Grosseteste at the National Astronomy Meeting

Presentation on Robert Grosseteste’s De Luce at the National Astronomy Meeting, Portsmouth June 23rd.
Richard3It was great to be giving an “extra” talk at the National Astronomy Meeting. This is a really big event with up to 500 participants, and lots of parallel sessions covering all aspects of astronomy from the latests (non) evidence for the multiverse to the outbreak of flares from the surface of the sun. Most speakers were there to present the latest discoveries exploring the far reaches of Universe and the depth of black holes…  so it was brilliant to be able to set the Universe we see now in its historical context. My main aim was to show that the first steps towards understanding the origins of the Universe were made well before the enlightenment. Judging from the comments I received, the message hit home. Evidently, I successfully explained how Grosseteste’s model worked, and convinced most delegates that our mathematical model was a indeed good “translation” of the Latin text. It was really satisfying to see this expert audience taking in the message that (although Robert Grosseteste’s explanation of the origin geocentric Universe is ultimate incorrect,) the logical process by which he constructs his cosmological model very much follows the methodology of modern cosmology: we observe the world around us, construct “law of nature” to explain local phenomenon and then extrapolate those laws to explain the origin of everything.  Robert Grosseteste would have loved NAM.  I wonder what he’d have made of my talk on the formation of galaxies: I’m sure he’d have had plenty to say.

Richard Bower

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