Rupert Cole

PhD student

  • rupert cole

    Rupert Cole

    Credit: Science Museum/Jennie Hills


Rupert is working on a PhD jointly at the Royal Institution and University College, London on the history of the Royal Institution’s role in communicating science to the public from 1945-1985. He also occasionally helps out at Ri events.


Rupert was born and grew up in Bristol. Halfway through a BA in English from University of Exeter, he caught the science bug and decided to then pursue a MSc in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at UCL and Imperial College, London.

Scientific inspiration

I must admit, slightly guiltily from an academic history of science perspective, it was Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything which first sparked my interest in science.

Favourite experiment/demo

Perhaps due to the fact it is almost Halloween as I write this, one striking (and a bit grizzly) experiment that comes to my mind is when Newton in 1665 decided to insert a ‘bodkine’ (a very long needle) in between his eyeball and bone to reach the back of the eye socket. His aim, to essentially see what would happen, was to investigate optical perception. That’s dedication to science!

Best thing about the Ri

Getting to work inside such a beautiful building with such a famous and renowned history in scientific discovery and communicating science.