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Cambridge Networking Conference (CAN)

Creative place-making – how the arts and culture make a thriving city

George Howard Darwin and the ‘Public’ Understanding of Nature

Wed 28 September 2022

Cambridge University Library

The Darwin family have been—and remain—one of the most famous families associated with the University of Cambridge. The period around 1900 represents the foundation of sustained connections between the Darwin family and Cambridge. Four of Charles Darwin’s children moved to the town, two of whom were elected to senior positions within the university.

Concentrating on George Howard Darwin (1845–1912), Plumian Professor of Astronomy who purchased Newnham Grange, now Darwin College, in 1885, this talk gives a new account of Darwin’s scientific work through examining his attempts to adapt this for broader audiences. Darwin’s research relied on a sophisticated correspondence network extending across the British empire, gathering data to formulate his theories on the relationship between the tides and lunar motion. In the years around 1900 Darwin was invited to present on these matters in Europe, the United States and South Africa. Concentrating on the series of Lowell Lectures Darwin gave in Boston in 1897, this talk examines his means for conveying complex theories to public audiences, work that resulted in his only—and extremely successful—monograph The Tides and Kindred Phenomena of the Solar System (1898).

About the speaker: Dr. Edwin Rose earned a PhD. in the History and Philosophy of Science department at the University of Cambridge. Since then he has been Munby Fellow at Cambridge University Library and a fellow of Darwin College and is currently undertaking a project entitled 'The Darwin Family and Cambridge: Science Art and Nature, 1750-1965' for Darwin College. In October 2022 Edwin will return to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science as the PI on the new AHRC research project 'Natural History in the Age of Revolutions, 1776 - 1848'.

Cost: Free

Enquiries and booking

Please note that booking is required for this event.

Please book via the website. Any queries relating to this event can be directed to events@lib.cam.ac.uk.



In person

All times

Wed 28 September 2022 5:30PM - 6:30PM


Address: Cambridge University Library
Milstein Seminar Rooms
West Road
Telephone: +44 1223 333000