Frank James studied at Imperial College where he received his PhD for a thesis on the development of spectroscopy in the nineteenth century. After a year at the Institute of Education, he joined the Royal Institution to establish its history of science activities. In 1998 he was appointed Head of Collections and Heritage and was appointed Professor of History of Science in 2004.
His main research has been editing the Correspondence of Michael Faraday which is now complete in six volumes. He is currently writing a book on Humphry Davy’s practical work, having always had a strong interest in the relations of science with other areas of society and culture, such as the military, art (where he co-authored a book on the scientific and technological content of paintings in the National Gallery), religion and technology.
He has been President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology, the British Society for the History of Science and the History of Science Section of the British Science Association. He was Chair of the National Organising Committee for the XXIVth International Congress for the History of Science and Technology held in Manchester in July 2013. He was recently elected a Corresponding Member of the Académie internationale d’histoire des sciences and a Member of the Academia Europaea.