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Special Collections & Archives logo : Oliver Lodge Collection

SC&A includes manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections.

Sir Oliver Lodge Collection

30 research notebooks and associated correspondence, 1874-1913 of Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, FRS (1851-1940), with published works written or owned by him.

Portrait of Oliver Lodge smoking, side profile

Lodge was appointed first Professor of Physics at University College, Liverpool, 1881-1900 and Principal of Birmingham University, 1900-1919. He also served as President of a range of societies including the Society for Psychical Research, 1901-1904 and 1932, and the British Association, 1913-1914.

Lodge's scientific research included the development of wireless and telegraphy and experiments on the relative motion of matter and ether. His many publications include The Ether of Space (1909); Making of Man (1924); Advancing Science (1931) and Past Years, an autobiography (1931).

The Oliver Lodge Papers contain 30 of Lodge's research notebooks up to 1900 (including some from his student days) and letters from correspondents including Lodge, Davies, Larmor and Fitzgerald. The notebooks include notes taken as a student from lectures by W.K.Clifford and O.M.F.E. Henrici , notes for his own lectures, research notes, graph plottings, and an index of papers for references and for students. With 303ff of manuscript notes and 44 printed items, chiefly examination papers and articles by Lodge in offprint and proof; also one press cutting and 30 letters or postcards from a variety of correspondents and two photographs of the Ether Machine at Liverpool: with Lodge, George Hall and Benjamin Davies .

The library holds more than 50 separate titles published by Oliver Lodge in his lifetime, and Lodge's own annotated copy of Maxwell's An Elementary treatise on electricity (1881).

There is related material in the Rathbone Papers and the University Archives.

The Oliver Lodge papers have been digitised as part of Wiley Digital Archives: British Association for the Advancement of Science . 

Oliver Lodge Highlights

Oliver Lodge, side profile, on the cover of radio craft magazine

Oliver Lodge on the cover of Radio-Craft magazine

The Dec. 1929 issue (ed. Hugo Gernsback), includes a perceptive tribute to Sir Oliver Lodge's work, under the byline "Men who have made radio". Describing radio as "the annihilator of space and unifier of nations", the writer acknowledges the pioneering work by Lodge, "The Grand Old Man of Radio", which made it possible for Marconi to exploit radio's commercial possibilities. SPEC S/TK6540.R12


Illustration from Lodge's copy of James Clerk Maxwell

Lodge's copy of James Clerk Maxwell, An Elementary treatise on electricity (1881)

Oliver Lodge was one of the most renowned Edwardian popularisers of physics. Lodge's copy of Maxwell's Elementary Treatise has not only Lodge's bookplate, but also his annotations, giving a unique insight into how the younger physicist came to terms with his scientific hero's extraordinary ideas. SPEC Y88.3.184

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