The Measurement Lab Launch

April 26, 2024
Multiple coloured measuring tapes lying in a bundle on a white surface

Thursday, 23 May 2024 · 5 – 6:30pm GMT+1

Institute for Medical Humanities • Confluence Building • Durham University

Stockton Road, Durham DH1 3LE


We are delighted to hold this event to formally launch the Measurement Lab. 

From health assessments that capture our height and weight to tests that determine whether we meet the criteria for psychiatric diagnosis, measurement is central to our understanding of health and illness. Yet measurement can also reflect and reinforce existing health inequalities. Can measures necessary for medical practice capture the lived experience of individuals? Do population level measures hold at the individual level?

Led by Alex Broadbent and Coreen McGuire, the Measurement Lab in the Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities examines the social, cultural, political and historical forces that shape the meaning and function of measurement in health and medicine. It explores how these forces shape the ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’, the ‘divergent’ and ‘typical’, and how measurement can make health more or less visible.

Our lab will be launched formally by two visiting speakers.

First, Professor Graeme Gooday will offer up some reflections on his work on measurement in the context of both physics and hearing loss and its relationship to the Lab plans.

Second, Professor Gregory Radick will discuss his recent book Disputed Inheritance and its relationship to measurement and the themes of the lab.

About the speakers:

Professor Graeme Gooday is a Professor of History of Science & Technology in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds. Broadly interested in the history of technology post-1870, his current research focuses on the cultural history of electrical technology, especially relating the problematic advent of electric lighting, disputes over patenting, hearing loss, and auditory enhancement.

Professor Gregory Radick is a Professor of History and Philosophy of Science History in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds. Specializing in the history of the modern biological and human sciences, he writes and lectures frequently for general audiences, contributing regularly to the Times Literary Supplement, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time and in the PBS/National Geographic television series Genius with Stephen Hawking.

All welcome. Registration is essential.

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