonstrate their science. Meet amazing minds of our time, interact with characters and attend lectures, all within a vivacious Victorian night of entertainment. Come to indulge your adventurous side at The Enlightenment Café!

The Old Vic Tunnels are located on Station Approach Road. The nearest underground stations are Waterloo (on the Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines), Lambeth North (on the Bakerloo line) and Southwark (on the Jubilee line). The nearest rail station is Waterloo. Times and tickets for all events can be viewed here. Tickets are priced at £15 with a booking fee of £1.55.