Academic Conference and Seminar Presentations

The Ordered Universe Project takes part in a wide variety of academic conferences, humanities-based, science-based and many in between. From the medieval hothouses of the International Congresses at Kalamazoo, Michigan to the International Vision Society, we aim to disseminate and present our engagement together, and with Grosseteste’s scientific vision.


Colour Vision Workshop, 7th June, 2018
Department of Psychology, Durham University, UK

Giles E. M. Gasper, ‘Colour, Vision and a 13th Century Rainbow’

Tom McLeish’s Farewell Event, 29th May, 2018
Durham University, UK

Brian Tanner: ‘Tom McLeish: A very remarkable Pro-Vice Chancellor’

Giles E. M. Gasper: ‘Science and Wisdom in Faith: Pastoral Care Medieval and Modern’

53rd International Congress 12th-15th May 2018
University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
Two sessions organised by the Ordered Universe project at the Congress:

IMG_0786Friday 11th at 1.30 pm: Structures of Order in Medieval Science I: Experience and Authorities
Sponsor: Ordered Universe Research Project
Organizer: Giles E. M. Gasper, Durham University
Presider: Laura Cleaver, Trinity College Dublin

1) ‘Roger Bacon on Matter: Between Aristotle and Experience’
Nicola Polloni, Durham University and the Humboldt University
2) ‘Robert Grosseteste’s Letter 127 and the Ordering of Knowledge’
Giles E. M. GasperDurham University

Friday 11th at 3.30 pm: Structures of Order in Medieval Science II: Visualization and Diagrammatic Expression
Sponsor: Ordered Universe Research Project
Organizer: Giles E. M. Gasper, Durham University
Presider: Giles E. M. Gasper

1) Ad Huiusmodi Figuram: Visualizing Astronomical Knowledge in England, ca. 1140–1260

Laura Cleaver, Trinity College Dublin
2) Ordering the Cosmos: Reconstructing a Diagram of Opicinus de Canistris (1296–c. 1354)
Sarah Griffin, University of Oxford
3) Visual Pedagogies in Twelfth-Century Saint Victor
Karl Kinsella, University of York


University of Leeds: University Academic Fellowship Programme: Research Excellence, 24th April 2018
Keynote Address:
Professor Tom McLeish and Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, ‘Positively Medieval Methodology for Interdisciplinary Collaboration’

Authority and Innovation in Early Franciscan Thought (c.1220-45), ‘The Summa Halensis: Doctrines and Debates’ 13th-14th April, 2018
All Soul’s College, Oxford
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, ‘The Doctrine of Creation in the Early Franciscans and Robert Grosseteste’
Respondent: Deborah Grice (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford)

British Society for the History of Philosophy, Annual Conference, 12th-14th April 2018
Habit in the History of Philosophy‘, Durham University
Dr Sigbjørn Sønnesyn, ‘Aristotle’s natural philosophy in the early works of Robert Grosseteste’
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, ‘Robert Grosseteste and the Liberal Arts’


‘Astronomy Across the Medieval World’, 18th November, 2017
St Cross College, University of Oxford, Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, ‘The Service of Astronomy’ Astronomy and its Implications in Medieval Europe’

History of Christianity Seminar, 19th October 2017
Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University
Dr Giles E. M. Gasper, ‘Ordered Universe in Outline’

Healy_Hall_at_Georgetown_UniversityAspectus and Affectus: Robert Grosseteste, Understanding and Feeling, Conference: March 31- April 1, 2017 Georgetown University – funded by Georgetown University and Arts and Humanities Council, UK, with travel support from Durham University, University of Oxford and University of Chicago

Friday, March 31st
Location: Georgetown University, McShain Lounge
Brett Smith: ‘A Theme Song of His Life’: Aspectus and Affectus in the Writings of Robert Grosseteste
Giles Gasper: ‘The Background to Grosseteste’s AspectusAffectus Distinction: Anselm,  Astronomy and the De spiritu et anima’
Sigbjørn Sønnesyn: ‘Beati mundo corde quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt’: Affectus of the Soul and the Sight of the Mind in Isaac of Stella
Nicola Poloni: Effectusaffectus, and defectus: Causality and Causation of the Substrate
Neil Lewis: ‘The Structure of the Soul: Aspectus and Affectus in Richard Fishacre and Richard Rufus of Cornwall’
Timothy Farrant: ‘Celestial Illusion, Perception, and Moralised Zoology in Alexander Neckam’s De naturis rerum’
Kathy Bader: ‘Arabic Astronomical Texts in the 12th-Century Severn Valley’

Public Lecture: Modern Science, Medieval Studies and Art in Dialogue: Bishop Robert Grosseteste’s (c.1170 – 1253) Scientific World of Light, Sound and the Big Bang
Neil Lewis: ‘Introduction’
Tom McLeish: ‘When a Modern Physicist meets a Medieval Scientist’
Giles Gasper: ‘Robert Grosseteste and the Ordered Universe’
Tom McLeish: ‘Sound and Space’
Giles Gasper: ‘Creative Collaborations’
Ross Ashton: ‘Projecting the Cosmos: Projection Art and the Ordered Universe’ (includes a montage of three sound and light shows: The World MachineSpiritus, and Spiritus: Light and Dark, from Light Festivals at Durham (2015), Berlin (2016) and Cambridge (2017))

Saturday, April 1st
Location: Georgetown University, Philosophy Department conference room, 204 New North.
Nader El-Bizri: ‘Alhazen’s Theory of Visual Perception and its Physiological, Cognitive and Experiential Bearings’
Tom McLeish: An Exploration of Scientific Creativity through the Mirror of Aspectus and Affectus
Hannah Smithson: ‘The Embodiment of Human Perception: Exchanges between Robert Grosseteste and Modern Perceptual Science’
Joshua Harvey: ‘On the generation, transmission, and perception of sound’
Luke Fidler: ‘Aspectus and the Apperception of Sculpture’
Pre-publication workshop: De artibus liberalibus and De generatione sonorum

If you would like to learn about our participants, please find more here: About our Participants.


‘Interdisciplinary Research: Policy and Practice’, joint HEFCE, RCUK and British Academy event, 8th December 2016, British Academy, London

Tom McLeish presented the final plenary talk on Interdisciplinary Research in the UK with the case study of the Ordered Universe project.

2016 Edward Delaval Lecture in Physics, 16th November 2016, Lincoln University

Tom McLeish, ‘A Medieval Big Bang Theory – An Interdisciplinary Tale’

St John’s College, Graduate Christian Union,  4th November 2016, University of British Columbia, Canada

Tom McLeish, ‘A Medieval Big Bang Theory – An Interdisciplinary Tale’. Part of a longer tour in Canada and the US, around Tom’s interests in Faith and Wisdom in Science.

18.00, St John’s College Lounge.

The Global Aspiring Medic Conference, 16th July 2016, University of Hong Kong

Hannah Smithson, ‘A Window of Opportunity for Visual Neuroscience: High-resolution in
Vivo Imaging of the Human Retina’. Hannah also talked about the  Ordered Universe Project  to challenge pre-conceptions about discipline boundaries and linear trajectories of academic pursuit.

Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong

Medieval Philosophy Research Seminar, 15th June 2016, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Giles Gasper, Cecilia Panti and Sigbjørn Sønnesyn, ‘Robert Grosseteste in multi-disciplinary perspective: medievl and modern science’

2.30-6.00 Bibliothèque des Sciences Humaines

Centre of History and Philosophy of Science, Seminar Series, 18th May 2016
University of Leeds, UK

Tom McLeish, ‘Medieval Lessons for the Contemporary Science and Religion Debate’

3.15-5.00 pm, Baines Wing, G36

51st International Congress on Medieval Studies, 12th-15th May 2016
University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, 

The Western Michigan Campus, Kalamazoo - just add 3000 medievalists
The Western Michigan Campus, Kalamazoo – just add 3000 medievalists

Thursday 12th at 1.30 pm:  The Scientific Works of Robert Grosseteste
Sponsor: Ordered Universe Research Project
Organizer: Giles E. M. Gasper, Durham Univ.
Presider: Nicholas Everett, Univ. of Toronto

1) ‘“But first: are you experienced?”: Robert Grosseteste’s Experiential Epistemology’
Sigbjørn Olsen Sønnesyn, Durham University
2) ‘Robert Grosseteste: Heir to the Severn Valley Mathematical School’
Kathy Bader, Durham University
3) ‘Science and Arts: Robert Grosseteste on the Liberal Arts’
Giles E. M. Gasper, Durham University

‘Medieval Physics in Oxford’, 27th February, 2016
St Cross College, University of Oxford, Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics

‘Robert Grosseteste: The Oxford Years’, Dr Jack Cunningham (Bishop Grosseteste University)
‘Summary of the Day’, Professor Brian Tanner (Durham University)University of Oxford

Medieval Mind Seminar Series, 28th January 2016
Durham University, Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Dept of Philosophy

‘Words Incarnate: Spirituality, Experience and Epistemology in Twelfth-Century Thought’
Sigbjørn Sønnesyn


Travelling Wisdom: Medieval Science in the North c.1000-c.1500, 21st-23rd May, 2015
Centre for Medieval Literature, Syddansk Universitet, Odense, Denmark

‘Robert Grosseteste: An Ordered, and Interdisciplinary Universe – Medieval and Modern Science’
Giles Gasper (Durham University) and Brian Tanner (Durham University)


1st International Conference on the History of Physics, 4th-5th Sept, 2014
Institute of Physics at Cambridge

‘Before Electromagnetism: a Medieval Multiverse Created from the Coupling of Light and Matter’
Poster presentation by Professor Brian Tanner (Durham University)


20140719_090058Robert Grosseteste and the Pursuit of Religious and Scientific Learning in the Middle-Ages, 18-20 July, 2014
International Grosseteste Society Conference, Bishop Grosseteste University

‘Colours of the Rainbow: Robert Grosseteste’s Three-Dimensional Colour Space’, Hannah Smithson (University of Oxford)

‘Grosseteste’s Hexaemeron: the Order and Beauty of the Universe, Ancient and Modern’
Giles Gasper (Durham University)

‘A Mathematical Interpretation of the De luce’
Richard Bower (Durham University)

 ‘The Theological Use of Science and Philosophy in Robert Grosseteste and Adam Marsh according to Roger Bacon: The ‘Case Studies’ of Angelic Movements and the Rainbow’
Cecilia Panti (Università di Roma ‘Tor Vergata’)

‘Medieval Lessons for Modern Challenges to Science and Religion’
Tom McLeish (Durham University)