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Friends of the Argyll Papers Seminar series 2020-21

Posted by CHARTS


19/02/2021 19:30



The next presentation in the Friends of the Argyll Papers seminar series, delivered via Zoom, will take place on Friday 19 February 2021 at 19:30 GMT. Nathan Bossoh will be talking about  ‘Victorian ornithology and the domestic laboratory: Argyll's hope for aerial navigation’.

During the 19th century, ornithology - the study of birds, developed widely as a scientific field of study in its own right across Europe. However, whilst, various aspects of ornithology were increasingly investigated - including classification and a detailed natural history of birds - the science of flight received comparatively little attention. For most people, during the 19th century, uncovering the mysteries of bird flight seemed like a futile attempt; however, not all Victorians accepted this analysis. The 8th Duke of Argyll was among a number of Victorians who saw potential value in solving this enigma. Thus, underpinned by a deep theistic conviction shaped in turn by his unique style of domestic aristocratic science, this talk will take us on a brief tour of Argyll's ornithological observations, research, and output. In so doing I will aim to shed light on how Argyll's investigations helped to popularise 'Theory of Flight' and lead to major breakthroughs such as the development of the aeroplane in 1903.

Nathan is a third-year Ph.D. student studying History and Philosophy of Science at University College London. His specific thesis is on the various scientific and religious works of the 8th Duke of Argyll, and his broader research interests are on historical relations between science, religion and race. Nathan is currently in the process of publishing two sections of his thesis which focus respectively on Argyll's views on science and miracles, and his ornithological work.

Attendance at the seminar is free of members of the Friends. Non-members are asked to make a £5 donation to the Friends at Donate to Friends of the Argyll Papers ( before emailing to book a place. 

Everyone who wishes to attend needs to book a place for the seminar by emailing Alison at: