Poetry and science at the Royal Institution

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 6 February

The Library

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

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Jim Peaco, National Park Service via Wikimedia


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

Literary historian Gregory Tate asks why a surprising number of scientists write poetry. Offering a rare chance to see manuscripts from the Royal Institution’s archives, Tate’s talk will explore the poetry of two nineteenth-century scientists who worked at the Royal Institution: the pioneering chemist Humphry Davy, and the Victorian physicist and science communicator John Tyndall. The archives reveal that, as they made their discoveries in the Royal Institution’s laboratory and lectured in its theatre, Davy and Tyndall also devoted much of their time to the writing of poems. Tate will show how poetry contributed to the development of groundbreaking scientific theories in the nineteenth century, and will consider whether it still has a part to play in scientific research today.

About the speaker

Gregory Tate is a lecturer in Victorian literature at the University of St Andrews. He is writing a book about the links between poetry and the physical sciences in nineteenth-century Britain.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.

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