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Reading science through its regions: Cornwall in the nineteenth century


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13:00 - 14:00


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG



Speaker: Dr Simon Naylor

Is it helpful to consider the history of science in Britain through one of its regions? By considering one such region the English county of Cornwall this lecture argues that it is. 

A variety of economic, political and cultural forces acted on and through the region to produce a flourishing scientific scene there in the nineteenth century, including numerous scientific museums and regular exhibitions of local scientific and industrial innovations; the second-oldest geological society in Britain; and a Royal Society-funded meteorological observatory (as well as two nineteenth-century Presidents of the Royal Society). Its unique geology, natural history and antiquities attracted the attention of scientific luminaries such as Sir William Hooker, Sir Henry De la Beche and Sir John Gardner Wilkinson.

More generally, it is argued that such a geographically-contextual approach highlights important processes that are otherwise missed in more conventional histories of science.

Simon Naylor is Senior Lecturer in Historical Geography at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus. He has just completed his latest book, Regionalizing Science: Placing Knowledges in Victorian England, which will be coming out in 2010.

Lectures are free, and all are welcome to attend.

Reading science through its regions: Cornwall in the nineteenth century The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK