Dr Robert Bud, Research Keeper at the Science Museum, previews a new conference devoted to science and culture in the early 20th century. Tickets are available at the early bird rate here until 28th Feb.
This year, the 22nd April marks the centenary of the first use of poison gas on the western front. This strange new weapon was quickly seen as the emblem of how the power of science was outstripping morality. After the First World War, electricity, the wireless and the aeroplane as well as new theories — not just of physics but also psychoanalysis — came to be associated in the public mind with exciting, and sometimes threatening, developments. Engagement with science began to be commonly used as a sign of being modern across culture in Britain and the western world.
Today, historians from many different specialities are looking again at the excited discussions about science that circulated among writers and artists, through the press and radio, and in museums, government and universities in the years after the First World War.
This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together people who do not normally meet in the same space. Scholars from a range of disciplines can explore how the complex interpretations of science affected the re-creation of what it was to be modern. The meeting will be held at a centre of historical research in London, the Institute of Historical Research, and tickets can be booked here.
A limited number of free tickets to the video opera “Three Tales” by Steve Reich and Beryl Korot to be performed live at the Science Museum 22 and 24 April will be available to registered participants at the conference.
To find more about the conference and to register, visit qmul.ac.uk/being-modern/