Greg Radick, The Barr-Stroud Rangefinder, or, The Magic and Mayhem of Optics. With Juha Saatsi and Kiara White, HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (23 May 2017)

Greg Radick, The Barr-Stroud Rangefinder, or, The Magic and Mayhem of Optics. With Juha Saatsi and Kiara White, HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (23 May 2017)

The Barr-Stroud Rangefinder, or, The Magic and Mayhem of Optics. With Juha Saatsi and Kiara White, HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (23 May 2017)

Archibald Barr and William Stroud met while teaching at the Yorkshire College of Science, the University of Leeds’ predecessor. In 1888, a War Office competition advertised in Engineering magazine led them to start work on building an optical rangefinder, a device used to accurately determine distances for military purposes. Barr & Stroud’s design was adopted by the Royal Navy in 1892, and later by the Army. It remained in use until it was replaced by radar technology in World War Two.

Join us to discover the struggles Barr and Stroud faced to make their instrument a success, and to explore the philosophical and historical questions raised by optical science in the Victorian era. How does optical theory pose a problem for understanding the relationship between science and reality? What is the difference between pure and applied science? What can we learn from Barr & Stroud about the nature of intellectual ownership in science?

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Greg Radick, The Newlyn-Phillips Machine, or, How Money (with Help from Models and Maths) Makes the World Go Around. With Steven French and Mike Finn, HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (13 December 2016)

Greg Radick, The Newlyn-Phillips Machine, or, How Money (with Help from Models and Maths) Makes the World Go Around. With Steven French and Mike Finn, HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (13 December 2016)


The Newlyn-Phillips Machine, or, How Money (with Help from Models and Maths) Makes the World Go Around. With Steven French and Mike Finn, HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (13 December 2016)

Developed by Bill Phillips, a student at the London School of Economics, and his friend Walter Newlyn, a lecturer at the University of Leeds, the Newlyn-Phillip Machine or, Mark I model of the Monetary National Income Automatic Computer (MONIAC) is a hydraulic computer which uses water to represent the flow of money through an economy.

We live in world where computer-based models of economic life seem increasingly not just to represent that life but to run it. How did this come to pass? And what general lessons can be drawn about the role of models in the sciences, natural and social?

With the Leeds Newlyn-Phillips machine — the world’s first economics computer — as a pivot, this lecture will explore some of the curious ties binding money, maths and models in the ‘dismal science’ and beyond.

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Greg Radick, Mendel’s Significance. Mendel University, Brno (18 May 2017)

Greg Radick, Mendel’s Significance. Mendel University, Brno (18 May 2017)


Mendel’s Significance. Mendel University, Brno (18 May 2017)

Speech delivered in Czech to mark the unveiling of a new statue of Mendel. The English version can be found here and the Czech version here

‘At his death in 1884, Gregor Mendel was little known outside this city. Today, of course, he is famous all over the world. He is “the father of genetics,” regularly ranked with Newton, Darwin and Einstein. Even today, students at every level who are beginning their studies in genetics start with Mendel. What they learn about his ideas derives from a single scientific paper. Entitled “Experiments on Plant Hybrids,” it summed up work with hybrid pea and bean plants that Mendel had completed over the course of ten years in the garden of the Abbey of St Thomas, where he lived. He first delivered this paper as two lectures to the Brünn Natural Sciences Society in 1865, then prepared it for publication the next year in the Society’s annual proceedings. Admirers of Mendel need to come to Brno – and they should! – in order to see the grounds where Mendel did his experiments. …

Greg Radick, Introduction HPS in 20 Objects, 2016

Greg Radick, Introduction. HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (January 2016)


Introduction. HPS in 20 Objects, University of Leeds (January 2016)

What is the history and philosophy of science? What can it tell us about the way we see ourselves and the world around us? How can objects help us to understand what science is, and has been in the past?

Astbury cameraFrom January 2016, HPS at Leeds addressed these questions and more in the history and philosophy of science through a series of 20 monthly lectures. Using objects from the scientific collections of the University of Leeds, we considered ideas and practices in science, technology and medicine from the ancient world to the present day.

Organised by the Museum of the History of Science, Technology & Medicine, the lectures were for a public audience, and assumed no prior knowledge of the objects or subjects being discussed. This video is the introduction to the series.

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Greg Radick, How and Why Darwin Got Emotional about Race. Annual Thomas S. Hall Lecture in History and Philosophy of Science, Washington University in St. Louis (7 November 2016)

Greg Radick, How and Why Darwin Got Emotional about Race. Annual Thomas S. Hall Lecture in History and Philosophy of Science, Washington University in St. Louis (7 November 2016)


How and Why Darwin Got Emotional about Race. Annual Thomas S. Hall Lecture in History and Philosophy of Science, Washington University in St. Louis (7 November 2016)

Nearly everyone is familiar with Darwin’s famous theory of natural selection detailed in his 1859 masterpiece, On the Origin of Species. Perhaps not so commonly known is his theory on the universality of race, presented in the 1872 publication of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

In Expression, notes Darwinian scholar Greg Radick, the author showed that humans of every race, throughout the globe, express their emotions identically. For instance, we all cry when we’re sad and smile when we’re happy. Darwin claimed that this identity amounted to a “new argument” for all the races descending from a single, common ancestral stock.

In this talk Radick tracks the origins of Darwin’s research that led to this conclusion and offer a better understanding of how and why he first began to collect evidence on emotional expression across the human races. It can also help us see how, exactly, Darwin’s scientific work reflected his lifelong hatred of slavery.

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Greg Radick, What Happens in Mendel’s Paper. Mendel Symposium. Villanova University (7 December 2015)


What Happens in Mendel’s Paper. Mendel Symposium. Villanova University (7 December 2015)

The inaugural Mendel Symposium will further the conversation around Mendel as an innovator whose work remains relevant and enlightening in today’s world. The Symposium will bring to Villanova leading minds from some of the world’s most prominent universities, including Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Wake Forest, University of Wisconsin, University of Leeds in England and Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Together, this collection of experts will discuss the enduring impact of Mendel’s work.

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Greg Radick, “Experimenting with the Scientific Past”, BSHS Presidential Address 2015


Experimenting with the Past. Presidential Address, BSHS Conference, Swansea (4 July 2015)

When it comes to knowing about the scientific pasts that might have been – the so-called ‘counterfactual’ history of science – historians can either debate its possibility or get on with the job. The latter course offers opportunities for engaging with some of the most general questions about the nature of science, history and knowledge. It can also yield fresh insights into why particular episodes in the history of science unfolded as they did and not otherwise. Drawing on recent research into the controversy over Mendelism in the early twentieth century, this address reports and reflects on a novel teaching experiment conducted in order to find out what biology and its students might be like now had the controversy gone differently. The results suggest a number of new options: for the collection of evidence about the counterfactual scientific past; for the development of collaborations between historians of science and scientific educators; for the cultivation of more productive relationships between scientists and their forebears; and for a new seriousness and self-awareness about the curiously counterfactual business of being historical.

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Greg Radick, Mendel’s Legacy. Seminar with Prof. Steve Jones and Dr Jenny Lewis, Royal Society Lecture, London (2 June 2015)


Mendel’s Legacy. Seminar with Prof. Steve Jones and Dr Jenny Lewis, Royal Society Lecture, London (2 June 2015)

You may remember learning about Mendel’s pea experiments in science classes growing up, using smooth and wrinkly peas to explain dominant and recessive traits.

We now know that it’s not quite so simple. Our knowledge and understanding of inheritance patterns has deepened extensively since Mendel’s time, but the models in schools rarely reflect this.

In this dynamic panel discussion, we explore the Mendelian picture of genetics that is taught to students and debate if it should be jettisoned for a more up-to-date picture of gene-environment interactions.

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Greg Radick, Introduction. Cultivating Innovation, John Innes Centre, Norwich (14 April 2015)


Introduction. Cultivating Innovation, John Innes Centre, Norwich (14 April 2015)

Organised by Prof Greg Radick and Dr Dominic Berry, University of Leeds.

Generously supported by: The Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Organic Research Centre, John Innes Centre, Plant Bioscience Ltd., and the British Society for the History of Science.

Music by longzijin https://longzijun.wordpress.com/music/

Thanks to Tom Horn for his technical expertise, and provision of recording equipment at no cost to the project.

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Greg Radick, Human Rights & the Expanding Circle: From Darwin to Today 2015


Human Rights & the Expanding Circle: From Darwin to Today

Human Rights and the Humanities Conference, National Humanities Center, 20 March 2014.

The National Humanities Center is a private, nonprofit organization, and the only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities.

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Greg Radick, Human Rights & the Expanding Circle: From Darwin to Today 2015


Human Rights & the Expanding Circle: From Darwin to Today – Discussion

Human Rights and the Humanities Conference, National Humanities Center, 20 March 2014.

The National Humanities Center hosted its third and final conference on Human Rights and the Humanities, March 20–21, 2014. This year’s gathering featured another distinguished group of scholars beginning with a keynote address on “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” from noted cognitive scientist, linguist, and popular science writer Steven Pinker from Harvard University. Other speakers included:
  • K. Anthony Appiah, Princeton University
  • Didier Fassin, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ)
  • Lynn Festa, Rutgers University
  • Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University
  • Stephen Hopgood, University of London
  • Walter Johnson, Harvard University

Greg Radick, Jesus, Darwin and Ashley Montagu. Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, University of Cambridge (11 June 2013)


Jesus, Darwin and Ashley Montagu. Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, University of Cambridge (11 June 2013)

Although never especially well known in Britain, the London-born Ashley Montagu (1905-1999) became one of the most publicly visible anthropologists in the United States in the mid-twentieth century, thanks to a succession of popular books and frequent television appearances.  In this talk I want to concentrate on his life and work in the early 1950s, near the start of his public career, when he held an academic position (his last) at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and published an extraordinarily leftwing book on Darwin, entitled Darwin: Competition and Cooperation (1952).  I’ll aim to recover the largely forgotten research programmes that converged in the making of this book, and more generally led Montagu in this period – the era of McCarthyism in American politics, and the Modern Synthesis in evolutionary biology – to contrast what he saw as an increasingly outmoded Darwinian message of hate and competition with an ever-more scientifically respectable Christian message of love and cooperation.

The termly public lecture in Cambridge is given on some aspect of science and religion by an internationally recognised speaker. Whilst academically rigorous, the lectures are accessible to a multidisciplinary audience.

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Greg Radick, “The Role of the Royal Society in the Battle Over Mendelism.” Public lecture, Royal Society of London (5 October 2012)


The Role of the Royal Society in the Battle Over Mendelism. Public lecture, Royal Society of London, 5 October (2012)

The early years of the twentieth century saw one of the most ferocious controversies in the whole history of biology, over Gregor Mendel’s experiments in pea hybridization and their significance for the scientific study of inheritance. On one side, the “Mendelians” were led by William Bateson FRS. On the other side, the opposed “biometricians” were led by W. F. R. Weldon FRS. Both men took inspiration from the work of Francis Galton FRS. In this talk I want to take seriously the ‘FRSness’ of these three famous scientists in order to throw light on the Mendelian-biometrician debate but also on the functioning of the Royal Society as a scientific institution at the turn of the century. I shall emphasize three organizational and ordering roles for the Society in particular, in relation to communications, committees and commendations.

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Scientific Inheritance – an Inaugural Lecture from Greg Radick (University of Leeds) 2012


Scientific Inheritance: How History Matters for the Sciences. Inaugural Lecture, University of Leeds (16 May 2012)

“Radick’s lecture explores the state of the discipline through the question of why Gregor Mendel has become the founding hero of textbook histories of genetics, at the expense of good history, of those who made more essential contributions and, he suggests, of good pedagogy for future biologists and geneticists. As he says, “the gap between what’s widely taken for granted as true scientifically and what’s actually the case is a theme of perennial fascination for historians and philosophers of science.”

This is where Kuhn enters….” Read more from “Beyond our Kuhnian Inheritance: A recent lecture by Prof Greg Radick questions our scientific inheritance, through textbook histories of genetics and Thomas Kuhn’s legacy.”  By Rebekah HiggittThe Guardian. 28 August 2012.

Greg Radick, “Lessons of the Galápagos.” Debating Darwin series, University of Chicago (11 November 2011)


Lessons of the Galápagos. Debating Darwin, University of Chicago (11 November 2011)

Greg Radick (University of Leeds) will reflect on Darwin’s reasoning on the plant and animal life he found on the Galápagos Islands. This will then be followed by a critical examination of two vastly divergent positions of those who find fault with the “supernatural-expunging” form of the argument – these hark from the Intelligent Design (Paul Nelson) and Evolutionary Biology (Elliott Sober) perspectives. Radick then considers Charles Lyell’s incredible influence on Darwin, and how this lead Darwin to produce a very Lyell-specific argument with respect to the Galápagos denizens.

The Debating Darwin workshops are a series of lectures given by the most acclaimed historians and philosophers of science. These workshops, headed by Robert J. Richards of the University of Chicago and Michael Ruse of Florida State University are co-sponsored by the Fishbein Center for History of Science, the Office of the President, and the Templeton Foundation.

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Greg Radick, Animal Minds. The Forum for European Philosophy, LSE (21 February 2011)


Animal Minds. The Forum for European Philosophy, LSE (21 February 2011)

Speaker(s): Professor Nicola Clayton, Professor Erica Fudge, Professor Greg Radick

This panel discussion provided historical and contemporary perspectives on animal cognition and considered the challenges facing the study of animal minds. Nicola Clayton is professor of comparative cognition at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the Royal Society. Erica Fudge is professor of English studies in the School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde. Gregory Radick is professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Leeds.

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Greg Radick, Introduction. Intellectual Property and the Biosciences, Symposium and Summer School, University of Leeds (7-8 July, 2010)


Introduction. Intellectual Property and the Biosciences, Symposium and Summer School, University of Leeds (7-8 July, 2010)

Combining a day-long symposium and a half-day summer school, the meeting marked the culmination of the White Rose IPBio Project. The project members were, from Leeds, Professors Greg Radick (History and Philosophy of Science) and Graham Dutfield (Law); from Sheffield, Professors Aurora Plomer and Margaret Llewellyn, both in the Sheffield Institute for Biotechnological Law and Ethics; and from York, Professors Tom Baldwin (Philosophy) and Andrew Webster (Sociology). Invited talks at the symposium were given by Professor Robert Cook-Deegan (Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke), Professor Daniel Kevles (History, Yale), Dr Bronwyn Parry (Geography, Queen Mary, London), Dr Jane Calvert (Innogen, Edinburgh), Professor Plomer, Mr Antony Taubman (Head of the IP Division, World Trade Organization, Geneva), Lady Lisa Markham (Harrison Goddard Foote, patent attorneys, Leeds) and Professor Rebecca Eisenberg (Law, Michigan).

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