And first, the fair PARABOLA behold,
Her timid arms with virgin blush unfold!...
Mathematical poetry may seem an unlikely form of satire, but 'The Loves of the Triangles' (1798) was not only a clever parody of Erasmus Darwin (Charles' grandfather) but also a powerful political commentary expressing contemporary fears of revolution and evolution.
For transcript and download versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: Triangular Relationships
Patricia Fara has a degree in physics from Oxford and a PhD in History of Science from London. Now based at Cambridge University, she is the Senior Tutor of Clare College and lectures in the History and Philosophy of Science Department. Her major research topics are eighteenth-century England and scientific portraits but she has published a range of academic and popular books on the history of science.
Her most recent major publication is Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009) but others include Newton: The Making of Genius (2002), Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks (2003) and Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004). In addition to her work for TV and radio she regularly writes reviews and articles for publications such as Nature, The Times Literary Supplement, BBC Knowledge and Endeavour.