December 2, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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A Night with Venus – A Lifetime on Mercury

14 February, 2015 @ 6:30 pm


Something different for you and your loved one as you prepare for Valentine’s Day? Come and hear how in the eighteenth century and earlier, just one night of love in the arms of Venus could lead to a lifetime with Mercury, a painful treatment for the dreaded pox or syphilis. Find out where this loathsome disease originated from in the sixteenth century and the variety of painful treatments available for it in the Georgian age when the cure could indeed often be worse than the disease itself.

Discover why the actress Sarah Siddons became a ‘ball of resentment’, how Casanova tried to avoid catching the pox, how James Boswell somehow never managed to avoid infection, why the distinguished surgeon John Hunter deliberately infected himself with gonorrhoea only to go down with syphilis, and how King George II came to die on his stool not on the throne.

A talk by Kevin Brown, Trust Archivist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Curator of the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum and author of books such as Penicillin Man (2004).


14 February, 2015
6:30 pm
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