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Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Cambridge

This one day workshop, aimed particularly at postgraduates and early career
researchers, introduces and explores historiographical and methodological
issues unique to the history of alchemy and chemistry. We will investigate
the practical challenges of researching chemistry over different periods,
from pre-modern matter theories and artisanal practices, to the shaping of
chemistry as a formal discipline in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries, and the increasing permeability of chemistry's boundaries with
other disciplines, including physics and the biosciences, in modern times.
Participation is welcomed both from scholars already working on related
topics, and those interested in exploring points of intersection between
the history of chemistry and their own research.

Discussion will be framed by presentations from junior and established
scholars, including:

  • Hasok Chang (University College London), 'Why has chemistry become
    unfashionable for historians of science?'
  • Jennifer Rampling (University of Cambridge), 'Interpreting alchemy: text,
    image, and practice.'
  • Karin Ekholm (Indiana University, Bloomington), 'Some problems in the
    history of seventeenth-century chemistry.'
  • John Perkins (Oxford Brookes University), 'Searching for chemists in
    eighteenth-century France.'
  • Pieter Thyssen (Catholic University of Leuven), 'The Replication Method in
    the history of chemistry: resolving a nineteenth-century priority dispute.'
  • Viviane Quirke (Oxford Brookes University), 'Chemistry, the pharmaceutical
    industry, and medicine in the twentieth century: drugs as "boundary

Lunch is provided. There is no charge for attendance, but registration is
required. Assistance is available towards the cost of travel and
accommodation. Please email Jennifer Rampling for further
details, and to register.

Sponsored by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC).
For more information on SHAC, including details of the Society's award
scheme for junior scholars, see

The workshop immediately follows the BSHS Postgraduate Conference in
Cambridge (5-7 January).

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The London Nineteenth Century Studies Seminars this term are organised by Birbeck College and entitled ‘The Victorians and Science’. The convener is Ana Vadillo (Birkbeck)

17 October 2009, 11am, Room G37
(Senate House, South Block, Ground Floor)
Dr. Adelene Buckland (University of Cambridge), 'Lyell's Plots'
Dr. Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter), 'Hardy and Biology'

14 November 2009, 11am, Room G37
(Senate House, South Block, Ground Floor)
Dr. Gowan Dawson (University of Leicester), 'Palaeontology in Parts: Serializing Science in the Penny Cyclopædia 1833-43'
Dr John Holmes (University of Reading), ‘Darwinism in Victorian Poetry’

12 December 2009, 11am, Room G37
(Senate House, South Block, Ground Floor)
PANEL: After Darwin's Plots
Professor David Amigoni (Keele University), ‘Fields of Inheritance: Science, Literature and their Relations after Darwin's Plots'
Professor Gillian Beer (University of Cambridge), 'Emotions, Beauty, Consciousness: late Darwin'
Professor Daniel Brown (University of Western Australia), 'Egerton's Keynotes: Darwinian naturalism and fin-de-siècle fetishism.'

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Tuesday 28 July 7.00pm–8.30pm

Decoding the heavens

Speaker: Jo Marchant

In 1900, a group of sponge divers blown off course in the Mediterranean discovered an ancient shipwreck, dating from around 70 BC. Lying unnoticed for months amongst the divers' hard-won haul was what appeared to be a formless lump of corroded rock. Then it cracked open, revealing gearwheels, inscriptions and precisely marked scales - it was and still is the most stunning scientific artefact we have from antiquity. For more than a century this 'Antikythera mechanism' has puzzled academics. Author Jo Marchant will tell the story of the 100-year quest to understand this ancient computer and will explain how it used surprisingly sophisticated astronomy to accurately predict the motions of the heavens. This is a story that challenges our assumptions about technology transfer over the ages while giving us fresh insights into history itself.

Admission: Tickets cost £8, £6 concessions, £4 Ri members. You can book tickets online at 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


The Oxford Literature and Science seminar is meeting twice termly; all with a research interest in the area are welcome, whether members of the university or not. The second event in Trinity Term 2009 will be held in the Breakfast Room, Merton College, Oxford.

Friday 12 June 2009 (7th week), 2pm.

Jean-François Peyret (founder and director of the Tf2 theatre company, Paris), speaking about Les Variations Darwin.

Peyret's work has included productions such as Les Variations Darwin, Galileo, and Le Cas de Sophie K, all of which involved collaborations with scientists.

Further details about the seminar are to be found at:

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Looking back on the End of Time — Modernism and Beyond

University of East Anglia, UK

Keynote Speakers: Prof. Randall Stevenson (University of Edinburgh) and Dr
Bryony Randall (University of Glasgow)

At the turn of the twentieth century developments in the sciences and
technology seemed to necessitate a radical review of the nature, perhaps
even the existence, of time. This interdisciplinary conference will look
at ways in which key figures from this period conceptualised and
represented these changes, and at how this period has been represented
since. Papers will range from the history of science to philosophy and
literature. Further details on the conference website.

Abstracts of 300-400 words should be sent to Kate Armond or Simon de Bourcier by Wednesday June 3rd 2009.

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Science, Technology and the Senses, edited by Sibylle Erle and Laurie Garrison

We are delighted to announce the release of this special issue of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net available at

Contributors to the volume include:

  • Laurie Garrison and Sibylle Erle,, ‘Introduction’
  • Sibylle Erle, ‘Blake, Colour and the Truchsessian Gallery: Modelling the Mind and Liberating the Observer’
  • Kelly Grovier, ‘‘Paradoxes of the Panoscope’: ‘Walking’ Stewart and the Making of Keats’s Ambivalent Imagination’
  • Laurie Garrison, ‘Imperial Vision in the Arctic: Fleeting Looks and Pleasurable Distractions in Barker’s Panorama and Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Gavin Budge, ‘The Hero as Seer: Character, Perception and Cultural Health in Carlyle’
  • Verity Hunt, ‘Raising a Modern Ghost: The Magic Lantern and the Persistence of Wonder in the Victorian Education of the Senses’

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Monday 19 January 7.00pm–8.30pm

‘The age of wonder’ a lecture by 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 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

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‘The making of Mr Gray's Anatomy’, a talk by Ruth Richardson
Tuesday 4 November 2008, 7.00pm-8.30pm

The veins of the exterior of the head and face

The Veins of the Exterior of the Head and Face

Gray's Anatomy is probably one of the most iconic scientific books ever published: an illustrated textbook of anatomy that is still a household name 150 years since its first edition, known for its rigorously scientific text, and masterful illustrations as beautiful as they are detailed. This event will tell the story of the creation of this remarkable book, and the individuals who made it happen: Henry Gray, the bright and ambitious physiologist, poised for medical fame and fortune, who was the book's author; Carter, the brilliant young illustrator, lacking Gray's social advantages, shy and inclined to religious introspection; and the publishers - Parkers, father and son, the father eager to employ new technology, the son part of a lively circle of intellectuals. It is the story of changing attitudes in the mid-19th century; of the social impact of science, the changing status of medicine; of poverty and class; of craftsmanship and technology. And it all unfolds in the atmospheric milieu of Victorian London - taking you from the smart townhouses of Belgravia, to the dissection room of St George's Hospital, and to the workhouses and mortuaries where we meet the friendless poor who would ultimately be immortalised in Carter's engravings.

Alongside the story of the making of the book itself, Ruth Richardson reflects on what made Gray's Anatomy such a unique intellectual, artistic, and cultural achievement - how it represented a summation of a long half century's blossoming of anatomical knowledge and exploration, and how it appeared just at the right time to become the 'Doctor's Bible' for generations of medics to follow.

Tickets cost £8 standard, £6 concessions and £4 Ri members.

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A one-day colloquium on Charles Darwin in Europe will be held at Darwin's college Christ's, Cambridge, on Thursday 26 February 2009 to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth as well as the launch of *The Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe*, edited by Eve-Marie Engels and Thomas F. Glick. The colloquium will continue the discussions begun in its pages. All are welcome to attend.

Registration costs £35 (£40 on the day); concessions £20. Because of limited capacity early registration is advised. Registration forms and further details are available from the Reception of British and Irish Authors in Europe Project Office:




The Journal of Literature and Science is a new, peer-reviewed, online journal hosted by Glamorgan’s Research Centre for Literature, Arts and Science, founded in 2006. The Centre directors are Professors Andrew Smith & Jeff Wallace, and Dr Martin Willis, who is also the Journal of Literature and Science’s Editor. The Journal’s online home can be found at:


The JLS is dedicated to the publication of academic essays on the subject of literature and science, broadly defined. Essays on the major forms of literary and artistic endeavour are welcome (the novel, short fiction, poetry, drama, periodical literature, visual art, sculpture, radio, film and television). The journal encourages submissions from all periods of literary and artistic history since the Scientific Revolution. The journal also encourages a broad definition of ‘science’: encapsulating both the history and philosophy of science and those sciences regarded as either mainstream or marginal within their own, or our, historical moment.


The JLS uniquely focuses its reviews section on published journal articles in the fields of literature and science and the cultural history of science. If you would like to review a recent article for the JLS please contact the editor. See Issue 1 on the JLS Web for examples.


The journal launch will end a day of seminar activities dedicated to the study of literature and science and organised around the theme of Romantic Science. The seminar welcomes Professor Anne Janowitz as its plenary speaker, who will lecture on the plurality of worlds in debate in Romantic astronomy. Other speakers include Dr Sharon Ruston (author of Shelley and Vitality) and Dr Rachel Hewitt (author of the forthcoming Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey). The seminar will begin at 10am and will conclude with a wine reception and the Journal launch at 5.30pm. Further details of the day can be found on the Research Centre website at:

The event will take place in central Cardiff, at Glamorgan University’s new campus, the Atrium. For travel and location details please see

You are very welcome to attend either the full day seminar, or the launch of the JLS. Please RSVP: Dr Martin Willis by email at, or in writing to Journal of Literature and Science, Department of English, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL.

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