Science and society at the Royal Institution since 1799

12.00pm to 1.00pm, Monday 24 March

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Faraday giving a Christmas Lecture

    Faraday giving a Christmas Lecture

    Credit: Royal Institution
  • The Royal Institution in 1931

    The Royal Institution in 1931

    Credit: Royal Institution
  • WL Bragg giving a Christmas Lecture in 1961
    Credit: Royal Institution
  • James Dewar

    James Dewar in his lab at the Ri

    Credit: Royal Institution

Price

Tickets are free

Event description

This illustrated talk, given by our Professor of the history of science Frank James and held in our historic lecture theatre, will discuss the origins of the Royal Institution at a time of revolutionary politics and global conflict as a site for communicating scientific knowledge to an aristocratic and upper class audience.

Through the work of Humphry Davy, both as communicator and researcher, the evolution of the Ri into an organisation with a major commitment to scientific research will be traced  using especially Davy’s invention of a miners’ safety lamp in late 1815, a device central to expanding coal production. Michael Faraday’s crucial work on electricity, especially his inventions of the motor, transformer and generator, will be covered and its technological impact illustrated by the massive 1931 celebrations held to mark the centenary of his discovery of electro-magnetic induction.

The research of John Tyndall on climate change, James Dewar on cryogenics, William and Lawrence Bragg’s fundamental contributions to X-ray crystallography and George Porter’s work on photochemistry will complete the talk following which the audience will be able to explore the display areas of the Ri and see the originals of all the objects discussed.

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