The Franklin Effect – Minerva Scientifica

Minerva Scientifica

Discover Connections between Inspirational UK Women Scientists and Composers Past and Present

Superwomen of Science @ Fossil Festival, Lyme Regis 2017

Festival programme image

 Superwomen of Science
Minerva Scientifica

Winner of a Three Weeks Editors Award – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

Singing with Fossils!

Our expedition to the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival made us many new friends. These included 100 children from Symondsbury Primary School Dorset, St. John’s Primary School Weymouth,  Mountjoy School Dorset and Musbury Primary School, Devon, and the 20 adults who accompanied them. They arrived in groups on Friday 28th April at The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis,  and were introduced to the female earth scientists depicted in the “Raising Horizons” exhibition which was displayed in the auditorium.  We all got to know the women very well – and the children created some very special work which you can hear them sing here: –

TrowelBlazers  – A New Song
On April 29th 2017 at 1.30pm “Superwomen of Science – Minerva Scientifica” was performed at Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in the Marine Theatre by electric voice theatre surrounded by the TrowelBlazers exhibition “Raising Horizons”.WP - TB 4Frances M Lynch created a new vocal work for the occasion, celebrating the scientists depicted in the exhibition and inspired by the Festival theme – Time and Tide and Tectonics.

“TrowelBlazers – Time and Tide and Tectonics wait for no woman”


Raising Horizons
Time and Tide and Tectonics wait for no woman
TrowelBlazers finding footprints of the past
Archaeology, geology, palaeontology that’s us
Mary Anning had a dog, holds a hammer in her hand
found a lot of dinosaur poo, flying dragons corprolytes
“In every outthrust headland, In every curving beach,
In every grain of sand, there is the story of the Earth”
(Rachel Carson)
The Earth, what is it? How was it formed?
People, who are we? What have we made?
Creatures of the world, where do they come from?
Minerva Scientifica – Raising Horizons

The work is for a live solo voice with a chorus of recorded voices generously donated by  the children of  Symondsbury , St. John’s Weymouth and Musbury Primary Schools, and Mountjoy Special and Community School and by Pippa J Redfern, Danielle Barry, Kathryn Holland, Miranda Melville, Colette Milward, Eloise Ward, Fiona McAlister
all other voices are Frances M Lynch


Superwomen of Mathematics – Science Museum Lates Feb 2017


Strength in numbers

Minerva Scientifica returns to the Science Museum Lates series with some of our Superwomen of Science – this time it’s Maths!

In addition to works by Plowman, Whitley, Frances-Hoad and Bingen the programme features the premiere of Minerva Mathematica by Lynch – listen below

View our Photo Album from a great evening attended by 3616 people

Minerva Scientifica:- Performance Programmes


Minerva Mathematica Frances M Lynch (world premiere)
Rejoice Greatly  George Frideric Handel
Epitaph for a Comet Hunter Frances M Lynch 
Something more than mortal 
 Cheryl Frances-Hoad
Williamina – Astronomer fae Dundee   Frances M Lynch 
Seven Dark Lines Lynne Plowman
Spiritus Sanctus Vivificans Hildegard von Bingen

Blue Maths Gallery

electric voice theatre production team

Frances M Lynch – Soprano, Artistic Director
Dr Patricia Fara – Science Historian
Herbie Clarke – PR & Sound Design
Miranda Melville – Design

Composer’s Programme Notes

Minerva Mathematica was created especially for this event at the Science Museum celebrating the new Winton Mathematics Gallery. The piece uses text from the gallery exhibition and curator David Rooney, the names of many important women mathematicians, quoting some of their own words, and was created with the advice of Dr Patricia Fara President of the British Society for the History of Science, and reflects the research into ScottishWomen Scientists by Catherine Booth (National Library of Scotland).The work is for a live solo voice  with a chorus of recorded voices generously donated by: –  Pippa J Redfern, Danielle Barry, Kathryn Holland, Miranda Melville, Colette Milward, Eloise Ward, Fiona McAlister, and Frances M Lynch.

Epitaph for a Comet Hunter uses four strands of material, fragmented and interwoven:- the names and dates of the 8 comets discovered by Caroline Herschel; a Catch (or song) written by her brother William and copied out in her own handwriting, quotes from her journal, and the citation received in a letter from the Royal Astronomical Society who awarded her a medal. The final section is from the epitaph she composed for herself.  Frances M Lynch
Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) – singer of Handel who discovered 8 comets and 14 nebulae

Seven Dark Lines is a miniature character study of the Scottish science writer, Mary Somerville, in her own words.  Lynne Plowman
Mary Somerville (1780-1872) – mathematician, cosmologist and science writer

Something More Than Mortal uses Ada Lovelace’s own words, many of which are quotes from her letters to Charles Babbage, to convey her extraordinary mind and character. Cheryl Frances-Hoad
Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852) – mathematician and pre-computer programmer!

Williamina – Astronomer fae Dundee  is based on the traditional tune “The Piper O Dundee” Fleming emigrated to the USA with a husband who abandoned her on arrival with her unborn child. Her obvious intelligence led to her elevation from housekeeper to Astronomer at the Boston Observatory under Charles Pickering . Frances M Lynch
Williamina Fleming (1857 – 1911) – astronomer, discovered the Horsehead nebulae

Spiritus Sanctus Vivificans  by Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179) –herbalist, healer, poet, astronomer, composer…..
Jocelyn and the planet