"A History of the Small" One-Day Conference

Saturday 23rd February 2019
10.30 am - 5.00 pm
St Cross College, University of Oxford - Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics

Throughout the ages physics has sought to explain the nature of matter both on Earth and in the heavens. Millennia ago, the Greek philosophers posited the existence of atoms, thereby launching a journey through the centuries, which in due course confirmed their existence and have made them tools of our everyday life. More recently, modern thought combined the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics leading to an understanding of matter now encoded in the Standard Model. This progress has led to startling new applications in fields such as nanotechnology and genomics. This conference will trace the progress of thought from the speculations of the ancients to the reality of the modern day.

Registration to attend this conference is free, but must be confirmed using the Conference booking form by midday on Friday 15th February 2019.

Confirmed speakers currently include:

Professor Peter Atkins (University of Oxford) - The Evolution of the Atom

Professor Michelle Peckham (University of Leeds) - What is a Microscope? How the Microscope has Evolved over 350 Years

Professor Sean Freeman (University of Manchester) - Searching for Atomic Constituents: Splitting the Atom?!

Dr Rolf Landua (CERN, Geneva) - A Short History of the Smallest

Professor Jeremy Baumberg FRS (University of Cambridge) -  The Emergence of Nanoscience

There will be a conference dinner at St Cross in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Jonty Hurwitz (nano sculptor and engineer) on his construction of the smallest human form ever created using nanotechnology. Although the conference itself is free of charge, the dinner carries a cost of £35 to attend - booking a place for dinner (only for confirmed conference attendees and their guests) can be done here until the booking/cancellation deadline of midday on Friday 15th February 2019.


Bed and breakfast accommodation in the Oxford colleges can be found here.

A map of the location of St Cross College in the city centre can be found here and a map of the location of the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre at the Department of Physics can be found here.

All-day parking in central Oxford is often limited so details of the Oxford Park and Ride are available here.


This event is sponsored by the Faculty of History, University of Oxford and by a grant-in-aid from the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics.