Visitors to the Exhibition will discover how scientists are working to replicate human hearing in robots and experience superhuman sight thanks to advances in augmented reality technology.
The Exhibition dates back to the early nineteenth century when the Royal Society’s President would invite guests to his home to inspect collections of scientific instruments and other exhibits illustrating the most recent scientific research. During the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the Royal Society soirées epitomized the high-Victorian and Edwardian culture of the British Empire, showcasing ideas and inventions that transformed science, industry, travel and communications. In 2014 more than 14,000 visitors attended the Exhibition.
Royal Society Professor of Public Engagement in Science, Professor Brian Cox OBE, said:
“The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition shows off the best of British science and demonstrates that we are world leaders. The health, wealth and economic wellbeing of our nation depend on continued development in science. Science is also a central part of our culture, and I believe it is increasingly being seen in this light. Whether it’s wearable technology, particle accelerators or the robots that could soon be in our hospitals – science is the foundation of our society.
We’re issuing a challenge to people who would go to a new play or art exhibition, but wouldn’t consider themselves interested in science: Come to the Royal Society and see what an influence science has on our lives and what exciting things are just around the corner. It’s something the UK should be very proud of.”
Keith Moore, the Royal Society’s Head of Library and Archive Services, said:
“The Royal Society has a very proud tradition of exhibiting the latest scientific research, dating all the way back to the soirées that were hosted – and indeed paid for – by the Society’s Presidents from Sir Joseph Banks onward. Nineteenth and early twentieth century soirées were social and cultural feasts displaying (in 1896) high-speed machinery by the moving picture pioneer William Friese-Green alongside the scientist generally credited with predicting the invention of television, Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton FRS, who entertained the crowd by X-raying their hands.
The events were very eclectic, as we know from exhibition catalogues – visitors might have expected to see displays of prints by Gustav Doré and new majolica tiles by the William Morris Company alongside meteorites and microscopes. Soirées also gave women scientists their earliest opportunity to share their expertise with a high-level audience of their peers.”
Visitors to the present day Exhibition will find out how a simple blood test could transform the treatment of lung cancer; how the promise of fusion power is coming to life; how a ‘research farm’ – the first of its kind in the world – aims to find sustainable solutions to answering the needs of a meat-loving world; and how radar and 3D laser scanners are revealing the fascinating landscape of monuments beneath the soil around Stonehenge.