Professor in the department of History and the Humanities program

University of New Hampshire, USA

Research expertise

The sciences of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment; European intellectual history; historiography.


Pratiques Individus

Scientific experiments

In eighteenth-century Britain, scientific experiments were shown in locations as varied as coffeehouses, learned societies, and public lectures. They conveyed natural knowledge through shared aesthetic experiences; they also elicited conversation and facilitated new forms of sociability. At the beginning of the era, William Whiston and others showed demonstrations of mechanics in coffeehouses. Later, Benjamin Martin commercialized experiments with static electricity, and Joseph Priestley and his associates introduced new gases in public lectures. Experiments were both commodities supplying a kind of cultural consumption and shared experiences within the new associational forms of the public sphere.