Workshop 4: Scientific Lives: Oliver Lodge and the History of Science in the Digital Age

Date: 6 March 2015
Location: Leeds Art Gallery
Registration: Closed

Lodge has been a difficult person to situate in both the history of science and the period more broadly. His spiritualism and strident defence of the ether meant that his scientific reputation became tarnished as he was associated with the ‘losing’ side. His long life makes him difficult to situate in terms of period: born in 1851 and dying in 1940, Lodge became seen as a Victorian who had outlived his era. This workshop asks what a life like Lodge’s reveals about our historiography and our curatorial and archival practices, while also considering how digital technology might allow us to recount Lodge’s life in new ways.

This workshop features a range of papers from people interested in life writing, the history of science and the digital humanities. Our keynote speaker is Professor Bernard Lightman (York University, Toronto) and the workshop will be followed by a public lecture from Professor Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds). It will be held in the Henry Moore Room at Leeds Art Gallery. The full programme is below.

Registration for the event has now closed. However, we’re in a large room and some spaces are still available. If you would like to attend, please email asap.


9.00-9:30 Registration, tea / coffee
9:30-10:00 Welcome and introduction

James Mussell and Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds)

10:00-11:00 Session one: lecture (Chair: James Mussell)

David Amigoni (Keele) ‘Writing the Life Scientific in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries’.

11:00-12:30 Session two: panel (Chair: Di Drummond)

Berris Charnley (St Anne’s, Oxford) ‘Crowd-Sourced Science in the Nineteenth Century: Eleanor Ormerod’s Injurious Insects’;

Rebekah Higgitt (University of Kent) ‘Hero Narratives and the Public that Wants Them’;

James Mussell (University of Leeds) ‘”Matter moves, but ether is strained” Oliver Lodge, materiality and media’.

12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-15:00 Session three: panel (Chair: Rebekah Higgitt)

Jamie Elwick (York University, Toronto) ‘A correspondence project’s struggle with email’;

Cassie Newland (King’s College London) ‘Sir Charles Wheatstone’s Junk Mail and the Analogue Archive’;

Kris Grint (St Andrews) ‘Back in business: crowdsourcing, discovery, and public engagement with Jeremy Bentham’.

15:00-15:30 Tea / coffee
15:30-16:30 Session four: keynote lecture (Chair: Graeme Gooday)

Bernard Lightman (York University, Toronto) ‘Lodge and the New Physics, 1919-1933’

16:30-17:30 Session five: roundtable (Chair: James Mussell)

Imogen Clarke, Di Drummond, Graeme Gooday, Bernard Lightman, Peter Rowlands

17:30-18:15 Break
18:15-19:15 Public Lecture

Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds) ‘Why did scientists come to write autobiographies?’

7:15-8:00 Wine reception