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Department of Earth Sciences

Image of a man smiling, wearing an inflatable dinosaur costume and stood inside the Sedgwick Museum

Dr Alex Liu, Lecturer at Cambridge University’s Department of Earth Sciences, will be running in the Cambridge Half Marathon and Town and Gown 10km next month, raising funds for family resources at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences.

Normally looking for fossils of the earliest known animals – bizarre anemone and worm-like creatures that once inhabited the seafloor – Alex will be donning the get-up of one of our favourite prehistoric icons in aid of new kids’ books and interactive boxes of rocks and fossils.

“As well as being fun for any kids watching, I’m hoping that my efforts will improve the experience of our amazing museum for children and families, and ultimately inspire more children to engage with science.” said Liu.

The Sedgwick Museum is the oldest of the University’s museums – housing more than a million rocks and fossils from Earth’s 4.5 billion year journey, including Jurassic sea-monsters, a giant deer, a hippo fossil from Cambridgeshire, meteorites from outer space, and of course – the famous dinosaurs. As well as being open to the public, the collections are used by researchers, both at the University and worldwide, along with students of Earth Sciences. 

The Sedgwick Museum is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Cambridge, welcoming 168,000 visitors through its doors in 2019, many of them families. To help families explore, the museum provides tours -- including the ever-popular ‘Fossilized Poop trail’ -- puzzles and interactives, and is looking forward to re-starting its programme of family events throughout the year. 

“Families have had a tough time during the pandemic, and here at the Sedgwick we’re keen to help.  The Sedgwick, like all the University’s museums, is free to visit,” said Dr Liz Hide, Director of the Sedgwick Museum. “We’re really grateful for Alex’s support which will help us build up the activities and resources that make the museum a fun and welcoming place to visit.  Finding out about rocks and fossils is a great way to inspire children to get to know nature and the environment around them.” 

“I remember how exciting it was to visit museums to see things like dinosaur skeletons when I was younger, and I know from friends who are parents how much enjoyment they can bring to children. Hopefully this challenge can raise enough money to make the experience of visiting the Sedgwick Museum even more magical, and educational, for families.”

Alex originally intended to run the Town and Gown 10km and Half Marathon in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to both being postponed. Having thought up the challenge, he found that the races have been rearranged for the same weekend over 16-17th October. “Just walking in the costume, let alone running over 20km, is incredibly difficult! I am really appreciative of any support people can give as I undertake this challenge,” Alex said.

So if you're in Cambridge on the 16th or 17th October, don’t forget to look out for Alex and give a cheer! He should be easy to spot...

Donations gratefully received via JustGiving


  1.  The Sedgwick Museum is open to the public 6 days a week, Monday - Friday 10 am – 5pm, Saturday 10.30 - 4.30 pm.  Admission is free.   We recommend checking our website or social media before travelling, as sometimes we have to vary opening times due to Covid-19 or other factors.  Follow the Sedgwick Museum on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  2. The Sedgwick Museum is part of the University of Cambridge Museums, a consortium of eight museums and the Botanic Garden with internationally important collections across the arts, sciences and humanities.