Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1st December

Our final meeting of term will be held on Monday 1st December, from 7.30-9pm in the upstairs seminar room of Darwin College.

We'll finish our exploration of the science of education with Chas. Hope Semir's wonderfully-titled Driven to suicide! or, the life of an assistant master in a London board school (1889).

There is a copy of this pamphlet in the Cambridge University Library, classmark 1890.7.610, order in Rare Books Room; or a photocopy in the Whipple Library Reading Group boxfile.

We hope you can join us for a glass of wine and perhaps a mince pie or two...

Dramatis Personae

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beddoes - Conference

Thomas Beddoes - Doctor of Enlightenment

Friday 12 December 2008 at 9:00am

A one-day conference organised by the Royal Society in conjunction with the Centre for Life Writing Research, King's College London.

Dr Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808) was one of the most remarkable figures in the history of British medicine. Part of a group of radical physicians friendly with Erasmus Darwin and the Lunar Circle in the early 1790s, he set up the Pneumatic Institution near Bristol where he attempted cures using newly-discovered combinations of gases. The then-unknown Humphry Davy superintended trials, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge was among his patients.

This conference marks the bicentenary of Beddoes's death. Speakers will include Trevor Levere, Larry Stewart, Mike Jay, George Rousseau, Giuliano Pancaldi, Iwan Morus, Neil Vickers and Jane Darcy. Registration is now open, at a fee of £15, or £10 concession (students/retired/unwaged). Further information, a programme and a registration form are available to download here. Enquiries should be directed to Felicity Henderson on 02074512597 or felicity.henderson@royalsociety.org. For further information see here.

Next term preview

Next term we shall be reading novels about the history of science. For a head-start on some of the themes we'll be discussing (and an introduction to some of the set books, too), have a look at the recent Isis focus section on history of science and historical novels:

Jan Golinski, 'Introduction: History of Science and Historical Novels'

Kathryn M. Olesko, 'The World We Have Lost: History as Art'

John Gascoigne, '"Getting a Fix": The Longitude Phenomenon'

Lawrence M. Principe, 'Transmuting History'

Charles C. Gillispie, 'The Distorted Meridian'

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

17th November

Our third meeting of term will continue our discussions on 'the science of education'. We meet as usual in the upstairs seminar room of Darwin College from 7.30-9pm. We'll be reading:

Otto Ernst, Flachsmann als Erzieher (1900). Translated by H M Beatty as Master Flachsmann (1904). Available here and in the Whipple Library boxfile.

All are welcome!

Mary Anning - "The greatest fossilist the world ever knew"

The 12th Annual Robert Grant Lecture

Mary Anning: "The greatest fossilist the world ever knew"

Prof. Hugh Torrens

JZ Young Lecture Theatre, UCL Anatomy Building

Wednesday 12 Nov 2008 at 4:30pm

Despite the fact that she was an uneducated, working-class woman from Devon, Mary Anning (1799-1847) broke through the male-dominated field of geology to become one of the most important fossil collectors ever.

She discovered the first ever plesiosaurs, the first British pterosaurs and several amazing ichthyosaurs but she was rarely given the credit. A religious Nonconformist, who published nothing and travelled little, her life is difficult for historians to study but proves to be fascinating.

This lecture explores all of these problems, and outlines Anning's extraordinary achievements. Her work as a "merely commercial" collector of fossils opens up the complex debate about who is
amateur and who professional.

Professor Hugh Torrens, former President of the British Society for the History of Science and the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences is the leading expert on Anning's life, and has published over 200 books, articles and papers.

Following the lecture, join us for a free glass of wine in a private view of the Museum.

This event is free and there is no need to book.

All are welcome.

The Age of Wonder - Royal Institution Lecture

The Age of Wonder

Monday 19 January, 7.00pm-8.30pm

Speaker: Prof Richard Holmes

In this lecture Richard Holmes tells the story of three remarkable scientific friendships during the Romantic Age in Britain. The astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, the chemists Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday and the medical scientists, John Abernethy and William Lawrence all challenged traditional ideas about human identity, morality and religious belief. They were pioneers in a time where distinctions between poetry, art and science were yet to take hold. Holmes presents an age on the cusp of modernity, when science and faith in God were mutually incompatible, and shows through the vivid dramas of his central relationships how ideas are nurtured, scientific discoveries made, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide. This lecture seeks to answer questions that are as relevant to us as they were to Coleridge's generation: What are the sources of creativity? In what sense is there a human soul? Is it a fundamental mistake to regard science as a purely rational pursuit, or must we also recognise it as an imaginative and emotional one?

Admission: Tickets cost £8, £6 concessions, £4 Ri members. You can book tickets online at www.rigb.org or by calling the Events Team on 020 7409 2992 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Venue: The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS

For more information please visit www.rigb.org

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Proof-reading - telling stories with numbers, telling stories with words

On Monday 10 November at 6.30pm the Royal Society, in collaboration with the Royal Society of Literature, is hosting Proof-reading: Telling stories with numbers, telling stories with words.

In Proof-reading Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time will discuss the interface between mathematics and literature with Professor Marcus Du Sautoy, author of the critically- acclaimed Music of the Primes, presenter of the current BBC4 series The Story of Maths, and recently appointed Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.

Admission is free. No ticket or advanced booking required. The discussion is open to the public on a first-come-first-served basis and doors open at 5.45pm.

For more information please visit Proof-reading: Telling stories with numbers, telling stories with words but if you have any further questions please email me on emma.skelton@royalsociety.org.