Workshop 2: Medieval Science and the Modern Curriculum: Part 3a PRIMARY

Introductions completed it was down to the second part of the workshop; placing the methods, approaches and material from our medieval and science collaboration at the service of our education partners. Vanessa Kind, with Per Kind and Dorothy Warren, led the days activities. Divided into groups, one focused on primary schooling (roughly 6-10 as the target age-range), one of secondary schooling (GCSE/A Level, 14-18 age range) and one on A-Level specifically (16-18), we worked throughout the day to develop a range of ideas for worksheets, resource packs, possible lesson plans. All of these were discussed in the context of the National Curriculum Key Stages: we are aiming for activities that are stimulating but workable within, and which enhance, current guidelines and frameworks.Continue reading “Workshop 2: Medieval Science and the Modern Curriculum: Part 3a PRIMARY”

Workshop 2: Medieval Science and the Modern Curriculum – Part 2

dmrt4One of the bedrock principles of the Durham Grosseteste Project is the activity of collaborative reading. It sounds simple, and it many respects it is, but sitting together, to read through a text, slowly and thoughtfully, creates the environment in which exciting and imaginative ideas for research take shape and evolve. All present are able to askquestions or to ask for explanation, and we have run these sessions as openly as possible, with a wide range of observers and participants from across Durham and other institutions, along with the core team.Continue reading “Workshop 2: Medieval Science and the Modern Curriculum – Part 2”

Workshop 2: Medieval Science and the Modern Curriculum – Part 1

At the beginning of this week we welcomed members old and new to Durham to explore the second element within OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAour network project based on Grosseteste’s scientific works, namely whether and how the ideas, concepts and problems he discusses can be used in the modern classroom. How to bring Grosseteste’s world to life and how to engage children and young adults with the challenges of crossing time and culture boundaries, are key to this process.Continue reading “Workshop 2: Medieval Science and the Modern Curriculum – Part 1”

Two weeks thinking about rainbows

I am fascinated by the ebb and flow of insight, discovery, writing, progress in this project.  Like so much science itself, sometimes ideas need simply to develop quietly on their own, at other times they are ready for serious up-front work.  So the realisation of Hannah Smithson when at the Porto workshop that Grosseteste’s identification of his colour coordinates with the dimensions of rainbows and “different types of rainbows” might lead to  co-ordinate systems with spiral structure, hss led to two weeks (prior to the next JOSA deadline – deadlines help too!) of intense and fruitful work (by far mostly on Hannah’s part out cheered on by the rest of us).  This involved a lot of serious physical optics (sourced from world expert Philip Laven), mathematical perception theory (Hannah)and a totally trivial link to the rather bijou “log-polar” co-ordinate systems (me) – but for the first time the De Colore puzzle looks like having a satisfactory solution.  More anon with diagrams – very beautiful ones.


Tom McLeish in Durham – Public Lecture

As part of the Durham Institute of Advanced Study‘s Light Year (a year of academic and outreach riches devoted to the theme of light, with a huge variety of disciplinary perspectives, visiting fellows and light-oriented events), Tom McLeish will be delivering a lecture in the IAS Public Lecture Series

The Science -Theology of why Light Matters: from Medieval to Modern

18th November 2013, 18:15 to 19:15, Kingsley Barratt Room, Calman Learning Centre, Durham University, South Road

IAS Light Year Public Lecture
To be given by Professor Tom McLeish, FRS, Durham University

Contact for more information about this event.

There will be lots of Grosseteste material within the talk, light, colour, rainbows, so if you are in or near Durham please come along!

New Season, Updates and Events

After the intellectual delights of Porto, we have been busy, variously, on developing the strands of the Durham Grosseteste project. Work on the De luce edition, translation and multi-disciplinary volume is well advanced, and there are other publication projects in the pipe-line, which we’ll post separately on. The main work of the summer has been on the 3D Visualisation project. We now have a draft, a script, voiceovers recorded and arranged from Sally Hodgkiss and Sir Thomas Allen; Nick and Adam have put a huge amount of effort into the 3D rendering, which has been instrumental in evolving a collaborative basis for the film.Continue reading “New Season, Updates and Events”

Medicine, Science and a Porto Perspective

En route to Porto – lay-over in Lisbon Airport…

I first heard about The Ordered Universe Project in a seminar led by Giles Gasper and Tom McLeish at Durham last autumn. As someone who specialises in medieval medicine and gender, I was initially fascinated by their willingness to combine medieval science with modern physics, yet I was unaware of what contribution (if any) I could ever bring to such a combining of minds. Medieval medicine, though within the same frame of understanding as medieval science, was a very different thing to what Grosseteste was trying to do. Or at least that is what I originally thought.Continue reading “Medicine, Science and a Porto Perspective”

Why the scientists?

Bridging humanities and sciences
Bridging humanities and sciences

At the heart of the Ordered Universe Project is the interdisciplinary collaboration between medievalists and scientists. In this way light is shed onto Grosseteste’s scientific work from very different angles, and this allows for an all-around and in-depth elucidation of his writings. That medievalists contribute to our understanding of medieval science seems straightforward and not a subject of debate. However, doubts are more likely to be raised about whether modern scientists can add anything useful at all in this endeavour.  Like many others who first hear about the Ordered Universe Project I was having these very doubts before joining the group during the FIDEM congress. Continue reading “Why the scientists?”

Porto Conference Thoughts and Reflections, from a postgraduate perspective, Part One

A few months ago Giles Gasper kindly invited me to attend the FIDEM conference in Porto as part of the Grosseteste project. I gladly accepted the invitation and started to read through the material that I was sent. The Grosseteste project had interested me ever since I heard about it; the idea of collaboration between the sciences and the humanities is a fascinating idea. The sciences and the humanities had been studied together throughout history until the time of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century when they started to develop different patterns of social and educational evolution. By contrast a medieval scholar such as Robert Grosseteste would have studied both the trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and musical theory).Continue reading “Porto Conference Thoughts and Reflections, from a postgraduate perspective, Part One”

The educational strand – ideas from the student perspective

When I first read about the idea of linking the Ordered Universe Project to education, I was fascinated by the parallel drawn between knowledge development across time, within the individual on the one hand and in the history of science on the other. It seems to me to be an intriguing suggestion that there may be some overlap between the conceptual caveats that in medieval times hindered (what we now believe to be) accurate understanding and those that make scientific reasoning difficult for children and teenagers. Within the group of students taking part in the FIDEM congress, we have thought a lot about what benefits the Ordered Universe Project could bring to pupil and student learning. This is because we are still very much at the recipient end of the knowledge spectrum, and for some of us school education is still very recent. Continue reading “The educational strand – ideas from the student perspective”