The Appliance of Science: Ordered Universe in Rome

The Ordered Universe project enjoyed an excellent collaborative reading symposium in Rome at the beginning of this month, 4-8 April. Some 26 of the group gathered in the eternal city, under the local care of Cecilia Panti and her colleagues from Università di Rome, ‘Tor Vergata’, especially Clelia Crialesi. The symposium took place in the University of Notre Dame, Rome Global Gateway. We made full use of its excellent facilities, and were treated to a very hospitable welcome from the director, Professor Ted Cachey and events administrator Krista de Eleuterio. Continue reading

Gravitational Waves and the Cosmic ‘Sonativum’

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Artistic rendition of the merging black holes that gave rise to the gravitational waves reported in February 2016. Image from LIGO collaboration

Only an Ordered Universe blogpost could deserve a title like that.  We cannot let a discovery of such reach, beauty, conceptual depth and powerful simplicity (yes indeed) as the LIGO team’s announcement this month of the first detection of gravitational radiation go without a celebratory comment from the Robert Grosseteste club here.

Robert did, after all, engage in the magisterial De luce in the work of imagining the entire cosmos, and indeed in the propagation of waves across it in the process of its first formation.  Another centrepiece of his thought world was the connection of the universal with the present and microscopic. Continue reading

Ordered Universe at the Festival of Humanities

SOCIAL_MEDIA_RGB_02_500PXBeing Human, the Festival of the Humanities is now a little under a month away. Ordered Universe team members at the Dark Ages to Dark Matter activities will include: Giles Gasper, Tom McLeish, Hannah Smithson, Richard Bower, Brian Tanner, Mike Huxtable and Sigbjørn Sønnesyn. There will be a number of Durham students involved as well, helping to lead the collaborative reading sessions, which, as those who are there will see, are the heartbeat of our interdisciplinary activities, and the best way of all to get into not just a piece of writing from the past, but the best way to try and follow the thoughts of the person who created it. Continue reading

Ordered Universe 2010-2014: a Visual Compilation

ImageThe Ordered Universe Project completed its 12th research symposium with the Mahfouz Forum on De generatione sonorum [‘On the Generation of Sounds]. For those that couldn’t be there the public lectures will be available soon, but in the meantime, there is available here a conspectus in visual form of our activities: pick your own sound-track (and watch those vowel and consonant shapes), and enjoy! Thanks for following.

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

Pembroke College Oxford – a Very Short Introduction

IMG_1170After workshops and conferences held in Durham, Porto and Lincoln, it seems only right that the interdisciplinary and international team of the Ordered Universe Project is now meeting in Oxford – the very place where Grosseteste spent part of his early scholarly career and where today the Bodleian and College libraries keep many of the original manuscripts. Having graduated from the Psychology and Philosophy undergraduate course just this summer, I’m especially looking forward to being in Oxford next week, now as a Pembroke alum. Continue reading

Institute of Physics, International Conference on the History of Physics

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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

Boston and Kalamazoo: What is Science, What is Theology?

IMG_2236With lots of activity during May and early June, and more to come over the summer, an update on Ordered Universe and related events is called for. To start with, completing the account and reflections on the trip to Boston College, and the 49th International Medieval Congress, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo. The first conference involved, from Durham, Giles Gasper and Helen Foxhall Forbes (History), Luke Sunderland (Modern Languages and Cultures), one post-doc, Charlie Rozier (History), and three postgraduate students, all Ordered Universe regulars, Devin O’Leary (Theology and History), Sam Sargeant and Lydia Harris (English and History). Continue reading

Clarifications on Medieval Multiverses and Multidisciplinarity

IMG_0032The recent interest in the Ordered Universe project following summary articles, in Nature, TheConversationUK, The Economist, The New Statesman, and various republished versions of the above, has been very gratifying (in the most part) but has also made it clear that some clarification is needed on both the way the project works, and on what we are saying.  Continue reading

Rainbow paper in JOSA

Grosseteste's rainbow co-ordinates mapped onto perceptual colour plane by H. Smithson
Grosseteste’s rainbow co-ordinates mapped onto perceptual colour plane by H. Smithson

IMG_1899The paper on the De iride and modern mapping of rainbow colour co-ordinates is published formally today in the Journal of the Optical Society of America AVolume 31, Issue 4 – and the front cover is taken from our paper, with one of Hannah’s  representations of the spectra from the scattering angle and droplet radius size. The spiral mapping diagrams are both beautiful and novel. The piece advances further the work carried out in this respect on the treatise on Colour in the same journal. The rainbow treatise was probably the last of Grosseteste’s scientific writings and represents a mature and reflective style.