University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cabinet of Natural History > Virgin birth crosses the Atlantic: Jacques Loeb's experiments on artificial parthenogenesis in the British press, 1900–06

Virgin birth crosses the Atlantic: Jacques Loeb's experiments on artificial parthenogenesis in the British press, 1900–06

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sophie Waring.

In 1899, at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Station in Massachusetts, Jacques Loeb performed a series of experiments that led to a sea-urchin egg beginning to develop without fertilisation by sperm. While not the first ‘artificial parthenogenesis’ experiments of its kind, this work made waves in both scientific and lay press in America, and in the following years Loeb became a scientific celebrity. Yet, in Britain it was Loeb’s less documented work on the ionic phenomena of nerve action and delay of death that drew more attention, and the experiments on artificial parthenogenesis were incorporated into popular accounts afterwards.

In this talk, I will trace the transfers of knowledge about an experiment across the Atlantic between two close linguistic cultures, and focus on alternative routes of science communication. By examining representations and appropriations of Loeb’s work in the narratives surrounding novel uses of electricity, patent medicines and devices, early feminist utopias, and the boundaries between living and non-living matter, I will explore how scientific reputations were transplanted in the beginning of the twentieth century.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.

 

© 2006-2019 Talks.cam, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity