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Public history of science lecture by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
From the moment of their discovery, each of the chemical elements has embarked on a journey into our culture. Over millennia and decades, they have gained meaning through encounter and manipulation. Those long known, such as gold, silver, iron and sulphur, all found in the Bible, have largely settled associations with immortality, virginity, strength and evil. The arts exploit, renew and modify these meanings often in surprising ways. Most of us are familiar with sodium chiefly from streetlighting. But why has this distinctive illumination been seized upon by contemporary writers as emblematic of dystopian decay? Why is its message so different from the light of neon? Why is mercury a fitting barrier between this world and the next? And why is europium incorporated into every euro banknote?
The lecture is free and all are welcome to attend. No prior booking is necessary - seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Doors open at 12.30pm.
Please contact Felicity Henderson on 020 74512597 or email@example.com with any questions.
Prize lecture 18 June
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