Understanding Science "All Hands to Dance and Skylark!"

On September 6th, 2023, ISSI-BJ "Understanding Science" on "All Hands to Dance and Skylark!—Captain Cook and Health at Sea" was successfully held. This public lecture was organised in collaboration with the Royal Asiatic Society China, and was held at the Courtyard Institute, Beijing. About 24 people attended this event and took part in the conversation about physical and mental health at sea. The speaker was the Executive Director of ISSI-BJ Richard de Grijs (who also spoke on behalf of the Australian National Maritime Museum), and the main focus of his presentation was the lack of proper diet and hygiene in seventeenth and eighteenth century ships that were sailing for many months at sea, and how this directly affected their health and wellbeing. Some of the most common diseases that afflicted members of these Western ships actually never affected sailors from the Pacific islands; this is because their diet included many fruits and vegetables, coconut milk instead of alcohol and small amounts of salty meat. Professor Richard de Grijs explained how Captain Cook tried to improve British sailors' diet by offering his crews sauerkraut and citrus fruits, and also tried to improve their mental and physical wellbeing with mandatory dancing every day.
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