Workshop 1: Civic Science: Oliver Lodge, Physics, and the Modern University

Date: 9 November 2013
Location: Poynting Physics, University of Birmingham
Call for papers: closed
Programme: available here to download
Registration: closed

This workshop will investigate both the place of science within the nineteenth-century university and the place of the university in the nineteenth-century city. Lodge spent most of his career at the newly founded University College Liverpool and then the University of Birmingham. This workshop, hosted by the Centre for the Study of Cultural Modernity at the University of Birmingham, considers Lodge’s legacy for the University and Birmingham, as well as the place of science in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century university more broadly. By considering physics in the context of the university, this workshop explores both the institutionalisation of science and the place of the university in wider civic life. It will explore how science was taught in the universities and how it was communicated beyond. It will also explore Lodge’s personal and family life, and the way his wife and children were recruited to help him with his civic duties.


10:00 Registration and coffee
10:30 Welcome and opening remarks
10:45 Keynote One
Iwan Morus (Aberystwyth University): ‘“That Taste for Learning and Science”: Science and Civic Identity in Victorian Wales’
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Tour of Lodge materials in the Cadbury Research Library. You can view these in digital form on Flickr here.
14:00 Panel Session
Imogen Clarke: ‘Looking beyond the ‘Modernists’: Sir Oliver Lodge and the Public Face of 1920s Physics’. An abridged version of this paper has been posted here.
Peter Rowlands (University of Liverpool): ‘Oliver Lodge’s Subliminal Influence’. You can download the slides for this talk here.
15:00 Coffee break
15:30 Keynote Two
Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds): ‘Civic science and the spatial politics of ‘pure’ vs. ‘applied’ knowledge at Birmingham’
16:45 Roundtable Discussion
Featuring Matthew Stanley (New York University); Iwan Morus; Imogen Clarke; Peter Rowlands; Graeme Gooday.
17:45 Wine reception
18:30 Victorian Science Spectacular!
This free, hour-long demonstration is open to both workshop delegates and members of the public. Further details here.

You can also download the poster and programme by clicking here (pdf 140kb).


This event is free and open to all, however registration is essential. To register email the organizers at When you register, please could you also state if you have any dietary requirements.

The call for papers is now closed but available on the site here, or to download as a pdf here.