Workshop 3: Science, Pure and Applied: Oliver Lodge, Physics and Engineering

Date: 31 October 2014
Location: University of Liverpool
Registration: closed
Programme: download here

This workshop, which will take place in the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Building, the opening of which Lodge attended in 1892, examines the distinction between pure and applied science in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today, Lodge is most celebrated for his role in the development of wireless telegraphy; at the same time, however, he is remembered for his stubborn defence of the ether in the face of relativity and the new physics. His position in the university meant that he acted as spokesperson for pure research carried out by salaried academics while also representing the self-made engineer, able to turn theory into profit. This workshop will consider Lodge’s contribution to science and engineering; his attitudes to intellectual property and priority (including Lodge’s disputes with his rivals); and the trajectory of his career.

We will be showing (and discussing) some film of Oliver Lodge speaking and the day will end with a special visit to the University archives to see Lodge material. There will be a chance to visit the exhibition ‘A World A Particle’ in the Victorian Gallery and Museum. The workshop will be taking place in the Victoria Gallery and Museum’s Leggatte Theatre. Information about the Victoria Gallery and Museum, including information how to get there, is available here.


9.00-9.45 Registration, tea / coffee
9:45-10:00 Welcome: James Mussell, Graeme Gooday, and Peter Rowlands
10:00-11:00 (Chair: Graeme Gooday) Bruce Hunt (University of Texas) ‘The Alternative Path: Lodge, Lightning, and Electromagnetic Waves’
11:00-12:00 (Chair: Jim Mussell) Di Drummond (Leeds Trinity University) ‘Pure and Applied Science at the University of Birmingham, 1890-1914’
12:00-13:00 lunch and opportunity to visit A World A Particle in the Victoria Art Gallery and Museum
13:00-14:00 Matt Stanley (New York University) ‘Lodge and Mathematics: Counting beans, interpreting symbols, and Einstein’s blindfold’
14:00-14:30 Tea / coffee
14:30-16:00 (Chair: Jim Mussell) Peter Rowlands (University of Liverpool) ‘Oliver Lodge and Liverpool’
Alessio Rocci (University of Padua) ‘Oliver in Quantum-Gravity-land’
16:00-17:00 Screening of Lodge film and roundtable discussion featuring Di Drummond, Graeme Gooday, Bruce Hunt, and Matthew Stanley
17:00-18:00 Tour for delegates of Lodge collections in University Archives