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The Museum frequently hosts lectures, usually as a series, in which experts in the field of the history of science and scientific instruments share their insights. For forthcoming lectures please see below.

  • Thu

    Ada, Countess of Lovelace, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer and has become an icon for women in technology. But how did a young woman in the 19th century, without access to formal school or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science?

    Ursula Martin is a professor at the University of Oxford whose research interests span mathematics, computer science and the humanities. She recently wrote Ada Lovelace, the Making of a Computer Scientist with Christopher Hollings and Adrian Rice. It is the first popular account of the scientific and mathematical education of Ada Lovelace.

    Booking will open on Monday 27 August. Please book via our Eventbrite Page.

    For the Women in Science programme of events.

  • Thu
    6:00 pm

    Dr Patricia Fara (University of Cambridge) discusses the pivotal roles of women scientists during the First World War, and how their efforts contributed to the war outcome and the Votes for Women movement.

    Booking required via Eventbrite. Bookings will open on 1 October.

  • Thu
    6:00 pm

    Prime numbers have intrigued, inspired and infuriated mathematicians for millennia and yet mathematicians' difficulty with answering simple questions about them reveals their depth and subtlety.

    In this talk, which shares its title with her recent book, Vicky will describe recent progress towards proving the famous Twin Primes Conjecture and the very different ways in which these breakthroughs have been made - a solo mathematician working in isolation, a young mathematician displaying creativity at the start of a career, and a large collaboration that reveals much about how mathematicians go about their work.

    Vicky Neale is the Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and a Supernumerary Fellow at Balliol College.  Her job is to be enthusiastic about mathematics with undergraduates, school students, and the wider public.  Her first book "Closing the Gap: the quest to understand prime numbers" was published in October 2017.

    Booking required via Eventbrite. Booking will open on 1 November.


Many of the presentations are available as podcasts, some accompanied by slides and photographs – as for the following series on astronomy and telescopes.

February 2009

Telescopes Now website

Telescopes Now: real stories of astronomy today

Four eminent astronomers share stories behind some of the major instrumental developments of the modern era. The lectures, available here as podcasts, touch on the practical, technical, financial and organisational challenges facing telescope builders.

For information about future lectures at the Museum please sign up to our monthly e-newsletters here.