Friday, 3 November 2017 — 12:00 noon — WAG 316

Richard Noakes, University of Exeter (UK)

“From Telegraphy to Telepathy and Back Again: Research, Creativity and British Electrical Communication, 1870–1930”

In this paper I offer a revisionist perspective on the British submarine telegraph cable industry in the decades around 1900. I discuss examples of how the industry fostered technical inventiveness and frame my account in terms of the other (apparently non-scientific) 19th and 20th century uses of telegraphic expertise that have preoccupied me as a historian.


Richard Noakes is a senior lecturer in history at the University of Exeter (UK). He has published widely on various aspects of 19th and early 20th century sciences, including physics, psychical research, and telegraphy, as well as the place of science in the periodical press. He is the co-editor of From Newton to Hawking: A History of Cambridge University’s Lucasian Professors of Mathematics (2003) and co-author of Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical (2004). He is currently completing a monograph, Physics and Psychics: The Occult and British Sciences, 1870-1930.