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The Darwin family have been—and remain—one of the most famous families associated with the University of Cambridge. The period around 1900 represents the foundation of sustained connections between the Darwin family and Cambridge. Four of Charles Darwin’s children moved to the town, two of whom were elected to senior positions within the university. 

Concentrating on George Howard Darwin (1845–1912), Plumian Professor of Astronomy who purchased Newnham Grange, now Darwin College, in 1885, this talk gives a new account of Darwin’s scientific work through examining his attempts to adapt this for broader audiences. Darwin’s research relied on a sophisticated correspondence network extending across the British empire, gathering data to formulate his theories on the relationship between the tides and lunar motion. In the years around 1900 Darwin was invited to present on these matters in Europe, the United States and South Africa. Concentrating on the series of Lowell Lectures Darwin gave in Boston in 1897, this talk examines his means for conveying complex theories to public audiences, work that resulted in his only—and extremely successful—monograph The Tides and Kindred Phenomena of the Solar System (1898). 

About the speaker: Dr. Edwin Rose earned a PhD. in the History and Philosophy of Science department at the University of Cambridge. Since then he has been Munby Fellow at Cambridge University Library and a fellow of Darwin College and is currently undertaking a project entitled 'The Darwin Family and Cambridge: Science Art and Nature, 1750-1965' for Darwin College. In October 2022 Edwin will return to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science as the PI on the new AHRC research project 'Natural History in the Age of Revolutions, 1776 - 1848'.

Darwin in Conversation: The Endlessly Curious Life and Letters of Charles Darwin

This event is being hosted as part of Cambridge University Libraries exhibition, Darwin in Conversation: The Endlessly Curious Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (Saturday 9 July-Saturday 3 December). The exhibition is free and open to all, and those attending the lecture are welcome to visit the exhibition beforehand (the exhibition will close after the lecture finishes). Full details including opening times can be found here. For the latest visitor information about Covid-19, please click here.

Location: Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library

Registration: Free event open to all, registered required: BOOK HERE

AccessibilityStep-free access with slight gradient; narrowest point into the building is 82.5cm; accessible toilet; baby changing facilities; accessible parking. Please email if you have any questions about accessibility for this event.

Date: Wednesday 28th September 2022