The Franklin Effect at King’s College London

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Franklin looks in a microscope

Patron – Judith Weir  (Master of the Queen’s Music)                     Project Consultant – Siân Ede

A collaboration between 4 women composers (mentored by Judith Weir), 4 female scientists from King’s College London and 4 singers from electric voice theatre. The R&D project explored new ways of collaborating,  created a Theme and set of Variations exploring ideas which spawn new and unexpected discoveries combining music and science inspired by King’s alumna Rosalind Franklin – molecular biologist and crystallographer, whose photo 51 was the key to unlocking the mystery of the structure of DNA.

Minerva Scientifica: The Franklin Effect from Tête à Tête on Vimeo.

“From my perspective the most remarkable thing about the pieces presented is that they were all highly distinctive in conceptual and musical approaches, but at the same time there were numerous echoes and cross references that gave them an overall sense of coherence – of being part of a shared project that was evolving shared languages.” Prof. Nicholas Till

The work took place at King’s College London, supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the Cultural Institute at King’s, and will become part of Minerva Scientifica programming.

 Composer and Scientist Pairings:

Cheryl and ElizabethCheryl Frances-Hoad – composer
Professor Elizabeth Kuipers Institute of Psychiatry’s chair of their Women in Science Initiative (Athena Swan) and Professor of Clinical Psychology

Lynne & ClaireLynne Plowman – composer
Dr. Claire Sharpe Clinical Senior Lecturer in Renal Sciences and Honorary Consultant Nephrologist

Ellen & ShirleyShirley Thompson – composer
Professor Ellen Solomon Prince Philip Professor Of Human Genetics      

Kate Mairi & Peter - CopyKate Whitley – composer
Professor Mairi Sakellariadou Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology

electric voice theatre quartet   Barbershop         

Frances M Lynch –  Soprano, Artistic Director
Penny Desbruslais – Soprano
David Sheppard – Counter-tenor
Julian Stocker – Tenor

Design was by Miranda Melville and PR by Herbie Clarke. 

Professor Nicholas Till, Director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre at Sussex University, was the official evaluator.  

Minerva Scientifica sets out to look at the links that exist between women scientists both in history and the present day and to find ways of increasing public engagement with the physical science and with the issues encountered by expert female scientists through a parallel exposure to women composers and artists.



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