Medieval and Modern Tides – Light Up Poole Festival 2019

Last weekend, on Saturday February 23rd, Ordered Universe members Brian Tanner and Giles Gasper took part in the Light Up Poole Festival, on the UK’s south coast, in Dorset. We gave a talk to the public on the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste, in Continue reading

Light Up Poole

The Light Up Poole Festival launched, quite literally, in a  blaze of collective light on 21st February, and closes tonight, on the 23rd February. Of the 24 installations, 2, from the Projection Studio, were conceived and developed in partnership with Ordered Universe research. In this case it’s the cosmological vision and astronomical writings of Robert Grosseteste that provided the inspiration. Horizon, premiered at Continue reading

Getting ready for Light Up Poole

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Fresh from its US premiere at the Napa Lighted Art Festival, California, Horizon created by The Projection Studio in collaboration with Ordered Universe, and using imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, receives its European premiere in the coming week at the Light Up Poole Festival. The show, elaborates Grosseteste’s treatises On the Sphere and On the Six Differentiae. The former, composed between 1215 and 1220 deals with issues connected to the Continue reading

Horizon at Light Up Poole

Fresh from the Napa Lighted Art Festival, the projection show Horizon, created by The Projection Studio – Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, in collaboration with the Ordered Universe, and in consultation with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will play at the upcoming Light Up Poole Festival. Running from 21-23 February Light Up Poole features Continue reading

New Year? New Symposium!

 

The Ordered Universe team are throwing themselves into 2018 with another symposium that will focus on preparing our collaborative editions and translations of the shorter scientific works of Robert Grosseteste.

The symposium will be held Jan 7th–10th 2018 at Pembroke College, Oxford, and this time around the team will be reading Robert Grosseteste’s De cometis, De sex differentiis and De impressionibus elementorum.

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Astronomy across the Medieval World

An extremely interesting conference organised by the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics, based at St Cross College, University of Oxford, ‘Astronomy across the Medieval World‘ introduced Chinese, Indian, Islamic, European and Mayan and Aztec  astronomy to a wide and diverse audience. The first session of the conference was chaired by Professor Charles Burnett (London), and opened by Dr Giles Gasper (Durham), with an outline of European astronomy, its inheritances, exploring in particular Robert Grosseteste’s treatises On the Sphere, On Comets, On Light and On the Liberal Arts. Professor Christopher Cullen (Cambridge) followed with China and its astronomical systems, meridian measurements, state-sponsored observatories, and belief in a spherical heaven, but flat earth. The links between Chinese and Islamic  (or Islamicate) astronomy were also fascinting. Dr Josep Casulleras (Barcelona) completed the morning with a fuller treatment of Islamic astronomy, its inheritances, especially Ptolemy, particular developments and influences. The importance of medieval Islamic astronomy to the scientific revolution was stressed especially.

The afternoon featured two papers, chaired by Professor Silke Ackerman, the first of which, given by Professor Ivan Šprajc (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) opened up the subject of pre-Hispanic Mezzo-America. Mayan and Aztec astronomy, its calendar of 365 and 260 days, and the place of star-lore within mezzo-American society were explored in detail, and offered a very interesting parallel with the Eurasian examples from the morning. The final paper of the day came from Dr Benno van Dalen (Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities), who took the case of Ptolemy, tracing the his influence across the Islamic tradition, the European, and the Indian, ending at the court of the Mughal Jai Singh in the early eighteenth century. The proceedings of the day were summarised expertly by Professor Emilie Savage-Smith (Oxford) who emphasised the similarities as well as the differences between the societies presented and their cultures of astronomy. The similarities across the medieval period, the presence of networks of scholar and diffusion of texts across cultural and linguistic boundaries were perhaps the most striking elements of the day.

Organised by Dr Joanna Ashbourn, and taking place in the Department of Physics, the conference attracted some 150 people, with lively question sessions after each talk. All of which made for a stimulating and challenging day, and a very successful one.

Imaging Fast Phenomena and Chladni Plates – Public Forum

The Ordered Universe symposium on Space and Place, focusing on Grosseteste’s treatises on De sphera and the De sex differentiis, included a public lecture and forum. The lecture, delivered by Clive Siviour, explored his research into high speed photography and material deformation. The film of the lecture will be added to the website shortly. Given in the Williams Library at St Chad’s College, Durham University, the lecture was a very stimulating introduction for non-experts, but full of research insights and details for Continue reading

Grosseteste on Space and Place

 

The latest in the series of Ordered Universe symposia took place last week, between 1st and 3rd September. We gathered in Durham once more, in the hospitable surroundings of St John’s College, to examine two of Grosseteste’s treatises, and review progress on those now in the publication roster (on which more soon). The meeting was, formally, for the 17th collaborative reading symposium of the project. The experience from those meetings showed in the way that the team were able to move between texts, editions, translations Continue reading

Space and Place: Ordered Universe Symposium

The next Ordered Universe symposium takes place at the beginning of September. From 1-3 various members of the research team will meet at Durham University, at St John’s College, to continue the programme of collaborative reading. The symposium will see the second reading of the treatise De sphera – On the Sphere, the first of the next text in our roster, the De diferentiis localibus – On Local Differences, and revision of earlier work with the treatise De liberalibus artibus – On the Liberal Arts and its Middle English translation. A full programme – complete with a public lecture by Professor Clive Siviour, Department of Engineering and Pembroke College, University of Oxford on his research into High-Speed Photography, and Grossetestes’s treatise De generatione sonorum – On the Generation of Sounds. This takes place in the Cassidy Atrium at St Chad’s College, from 5.30 and is followed by an opportunity to meet the research team, to explore some of the resources of the project, and to participate in some medieval and modern experiments.

 

Image of walking around the world, from Goussouin de Metz, L’image du monde, with permission from the BN, France, Fr. 1548, used with permission.

From Difference to Understanding: Responses to Interdisciplinary Research

At the last Ordered Universe public lecture in Rome, ‘Wonders of the Universe‘ we conducted a brief survey of those attending. Of particular interest was a question about the interdisciplinary research. What, we asked before the lecture did people understand by interdisciplinary research? The answers, some 25 in total, provided an intriguing set of responses: in many senses what was expected, but expressed in a definite manner.  Responses were lexically dense (63.3%), and 11.6 on the Gunning-Fox readability matrix (where 6 is easy and 20 hard). Turned into a Wordle word cloud, the notion of ‘different disciplines’ came out most strongly, with ‘working together’ and ‘knowledge and understanding’ as subsidiary concepts.  Continue reading