The Needham Question was formulated by Joseph Needham (1900-1995). His researches revealed that pre-modern China was a technically innovative culture that made significant contributions to the construction of the modern world. However, the scientific and industrial revolutions took place in Western Europe, not in China. Needham sought for reasons for this apparent failure to follow up on past achievements.
Today China has pinned its hopes for continuing economic growth on developing home-grown innovation, zizhu chuangxin. Has China's past experience anything to tell us about what its chances of success might be?
Prior to and following the lecture there will be an opportunity to view the current exhibition 'China and the Royal Society: a history of mutual respect'.