Rob Iliffe: "The Invention of the Scientific Genius, 1720-1840"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - The Rausing Room
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: H. Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

Office for History of Science

Rob Iliffe, Oxford University: "The Invention of the Scientific Genius, 1720-1840"

In this talk I examine the emergence of the 'scientific genius' in Europe around the middle of the eighteenth century. I compare the creative characteristics of the scientific genius with those of geniuses in other fields, and discuss a range of contexts that supported the creation of such a being, including ‘secularization’; the reconfiguration of the natural philosopher as an Enlightenment ‘hero’; changes in attitudes to copyright, invention, and to the social value of ‘projecting’.  In particular, I pay attention to the central role played by the faculty of the imagination in the reconstitution of the essential features of the natural philosopher.