The Silences of Science was an AHRC-funded reearch network, running from July 2013 to June 2014, which examined different aspects of the paradox that science depends both on prolixity and on reticence. We sought to interrogate the assumption that open and efficient channels of communication are always of greatest benefit to science and to society. The project aimed to remind the research community of the creative importance of silence, of interruptions in communication, of isolation and of ‘stuckness’.

Through a series of three workshops and conferences, the research network brought together a range of scholars – from literary studies, anthropology, legal studies, religious studies, as well as from the history and philosophy of science and science communication studies – to draw on insights from their disciplines in order to examine the role of silence within the sciences. Details of the conferences can be found below.

As part of the project, audio producer Ed Prosser created 'The Sound in Silence, the Silence in Sound' audio installation.

Conference series:


2nd  - 3rd July 2013

Conceptualising Silence [pdf]

17th December 2013
Silence in the History and Communication of Science: Imperial College London. Further details and recordings of talks can be found here.

12th June 2014
Patterns of silence and contemplation in the work of scientists [pdf]