Spiral sparks life into Concord’s Science Block

Wednesday November 28, 2018

Concord unveiled a ‘DNA Spiral’ sculpture last week, as part of the ongoing developments to the new, £11 Million Science Block. The DNA Spiral, the latest addition to Concord’s state-of-the-art Science Block, is a 6.8m stainless steel sculpture, suspended from the ceiling in the main lobby. It joins other exciting attractions in the department, such as the interactive periodic table of the elements and a life-sized skeleton of the Arctodus simus – the extinct Giant Short-Faced Bear. A year in the making from concept to installation, Concord’s Head of Science, Mr Barry Brown described the DNA sculpture as “a thing of real beauty”. Mr Brown said: “It’s superbly designed to showcase human evolution. “It uses male and female figurines forming the two backbones of the molecule. These figurines connect the strands by holding ‘base pairs’ between them. The base pairs comprise of coloured, acrylic sheets, forming stencils of different forms of life. “The life forms start with single celled organisms and become increasingly complex, with primates and humans at the top. “The top of the spiral opens up with the figurines passing molecules between them to represent the human manipulation of DNA, hinting at advances in science, such as genetic engineering.” The creator of the sculpture, Mr Tim Roper, faced some inspiring competition from a handful of other local sculptors, woodworkers and metal workers, to win this commission. Mr Brown added: “Many thanks to Tim Roper, for his amazing design and clever interpretation of DNA in the context of evolution.” Within 24 hours of its foundation, the sculpture featured in a lesson on DNA. Science teacher, Dr Mary Brenan challenged her students to evaluate and critique the sculpture, by comparing it with a technically accurate molecule. Mr Brown described this as “a wonderful way to stimulate higher order thinking skills.” See the full sculpture by viewing the photo gallery.