I was delighted to be invited to present our work on the De colore at Liverpool Hope’s university-wide seminar series. Prof. Galina Paramei, my host, had heard the paper I presented at the meeting of the International Colour Vision Society (ICVS) in Kongsberg, Norway, back in July 2011, and had noted our project as something that might fit with the Foundation Hour series. The programme for this term was in the hands of the Faculty of Sciences and Social Sciences, and Dr Mina Lyons and Dr Barbara Tigar had done a wonderful job of organising and advertising the seminar.
We had the pleasure of using the excellent facilities of the new Eden Centre lecture theatre, and a smiling-faced audience duly gathered at 1pm. The material I presented was similar to the De colore part of our presentation in New York earlier in the year, except this time I was on my own. So, the historical introduction and scene-setting was down to me. This is one of the challenges of such an interdisciplinary project – I think I’m getting better at it, but I’m not sure Giles would have been very impressed with his “pupil”!
The audience were wonderful – I saw smiles and dancing eyes as I described the development of our project. I may have imagined it, but I’m sure there was a gasp as I revealed the punch line in the tale of “the missing obscura”. As a vision scientist, I usually only get that sort of audience reaction when I resort to the cabaret trick of introducing some impressive visual illusion.
Question time brought a discussion of Grosseteste’s sources and of the subsequent reception of his work. How close was he to Aristotle? Why in modern discussions do we hear only about this sort of thinking as part of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, centuries later? The event finished with a buffet lunch, and I was delighted to hear from one audience member, “that was the highlight of my week” – it was only Wednesday, but I was pleased.
I’d like to extend my thanks to all those at Liverpool Hope who made my visit so enjoyable – many thanks for your warm hospitality.