image im_007198
Image number: RS.18694
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Group portrait of physicists




Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955, American), Physicist
Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853-1928), Physicist
Svante August Arrhenius (1859-1927, Swedish), Physicist
Oliver Joseph Lodge (1851-1940, British), Physicist
Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934, Polish-French), Physicist
Harry Gilbert Barling (1855-1940, British), Surgeon


Unknown, Photographer

Object type

Image reference




height (print): 175mm
width (print): 214mm



Formal gathering of ‘distinguished foreigners’ receiving honorary degrees at the University of Birmingham, in connection with the 1913 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The ceremony was held on 12 September 1913, in the presence of the Vice-Chancellor, Gilbert Barling, and Oliver Lodge, acting as President of the British Association. All are dressed in academic robes, but have removed their bonnets.

The company is centred on Marie Curie, who was presented with an honorary doctorate. In his accompanying speech, Lodge characterised Curie as ‘the greatest woman of science of all time’. Marie Curie acted as a Vice-President of the British Association’s Section B, for Chemistry.

Back row (standing, left to right): Robert Williams, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Svante August Arrhenius. Front row (seated, left to right): Oliver Joseph Lodge, Marie Sklodowska Curie, and (Harry) Gilbert Barling.

The image has a paper label verso, with English and French descriptions of the sitters, headed ‘The British Association at Birmingham’. The sitter information is repeated in pencil inscriptions. Stamped: ‘Copyright photo by the Daily Mirror, 23-29, Bouverie St., London, E.C.’

Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955), American physicist, was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 1919.
Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853-1928) Dutch physicist, was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 1905.
Svante August Arrhenius (1859-1927) Swedish physicist and chemist was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 1910.
Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge (1851-1940) British physicist, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1887.
Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934) Polish-French physicist and chemist, was not a Fellow of the Royal Society. She was awarded the Royal Society’s Davy Medal in 1903 and won two Nobel Prizes.
Sir Harry Gilbert Barling, baronet (1855-1940) British surgeon and academic administrator, was not a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > United Kingdom