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Frankenstein: inspiring the monster

History of science


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


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

Frankenstein at work in his laboratory, plate from the book Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Attending this event

  • Limited places available
  • Seats allocated on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Free to attend
  • No registration required
  • Doors open at 6pm
  • Please arrive early to avoid disappointment
  • Travel and accessibility information can be found on our website

This event will feature live subtitling and will be live streamed and available to view on our YouTube channel. For all enquiries, please contact

Event synopsis

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?

Join our expert panel as we 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. Discover how the public perception of research and eminent scientists of the time influenced Shelley to unleash her Monster on the world.  

Confirmed speakers include:

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