Turner Memorial Lecture: 12th November

9th Gerard Turner Memorial Lecture

5.30 for 6pm, Friday 12th November 2021

Professor Simon Werrett, Professor of the History of Science, Science and Technology Studies Department, UCL

‘The History of Scientific Instruments is Thriving‘

Thames foreshore items (Image by Simon Werrett).

What is a scientific instrument? This talk attempts to rethink the question through an exploration of domestic thrift in early modern England. We are familiar with purpose-built instruments of the time (telescope, microscope, etc), but experimental householders also “made use” of a great variety of everyday goods to explore the natural world. I show how this activity was not accidental but conformed to early modern ideas of thrift and household management. Experimenting, and a number of important instruments, emerged in part from a domestic context where to make use of things was to thrive.

Simon Werrett is Professor of the History of Science in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London (UCL). He is the author of Fireworks: Pyrotechnic Arts and Sciences in European History (Chicago, 2010) and Thrifty Science: Making the Most of Materials in the History of Experiment (Chicago, 2019).

This event will be hosted in person at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE.

The lecture is free and open to both SIS members and non-members and will be followed by a drinks reception afterwards until 7.45pm – all welcome! There is also the option to join us for an informal meal at a local pub from 8pm onwards.

If you would like to join us, either in person or via Zoom, or if you would like see the menu for the dinner, please contact our Executive Officer for details: sis@sisoffice.org.uk

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