Unity in Diversity

IMG_404205125th – 28th November 2015, Durham, UK. A group of around 25 people gather for another symposium on the scientific writings of the 13th century English bishop Robert Grosseteste. It’s the first symposium under the umbrella of the generous AHRC grant that started in October. Whilst most academic conferences bring together experts from more or less the same subject area, this symposium is different. Its attendants span the academic disciplines from medieval history to modern vision science, from Middle English to computational cosmology, from church history to physics and applied mathematics, and from linguistics and acoustics to music composition. Continue reading

Ordered Universe goes Down Under

As Giles has already indicated, I have been enjoying a lecture tour over the last week in Australia and New Zealand. Originally catalysed by the Faith and Wisdom in Science book (which does have some Grosseteste stuff in it), and an invitation from the Theology department of Otago University here in Dunedin – particularly their Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI), it grew into a series of visits to departments of physics, chemistry as well as interdisciplinary centres and theology departments in Melbourne,  Aldelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Queenstown, Dunedin and Wellington.  In Australia my host organisation was ISCAST, a network supporting thinking and public engagement of Christianity and science. Continue reading

The Liberal Arts at Lincoln and a Choral Homage in Grosseteste’s Chapel

Easter Week saw the Ordered Universe project team converge for three days on the ancient city of Lincoln – where Robert Grosseteste was Bishop from 1235-1253.  It felt almost like a pilgrimage for those of us who have been studying the scientific works of this 13th

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral

century polymath together for 5 years now.  We even brought our very own bishop (and medieval scholar) with us in the form of David Thomson (Huntingdon). Familiarity (and depth of scholarship) go back far futher for Prof. Cecilia Panti who joined the group once more from Rome, and Neil Lewis, who ‘skyped’ in from Georgetown.    It felt rather like a family gathering with new friends. Continue reading

On the Generation of Sounds in Pembroke College Oxford

The Ordered Universe team, old and new (for attendence see Giles’ previous post) were PC at nightwelcomed with open arms by Pembroke College, Oxford, last week.  Their Mahfouz Forum supported this workshop on a new text for us, the De generatione sonorum – on the generation of sounds, as well as embedded public lectures on our work on Grosseteste’s cosmology, colour and science of the rainbow from previous texts.

The College picked up on all the thematic resonances of the week – with even rainbow-hued floodlighting of the hall at night!

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3rd International Grosseteste Conference: Day 1

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The wonderful hospitality of Bishop Grosseteste University will stay long in the memory, and the fascinating series of papers. Jack Cunningham produced a rich programme, on the theme of religious and scientific learning in the thirteenth century, focused on our main subject, with a range
of international speakers. Ordered Universe team members were here in strength, Giles, Hannah, Tom, Richard and Cecilia, alongside many others. Continue reading

Do we live in a universe at all: some thoughts from Mark Robson

John of Sacrobosco's De Sphera
John of Sacrobosco’s De sphera of about 1230, John ‘Holywood’ was an almost direct contemporary of Grosseteste c.1195-c.1256

The Durham Grosseteste Project involves looking at the works of Bishop Grosseteste and trying to understand his ideas in the light of theIMG_1932 conceptual background of an ordered universe. Grosseteste understood himself to be playing a role in a divinely ordered hierarchy of creatures. He was within a Grand Plan, a teleologically ordered whole whose aim was to glorify God and to reflect or even image some of God’s glory. To Grosseteste balance and beauty were expected since they reflected the harmony and beauty of God. He looked at light as the primeaval creation, the first stroke of God’s brush as he expressed His Glory. Continue reading