Cambridge Science Festival at the University Library
The lectures are free, but due to the popularity of the Festival, booking is required for both events. You can book online at the Cambridge Science Festival website or by following the links below.
Airy, Challis and the Northumberland Telescope
Thursday 15 March, 17:00–18:15 (archive documents available for view from 16:45)
CUL Morison Room
Talk/exhibition, recommended for 14+ years
The Northumberland telescope, erected at Cambridge University Observatory during the 1830s, and still in use, was one of the great engineering triumphs of nineteenth century science. Its origin, design and construction reveal much of how science, technology and policy interacted in a period of major debates about support for research and the role of the University in the sciences. Professor Simon Schaffer explores why the instrument was built and how it came into use in those troubled times.
John Gould’s illustrated bird books
Monday 19 March, 17:15–18:30
CUL Morison Room
Talk/exhibition, recommended for 12+ years
John Gould (1804–1881), ornithologist, author and taxidermist was responsible for the production of some of the most lavish and elegant illustrated books on birds ever produced. The son of the Royal Gardener at Windsor, Gould was a self-trained taxidermist, by 1824 established as one of London’s foremost ‘bird-stuffers’. His expertise led to his appointment as the first Curator of the Zoological Society Museum and ultimately to his introduction to the country’s leading naturalists, including Charles Darwin.
Although Gould was a pioneering ornithologist and the author of the section on birds in Darwin’s initial report on The zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, he is still best remembered for his series of vast lithographic plate books. This is a rare opportunity to see and hear about a selection of these extraordinary and beautiful books from the Rare Books Department of Cambridge University Library.