Annual Symposium

Once a year, scientific instrument scholars from around the globe meet up in person for a week-long Symposium of the SIC, kindly hosted by a different institution each. It’s a great networking opportunity within a friendly, sociable and supportive environment, suitable for all stages of career progression. Every fourth year the Symposium becomes part of the International Congress of History of Science and Technology of the DHST.

What happens at the SIC Symposium?


The Symposium consists of 4 to 5 days of talks covering a wide range of scientific disciplines and instruments where delegates present their research findings. Each Symposium has a dedicated theme and attendees are invited to submit proposals for oral presentation and posters on the history of scientific instruments in English.


All participants are invited to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) whereby the SIC Board report on the past year’s activities and invite delegates to make suggestions for future events and projects.


We use the changing venue of the annual Symposium as an opportunity to organise excursions to visit local collections of historic scientific instrument collections and to see sites of scientific heritage, such as observatories, laboratories, universities, libraries and archives.


At the end of the week, we come together for the conference dinner, which is a great way to socialise, thank our hosts, and say ‘goodbye’ until next year. It’s also the moment when we announce the winners of the hotly contested competition in which delegates are invited to ingeniously include a local buzzword within their academic paper. See here for the prize-winning ‘Rum’ entries at our event in Havana, Cuba, in 2019.

Travel Grants

Thanks to the generous support of our parent organisation, the DHST, we can provide a limited number of travel grants to help students and early-career students attend the Symposium at a subsidised rate, see notices on the RETE mailing list for more details.


All Upcoming SIC Symposia

All Past SIC Symposia

A late 19th century Pseudo Holland Circle (Collection N. de Hilster).