This year’s Manchester Science Festival runs from Saturday 23 October to
Sunday 31, and the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and
Medicine is involved in a record number of events. Further information,
including links to venue and booking details, is currently available on
our news page at
Crime Scene Investigation: Past and Present
On Saturday 23 October, Ian Burney and David Kirby join forces with
colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University to explore crime scene
investigations, and the gaps between real and entertainment CSI. This
interactive event uses a mock crime scene to illustrate changing
technologies and practices.
The Eureka Commissions
Also on Saturday 23 October, James Sumner will be on the panel at a
readings event featuring new fiction from Stella Duffy and Zoe Lambert.
Local independent publisher Comma Press has brought together these and
other authors with scientists and historians to produce a short-story
collection themed around “Eureka moments”, the monumental (and mythic?)
breakthroughs that are said to change the rules of scientific thought.
Zoe Lambert’s contribution, developed with advice from James, addresses
the remarkable story of Lise Meitner, refugee from Nazi persecution and
co-discoverer of the principle of nuclear fission.
Transport history walk
On Sunday 24 October, James Sumner will lead a guided walk around the
historic canals and railway bridges of the Castlefield basin, talking
about how the original “shock city” of urban-industrial growth met its
transport needs, and how changing priorities and possibilities lead to
sometimes unexpected new uses for old structures.
Arguments and umbrella stands: Victorian Manchester’s natural history
Also on the 24th, Leucha Veneer will discuss relations between the
Geological Society and the Natural History Society in Victorian
Manchester. They shared a museum, but disagreed about the admission fee
– and about everything else, including the museum’s umbrella stand! This
event will be repeated on Thursday 28 October.
David Kirby will be involved in a panel discussion at the Cornerhouse
cinema, following the screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, on Monday 25
October. The classic movie has been digitally restored and includes
footage not seen since the film’s 1927 release. (SORRY: THIS EVENT IS
NOW FULLY BOOKED!)
Pedigree chums: historical perspectives on the science of dog breeding
On Wednesday 27 October, Michael Worboys and Neil Pemberton will draw
together cutting edge research in evolutionary biology and historical
studies to explore the enduring appeal of pedigree dogs, tracing how
different breeds have physically changed over time and what this has
meant to the wider public, breeders and pet owners. The talks will also
reveal Manchester’s history of dog shows and dog skulls. A display at
the Manchester Museum will run from 11am, with talks starting at 2pm.
Two CHSTM events at the Briton’s Protection pub on Great Bridgewater
Street will address subjects dear to many pub-goers’ hearts: smoking and
Cigarettes and smoking bans: the science and the history
On Thursday 28 October, Carsten Timmermann will give a talk on the
smoking ban. For three years now smoking has been banned from all
enclosed public places in England. Dr Timmermann will talk about the six
decades of concern surrounding the dangers associated with cigarette
smoke: the epidemiology and the politics. He will discuss who smoked and
who quit, and why it has taken so long to ban smoking.
Drinking up time
On Friday 29 October, there’s another chance to catch James Sumner’s
“Drinking Up Time”. The improbable story of an everyday time-traveller’s
attempt to get to grips with the science of alcohol since 1600 played to
a packed room at last year’s Festival, and is probably the first public
event ever to feature a tavern scuffle with Sir Isaac Newton, plus
Humphrey Davy’s courtroom testimony on the value of putting rotten fish
Plato, new discoveries and code
A recent discovery made by Jay Kennedy made headlines around the world
in the summer of 2010. Plato was a key founder of Western science and
philosophy, but his books have remained mysterious. His ancient
followers insisted they were written in symbolic codes, but modern
scholars have denied this. Dr Kennedy has shown that Plato did indeed
write in code, and deciphering its hidden meanings has brought
revelations about ancient Greek music and mathematics. Dr Kennedy will
speak about this revolution in our understanding of the birth of Western
science at MoSI, on Sunday 31 October, at 1pm.
Full information about the 200+ events taking part across Greater
Manchester as part of the Festival is available from the main Festival