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Revolutionary science in the age of the guillotine

History of science

Event video


18:30 - 19:30


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


Discover how the revolutionary movement in Paris and London helped shape the scientific landscape during the 18th century.

Execution of Louis Capet, 21 January 1793. © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Throughout the French Revolution, the most eminent scientists in France were battling a political crisis, social unrest and fear of execution. Despite this turmoil, Paris (the City of Light) was widely considered one of the richest scientific landscapes in the world. 

Across the English Channel, London was facing its own upheaval. As the idea of anarchy was spreading, notable figures such as Joseph Banks and Charles Blagden were busy building their own scientific legacies. 

We joined Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum and Professor Steve Jones, author of No Need for Geniuses as they discussed how pioneering inventions, guillotines and revolutionary thinking in these two cities changed the future of science.  

In partnership with the Science Museum.

For all enquiries, please contact

Revolutionary science in the age of the guillotine The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK