Feasts of Progress. Scientific Conferences at Universal and International Exhibitions, 1889-1958
The massive Universal Expositions of the decades around 1900 were also the sites of hundreds of scientific conferences, held as a side-show. From then onwards, scientific congresses and world fairs co-evolved, functioning as quintessentially modern forms of public spaces: large gatherings in urban settings, dedicated to science, technology and progress, echoed in the wider world through media coverage. This case study will investigate the ways in which the public spaces of world fair and international scientific congress mutually evolved and interacted. The period under examination runs from the Paris 1889 International Exposition to the 1958 Brussels World Fair – which saw no less than 31 international fairs organised, most of which had scientific congresses in their orbit. This case study focuses particularly on Paris asa setting for such events (1889, 1900, 1931, 1937, 1947), while allowing a transnation al comparison with other international fairs.