UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Huang, Hsiang-Fu

Hsiang-Fu image


e-mail: hsiang-fu.huang.10  (with UCL e-mail suffix)



About Me

I studied history of science at the UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies since October 2010, and was awarded PhD degree in March 2015. My doctoral thesis is 'Commercial and Sublime: Popular Astronomy Lectures in Nineteenth-Century Britain' (See the information below). My primary supervisor is Professor Joe Cain and the secondary supervisor is Dr. Simon Werrett.

Before I entered UCL, I graduated from a MSc programme in science communication at the University of Kent. I also studied Earth science and astronomy in Taiwan, and commenced a master degree in astronomy.

I am currently an honorary research associate in UCL STS starting from March 2015. 



About My Research

My doctoral research is popular astronomy lectures and displays in 19th-century Britain, especially their transition between the 1820s and 1860s. Scientific spectacles were common scenes prior to and in Victorian Britain. Among the subjects in scientific spectacles, astronomy was always the chief attraction. From lectures delivered by men of science to stage shows managed by entrepreneurs, 19th-century astronomy popularisers and their activities had a variety of levels, agenda, and means. The lecturing business was also interwoven with the instrument-making trade. Various visual aids, such as orreries, planetariums, lantern slides, and dioramas, were also used in popular astronomy displays. My study encompasses the material culture and the spectrum of astronomy popularisation.


Commercial and Sublime: Popular Astronomy Lectures in Nineteenth Century Britain

PhD Thesis, March 2015 (abstract and the table of contents)
Examination: 16 December 2014
Examiners: Prof. Frank James (Royal Institution / UCL); Dr Richard Bellon (Michigan State University)



  • 'When Urania Meets Terpsichore: A Theatrical Turn for Astronomy Lecturing in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain', History of Science, accepted (October 2015)
  • Ouranologia: An Annotated Edition of a Lenten Lecture on Astronomy with Critical Introduction, London: UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (November 2015). See the link.
  • 'Theatres, Toys, and Teaching Aids: Astronomy Lecturing and Orreries in the Herschels' Time', in The Harmony of the Sphere: Kant and Herschel on the Universe and the Astronomical Phenomena, ed. Silvia de Bianchi. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars (August 2013).
  • 'Beyond Celestial Toys: Orreries and Public Astronomical Lectures in the Eighteenth Century', Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, No. 16, pp. 161-222 (April 2013). See the abstract.

Recent Conference Papers

  • 'Missing Links? Between Nineteenth-Century Theatrical Orreries and Modern Planetariums'. Three Societies Meeting, Edmonton, Canada, 22-25 June 2016.
  • 'A Family Business: Walker’s Eidouranion, and the Rise and Decline of Private Astronomy Lecturing in Britain, 1780-1860’. BSHS Conference, Swansea, UK, 2-5 July 2015.
  • ‘Theatres of the Heavens: Narratives of the Wonders, from Nineteenth-Century Playhouses to Modern Planetariums’. ‘Stories about Science: exploring science communication and entertainment media’ Symposium, Manchester, UK, 4-5 June 2015.
  • 'The Universe in a Cockpit: Orreries, Showmen and Popular Astronomical Lectures in London, 1820-1870'. iCHSTM2013, Manchester, UK, 23 July 2013. See the congress website and abstract.