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Fraud and veracity in early modern observations of generation

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 6.00PM

Dr Signe Nipper Nielsen (University of Copenhagen) will speak about the difficulties of combatting fabrication and fraud in early modern science, in a free lecture organsied by the Centre for Global Health Histories. 

Early modern naturalists and physicians used a range of strategies to authenticate natural facts, including witness testimony, written technologies, and visual and material evidence. Yet, at a time when many naturalists were particularly driven towards descriptions of everything wondrous, there was an exceptionally thin line between natural facts and facts fabricated by deceitful individuals or even demonic forces. In relation to the topic of procreation and generation, a subject that occupied many early modern anatomists and physicians, the concern with fraud was no less relevant, especially as the entire process of generation was concealed.

Through the cases of two 17th-century naturalists and physicians, Ole Worm (1588-1654) and Thomas Bartholin (1616-1680), this talk discusses the tensions, negotiations and uncertainties in early modern scientific knowledge production, resulting from the ever-present worries about fraud.

Dr Signe Nipper Nielsen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Saxo Institute in the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen.

Location: V/C/123, Vanbrugh College, University of York

Admission: Free to attend and open to all.