History beneath our feet

Society Fellow in Earth Sciences, Professor Marian Holness explores the geological and social history of cobbles at Trinity College Cambridge.

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Image:George Howard Darwin and the ‘Public’ Understanding of Nature

11 July

George Howard Darwin and the ‘Public’ Understanding of Nature

Dr. Edwin Rose will give a talk on George Howard Darwin (1845–1912), Charles Darwin's second child and twice president of the Society.

Image:Darwin in Conversation

08 July

Darwin in Conversation

Cambridge University Library will be holding an exhibition of Charles Darwin’s letters from 9 July – 4 December 2022. Cambridge Philosophical Society has a long relationship with the Darwin family, which goes back to the very early days of Charles Darwin's career and that of the Society.

Image:Summer visit resumes

07 July


Summer visit resumes

Our popular summer visit resumed this year, after a two year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic with a visit to the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) on Bletchley Park.

Image:Biological Reviews is No 1 in the Impact Factor rankings

04 July

Biological Reviews is No 1 in the Impact Factor rankings

Once again Biological Reviews is number 1 in the Impact Factor rankings.

Image:Explosion of Life: The Origins of Animals

16 May


Explosion of Life: The Origins of Animals

Dr Emily Mitchell from the Department of Zoology, along with Professor Simon Conway Morris and Dr Alex Liu, both from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge discuss their research into the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods and the techniques used to collect fossil data in the field. 

Image:Video: Dr Richard Henderson: Using electron microscopy to understand the molecules of life  - Honorary Fellows Lecture

04 April


Video: Dr Richard Henderson: Using electron microscopy to understand the molecules of life - Honorary Fellows Lecture

Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry Dr Richard Henderson gives our Honorary Fellows Lecture: Using electron microscopy to understand the molecules of life. 

Upcoming Events

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The Milky Way Galaxy - from beginning to end - Professor Gerry Gilmore - Larmor Lecture

Professor Gerry Gilmore

  • 18:30 - 19:30 Bristol-Myers Squibb Lecture Theatre

What we call the Milky Way, our Galaxy, has been the focus of myth, story and study in every society with a recorded history for millennia. Understanding its structure defeated Isaac Newton. One hundred years ago it was realized that the Milky Way is just one amongst a Universe of galaxies. With electronics, digital systems, and spacecraft we have learned how to measure the structure and assembly history of the Milky Way Galaxy over its 13 billion year history, even identifying ancient stars from the earliest proto-structures to form. We quantify the formation of the chemical elements over time and their distribution in space. We use dynamics to weigh the unseen. We can calculate the future of the Milky Way until it ends its existence as an isolated Galaxy, merging with Andromeda some 5 billion years from now, and the death of the Sun a few billion years after that. This lecture will tell that story. 

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Banks, Bunkers, and Backup: Securing Crop Diversity from the Cold War through the Internet Age

Professor Helen Anne Curry

  • 18:30 - 19:30 Bristol-Myers Squibb Lecture Theatre

Present-day efforts to preserve endangered crop varieties emphasize "safety duplication"—a strategy better known as backup—as an essential step in conservation. Important collections of seeds or other plant genetic materials are copied, in whole or part, and sent to physically distant sites to provide security in the case of local disaster. This talk traces the history of seed banking to understand how, why and with what consequences copying collections came to occupy this central place. The intertwined histories of the central long-term seed storage facility of the United States (opened in 1958) and the international seed conservation system developed in the 1970s reveal how changing conceptions of security, linked to changing economic, political and technological circumstances, transformed both the guiding metaphors and the practices of seed conservation. Seed banking gave way to seed backup: whereas early long-term cold storage facilities vested security in robust infrastructures and the capacities of professional staff, between the 1960s and 1990s, this configuration gave way to one in which security was situated in copies rather than capacities. This history ultimately raises questions about the security promised and achieved through present-day infrastructures for crop genetic resources conservation.

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