6th May 2020
Davy, born in Penzance in 1778, spent nearly the first twenty years of his life in Cornwall before his meteoric rise to metropolitan, indeed European, fame as Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution and later as President of the Royal Society of London. But it was his time in Cornwall that gave him the base from which to pursue this career trajectory.
This cafe scientifique will seek to understand how it came about by discussing his social background and contacts (for example with Gregory Watt and Tom Wedgwood), the chemical research he was able to undertake while in Cornwall and the impact of Cornish scenery on his poetic imagination.
Frank James is a Professor of History of Science at University College London and has spent the last few years researching and writing about Davy, having previously worked on Michael Faraday.