Fall Events and New Interactive Media Installation at the Science History Institute

The Science History Institute will provide many opportunities for the intellectually curious to feed their minds this fall.

Programming at the Institute ranges from ongoing Wiki salons and guided tours to lectures on topics from the cutting-edge science of CRISPR technology to the science behind Frankenstein and Dracula.

In mid-October the Institute’s museum launches a newly developed media installation showcasing our collection of art, scientific instruments, rare books, and more. The piece includes a two-story-high media column and the Object Explorer, a pair of high-resolution, interactive tables where visitors can explore the history and science behind various everyday objects.

The Object Explorer consists of two 65-inch touch tables and a dozen everyday objects, such as a flip-flop, an ice-cube tray, a soda bottle, and an LED lightbulb. Each object represents a characteristic of contemporary life or a category of materials, such as synthetics, refrigerants, disposables, and artificial illumination. By placing an object on an interactive table, visitors can investigate the object’s history and the stories of the incredible, sometimes miraculous, other times quite dangerous materials it is made of.

The vertical column gives visitors a chance to sit, relax, and enjoy a video featuring images from the Institute’s collection of objects, manuscripts, rare library books, art, and archives, most of which are not on display in our museum.

Fall Programming Schedule

September 27
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Start Talking Science
Interested in dark matter? Talk about it with a particle physicist. Intrigued by circadian rhythms and sleep patterns? Discuss it with a neuroscientist!


October 4
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Othmer Open House: Escape the Archives
An alchemical mystery lurks in our archives. Use your detective skills to solve it while viewing fascinating treasures, as we open our vaults in celebration of American Archives Month.


October 30
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
It’s Alive! The Scientific Roots of Monsters
Experience the macabre public experiments that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


Friday, November 16
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture
This year’s Ullyot Public Affairs Lecturer is Jennifer Doudna, geneticist and developer of CRISPR-Cas9 technology.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Fellow in Focus Lecture presented by Ingrid Ockert
An Electric Education: How to Teach Science on Television
The Rohm and Haas Fellow in Focus lecture series gives the Institute’s scholars an opportunity to present their work to a broad audience interested in history, science, and culture. Fellow in Focus lectures are presented by the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry.

Ongoing Series

Joseph Priestley Society

This monthly lunch and lecture series promotes a deeper understanding of science, technology, and industry, with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Speakers are leaders from a wide variety of large and small chemical companies and the financial, consulting, and academic communities. Registration ($25.00 includes networking, lunch, and lecture) and more information at ScienceHistory.org/JPS.


September 20
Peter Young, President, Young & Partners
Lucy Simek. Executive Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions, Solvay


October 11
Katrine Bosley, President and CEO, Editas Medicine


November 8
Joel Tickner, Director, Green Chemistry and Commerce Council

Saturday Speaker Series

Every month the Institute offers a short talk on an intriguing scientific topic, followed by a Q&A or discussion over complimentary tea and coffee.


October 13

Rebecca Kamen
Scientific Discovery through Art


November 10

Lara Goudsouzian
How Does DNA Testing Work, and What Secrets Does It Expose?


December 8

Francesca Tuazon
Zebrafish, a Model Organism


This speaker series runs on the second Saturday of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. No reservations are necessary; just drop in! Free.

Science on Tap

Hear a brief, informal presentation over brews and nosh at National Mechanics, a relaxed, convivial bar just around the corner from the Institute building on the first Monday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Wikipedia experts and novices gather to contribute to this growing online encyclopedia on the second Saturday of each month from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free.

Learn more about these programs at sciencehistory.org/programseries.


September 13, 2018