Display at the Whipple Library showcases a significant donation of material from the Cambridge Philosophical Society, and has been curated by Dr Edwin Rose.
Photo: Geological map of Anglesey from J.S. Henslow's 1822 article Geological Description of Anglesea. Article form the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society Volume 1 pp 359-452.
In the early nineteenth century no scientific society was complete without its own journal. Established on 15 November 1819 the Cambridge Philosophical Society (CPS) was founded to promote scientific inquiry and facilitate the communication of facts associated with the advancement of philosophy and natural history. Its membership included many of the greatest scholars of the age. The Society was founded as a space for university graduates to discuss and present new research. Within a year of its foundation the CPS was holding fortnightly meetings and had founded the most extensive scientific library and first museum of natural history in Cambridge.
The current exhibition examines the Society’s publishing programme over the last two centuries starting with the first issue of the new journal the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the first part of which was printed in 1821. The Transactions was a product of the wealth of material presented at society meetings. The Cambridge Quarterly Review ranked it ‘among the most scientific [journals] of the day; dreading no comparisons with the Transactions of National Societies themselves.’ .
This exhibition has been generated through the CPS’s generous donation of a number of journals from its stores in 2023 and enthusiasm to loan items from its archives. Many of the early issues remain in large printed sheets, compiled and folded over once to facilitate storage. Later on, Cambridge University Press placed the journals in glued paper or card covers, a legacy of the onset of machine printing and mechanised binding techniques in the late nineteenth century. The unused nature of this archive casts a unique perspective onto the processes of compiling, printing and distributing scientific journals in Cambridge from 1821.
Photo: Display at the Whipple Library: 200 Years of Scientific Publishing at the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Photo: CPS Vice-President Dr Claire Barlow with Dr Edwin Rose discussing exhibits from the new Whipple Library exhibition '200 Years of Scientific Publishing at the Cambridge Philosophical Society' which opened on Monday 22nd January, 2024.
From Darwin’s paper on evolution to the development of stem cell research, publications from the Society continue to shape the scientific landscape.
Mathematical Proceedings is one of the few high-quality journals publishing original research papers that cover the whole range of pure and applied mathematics, theoretical physics and statistics.
Biological Reviews covers the entire range of the biological sciences, presenting several review articles per issue. Although scholarly and with extensive bibliographies, the articles are aimed at non-specialist biologists as well as researchers in the field.
The Spirit of Inquiry celebrates the 200th anniversary of the remarkable Cambridge Philosophical Society and brings to life the many remarkable episodes and illustrious figures associated with the Society, including Adam Sedgwick, Mary Somerville, Charles Darwin, and Lawrence Bragg.
Become a Fellow of the Society and enjoy the benefits that membership brings. Membership costs £20 per year.
Finding and understanding the nature of the first stars at cosmic dawn is one of the most important and most ambitious goals for modern astrophysics. The first populations of stars produced the first chemical elements heavier than helium and formed the first, small protogalaxies, which then evolved, across the cosmic epoch, into the large and mature galaxies, such as the Milky Way and those in our local neighbour. Equally important and equally challenging is the search, in the early Universe, of the seeds of the first population of black holes, which later evolved in the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, with masses even exceeding a billion times the mass of the Sun. When matter accretes on such supermassive black holes it can become so luminous to vastly outshine the light emitted by all stars in their host galaxy.Since its launch, about two years ago, the James Webb Space Telescope has been revolutionizing this area of research. Its sensitivity in detecting infrared light from the remotest parts of the Universe is orders of magnitude higher than any previous observatory, an historical leap in astronomy and, more broadly, in science. I will presents some of the first, extraordinary discoveries from the Webb telescope, which have resulted in several unexpected findings. I will also discuss the new puzzles and areas of investigation that have been opened by Webb’s observations, how these challenge theoretical models, and the prospects of further progress in the coming years.
The maintenance of oxygen homeostasis is a key physiological challenge, inadequate oxygen (hypoxia) being a major component of most human diseases. The lecture will trace insights into human oxygen homeostasis from the founding work of William Harvey on the circulation of the blood to the molecular elucidation of a system of oxygen sensing that functions to measure oxygen levels in cells and control adaptive responses to hypoxia. The lecture will outline how the oxygen sensitive signal is generated by a set of ‘oxygen splitting’ enzymes that modify a transcription factor (HIF) to signal for its degradation (and hence inactivation). It will attempt to illustrate and rationalise the unexpected in biological discovery and discuss the interface of discovery science with the development of medical therapeutics.
Cambridge Philosophical Society17 Mill LaneCambridgeCB2 1RXUnited Kingdom
Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday - 10am-4pm
+44 (0)1223 334743