Product has been added to the basket

The Lost Scientists exhibition

An exciting art installation displayed to the public at Burlington House in early 2024

Two pieces of art included in the Lost Scientists installationIn early 2024, we were delighted to host The Lost Scientists installation in the Lower Library of Burlington House.

This though-provoking exhibition was inspired by over 750 interviews conducted with young people from ages 10 to 21 as part of the University College London ASPIRES Project. The project sought to understand the factors shaping young people’s trajectories, particularly their routes into and out of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The design of the artwork was inspired by the Wolfson room at the Royal Society (Carlton Terrace, St James, London). This room resembles many other professional and learned societies, typified by white marble busts and paintings of great scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The installation imagines the ‘lost scientist’; the countless young people who continue to be under-represented in STEM.

At the centre of the installation was a bust, representing one participant in the ASPIRES study: 'Vanessa', a young, working-class Black woman. When Vanessa was first interviewed, aged ten, she expressed a passion for science. However, as her interviews reveal, over time she came to find that her ‘love for it wasn’t enough.’

Vanessa represents all the 'lost scientists' – young people with an interest and passion for STEM who have been unsupported and excluded by the education system and STEM fields. Their stories challenge dominant narratives which explain their absence from STEM as due to a lack of aspiration.

The empty frames around the bust evoke other lost scientists. The 'thesis' next to Vanessa echoed dissertations in the Wolfson room, reminding us of the contributions that she, and others like her, might have made. An audio recording (accessible via QR code) invited visitors to engage with Vanessa’s interviews and develop their own interpretations.

The Lost Scientists installation challenged us to re-think assumptions about the underrepresentation of women, and racially-minoritised and working-class young people in STEM, and invited the excluded to claim their rightful presence in elite scientific spaces.

Created by artists Masters and Munn and researcher Louise Archer, this striking exhibition was a testament to the complex experience of youth, the UK’s education system, and the many paths a life can take.

Members of the public were able to visit the installation while it was on display at Burlington House from January to March 2024.


Casting model and voice recording artist: Happiness Emeanuwa

Life casting: Masters and Munn

Audio direction and editing: Maxi Himpe

Introduction voice artist: Princess Emeanuwa

Concept and design: Louise Archer