OxNet North-East: Seeing Is Believing

The OxNet-Ordered Universe 2019 seminar programme is in full swing with the 2019 cohort of school students aged 16-17 (Lower Sixth Form, Year 12) from the North-East. Students from Southmoor Academy, St Anthony’s, St Robert of Newminster, and Park View Academy, met this week for the third part of their six-week seminar course, led by Ordered Universe team members, on their expert topics: Richard Bower (Durham) on Cosmology, Brian Tanner (Durham) on Physics, Joshua Harvey (Oxford) on Psychology, Nicola Polloni (Humboldt Berlin) on Philosophy and Translation, Colin Rennie (Sunderland) on Creativity and Giles Gasper (Durham) on History and Religious Studies. These take place in the entirely appropriate setting of St Peter’s Church, Sunderland, rich in its legacy for history of science as one of the home monasteries for Bede.

Claire Ungley, the OxNet North-East co-ordinator had the following thoughts on the third seminar session, which was led by Oxford University’s Joshua Harvey:

The third session in the OxNet Seminar Series took an interdisciplinary look into colour, covering areas like psychology, mathematics and even some philosophy. The seminar began with the question ‘what is psychology?’, leading students to understand that it’s not just about what’s in the mind, but what is outside and how we perceive this. Students then debated a range of questions, including ‘If a light flashes and nobody sees it, does it have a colour?’ and ‘Do we experience the same reality?’ Following a discussion of Aristotle and Plato’s theories, students made their own colour theories using wool, and found that it is difficult to make a one-dimensional theory with colours being put on a straight line. They then approached colour theory with mathematics, similarly to Grosseteste, and completed a group colour experiment to create a 3D web based on how similar or dissimilar colours are to each other. The session ended with ‘The Dress’, which some see as white and gold, and others see as black and blue… So in the end, can we really trust our senses?

More to come, and we’re so excited to hear more from the students about their thoughts on medieval and modern art and science.

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