The Ordered Universe Project Returns to (one of) its Roots

I received an invitation last year to give a seminar that was impossible to turn down.  Every Wednesday afternoon the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University holds a proper academic seminar – 3.15 to 5pm, giving plenty of time to expound an idea as well as have it comprehensively discussed.  I had to go – for it was in this setting, regularly taking time of from the Physics department during the years I was professor there, that I first learnt about Robert Grosseteste. Continue reading

A 13th Century Theory of Everything – Podcast

As devoted readers of the blog will recall, Brian and Giles gave a public lecture in September 2015 at the Royal Society, as part of Open House London. The talk introduced Grosseteste and the world of the medieval university, medieval experiments and what modern science might make of his concepts and understanding. From the thirteenth century to the twenty-first, you can enjoy the full lecture below.



Richard Bower: Public Lecture – Comparative Cosmologies

Richard Bower’s public lecture from the last Ordered Universe workshop in Lincoln, from the Chapter House of the Cathedral is now available. All those that were there and want to revisit the lecture will now be able to, and for those who were not able to be there, this is a real treat. De luce, the Grosseteste Equations, Dark Matter and Dark Energy all compared and contrasted! Enjoy. Continue reading

Ordered Universe Presents…

IMG_559220140923_091840Ordered Universe presents the two, joint, public lectures from earlier this year at the Mahfouz Forum for Interdisciplinary Studies, Pembroke College, Oxford. After a lovely introduction from the Master, Dame Lynne Brindley, we gave two linked presentations. The first, involving Tom, Giles and Richard, ‘Forming the Body of the Cosmos: Robert Grosseteste’s ‘On Light’ focused on the team’s discussion of that treatise, its background and the challenges in rendering the making of the medieval universe. Continue reading

From Dark Ages to Dark Matter – Festival of Humanities

image001SOCIAL_MEDIA_RGB_02_500PXThe Ordered Universe is very proud and pleased to be part of the inaugural UK National Festival of the Humanitieswhich takes place between 15th-23rd November this year. The Festival aims to engage the public with innovative humanities research, and takes place across the country, with university hubs and their cultural and community partners. The programme is a true showcase for the diversity and inventiveness of research into humanities, with a fantastic array of projects, activities and opportunities to come face to face with the researchers and their subjects. Continue reading

Grosseteste’s ‘scientific’ treatises – reflecting on principles of investigation

20140719_153317IMG_5592One of the unifying themes across Grosseteste’s ‘scientific’ treatises is that he carefully observed the natural world around him and furthermore assumed that there should be a set of fundamental, universally applicable principles explaining the ordered complexity with which he was confronted. For Grosseteste creation was an act of divine generosity, an overflowing of God’s joy and goodness, and, as a product of the fount and origin of reason (as well as love, justice, joy and so forth), was itself inherently rational. Nature forms a source of knowledge about God alongside the revelation of Scripture. Continue reading

What a wonderful world – aha-moments triggered by insights into a medieval thinker’s mind

Photo0044IMG_0032In the aftermath of Ordered Universe gatherings I find myself time and again struck by how little appreciation I normally give to the complexity of the natural world. So many fundamental properties of the physical universe I usually take for granted, without even giving it a thought that someone would have some sort of explanatory account for them. Through engaging with 13th-century models of physical phenomena, some of this fascination with the fundamental properties of the world around us has been unlocked for me. Furthermore, I keep being baffled by how science – in the sense of ‘groping for understanding’, as Tom McLeish sometimes puts it – is far from a modern-day phenomenon but has been with us throughout the ages. Given my psychology and philosophy background this constitutes a steep learning curve, and has certainly enriched my understanding of the nature and history of science. Continue reading

Grosseteste goes public: disseminating medieval and modern science

IMG_2853IMG_2856The Mahfouz Forum on Grosseteste’s De generatione sonorum (On the generation of sound) culminated in a set of public lectures held in the Pichette Auditorium of Pembroke College. With this having been the third time that I got to enjoy being part of an Ordered Universe gathering, I had heard before some elements of these talks given by Tom McLeish, Giles Gasper, Hannah Smithson and Richard Bower. But far from making the experience repetitive, it has been very inspiring to see how the speakers’ approach and evaluation of the topics has been evolving and expanding. In addition, it’s rewarding to see how my own understanding of the themes has developed from when I first joined, and how some of the concepts I initially couldn’t get my head around by now seem quite familiar. Continue reading

Grosseteste at the 1st International Conference on the History of Physics

image003Trinity_College_Cambridge_1690Last week in Cambridge, the cosmological model of Robert Grosseteste, based on a fundamental coupling of light and matter, was presented as a poster at the 1st International Conference on the History of Physics, organized by the Institute of Physics at Cambridge, Sept 4-5th, 2014. As the main focus of the conference was “Electromagnetism: the Road to Power”, most of the papers were concerned with the history of the development of physics in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, there were a few papers in the poster session concerned with earlier work and the Ordered Universe poster attracted detailed attention from a number of discerning delegates. Brian Tanner, who presented the poster, was surprised to find that all the reprints that he had taken had been picked up. One delegate was even sufficiently interested to read our papers overnight… Continue reading

Institute of Physics, International Conference on the History of Physics

Trinity College, 1690, three years after the appearance of Newton’s Principia Mathematica

img_mid_63419The Institute of Physics, in collaboration with the EPS  History of Physics Group has organised an International Conference on the History of Physics, which takes place in Cambridge, at Trinity College, September 4th-5th. The  conference is the inaugural for a whole series dedicated to all aspects of the history of physics. The leading theme for this year is ‘Electromagnetism: the Road to Power’. Brian Tanner, recently honoured by the Institute with the 2014 Gabor Medal and Prize,  will be taking the Ordered Universe’s work on Grosseteste’s universe to the conference, in a poster presentation on the 5th September. If you are in Cambridge, Brian would be delighted to see and talk to you about the project. Continue reading