John Martin

Tuesday, May 6 2014 at 7:30PM

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48-52 Canal St

John Martin

What's the talk about?

Dinosaurs have been the popular face of palaeontology for almost as long as the science has existed - over 150 years. They have 'big, fierce and extinct' appeal, but the main way dinosaurs have captured the public's imagination is that they have been, and still are, 'brought to life' in illustrations and other kinds of art. This is where science meets art meets popularisation.

Dinosaur 'reconstructions' have a special power, however - they don't only enthuse the public (and hopefully encourage children into careers in science); they also seem to influence the way palaeontologists themselves study, and publish supposedly rigorous scientific papers about, the fossils on which dinosaur science is based.

How are the reconstructions made? How 'correct' are they? Do they reveal as much about human nature as they do about life in the past? As someone who has spent half a lifetime studying, interpreting and drawing dinosaurs and other extinct animals, John brings the insights of an insider to these questions.

From 1974 John was curator of geology at Leicestershire Museums, then managing curator of New Walk Museum, Leicester. He specialised in vertebrate palaeontology, and in exhibitions, interpretation and design. In 2001 in moved into interpretation full-time, working for a firm designing and building museums and other heritage attractions all over the world. He's now 'retired', which means self-employed but relaxed - still doing interpretation and a bit of dinosaur work.