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Frankenstein: inspiring the monster

History of science

Event video

February
212017

18:30 - 20:00

Location

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

Overview

Explore how this influential novel was inspired by science in the 19th century.

Frankenstein at work in his laboratory: plate from a 1922 version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s great novel.

The tale of a curious scientist who creates a sapient but grotesque Creature in a scientific experiment gone wrong has shaped science fiction writing for generations. Written by Mary Shelley in 1818, it defined a whole new genre of literature, but what was the inspiration behind her legendary story?

We joined an expert panel to journey back to a time when using electricity was a novel concept, curiosity and research went hand in hand, and unorthodox scientific experimentation was the norm. Attendees discovered how the public perception of research and eminent scientists of the time influenced Shelley to unleash her Monster on the world.  

Speakers included:

  • Professor Richard Holmes, Biographer and Author 
  • Professor Steve Jones FRS, Emeritus Professor of Genetics, University College London
  • Dr Kathryn Harkup, Science Communicator
  • Professor Roger Luckhurst, Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck University of London

For all enquiries, please contact events@royalsociety.org

Frankenstein: inspiring the monster The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK