Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Object 15: Rangefinder

What: Public Lecture, part of History & Philosophy of Science in 20 Objects

When: Tuesday 23rd May, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Where: Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, Michael Sadler Building, University of Leeds

Archibald Barr and William Stroud met while teaching at the Yorkshire College of Science, the University of Leeds’ predecessor. In 1888, a War Office competition advertised in Engineering magazine led them to start work on building an optical rangefinder, a device used to accurately determine distances for military purposes. Barr & Stroud’s design was adopted by the Royal Navy in 1892, and later by the Army. It remained in use until it was replaced by radar technology in World War Two.

Join us to discover the struggles Barr and Stroud faced to make their instrument a success, and to explore the philosophical and historical questions raised by optical science in the Victorian era. How does optical theory pose a problem for understanding the relationship between science and reality? What is the difference between pure and applied science? What can we learn from Barr & Stroud about the nature of intellectual ownership in science? Greg RadickJuha Saatsi and Kiara White will discuss these questions in The Barr-Stroud Rangefinder, or, The Magic and Mayhem of Optics.

Tea and Coffee will be served outside the lecture theatre from 6.15pm. All are welcome, this lecture assumes no prior knowledge.


Lecture Video:

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