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Miscellaneous: Amazing online resource brings British science to life

Posted by Rob Alderson,

If – as has been repeatedly claimed over recent years – science is the new rock n’ roll, then this website is like unfettered access to John Peel’s record collection. In 2009 an initiative called the Oral History of British Science was launched, part of which was a project called Voices of Science which aims to “tell the stories of some of the most remarkable scientific and engineering discoveries of the past century using oral history interviews with prominent British scientists and engineers.”

The British Library has collated 100 recordings made between 2009 and last year on a dedicated website, searchable by theme or interviewee. I’s a treasure trove of information and inspiration however much you think you’re interested in science.

The key decision made by those organising the project was to interview these prominent figures not just about technical or academic breakthroughs, but to contextualise these in their own personal journeys. As they put it: “Scientists talk candidly about their motivations, frustrations and triumphs, as well as their colleagues, families and childhoods. They reflect on how new instruments and techniques have changed the way they work and how fluctuations in government policy and media interest have reshaped how they spend their time.”

The upshot of this is a really well-rounded resource that is well worth losing yourself in for a while; there’s also a good series of videos explaining how the project came together.

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    Voices of Science

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    Dai Edwards with the expanded Manchester ‘Baby’ computer, June 1949

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    Frank Land and his twin brother Ralph, 1934

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.