Women in Enlightenment Science

Science meets culture

Marie-Anne Lavoisier with her husband, Antoine

Marie-Anne Lavoisier with her husband, Antoine

So, how enlightened was the Enlightenment?

Half of the population – women – were denied access to formal education and research institutions. Despite these formidable setbacks, women made some of the Enlightenment’s most original, daring and important scientific discoveries.

Professor Judith Hawley, an expert on 18th and 19th century culture, reviews women’s written scientific legacy, in both England and France. She will shed light on the lives and writings of female scientists like Caroline Herschel, Emilie du Chatelet and Marie-Anne Lavoisier. 

In this first Form Seven talk of the term, we bridge the gap between art and science.



Professor Judith Hawley

Judith Hawley is Professor of 18th Century Literature and Culture at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a frequent contributor programmes on the BBC, including In Our Time, The Long View and Voices from the Old Bailey on Radio 4. 

Professor Hawley read English at Christ's College, Cambridge before completing a doctorate on Laurence Sterne's eighteenth-century comic novel Tristram Shandy at Lincoln College, Oxford. Her current research and teaching focuses on literature and culture of 'the long eighteenth century', including scientific literature.

She also works on the history of amateur performance and has staged an event exploring private theatricals at Chawton House, the library of women's literature located in the Hampshire manor house that once belonged to Jane Austen's brother, Edward Austen Knight.


Book tickets

Date: Monday 14 September 2015 at 7.30pm. Drinks and conversation from 6.45pm.
Venue: Hampton Court House, KT8 9BS.