A happy 2020 from the Royal Society Library staff. We hope you all had an excellent festive season and have returned raring to go in the New Year. We’re open for business again, and keeping our normal Library opening hours of 10:00-17:00 Monday to Friday.

Just a quick note of some forthcoming events for your diaries. I should probably come up with a snappy title: everyone will be using ‘2020 Vision’ this year, I suspect, but not many organisations will be able to lay claim to ‘360 Vision’ based on the number of years since their foundation. I’m not a great coiner of corporate strategy slogans, though, so how about ‘Some cool stuff coming up this year’?

First of all, we’re excited to tell you about a special late night event on Monday 10 February. We’re opening our doors to the public and inviting you to spend the evening discovering how science has influenced popular literature, film and television. We’ll have opportunities to hear about cutting edge science, and the history of science fiction and the Royal Society. The full programme will be announced soon.

Also in February, we’ll be taking down the current volcanology exhibition in our basement space and replacing it with ‘Stormy Weather: from lore to science’, a display on the history of weather and climate science, working together with the Met Office to highlight historical meteorology material from both collections. Watch this space for an introductory blogpost by exhibition curator Louisiane Ferlier; in the meantime, if you haven’t seen ‘Fiery Earth: the volcano and the Royal Society’, you have just over a month…


Plate 3 from Thomas Forster’s ‘Researches on atmospheric phenomena’ (1823)


I’ve been working with Louisiane to set up a workshop in early March looking at provenance in our early book collections. This one has snowballed – I never knew there were so many rare book librarians and provenance experts out there! – so we don’t have any more spaces left on the day, but we’ll be blogging about the outcomes and, in the longer term, we hope the expert advice we gather will feed into improved entries on our Library book catalogue.

The Library team is closely involved with the planning of the annual Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture, awarded for excellence in a subject relating to the history of science, philosophy of science or the social function of science. The lecture from our 2019 prizewinner takes place on 12 May, and nominations for the 2020 prize are open until 27 January – you can find more information about the award and submit a nomination on our website.


Professor Simon Schaffer, awarded the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal in 2019. Professor Schaffer will present his prize lecture at the Royal Society on Tuesday 12 May 2020.


A reminder, too, of our ongoing Lisa Jardine Grant Scheme for interdisciplinary studies in intellectual history. The next round of applications opens tomorrow, Wednesday 8 January, giving early career researchers in the history of science and related interdisciplinary studies until 26 March to apply. The grant supports research using archival material from the Royal Society or other collections, and travel for networking and professional development. Further details can be found via the above link, where you can also take a look at some examples of past research funded by the Lisa Jardine Scheme. Applications must be submitted through the Royal Society Grants portal.

Further down the line, Library staff members will be participating in the evening events at our Summer Science Exhibition – always a lively and fun week – and doing our usual tour-guiding at Open House London in September. All will be trailed on this blog, so keep an eye out for our weekly posts as we get cracking on another busy year in the Royal Society Library.


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