All events are open to the public. Space is limited, so please contact us at [email protected] to reserve a place. Each event will last an hour, and will take place in the Library reading rooms at the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG.

Friday 16 March, 1.00pm Endurance and discovery: polar expeditions

The Royal Society and its Fellows have been at the forefront of polar exploration for scientific purposes. This is an opportunity to find out more about these extraordinary expeditions and the resourceful pioneers who led them. Joanna Corden, Royal Society Library

Friday 23 March, 1.00pm ‘Balloon madness’: science versus spectacle in early aeronautics

When balloons were invented, there was a lively debate about their possible uses. This event introduces the spectrum of meanings that became attached to balloons, and shows how natural philosophers vied with adventurers to explore and understand the regions of air. Dr Clare Brant, King’s College London

Friday 30 March, 1.00pm ‘Whose Darwin is the true Darwin?’

Battles over Charles Darwin’s legacy and the implications of his theory are central to current debates on evolution. Darwin’s extensive correspondence shows, as nothing else can, how he arrived at his published views. Here, two Darwin experts talk about their current work on Darwin and evolution. Dr Paul White and Dr Alison Pearn, Darwin Correspondence Project, University of Cambridge

Friday 13 April, 1.00pm Rescuing Ramsden from the archives

There has never been a full biography of Jesse Ramsden, arguably London’s finest 18th century scientific instrument maker. Now, drawing on archives in UK and Europe, including those of the Royal Society, Ramsden’s life at his great Piccadilly workshop is brought to light in a forthcoming book. Dr Anita McConnell, University of Cambridge

Friday 20 April, 1.00pm

‘Bird stuffers and snake charmers’: India and the Royal Society A chance to take a guided tour of our India exhibition, and to see stunning illustrations of Indian flora and fauna from our book collections. There will be short talks on the background to the exhibition, and on the role of the East India Company in bringing these treasures to Western eyes. Rupert Baker, Royal Society Library, and Anna Winterbottom, Queen Mary, University of London

Friday 27 April, 1.00pm ‘Inquisitive Age’: exploring the byways of 17th century science

The Royal Society began with a group of men who were interested in natural phenomena and wanted to understand how their world worked – but they were not trained scientists. This talk will explore some of the lesser known aspects of their research programme, featuring carts with legs, monstrous births, and showers of fish from the heavens. Dr Felicity Henderson, King’s College London.

Our autumn events are now being made available as podcasts.