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The History of Science Museum

The History of Science Museum houses an unrivaled collection of historic scientific instruments in the world's oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford. By virtue of the collection and the building, the Museum occupies a special position, both in the study of the history of science and in the development of western culture and collecting.

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Simon Forman: astrology, Medicine and Quackery in Elizabethan England

The third in a series of public lectures linked to the Museum's 'Eccentricity' exhibition.

54mins

26 Oct 2011

Rank #1

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From Alligator Wrestling to Fossil Skeletons: Scientific Eccentricity in the Early 19th Century

Dr Vicky Carroll talks about the eccentric tendencies of early 19th-century natural historians. Whether hunting for fossils or wrestling alligators, these scientists certainly had an active interest in their field work!

48mins

20 Sep 2011

Rank #2

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Al-Mizan: Mapping the Earth in Medieval Islam

A public lecture by Professor Emilie Savage-Smith, FBA, Emeritus Professor of the History of Islamic Science, University of Oxford. Part of the Al-Mizan exhibition which explores the connections between the sciences and arts in Muslim societies.

56mins

6 Apr 2011

Rank #3

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Mercator: The Man who Mapped the Planet

Geographer, explorer, writer and broadcaster Nicholas Crane talks about the inspirations behind his book on Gerard Mercator.

55mins

2 Jul 2012

Rank #4

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Interview: Peter Scott on Marconi and Radio Manufacturing

Professor Peter Scott discusses his research into competitive advantage and innovation in the interwar British radio industry using the Marconi Archive, Britain's most extensive and important archive for the radio and related industries. The first Douglas Byrne Marconi Fellowship was awarded in 2011 to Professor Peter Scott, of the Henley Business School, University of Reading, for research into competitive advantage and innovation in the interwar British radio industry. Professor Scott will deliver the first Douglas Byrne Marconi Lecture on March 1, 2011. "The Marconi fellowship has provided me with the resources to undertake in-depth research using Britain's most extensive and important archive for the radio and related industries", says Professor Scott. "The Marconi collection sheds important light on all aspects of the early radio industry and constitutes a key historical resource for anyone undertaking research in this area." The Marconi Collection was donated to the University of Oxford by Marconi plc in December 2004. A catalogue of the archive, funded by the Wireless Preservation Society, is available online from the Bodleian Library. A catalogue of the objects can be found on the website of the Museum of the History of Science. One of the most interesting sections of the archive relates to the Titanic disaster in 1912. The role played by wireless telegraphy in saving lives during this tragic event is well documented in the archive, which features the logs of ships' radio operators recording the first and last distress signals from the Titanic as well as thousands of other messages exchanged before, during and after the emergency. As well as documents relating to Marconi and his Wireless Telegraph Company, there are records of numerous other electronic and electrical engineering companies, all of which were ultimately absorbed into the General Electric Company (GEC) which in 1999 changed its own name to Marconi. The fellowship is named in memory of its founder, Douglas Byrne.

16mins

1 Apr 2011

Rank #5

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Telescopes Now Lecture 4: The Pierre Auger Observatory

In the fourth and final lecture in the 'Telescopes Now' series, Professor Alan Watson talks about his work at the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory. Professor Alan Watson is Emeritus and Research Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds, and with James Cronin established and led the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina. In his lecture he touches on some of the practical, political, technical, financial and organisational challenges faced by the team that he worked with to establish the Observatory.

1hr 11mins

3 Mar 2009

Rank #6

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Telescopes Now Lecture 3: The Gemini Telescopes

In the third in a series of lectures by senior astronomers about recent developments in telescopes, Professor Roger Davies talks about his work on the Gemini Telescopes. Professor Roger Davies is Philip Whetton Professor of Astrophysics and Chairman of Physics at the University of Oxford. In his lecture he touches on some of the practical, political, technical, financial and organisational challenges he and his team faced when building the Gemini telescopes in Hawaii and Chile.

1hr 4mins

3 Mar 2009

Rank #7

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Decimalising Time: Calendar and Clocks in the French Revolution

Dr Matthew Shaw, British Library, talks about the extraordinary revisions of time measurement adopted in the French Revolution.

52mins

2 Jul 2012

Rank #8

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Crackpots and Eggheads: Eccentricity in Natural History

In the first in a series of 'Eccentricity' lectures, Dr Brian Regal talks about the search for 'monsters', in particular the hunt for Sasquatch or 'Bigfoot', and the "crackpot" natural historians who were obsessed with the search. Dr Brian Regal is the Assistant Professor for the History of Science, Kean University, New Jersey.

54mins

28 Jul 2011

Rank #9

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Radio Manufacturing in the Interwar Years

Professor Peter Scott (University of Reading) presents the inaugural Douglas Byrne Marconi Lecture based on his research on Marconi and radio manufacturing between the World Wars.

56mins

1 Apr 2011

Rank #10