Annual Library Talk – Dorothy Needham, China, and the “Needham Project”

Date(s) - Saturday 26 September 2020
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Girton College


Dorothy Needham and Joseph Needham holding up a silk banner embroidered with the words ‘The everlasting spring of scientific knowledge’

All alumni and friends are warmly invited to the 2020 Girton College Annual Library event at 11am in the Old Kitchens on Saturday 26th September 2020. Our speaker will be Dr Gordon Barrett who will give a talk entitled ‘Dorothy Needham, China, and the “Needham Project”‘

One of the first women to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, Dorothy Needham has been best known for her research career specialising in muscle biochemistry. She was also passionately political and a keen internationalist, characteristics she shared with her husband, Joseph, but for which he has been most readily and publicly associated, especially when it comes to science in China. Yet, not only did Dr Needham spent the final years of the Second World War based in Chongqing, ‘Free China’s’ wartime capital, serving as co-director of the Sino-British Science Cooperation Office and promoting international scientific cooperation, she also later returned to China for visits in 1964 and 1972. Focusing on material from collections held by the Needham Research Institute and Girton College, Cambridge, this talk will explore Dorothy Needham’s evolving relationship with China as well as consider her own interests in and perspectives on science in China.

Dr Gordon Barrett is currently serving as Departmental Lecturer in Modern Chinese History and Politics at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the politics of science and medicine in the twentieth century, with particular interest in Sino-British scientific relations, and has been published in the Journal of Cold War History, Modern Asian Studies, and most recently in Sachse and Kraft (eds.), Science, Peace and Communism: The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs in the Early Cold War Decades (Brill, 2020).

Please email or call 01223 764935 if you would like to book a place or if you have any queries regarding this event

COVID19 Guidance

Girton College events have been postponed until the end of June 2020 and the College is not currently open to visitors.  We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation and are following the University of Cambridge and government advice as laid out by Public Health England.

We will of course let you know as soon as circumstances change. Thank you for your understanding.

Girton College Visitor Policy – COVID19