Robert Boyle Winter School: 18 February, RDS Dublin.

We are pleased to announce the Robert Boyle Winter School will return in-person this year, organised by Calmast SETU in association with the RDS Science and Technology Committee. The Robert Boyle Winter and Summer Schools examine the place of science in our society and is designed for a general audience. Following on from the interest shown in the 10th annual Robert Boyle Summer School in Waterford, this year’s Winter School will further explore the topic of Science, Ireland & Colonialism.

Date: Saturday, 18 February 2023

Time: 10 – 4pm

Venue: RDS Dublin

Cost: Event is free but booking is required

Speakers include:

Prof Peter Bowler, Professor Emeritus in the History of Science, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr Ciaran O’Neill, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin

Rachel Hand, University ofCambridge Ethnographic Collection

Dr Sherra Murphy, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire


Dr Ida Milne, Chair of Irish History of Science and Medicine Network, lecturer in history Carlow College

Tommy Graham, Editor History Ireland, Host on Newstalk’s Talking History.

Peter Bowler will examine 19th C scientific racism (including that directed at Ireland) and its role in sustaining colonialism. Trinity College, due to its age has significant colonial legacies many of which have been aired in the media in recent months. Ciaran O’Neill will relate the work of the Trinity Colonial Legacies Project. The National Museum of Ireland also has issues to address and Rachel Hand will talk about aspects of the museums’ collection, while Sherra Murphy will focus on Dublin’s treasured Natural History Museum.

Waterford born, Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691) is one of the most important figures of science and is commemorated in the RDS Boyle Medal. Boyle’s father Richard was the most successful colonial adventurer of the 17th Century. Income from lands in Ireland help fund Boyle’s scientific programme. Boyle also had interests in certain colonial enterprises. In the succeeding centuries, there has been an interrelationship between science and colonialism. Meanwhile Ireland both suffered under colonialism and participated in, and benefitted from colonialism. It is important and timely that we examine these issues with respect to Ireland.

Thanks to the support of our partners, South East Technological University, the Royal Dublin Society and Science Foundation Ireland, we are pleased that we can offer this programme free for participants but as places are limited booking is essential.

For more information

To book, please visit