British photographic history

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This year marks the centenary of the death of William Crookes. Journalist, chemist, photographer, spiritualist, businessman, sometime Secretary of the Royal Institution and President of the Royal Society of London, Crookes was a key figure in the science of the second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. This meeting, which is part of the ChemFest celebrations of the sesquicentenary of the periodic table, will examine various aspects of Crookes's extraordinary career and his place in science. The AGM of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry will be held before the meeting at 13.15.

He edited the Journal of the photographic Society and Photographic News at various times. 


13.30     Registration

13:45     Welcome and Introduction: Frank James, (Royal Institution and Chair of SHAC)

First Session Chair: Anna Simmons (UCL)

13.50     Richard Noakes (Exeter University). 'Two Parallel Lines'? The Trajectories of Physical and Psychical Research in the Work of William Crookes

14:30     Kelley Wilder (De Montfort University, Leicester). William Crookes, a life in Photo-Chemistry

15.10     Refreshment Break 

Second Session Chair: Peter Morris (Chair of RSCHG)

15.30     Frank James (Royal Institution and UCL). William Crookes and Michael Faraday

16.10     Paul Ranford (UCL). Crookes’s “Invisible Helper” – George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903)

16.50     William Brock (University of Leicester). The key to the deepest mystery of nature: Crookes, periodicity and the genesis and evolution of the elements   

17.30     Close of meeting


There is no charge for this meeting, but prior registration is essential. Please email Robert Johnstone ( if you would like to attend. If having registered, you are unable to attend, please notify Robert Johnstone.

William Crookes (1832-1919)

Saturday 19 October 2019, Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

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