Dr Aileen Fyfe gains place in Birmingham-based AHRC Research Network
May 13, 2013 Leave a comment
Dr Aileen Fyfe is part of a successful AHRC Research Network investigating the physicist, spiritualist and university manager, Oliver Lodge (1851-1940). The network, based at the University of Birmingham and organised by Dr Jim Mussell, will be holding 4 meetings over the coming two years, each investigating different aspects of Lodge’s life. Lodge has much to teach us about the place of science in culture because, in his life and career, he transcended many of the boundaries we imagine structure the cultural status of science. A pioneer of wireless telegraphy, Lodge was an internationally-acclaimed physicist and engineer, equally at home in laboratory and workshop. Alongside his commercial interests Lodge carved out a career in the new Victorian universities, becoming the first professor of physics at the University of Liverpool and then Principal of the University of Birmingham after its move to Edgbaston. Not only did Lodge help science consolidate its place at the heart of the university, but he also saw the institutionalisation of the differences between scientific disciplines.
A prolific writer, speaker and, later in his life, broadcaster, Lodge was widely known as a populariser of science and commentator on current affairs. Yet in the latter part of his life, Lodge became a famous spiritualist, carrying out psychical investigations alongside his scientific research and publishing a bestseller, Raymond (1916), detailing encounters with his son killed in the trenches. Focusing on Lodge can help us understand the differences between science and the arts and humanities; the place of faith and the imagination in scientific practice; and the role of the arts and humanities in popularising science.
For more on the award see Dr Mussell’s blog: http://jimmussell.com/2013/03/02/making-waves-oliver-lodge-and-the-cultures-of-science-1875-1940/