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The Royal Society and Science in the 20th Century

Event

Starts:

April
222010

09:00

Ends:

April
232010

17:30

Location

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

Overview

 

Scientific discussion meeting organised by The Royal Society Centre for History of Science.

Event details

This two-day conference will bring together leading scientists and historians of science to examine the development of the Royal Society during the 20th century and the Society's impact on science in the UK and beyond.
 The sessions will explore, with worked examples, how the Society has contributed to the development of modern medicine and to aspects of physical, chemical and biological science; how the Society has responded to the growth and exploitation of technology; how it has sought to influence national science policy; its role in scientific relations with postwar Europe, Africa and the Commonwealth; and its work on public understanding of science. The role of women in the Royal Society and how the Society has been portrayed on film will also be considered. The final session will discuss the ways in which an organisation like the Royal Society can have demonstrable impact on modern science, and what can emerge from scientists and historians working together to address these issues.

The conference will help to establish a framework for analysing the significance of the Society in recent decades.

Biographies of the organisers and speakers are available below and you can also download the programme (PDF).

Papers from the conference were published in a special edition of Notes and Records of the Royal Society.

Schedule of talks

Session 1: The Royal Society and Medical Science

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Welcome

Lord Martin Rees FRS, Past President of the Royal Society and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge

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Dr Martin Bachmann, Cytos Biotechnology AG, Zurich, Switzerland

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The Royal Society and the evolution of molecular medicine

Sir David Weatherall FRS

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“...in recognition of distinguished contributions to the medical sciences generally”: the Buchanan Medal of the Royal Society

Professor Tilli Tansey

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From applied microbiology to biotechnology: science, medicine and industrial renewal

Dr Robert Bud

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Session 2: The Royal Society and Technology

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chair of Session 2: The Royal Society and Technology

Sir Geoffrey Allen FRS

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The Royal Society, its Fellows and industrial R&D in the mid-century

Dr Sally Horrocks

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The 'Royal Society of Technology’

Dr Peter Collins

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Technological innovation in industry and the role of the Royal Society

Professor Chris Snowden FRS, FREng

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Session 3: The Royal Society and Physical Science

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chair Session 3: The Royal Society and Physical Science

Sir John Rowlinson FRS

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The Royal Society’s formative role in UK space science

Professor Ken Pounds FRS

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From fish-scales to fibre optics: interdisciplinary partnerships with Russia

Professor Martyn Poliakoff FRS

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Does membership of the Royal Society affect careers? A trio in 20th century organic chemistry

Dr Peter Morris

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Session 3 - Audio

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Session 4: The Royal Society and Life Science

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chair of Session 4: The Royal Society and life science

Professor Uta Frith

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Royal Society postwar expeditions

Mr George Hemmen

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Controversies in bioscience

Professor Colin Blakemore FRS

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Session 5: The Royal Society and national policy

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Chair of Session 5: The Royal Society and national policy

Sir John Ashworth

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‘Divine Right’ or democracy? The Royal Society, science and the State, 1920-1940

Dr Jeff Hughes

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The Royal Society seeking a role in national science policy in the early 1960s

Dr Peter Collins

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The Royal Society and science advice to Government

Lord May of Oxford FRS

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Session 5 - Audio

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Session 6: The Royal Society and international science

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Chair of Session 6: The Royal Society and international science

Professor Lorna Casselton FRS

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Session 6 - Audio

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The Royal Society in postwar Europe

Mr Stephen Cox

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The Royal Society in Africa

Professor Dame Julia Higgins DBE FREng FRS, Imperial College London, UK

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The Royal Society and the Commonwealth: old friendships, new frontiers

Professor Roy Macleod

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Session 7: Cultural issues

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chair of Session 7: Cultural issues

Dr Brian Balmer

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Public understanding of science: the British Association, the Royal Society and COPUS

Sir Walter Bodmer FRS

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Risk, trust and public understanding

Dr Jon Turney

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The exception and the rule: women and the Royal Society 1660-2010

Georgina Ferry

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‘The Revealing Eye’: The Royal Society and the moving image at the time of the Tercentenary

Dr Tim Boon

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Session 8: The Royal Society and the history of modern science

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Chair of Session 8: The Royal Society and the history of modern science

Professor Simon Schaffer

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Session 8 - Comments and observations

Dr Jeff Hughes

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Session 8 - Comments and observations

Professor Judith Howard FRS

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Session 8 - Audio

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Closing remarks

Professor Uta Frith

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The Royal Society and Science in the 20th Century

Scientific discussion meeting organised by The Royal Society Centre for History of Science.

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