Theme: “Electromagnetism: the Road to Power”


Trinity College, Cambridge, 4-5 September 2014

Conference website:

Organised by the Institute of Physics (History of Physics Group), in collaboration with the EPS History of Physics group.

The conference will inaugurate a new international series, bringing together professional historians of science, practising physicists, science museum staff, lecturers, teachers and others with interests in any aspects and periods of physics history.

The programme will consist of 9 invited lectures of duration 35 minutes and 13 contributed lectures of 20 minutes. In addition there will be a poster session and a one-hour debate on contemporary issues concerning the presentation of science and its history in museums.

• Accommodation booking deadline: 1 August 2014

• Registration deadline: 15 August 2014

Invited Lectures:

The induction coil: the natural and social history of a physics instrument
Dr Paolo Brenni, CNR, Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica Florence, Italy
Using Maxwell’s equations before the electron
Professor Jed Buchwald, Doris and Henry Dreyfuss Professor of History Humanities and Social Sciences, Caltech, USA
The early history of electricity: from Volta onwards
Professor Hasok Chang, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Why were Cavendish’s electrical researches important to Maxwell?
Dr Isobel Falconer, St Andrews University, Dundee, UK
History of physics, and what it’s good for
Professor John. L. Heilbron, University of California, Berkeley USA
Demystifying Maxwell’s demon: Its historical role on the route from thermodynamics to (quantum-) information theory
Professor Dr Heinz Krenn, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria
Physics and Trinity College
Professor Malcolm Longair, University of Cambridge, UK
This splendid apparatus: the material culture of electro-magnetic induction
Professor Iwan Morus, Aberystwyth University
The dynamics of concepts in early electromagnetism
Professor Dr Friedrich Steinle, Technical University, Berlin, Germany
The conference will offer the opportunity to present some aspects of Cambridge’s scientific history. Visits to Woolsthorpe Manor where Sir Isaac Newton was born and undertook much of his work, and to the Cavendish Museum, with its rich history of exhibits, will be arranged.