Seminar Today in Durham: Richard Bower at the IAS

Richard Bower explaining the treatise on light at the Festival of Humanities, November 2014.
Richard Bower explaining the treatise on light at the Festival of Humanities, November 2014.

Richard Bower, one of the core research team members of the Ordered Universe project will be giving a lunchtime seminar today at the Durham University Institute of Advanced Study (1-2 pm in the Seminar Room) Richard is currently a Christopherson Knott Fellow at the Institute, and is exploring comparative cosmologies. He describes his paper today, which includes discussion of Grosseteste’s treatise On Light (c.1225) as follows:

“How old is the Universe? How was it created? What will happen to it in the future?  These are questions that are addressed by modern cosmologists, using the “laws of physics” and state-of-the art supercomputers to simulate how the Universe is created. But the questions that we answer are not new, indeed they are probably as old as human consciousness.  In my seminar, I’ll focus on the question of the origin of the Universe, and ideas about its perfection. My aim is not so much to present the contemporary answer, but to look at how this picture has changed over the millennia. I’ll present computer simulations the creation of the Universe, contrasting the results derived from Robert Grosseteste’s medieval treatise with the state-of-the-art EAGLE Universe simulation project.

The Medieval Cosmos
The Medieval Cosmos

Places are limited for the seminar, and full details are available on the IAS website. The treatise On Light is in itself an hommage to ancient cosmologies, Aristotelian, Platonic, Ptolemaic, as well as the additions to that tradition by early medieval Islamic astronomy and the writings of the Hispanic-Jewish scholar Solomon ibn-Gabirol who died in the mid-11th century. More will follow soon from Richard on his fellowship and the history of the history of the universe!

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