Citizens' Campus: From the giant water lily to the crystal palace - the first World's Fair in London 1851

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Fr. 09.06.2023
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All interested parties

The lecture vividly illustrates, with numerous models, the story of the discovery of the giant water lily Victoria amazonica and its transfer to the architecture of the Crystal Palace in London. First, the strategy of bionics is presented with typical examples. This is followed by the "Legend of the Giant Water Lily" and the specifics of its discovery. The focus is on the explorer and discoverer Thaddaeus Peregrinus Xaverinus Haenke (1761-1816), who is little known today, but who was just as important as Alexander von Humboldt. This is followed by explanations on the biology of the giant water lily and on plant statics (stability and load-bearing capacity of giant water lily leaves). An important part of the lecture is the implementation of the stabilization principle of the leaves in the dome architecture of the London Crystal Palace, the building for the 1st World's Fair. The work of the architect Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) and the organizer of the exhibition, Prince Albert (1819-1861), husband of Queen Victoria, will be presented.

Winning this World's Fair allowed Prince Albert's progressive ideas to be realized. To the south of the former exhibition site, a huge center for culture, education and science was built. Today it houses the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.