The final lunchtime seminar in this year’s series will be on Tuesday 29th May at 1pm, and will be given by CHSTM’s own Jenny Goodare. The title of the paper is ” ‘Neither formal agenda nor record’: The role of lunch in science-policy, 1964-72.” The abstract is provided below.

The seminar will take place in seminar room 2.57 (Simon Building) and will be followed by lunch, for those who wish to join us. We look forward to seeing you there.

“A theme that is frequently discussed by scholars currently working on the Royal Society in the 20th Century is that of the informal relations and social networks that connected Fellows of the Royal Society (FRSs) to political allies and influential policy-makers. Whilst there is some excellent scholarship outlining the existence and importance of informal networks within the science community, empirical studies of the content of informal meetings are hard to come by. Part of the reason for this is the problem of sources – “neither agenda nor record” – as the value of the practice itself can preclude its visibility in the historical record. This paper is an attempt to add some empiricism to the idea that informality was important in relations between the Royal Society and the British government, and to introduce the idea that lunch, as the vehicle of informality, was often a vehicle for change.

Focusing on the period 1965-72, this paper will explore what I term the ‘national network for international science and diplomacy’ and show how the working lunch, allowing ‘off the record’ discussion to take place, was central to establishing and maintaining an advisory structure within the network.”