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The Venue

Library & Archives Bursary 2017

In 2017 the Library & Archives engaged in a research project focusing on its science archive to examine the work of the RDS on the application of science and technology over the last three centuries.

In 2017 the RDS Library & Archives engaged in a research project focusing on the RDS Science Archive to examine the work of the RDS in the application of new science and technology discoveries and techniques in Ireland. Following receipt of expressions of interest in January 2017 the RDS Library & Archives Bursary judging panel awarded the reserach bursary of €10,000 to Dr Adrian Kirwan, NUI Maynooth.

Dr Adrian Kirwan presented his research paper at the Annual Conference of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine Network Ireland, held in association with the RDS Library and Archives. The conference was held in the RDS Library on 13 & 14 October 2017.

The Conference Programme includes the list of talks and speaker abstracts.


RDS Science Archive

The RDS Committees of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and Botany (now the RDS Committee of Science and Technology) were founded in the early 19th century.

In 1899 the RDS awarded its first Boyle Medal to physicist and RDS Member George Johnstone Stoney. Other Boyle Laureates include: Thomas Preston, John Joly, Henry H. Dixon, Phyllis Clinch, Patrick J. Nolan and John L. Synge.

The Radium Institute was founded in 1914 at the RDS at the suggestion of John Joly. Joly provided the radium bromide used by Dr Walter Clegg Stevenson to successfully treat a case of skin cancer at Dr Steeven’s Hospital Dublin. This became known as the Dublin Method.

The RDS Science Archive includes:

  • The minute books and correspondence of the RDS Committee of Science in its various guises from 1817-2002.
  • Minutes and correspondence of the Radium Institute.
  • Correspondence and catalogues relating to RDS organised Science lectures, events and exhibitions.
  • Minutes and correspondence of other related institutions including the Science and Art department and the Royal College of Science in Ireland.
  • BT Science Fair archive
  • George Francis Fitgerald (1851-1900) letters - 2,000 of FitzGerald's letters, including letters from Hertz, Oliver Lodge, Thomas Preston, Lord Kelvin and Marconi.
  •  Rare and early printed books science books collection held in the RDS archives and includes titles from Newton, Hamilton, Darwin and Faraday.

The full catalogue is available online.

The RDS Library & Archives sought expressions of interest from postgraduate researchers to complete a research study on a topic of interest within the RDS Science Archive. As part of the bursary the recipient must complete a research paper for presentation at a conference on the history of science in Ireland to be held at the RDS in 2017. The research paper must also be submitted for publication in an appropriate academic journal.

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