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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Structuring Knowledges: Molecules and Models: Seeing Structures - Workshop

21st November 2017, 14:00 to 18:00, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary's College, Professor Ludmilla Jordanova (Durham University)

Molecular models participate in attempts to understand the structure of matter; they are one of the most recognizable of scientific artefacts, featuring for example in Maggie Hambling’s celebrated portrait of Dorothy Hodgkin and in the much-reproduced photograph of Watson and Crick beside a model of DNA. There is now a scholarly literature on models in general and on specific ones, such as DNA.

The search for the structure of the universe is centuries old. We often identify the work on John Dalton as marking a significant change in thinking about the nature of matter. Work on the structure of matter, that is, of everything, includes many of the best-known scientific advances of the last two hundred years.

Organised by the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC) this workshop will draw attention to the importance of these changes in how the world is visualized, and by extension ourselves. CVAC’s annual public lecture on ‘The Construction of Knowledge’ will be part of the workshop.

A number of significant questions will be raised at the workshop:

- What role have molecular models played in scientific practice?

- Can they therefore help us understand the nature of that practice?

- What role do they play in non-specialist representations of science?

- How do they illuminate the theme of ‘structure’?

- Might studies of molecular models and representations of them help us understand ‘visual thinking’?

It is hoped to present a proposal for a special issue to the Science Museum Group Journal (a peer-reviewed e-journal) following the meeting.


The workshop will be held from early afternoon on 21 November 2017 until lunchtime on 22 November 2017 at St Mary’s College (Kenworthy Hall).


For further information, including the workshop programme, and how to register for a place, please click on this link.

For further information please contact cvac@durham.ac.uk.

Contact cvac@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.