Voices of Science to showcase 75 years of scientific innovation
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Communities
Dr Sally Horrocks from the University of Leicester’s School of History has been involved in a major oral history project to gather the life stories of British scientists.
The collaborative work has culminated in the launch by the British Library of a new website, ‘Voices of Science’ that showcases the results of this project.
The website draws from a National Life Stories programme ‘An Oral History of British Science’, and features interviews with over 100 leading UK scientists and engineers, telling the stories of some of the most remarkable scientific and engineering discoveries of the past century as well as the personal stories of each individual.
Among the interviewees featured on the website is University of Leicester graduate and marine geophysicist Carol Williams.
Dr Horrocks has been senior academic consultant to the project since 2011 and helped to develop the website, taking responsibility for much of the written content as well as advising on the selection of audio and video content.
Dr Horrocks said: “‘Voices of Science’ puts the people back into this history of science and technology by allowing you to find out about some of the most important discoveries and innovations made by British scientists and engineers over the last 75 years through the voices of those who were directly involved.
“It also explores the lives of scientists and engineers, allowing them to reveal in their own words what inspired them to become scientists and engineers, what motivated them and how life in the laboratory has changed within living memory.”
Remarkably few scientists have previously been interviewed at length about their life and work, and the Oral History of British Science programme remedies that absence while preserving their memories for posterity to be used by researchers now and in the future. The project will open up the processes of science through the words of those involved and includes scientists in a national collection alongside writers and artists, recognising their important position in national life.
With interviews ranging across multiple disciplines, the archive seeks to represent a cross-section of scientific activity, including lesser-heard voices as well as key players in the British scientific landscape over the last century.
Over 1000 hours of unedited interviews, each lasting 10-15 hours, are being made available in full on the British Library’s Sounds website, while the ‘Voices of Science’ site offers curated access to audio and video highlights from the interviews, as well as photographs, biographies and other contextual information.
For more information, visit the website at: http://www.bl.uk/voices-of-science/