Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1627) imagined a utopian island including an experimental garden, where plants could be made “greater much than their nature”. These new plants were central to Bacon’s dream of a better world, where hunger – and even death itself – might be conquered. Robert Sharrock’s History of the improvement and propagation of vegetables (1660) attempted to apply Bacon’s new learning and improve humanity’s food supply.
This lecture will begin with Bacon’s imagined garden, then consider the long-term promise of the experimental or scientific garden, which would eventually lead to today’s biotechnologies.
Jim is Professor of the History of Science at the University of Sussex. He specialises from Victorian natural history to the modern genetics and has presented programmes for BBC Radio 4.
Professor Endersby's lecture series are as follows:
2019/20 Utopian Gardens
All lectures by the Visiting Professor in the History of Science can be accessed here.