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British Science Association

"British Science Association" logo
"The BA" logo

The British Science Association, formerly known as British Association for the Advancement of Science or the BA, (founded 1831) is a learned society with the object of promoting science, directing general attention to scientific matters, and facilitating interaction between scientific workers. Its youth wing is the British Association of Young Scientists.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
  • Perception of science in the UK 2
    • British Science Festival 2.1
    • Science Communication Conference 2.2
    • National Science & Engineering Week 2.3
    • Name change 2.4
  • Presidents of the British Science Association 3
  • List of Annual Meetings 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
    • Video clips 7.1

History

Foundation

The Association was founded in 1831[1] and modelled on the German Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte.[2] The prime mover (who is regarded as the main founder) was Reverend William Vernon Harcourt, following a suggestion by Sir David Brewster, who was disillusioned with the elitist and conservative attitude of the Royal Society. Brewster, Charles Babbage, William Whewell and J. F. W. Johnston[3] are also considered to be founding members. The first meeting was held in York (at the Yorkshire Museum) on Tuesday 27 September 1831 with various scientific papers being presented on the following days. It was chaired by Lord Milton, President of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, and "upwards of 300 gentlemen" attended the meeting.[4] The Preston Mercury recorded that those gathered consisted of "persons of distinction from various parts of the kingdom, together with several of the gentry of Yorkshire and the members of philosopher societies in this country". The newspaper published the names of over a hundred of those attending and these included, amongst others, eighteen clergymen, eleven doctors, four knights, two Viscounts and one Lord.[5]

From that date onwards a meeting was held annually at a place chosen at a previous meeting. In 1832, for example, the meeting was held in Oxford, chaired by Reverend Dr William Buckland. By this stage the Association had four sections: Physics (including Mathematics and Mechanical Arts), Chemistry (including Mineralogy and Chemical Arts), Geology (including Geography) and Natural History.[6]

One of the most famous events linked to the Association Meeting was an exchange between Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce in 1860 (see the 1860 Oxford evolution debate). Although it is often described as a "debate", the exchange occurred after the presentation of a paper by Prof Draper of New York, on the intellectual development of Europe with relation to Darwin's theory (one of a number of scientific papers presented during the week) and the subsequent discussion involved a number of other participants (although Wilberforce and Huxley were the most prominent).[7] Although a number of newspapers made passing references to the exchange,[8] it was not until later that it was accorded greater significance in the evolution debate.[9]

Ironically, perhaps the Association's most momentous influence on science was in 1878 when a committee of the Association recommended against constructing Charles Babbage's analytical engine.[10]

The Association was parodied by English novelist Charles Dickens as 'The Mudfog Society for the Advancement of Everything' in The Mudfog Papers (1837–38).

Perception of science in the UK

The Association's main aim is to improve the perception of science and scientists in the UK. Membership is open to all.

Prof Sir Cultural Revolution which he said produced a lost generation.

Sir Kenneth Durham, former Director of Research at Oxbridge' because it carried more prestige to read Classics at Oxbridge and go into the Civil Service or banking, than to read engineering at, say, Salford, and go into manufacturing industry. He said that reporting of sciences gave good coverage to medical science, but that nevertheless, editors ought to be sensitive to developments in areas such as solid state physics, astro-physics, colloid science, molecular biology, transmission of stimuli along nerve fibres, and so on, and that newspaper editors were in danger of waiting for disasters before the scientific factors involved in the incidents were explained.

In September 2001 Sir William Stewart, as outgoing president, warned that universities faced 'dumbing down' and that we can deliver social inclusiveness, and the best universities, but not both from a limited amount of money. We run the risk of doing neither well. Universities are underfunded, and must not be seen simply as a substitute for National Service to keep youngsters off the dole queue. He also said scientists have to be careful and consider the full implications of what they are seeking to achieve. The problem with some clever people is that they find cleverer ways of being stupid.

In September 2003 Sir Peter Williams, the outgoing president, said that the world was facing a shortage of scientists because too many young people dropped the subject at an early age.

British Science Festival

The Association's major emphasis in recent decades has been on public engagement in science. Its annual meeting, now called the British Science Festival, is the largest public showcase for science in the UK and attracts a great deal of media attention. It is held at UK universities in early September for one week, with visits to science-related local cultural attractions. It used to be called "BAYS Day", after the British Association of Young Scientists.

The 2010 Festival, held in Birmingham with Aston University as lead University partner, featured a prank event: the unveiling of Dulcis foetidus, a fictional plant purported to emit a pungent odour. An experiment in herd mentality, some audience members were induced into believing they could smell it.[11] The Festival also hosts the x-change- a lively informal roundup of the day's events where festival-goers can ask questions, debate and hear star speakers. The Festival has also been the home to protest and debate. In 1970 there were protestors over the use of science for weapons.

Science Communication Conference

The Association holds an annual Science Communication Conference, the largest in the UK, which addresses the key issues facing science communicators. Each year it brings together 350 delegates involved in public engagement; from science educators, science centre communicators, journalists, scientists and policy makers. In 2011, the theme of the conference was 'Online Engagement'. The 2012 Science Communication Conference will be held on 14–15 May at Kings Place, London with the theme 'Impact'.

National Science & Engineering Week

In addition to the Festival of Science, the British Science Association organises the UK National Science & Engineering Week, an opportunity for people of all ages to get involved in science, engineering and technology activities, originating as the National Week of Science, Engineering and Technology.

The Association also has a young people's programme, which seeks to involve school students in science beyond the school curriculum, and to encourage them to consider higher education and careers in science.

Name change

In 2009 the Association rebranded itself and now uses the trading name British Science Association instead of the BA.[12] The new name is often abbreviated to BSA.

Presidents of the British Science Association

Traditionally the president is elected at the meeting usually held in August/September for a one year term and gives a presidential address upon retiring. The honour of the presidency is traditionally bestowed only once per individual. Written sources that give the year of presidency as a single year generally mean the year in which the presidential address is given.

List of Annual Meetings

  • 1831 (1st meeting) York, England.
  • 1832 (2nd meeting) Oxford, England.
  • 1833 (3rd meeting) Cambridge, England.[33]
  • 1834 (4th meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.[34]
  • 1835 (5th meeting) Dublin, Ireland.[35]
  • 1836 (6th meeting) Bristol, England.[36]
  • 1837 (7th meeting) Liverpool, England.[37]
  • 1838 (8th meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.[38]
  • 1839 (9th meeting) Birmingham, England.[39]
  • 1840 (10th meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.[40]
  • 1841 (11th meeting) Plymouth, England.[41]
  • 1842 (12th meeting) Manchester.[42]
  • 1843 (13th meeting) Cork, Ireland.[43]
  • 1844 (14th meeting) York, England.[44]
  • 1845 (15th meeting) Cambridge, England.[45]
  • 1846 (16th meeting) Southampton, England.
  • 1847 (17th meeting) Oxford, England.
  • 1848 (18th meeting) Swansea, Wales.
  • 1849 (19th meeting) Birmingham, England.
  • 1850 (20th meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 1851 (21st meeting) Ipswich, England.
  • 1852 (22nd meeting) Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • 1853 (23rd meeting) Hull, England.
  • 1854 (24th meeting) Liverpool, England.
  • 1855 (25th meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1856 (26th meeting) Cheltenham, England.
  • 1857 (27th meeting) Dublin, Ireland.
  • 1858 (28th meeting) Leeds, England.
  • 1859 (29th meeting) Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • 1860 (30th meeting) Oxford, England.[46]
  • 1861 (31st meeting) Manchester, England.[47]
  • 1862 (32nd meeting) Cambridge, England.[48]
  • 1863 (33rd meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.[49]
  • 1864 (34th meeting) Bath, England.[50]
  • 1865 (35th meeting) Birmingham, England.[51]
  • 1866 (36th meeting) Nottingham, England.[52]
  • 1867 (37th meeting) Dundee, Scotland.[53]
  • 1868 (38th meeting) Norwich, England.[54]
  • 1869 (39th meeting) Exeter, England.[55]
  • 1870 (40th meeting) Liverpool, England.[56]
  • 1871 (41st meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.[57]
  • 1872 (42nd meeting) Brighton, England.[58]
  • 1873 (43rd meeting) Bradford, England.[59]
  • 1874 (44th meeting) Belfast, Northern Ireland.[60]
  • 1875 (45th meeting) Bristol, England.[61]
  • 1876 (46th meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.[62]
  • 1877 (47th meeting) Plymouth, England.[63]
  • 1878 (48th meeting) Dublin, Ireland.[64]
  • 1879 (49th meeting) Sheffield, England.[65]
  • 1880 (50th meeting) Swansea, Wales.[66]
  • 1881 (51st meeting) York, England.[67]
  • 1882 (52nd meeting) Southampton, England.[68]
  • 1883 (53rd meeting) Southport, England.[69]
  • 1884 (54th meeting) Montreal, Canada.[70]
  • 1885 (55th meeting) Aberdeen, Scotland.[71]
  • 1886 (56th meeting) Birmingham, England.[72]
  • 1887 (57th meeting) Manchester, England.[73]
  • 1888 (58th meeting) Bath, England.[74]
  • 1889 (59th meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.[75]
  • 1890 (60th meeting) Leeds, England.[76]
  • 1891 (61st meeting) Cardiff, Wales.[77]
  • 1892 (62nd meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.[78]
  • 1893 (63rd meeting) Nottingham, England.[79]
  • 1894 (64th meeting) Oxford, England.[80]
  • 1895 (65th meeting) Ipswich, England.[81]
  • 1896 (66th meeting) Liverpool, England.[82]
  • 1897 (67th meeting) Toronto, Canada.[83]
  • 1898 (68th meeting) Bristol, England.[84]
  • 1899 (69th meeting) Dover, England.[85]
  • 1900 (70th meeting) Bradford, England.[86]
  • 1901 (71st meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.[87]
  • 1902 (72nd meeting) Belfast, Northern Ireland.[88]
  • 1903 (73rd meeting) Southport, England.[89]
  • 1904 (74th meeting) Cambridge, England.
  • 1905 (75th meeting) Various, South Africa.
  • 1906 (76th meeting) York, England.
  • 1907 (77th meeting) Leicester, England.
  • 1908 (78th meeting) Dublin, Ireland.
  • 1909 (79th meeting) Winnipeg, Canada.
  • 1910 (80th meeting) Sheffield, England.
  • 1911 (81st meeting) Portsmouth, England.
  • 1912 (82nd meeting) Dundee, Scotland.
  • 1913 (83rd meeting) Birmingham, England.
  • 1914 (84th meeting) Various, Australia.
  • 1915 (85th meeting) Manchester, England.
  • 1916 (86th meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
  • 1917 No meeting
  • 1918 No meeting
  • 1919 (87th meeting) Bournemouth, England.
  • 1920 (88th meeting) Cardiff, Wales.
  • 1921 (89th meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 1922 (90th meeting) Hull, England.
  • 1923 (91st meeting) Liverpool, England.
  • 1924 (92nd meeting) Toronto, Canada.
  • 1925 (93rd meeting) Southampton, England.
  • 1926 (94th meeting) Oxford, England.
  • 1927 (95th meeting) Leeds, England.
  • 1928 (96th meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1929 (97th meeting) Various, South Africa.
  • 1930 (98th meeting) Bristol, England.
  • 1931 (99th meeting) London, England.
  • 1932 (100th meeting) York, England.
  • 1933 (101st meeting) Leicester, England.
  • 1934 (102nd meeting) Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • 1935 (103rd meeting) Norwich, England.
  • 1936 (104th meeting) Blackpool, England.
  • 1937 (105th meeting) Nottingham, England.
  • 1938 (106th meeting) Cambridge, England.
  • 1939 (107th meeting) Dundee, Scotland.
  • 1940 No meeting
  • 1941 No meeting
  • 1942 No meeting
  • 1943 No meeting
  • 1944 No meeting
  • 1945 No meeting
  • 1946 No full meeting (An abbreviated one-day meeting was held in London on 20 July 1946; Sir Henry Dale was elected the new president.)[90]
  • 1947 (109th meeting) Dundee, Scotland.[91]
  • 1948 (110th meeting) Brighton, England.[92]
  • 1949 (111th meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
  • 1950 (112th meeting) Birmingham, England.
  • 1951 (113th meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 1952 (114th meeting) Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • 1953 (115th meeting) Liverpool, England.
  • 1954 (116th meeting) Oxford, England.
  • 1955 (117th meeting) Bristol, England.[93]
  • 1956 (118th meeting) Sheffield, England.
  • 1957 (119th meeting) Dublin, Ireland.
  • 1958 (120th meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1959 (121st meeting) York, England.
  • 1960 (122nd meeting) Cardiff, England.
  • 1961 (123rd meeting) Norwich, England.
  • 1962 (124th meeting) Manchester, England.
  • 1963 (125th meeting) Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • 1964 (126th meeting) Southampton, England.
  • 1965 (127th meeting) Cambridge, England.
  • 1966 (128th meeting) Nottingham, England.
  • 1967 (129th meeting) Leeds, England.
  • 1968 (130th meeting) Dundee, Scotland.[94]
  • 1969 (131st meeting) Exeter, England.[95]
  • 1970 (132nd meeting) Durham, England.
  • 1971 (133rd meeting) Swansea, Wales.[96]
  • 1972 (134th meeting) Leicester, England.
  • 1973 (135th meeting) Canterbury, England.
  • 1974 (136th meeting) Stirling, Scotland.
  • 1975 (137th meeting) Guildford, England.
  • 1976 (138th meeting) Lancaster, England.
  • 1977 (139th meeting) Birmingham, England.
  • 1978 (140th meeting) Bath, England.
  • 1979 (141st meeting) Edinburgh, Scotland.[97]
  • 1980 (142nd meeting) Salford, England.[98]
  • 1981 (143rd meeting) York, England.
  • 1982 (144th meeting) Liverpool, England.
  • 1983 (145th meeting) Brighton, England.
  • 1984 (146th meeting) Norwich, England.
  • 1985 (147th meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1986 (148th meeting) Bristol, England.
  • 1987 (149th meeting) Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • 1988 (150th meeting) Oxford, England.
  • 1989 (151st meeting) Sheffield, England.
  • 1990 (151st meeting) Swansea, Wales.
  • 1991 (152nd meeting) Plymouth, England.
  • 1992 (153rd meeting) Southampton, England.
  • 1993 (154th meeting) Keele, England.
  • 1994 (155th meeting) Loughborough, England.
  • 1995 (156th meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
  • 1996 (157th meeting) Birmingham, England.
  • 1997 (158th meeting) Leeds, England.
  • 1998 (159th meeting) Cardiff, Wales.
  • 1999 (160th meeting) Sheffield, England.
  • 2000 (161st meeting) London, England.
  • 2001 (162nd meeting) Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 2002 (163rd meeting) Leicester, England.
  • 2003 (164th meeting) Salford, England.
  • 2004 (165th meeting) Exeter, England.
  • 2005 (166th meeting) Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2006 (167th meeting) Norwich, England.
  • 2007 (168th meeting) York, England.
  • 2008 (169th meeting) Liverpool, England.
  • 2009 (170th meeting) Guildford, England.
  • 2010 (171st meeting) Birmingham, England.
  • 2011 (172nd meeting) Bradford, England.
  • 2012 (173rd meeting) Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • 2013 (174th meeting) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
  • 2014 (175th meeting) Birmingham, England.

See also

References

  1. ^ James, Frank A.J.L. (2013). "British Association for the Advancement of Science". In Hessenbruch, Arne. Reader's Guide to the History of Science. Routledge. pp. 106–107. 
  2. ^ The German organisation was founded in 1822, see Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte (German language WorldHeritage article).
  3. ^ David Knight, 'Johnston, James Finlay Weir (1796–1855)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  4. ^ Caledonian Mercury, 6 October 1831.
  5. ^ Preston Chronicle, 8 October 1831.
  6. ^ Jackson's Oxford Journal, 23 June 1832.
  7. ^ Oxford Chronicle, 7 July 1860.
  8. ^ Liverpool Mercury, 5 July 1860.
  9. ^ Jackson's Oxford Journal, 4 August 1894.
  10. ^ Report of the BA committee on the Analytical Engine of Charles Babbage: "appointed to consider the advisability and to estimate the expense of constructing Mr. Babbage's Analytical Machine, and of printing Tables by its means"..
  11. ^ David Gregory (16 September 2010). Greatest smell' tests audience"'". BBC Birmingham. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  12. ^ Robert Winston, New Scientist, 3 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Table showing the Places and Times of Meeting of the British Association, with Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and Local Secretaries, from its Commencement". Report of the Seventy-sixth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held in York in August 1906. London: John Murray. 1907. p. xxxviii. 
  14. ^ "Table showing the Places and Times of Meeting of the British Association, with Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and Local Secretaries, from its Commencement". Report of the Fifty-third Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Southport in September 1883. London: John Murray. 1884. p. xxx. 
  15. ^ Report of the twenty-first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
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  32. ^ "Table showing the Places and Times of Meeting of the British Association, with Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and Local Secretaries, from its Commencement". Report of the Thirty-sixth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Nottingham in August 1866. London: John Murray. 1867. p. xx. 
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  94. ^ Recent developments in electro-organic synthesis, Manuel M. Baizer, Naturwissenschaften August 1969, Volume 56, Issue 8, pp. 405–409.
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  97. ^ "Energy in the balance : some papers from BA79 : papers given at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 1979". Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  98. ^ "The BA at the end of the 20th Century" (pdf). Retrieved 30 September 2013. 

External links

  • British Science Association
  • British Science Association: Our history
  • BHL Digitised Reports 1833–1937
  • Reports of the meetings 1877–90 are available on Gallica
  • The University of Toronto Archives and Record Management Services holds some papers of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Video clips

  • British Science Association YouTube channel
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