A public-facing project set to uncover previously unpublished material from the early nineteenth century’s ‘foremost man of science’ has launched online.
Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) discovered more chemical elements than any individual has before or since. His achievements saw him rise up through society’s ranks from relatively modest origins to become, just over 200 years ago, the President of the Royal Society.
In 1815, he invented a miners’ safety lamp that came to be known as the Davy Lamp, saving countless lives in Britain and Europe, and vastly improving the nation’s industrial capability.
The £1 million project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by Lancaster University with the University of Manchester and UCL, will use the people-powered research platform Zooniverse to bring to light Davy’s notebooks – the documents he used to work out scientific ideas alongside lines of poetry, philosophical musings, geological drawings, and accounts of his life.
Davy kept notebooks throughout his life, but most of the pages of these notebooks have never been transcribed before. Most entries have yet to be dated or considered in the light of what they tell us about Davy, his scientific discoveries, and the relationship between poetry and science.
In 2019, AHRC …read more