Symposium on Space and Place


It is finally time for the next symposium in the Ordered Universe Symposium Series, this time on the topic of space and place in Grosseteste’s astronomical thought. This symposium takes place in Durham, in a friendly and welcoming space provided by St John’s College. The proceedings will focus on a second reading of Grosseteste’s long treatise on the spherical universe, and a first acquaintance with his much shorter treatment of the ways in which differences of place and location may be described with precision. We read the De sphera for the first time in Rome in April, but the length of the text as well as the complexities arising from Robert’s desire to combine different ways of modelling the universe into one exposition, makes a revisit most welcome. This time, we will also be able to discuss visualizations of Robert’s model in greater detail. The group gathered for this symposium includes Dr Laura Cleaver, who specializes in medieval manuscript images and illustrations. Since our first reading, Jack Smith, a first-year engineering student at Pembroke College Oxford, has created an interactive computerized 3D model of Grosseteste’s depiction of the universe. Both medieval and cutting-edge visualizations of substance of the text will thus be available to enrich our discussions.

this-way-upThe De differentiis localibus, ‘on the different places’, is a brief treatise discussing how to describe the relative and absolute positions of the various objects comprised by the spherical world machine. It thus offers an intriguing glimpse of the conceptual problems Grosseteste faced in his efforts to describe how the spherical universe was organized.

We are very much looking forward to an intense few days of reading and discussions.

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