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The Notebooks of Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) by Professor Sharon Ruston
February 6 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm6.00£
Tickets now available for zoom option only.
This first Lunar Lecture of 2023 will explore the notebooks of the early nineteenth-century chemist Sir Humphry Davy, best known for his miners’ safety lamp, known as the Davy lamp. Professor Sharon Ruston is leading a research council funded project to transcribe all of Davy’s 75 surviving notebooks, which reveal that he wrote poetry as well as science: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/humphrydavy/davy-notebooks-project/.
After discussing Davy’s career and life briefly, and considering the notebooks as a whole, Professor Ruston will focus on one notebook in particular, kept in Bristol in 1800 in the company of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and others, which is mainly occupied with an attempt at a philosophical poem, variously called ‘The Child of Genius’, ‘Child of Nature’, and ‘Lover of Nature, or the feelings of Eldon’ but is also used to write up his nitrous oxide experiments and first efforts in electrochemistry. She will explore the way that science and poetry work together in Davy’s notebook to produce a particular view of the world.
Professor Sharon Ruston is Chair of Romanticism at Lancaster University and the Head of their English Literature and Creative Writing Department. She is the co-editor of the four-volume Complete Letters of Sir Humphry Davy, published by Oxford University Press in 2020. Her most recent book is The Science of Life and Death in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Oxford: Bodleian Library Press, 2021).