Taking place just prior to the 3 Society conference in Halifax, this conference sets out to ask how something now conceived of as ‘popular science’ developed in the nineteenth century.

We start from the assumption that what people meant by the term ‘popular science’ changed over the century, and that, even at any one time, it carried different connotations to different social groups and to people experiencing it in different contexts. The emphasis will be placed on sites and experiences in an effort to extend our understanding of the history of popular science beyond the popularisers themselves. We will not ignore the writers, publishers and curators who created popular science products, but we want to examine larger questions about the ways in which popular science emerged and was transformed over the century. Speakers will consider the different media and physical locations which could be involved, from printed items through conversations to museums and aquaria. They will also try to develop methods for investigating the ever-elusive problem of audience experiences. The conference aims to broaden our understanding of popular science in a time when it became far more widespread as a form of entertaining instruction.

Speakers will include: Vicky Carroll, Ann Shteir, Jon Topham, John van Wyhe, Aileen Fyfe, Iwan Morus, Anne Secord, Jim Secord, Sofia Akerberg, Sam Alberti, Graeme Gooday, and Bernard Lightman. Jonathan Rose and Sophie Forgan will offer commentaries.

Conference organizers: Bernard Lightman and Aileen Fyfe. For further information, contact Jessica Poole at ([email protected]). The conference website is at: http://www.yorku.ca/popsci/.