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Huang, Hsiang-Fu

Hsiang-Fu image


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



About Me

I have studied for my PhD in history of science at the UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies since 2010. Before I entered this department, I studied Earth science and astronomy in Taiwan, and commenced a master degree in astronomy. Later I came to the UK and completed a MSc programme in science communication in the University of Kent. My primary supervisor is Professor Joe Cain and the second supervisor is Dr. Simon Werrett.



About My Research

My research topic is popular astronomy lectures and displays in 19th century Britain, especially the transition of public science between the 18th and 19th centuries. Scientific spectacles were common scenes prior to and in Victorian Britain. Among the subjects in scientific spectacles, astronomy was always the chief attraction. From the lectures delivered by professional astronomers to the stage shows managed by entrepreneurs, 19th century astronomy popularisers and their activities had a variety of levels and aspects. This 'differentiation' of popular astronomy was a significant phenomenon during this period. Various visual aids, such as orreries, planetariums, lantern slides, and dioramas, were used in these popular displays. My study will look into the material culture and the spectrum of contemporary astronomy popularisation.

Therefore, my research interests would be relavant to:

  •   history of astronomy (especially since 18th century)
  •   history of science popularisation
  •   orreries, planetariums, and other astronomical visual aids
  •   science communication and its practice


  • '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

  • 'The Universe in a Cockpit: Orreries, Showmen and Popular Astronomical Lectures in London, 1820-1870'. iCHSTM2013 at Manchester, session T193-C, 23 July 2013. See the congress website and abstract.
  • 'Astronomy in Theatreland: Lecturing the Universe in Early Victorian Theatres'. BSHS Postgraduate Conference at the University of Kent, 3-5 January 2013. See the conference website.
  • 'Hitch Your Stage to Star: the evolution of astronomical displays from orrery shows to modern planetariums, 1704-1923'. The 7th Science in Public Conference, UCL, 20-21 July 2012. See the conference website.
  • 'The Universe in a Cockpit: popular astronomy lectures and displays in nineteenth century Britain'. BSHS Postgraduate Conference at the University of Warwick, 4-6 January 2012. See the conference website.

Page last modified on 24 jul 14 15:08 by Hsiang-Fu Huang

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