William Noble Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Liverpool

For more details please click on the link below-


The Centre for the History of the Sciences, University of Kent, offers a fully-funded PhD to work with Dr Rebekah Higgitt.  Literary angles on the following suggested topics are welcome (the final topic is specifically textual in nature):

  • History of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and Royal Greenwich Observatory, especially in the 20th century
  • Science and/or scientific training in the Navy, 18th/19th centuries
  • Museology and history of science
  • History of astronomy and observational sciences in the 18th/19th centuries
  • Scientific institutions and government funding in the 19th century
  • Science and the public in the 18th/19th centuries, including museums, publishing, performance, biography and satire

Closing date for applications is 29 May 2015.  For further information see http://www.kent.ac.uk/history/postgraduate/funding/index.html

Informal enquiries to Dr Higgitt (R.Higgitt@kent.ac.uk) are welcome.


The University of Bristol invites applications to a full-time permanent Lectureship (Lecturer B) in Medical Humanities. Candidates who can demonstrate excellence in the teaching and research of Medical Humanities as it intersects with any area or period of English Literature are eligible to apply. For more information please follow this link.

Friday 1 May, 5:30 to 7:00pm
Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW

Robert Boyle's air-pump experiments in 1659 provoked a lively debate over the possibility of a vacuum. The air-pump, a complicated and expensive device, became an emblem of the new experimental science that was promoted by the Royal Society. However, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes challenged both the validity of Boyle’s experiment and the philosophical foundations of this new approach to science. In their controversial book Leviathan and the Air-Pump (1985) Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer took up Hobbes’s case, arguing that experimental findings depend for their validity on the scientific culture in which they are made.

The historian of science David Wootton will review this controversy and present a new view of the dispute between Boyle and Hobbes. His lecture will be followed by a reply from Michael Hunter, the biographer of Robert Boyle. The discussion will be chaired by Ritchie Robertson (Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature).

The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception. The event is free and open to all, but registration is recommended. Please visit www.torch.ox.ac.uk/airpump to register.


This event is co-hosted by the Enlightenment Programme at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, the Museum of the Natural History and the Museum of the History of Science.

The next session of the reading group will take place on Monday 20 April at 6.00pm at the Lit and Phil Library, Newcastle upon Tyne. Everyone is welcome, refreshments provided.
Dr. Peter Garratt, Durham University, will introduce two readings on:
The Science and Art of Atmosphere
Clouds turn the eye upwards towards the indeterminate, towards the gathering possibility of structure and form (substance on the verge of formalization or singular structuration). Clouds trouble and fascinate early nineteenth-century aesthetic and scientific observational practices: as Mary Jacobus points out, they ‘paradoxically serve to abolish the representational realm altogether’. The cloud, in its substanceless bearing that somehow combines lightness and weight, signals mood, omen, prophecy, delight, sublimity, while challenging ‘the phenomenology of the visible’ itself. These two readings, from Jacobus and Ruskin, elaborate upon the difficult pleasures of cloud-gazing in relation to a range of writers and painters including Turner, Constable, Wordsworth, Shelley, and John Clare    

1)      John Ruskin, ‘Of Truth of Clouds’, Modern Painters I (1843).

2)      Mary Jacobus, ‘Cloud Studies: The Visible Invisible’, Gramma: Journal of Theory and Criticism 14 (2006): 219-247. Reprinted as chapter 1 of her recent book Romantic Things: A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud (Chicago, 2012).


The readings are available at http://scienceandpseudoscience.wordpress.com


For further information please contact Pat Beesley at p.beesley@ncl.ac.uk


The British Society for Literature and Science and the Journal of Literature and Science would like to announce our annual prize for the best new essay by an early career scholar on a topic within the field of literature and science. The deadline for this year's prize will be 19th June, in order to give members time to revise papers presented at the BSLS conference should they wish to.

Essays should be currently unpublished and not under consideration by another journal. They should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words long, inclusive of references, and should be send by email to both John Holmes, Chair of the BSLS (j.r.holmes@reading.ac.uk), and Martin Willis, Editor of JLS (m.willis@westminster.ac.uk), by 12 noon on Friday, 19th June, 2015.

The prize is open to BSLS members who are postgraduate students or have completed a doctorate within three calendar years of the deadline date. The Prize committee will consider on a case by case basis whether to accept submissions from anyone whose doctorate was completed more than three years prior to the deadline but whose career has been interrupted during that time (due to illness, maternity leave, etc.). Those who have submitted to the essay prize in previous years are very welcome to submit again. This includes any previous prize winners or honourable mentions.

To join BSLS (only £10 for postgraduates and unwaged members), go to http://www.bsls.ac.uk/join-us/.

The prize will be judged jointly by representatives of the BSLS and JLS. The winning essay will be announced on the BSLS website and published in JLS. The winner will also receive a prize of £100. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize should no essay of a high enough standard be submitted.

The winning essays to date have been Rachel Crossland’s ‘”Multitudinous and Minute”: Early Twentieth-Century Scientific, Literary and Psychological Representations of the Mass’, published in JLS, 6.2 (2013), and Emilie Taylor-Brown's ‘(Re)constructing the Knights of Science: Parasitologists and their Literary Imaginations’, published in JLS, 7.2 (2014). Josie Gill’s essay, ‘Science and Fiction in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth’ received an honourable mention from the judges and was published in JLS, 6.2 (2013). To read these essays, visit www.literatureandscience.org.

The full programme for the BSLS 10th annual conference in Liverpool is now available here BSLS 2015 Programme.


For more information about the conference, please visit the conference website.

The Royal Society invites entries for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.

The 2015 prize will celebrate the best of outstanding popular science books from around the world. This prestigious prize is open to authors of science books that are accessible and compelling accounts of the world around us or inside us, written for a non-specialist audience.

The six shortlisted books will be selected by a panel of judges in July 2015. The winner will be announced in September 2015 and will receive £25,000. The 5 other authors of the shortlisted books will each receive £2,500. An online entry form must be completed for each entry, and seven non-returnable copies of each entry submitted to The Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG, UK by 18:00 BST on Friday 10 April 2015.

Books submitted for the 2015 prize must have been, or be due to be, published for the first time in English between 01 March 2014 and 30 September 2015. Preview manuscripts are accepted provided they are available by the end of April 2015 and the title is due to be published by 30 September 2015. The entry form and full details of the prize's regulations and eligibility criteria are available on the Society's website.

For more information please contact Rebecca Jones at sciencebooks@royalsociety.org or on 020 7451 2513.

'Tuberculosis as a Romantic Disease: Artistic, Historical & Literary Perspectives'

A Workshop funded by the Leverhulme Trust

Thursday, 18 June 2015, 4.00 - 6.30pm
Room 2.21, Research Beehive, Old Library Building (Level 2), Newcastle University

Dr Helen Bynum (Historian), 'Tuberculous Lives - Conforming to the Stereotype?’
Anna Dumitriu (Artist) ‘The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis’

Dr Helen Bynum, studied human sciences and medical history at UCL and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, before lecturing in medical history at the University of Liverpool. She is the author (as Helen Power) of Tropical Medicine in the 20th Century, (Kegan Paul, 1999) and co-editor of the ‘Biographies of Disease’ series. In this series, she is author of Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis (OUP, 2012). Anna Dumitriu’s work is at the forefront of art and science collaborative practice, with a strong interest in the ethical issues raised by emerging technologies and a focus on microbiology and healthcare. Her installations and performances use a range of biological, digital, and traditional media. She has exhibited in Barcelona, Dublin, Taipei, and London. She is Artist in Residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at The University of Oxford, and holds Visiting Research Fellowships with the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, and with the Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research. Her exhibition ‘The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis’ premiered in London (2014) and has since toured to Amsterdam and Berlin. It entails an artistic investigation into Tuberculosis from early superstitions about the disease to the latest research into genome sequencing of bacteria.

This workshop is organised by the ‘Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture, ca. 1660-1832’ project team, a Leverhulme funded collaboration between colleagues in History of Medicine at Newcastle University and English Literature at Northumbria University.


'The Diseases, Health Risks and Phobias of Modern and Fashionable Living: Victorian Perspectives'

A Workshop funded by the Leverhulme Trust

Friday, 8 May 2015, 4.00 - 6.30pm
Room 3.38 ARMB (Armstrong Building), Newcastle University

Professor Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford), ‘Fears and Phobias in Victorian Culture’.
Dr Melissa Dickson (University of Oxford) ‘Weak Nerves and Fashionable Women in Victorian Literature and Culture’
Dr Jennifer Wallis (University of Oxford) ‘ “Overheated apartments, balls, tea-parties, and feather beds”: The Risks of Nineteenth-century Fashionable Society’

Sally Shuttleworth, is Professor in the Faculty of English Language and Literature, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, and PI of the ERC funded ‘Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives’, a five-year interdisciplinary research project based at St Anne's. Dr Melissa Dickson is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the ‘Diseases of Modern Life’ project, and focuses upon those diseases and pathologies derived from the Victorian soundscape and new understandings of the auditory experience, as well as on diseases of overpressure relating to education, nervous disorders and phobias. Dr Jennifer Wallis is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the ‘ Diseases of Modern Life’ project, and focuses on climate and health, and addiction in the nineteenth century. She is especially interested in how air was used in nineteenth-century medical technologies – from compressed-air baths to respirators – and how such technologies could alter the individual’s relationship with their external environment.

This workshop is organised by the ‘Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture, ca. 1660-1832’ project team, a collaboration between colleagues in History of Medicine at Newcastle University and English Literature at Northumbria University.

All welcome.

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