1 June, 2020, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Astbury Camera – or, From Dark Satanic Mills to DNA

Kersten Hall & Helen Piel


All Welcome

In the 1930s, the textile physicist William Astbury and his research assistant Florence Bell took the very first X-ray images of the structure of DNA, later identified as the genetic material. Astbury’s X-ray crystallography laboratory at Leeds helped to lay the foundations for a powerful new science known as “molecular biology” – Astbury was one of the coiners of the term – which sought to understand the complexity of living systems in terms of molecular structure. Over the decades, however, this crucial work, and its links with the local textile industry, has been relegated to the shadows by more prominent figures in the story of DNA such as Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick. This lecture restores and reflects on an important dimension to our understanding of this story.

Click here to see Kersten Hall and Helen Piel explore the life, work and legacy of this forgotten pioneer

Then, if that fires your imagination and curiousity, why not join the online discussion group at 4pm Mon 1st June. For details of how to access the discussion group, please click here.

This lecture is the 11th in a series of 20 as part of a free online course offering an introduction to the History of Science by the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds.