A new exhibit at the London Science Museum shows how pop culture can drive innovation. The show links the exploits of spacefaring comic book hero Dan Dare to the real-world inventions that came out of England in the 1950s and ‘60s.
The cartoon “pilot of the future” had no superpowers. Instead, Dare relied on ingenuity and engineering to battle evil aliens. This grounding in science inspired a generation of English children growing up after World War II, says curator Ben Russell, and can be seen in the military and civilian artifacts of the cold war.