Wallace & the Flat Earth Controversy: A Talk by Dr Christine Garwood
Saturday, 2 November 2013 from 14:30 to 16:30 (GMT)
Poole, United Kingdom
Christine Garwood is a Lecturer in Public History. Her research has focused on the making of human knowledge about the natural and cultural environment and the way that these perceptions are put into practice through legislation or public campaigns. She has published on the history of environmental protectionism and conservation, scientific biography, the public understanding of science, alternative belief systems, and Victorian social history. Her books include Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea (2007) and Mid-Victorian Britain (2011). Recently her interests have broadened to encompass public history and she is currently completing another book, Museums in Britain: A History (2013).
Based on a range of original sources, Dr Garwood’s history of flat-earth beliefs – from the Babylonians to the present day – raises issues central to the history and philosophy of science, its relationship with religion and the making of human knowledge about the natural world. is the first definitive study of one of history’s most notorious and persistent ideas, and evokes all the intellectual, philosophical and spiritual turmoil of the modern age.
On 5 March 1870, Alfred Russel Wallace undertook an experiment to prove the rotundity of Earth and win a £500 wager with a flat earth believer; 143 years to the day, Dr Garwood examines this now infamous episode in Wallace’s career, and its broader place in the history of science and belief.
'Highly entertaining and often hilarious … an enjoyable romp through the dottier history of scientific and religious eccentricity’
‘This entertaining history of the Flat Earth movement is full of crazy characters and fascinating details’
‘Wonderful … an intriguing chronicle of 150 years of self- delusion'
Over the course of his life Alfred Russel Wallace spent nearly 25 years in Poole, including Parkstone and, from 1902 until his death in 1913 in Broadstone. This event is part of Borough of Poole’s programme for Wallace100, a celebration of his life and scientific legacy in the centenary year of his death.
When & Where
Poole History Centre
Occupying a 600 year-old woolhouse which is located next to Poole Museum, Poole's Local History Centre has resources for all aspects of local history research. An extensive library is supported by microfilmed and digitised material.