Lunchtime Lectures

Our virtual Lunchtime Lecture Series features discussions on the history of science, technology, and medicine. We invite historians and speakers from the sciences, arts, and humanities to examine intriguing topics followed by a Q&A.

Lunchtime Lectures take a rigorous and entertaining approach to topics of interest to scholars and anyone curious about the history of science. The talks help expand perceptions of the nature of science and how it’s done. Our spring 2022 season highlights authors discussing their books and their research on various science topics.

The Lunchtime Lecture Series is a project of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Science History Institute. For more information please contact

Upcoming Events

Philosophy historian Antonella Sannino will share new discoveries from the Institute’s collections.

Recent Lunchtime Lectures

Most of the following lectures have been recorded and are available to view. Click on the titles for more information.

Ainissa Ramirez
The Alchemy of Us: How Technology Shaped Society

Meagan S. Allen
Roger Bacon, Medieval Alchemy, and the Prolongation of Life

Michelle DiMeo
Lady Ranelagh: The Incomparable Life of Robert Boyle’s Sister

Jeffrey Orens
The Soul of Genius: How the 1911 Solvay Conference Changed the Course of Science

Eleanor Armstrong
Footprints of Outer Space on Earth

William San Martín
Governing Nitrogen Species: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Inequalities, and the rise of Earth-System Governance

Odinn Melsted
Harnessing the Earth’s Heat and Power: Oil Spillovers and the Development of Iceland’s Geothermal Resources, 1930s–1970s

Stefanie Kroll
Amazing Adaptations of Aquatic Insects

Ashanti Shih
Collecting “Queer” Specimens: Settler Botany and Male Intimacies in Interwar Hawaii

Hannah Pell
Three Mile Island: On the Closure and Decommissioning of a Nuclear Power Plant

Megan Raby
Working Naturalist: Episodes in the Life of Marston Bates, Life Scientist for Hire

Beans Velocci
Sex and the Species: Making Human Meaning of Animal Bodies at Cold Spring Harbor Eugenics Laboratories

D. O. McCullough
From Collections to Curriculums: Object Loans for Schools at the American Museum of Natural History, 1903–1919

Emily Herring
Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution and 20th-Century Biology

Jenna Tonn
The Evolutionary Brotherhood: Manliness and Experimental Zoology in 19th-century America

Robin Wolfe Scheffler
Brightening Biochemistry: The Role of Humor in Scientific Research