St Andrews historian stars in ‘Victorian Science Spectacular’

Science and technology play prominent roles in our predictions of the future, whether we are imagining cures for disease, liberation from household chores, or interplanetary tourism. This was equally true in the late nineteenth century, when Victorians noted the significant technological and scientific advances since their grandparents’ days: they were proud of bicycles and typewriters; of railways, steamships and electric telegraphs; of photography and electric lighting. Science fiction writers began to wonder what the world of the future would look like, while popularisers poured their energies into explicating the wonders of science and the workings of technology.

The demonstrations, lectures and shows that were part of late Victorian entertainment culture incorporated these innovations into their programmes. Scientific shows were crucial to the process of selling the future to Victorian publics. They were highly skilled and often technologically sophisticated affairs that required careful management and meticulous choreography of performers’ bodies and scientific apparatus. The ‘Victorian Science Spectacular’ project recreated one such show. It involved a team of academics from around the country, and was led by Dr Aileen Fyfe of the St Andrews School of History.

The show has been performed across the country, from Aberdeen to Cambridge. It has also been recorded – watch below!

The above text and video are reproduced with the kind permission of the Victorian Science Spectacular Project.

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials allowing for in depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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