Michael Brooks – At the Edge of Uncertainty: A Journey to the Wild Frontiers of Science

Screenshot 2014-11-26 12.30.10For those of you who were not able to be with us for Michael Brooks‘s fabulous lecture ‘At the Wild Frontiers of Science’, delivered as part of the Being Human Festival of Humanities, at Ushaw College on 19th November, we are delighted to present it here. It is a mind-stretching tour of questions for modern science, from blackholes, to human-animal relations, epigenetics and the nature of human identity and consciousness. Be inspired. Continue reading

A night to remember: THE Awards

IMG_3696IMG_3694We had a wonderful night at the THE Awards, a very exciting, glitzy event at the Grovesnor Hotel, with a fantastic number of shortlisted entrants in the 17 categories. So glitzy that the voiceover for the awards ceremony was provided by the man from X-Factor. The welcome speeches were made by the editor of the THE, and Greg Clark Minister for Science, Universities and Cities, whose predecessor David Willetts was also in attendance, as we were told, several times.   Continue reading

Guardian Science – Article on Ordered Universe

As we wait for the Times Higher Education awards tonight, Michael Brooks has composed a lovely article on his experiences at the Ordered Universe Grosseteste Day during the Festival of Humanities, and of the work of the project, especially on the Rainbow. Continue reading

From the Dark Ages to Dark Matter in Pictures

A photographic record of the day (photos courtesy of Gabriel Fidler and Giles Gasper).

Arrivals and opening
Arrivals and opening
The magnificent setting of Durham Cathedral Chapter House
The magnificent setting of Durham Cathedral Chapter House
Opening presentations: Grosseteste Life and Times
Opening presentations: Grosseteste Life and Times
Collaborative Reading Groups, On Light, Brian in the lead.
Collaborative Reading Groups, On Light, Brian in the lead.
Collaborative Reading Groups, Devin O'Leary contemplating the text
Collaborative Reading Groups, Devin O’Leary contemplating the text
Tom leading discussion on the Generation of Sounds
Tom leading discussion on the Generation of Sounds
Collaborative Reading and Thinking
Collaborative Reading and Thinking
More concentration on Grosseteste's texts - Jon Turnock in the foreground
More concentration on Grosseteste’s texts – Jon Turnock in the foreground
Richard Bower explaining the treatise on light
Richard Bower explaining the treatise on light
Michael Brooks in the group on colour
Michael Brooks in the group on colour
Hannah leading colour discussions
Hannah leading colour discussions
Giles in one of the light discussions
Giles in one of the light discussions
Lunch break and filming for the video of the day: Hannah at the helm
Lunch break and filming for the video of the day: Hannah at the helm
Sigbjørn and our cameraman Alan Fentiman
Sigbjørn and our cameraman Alan Fentiman
Brian starts off the session on experiments
Brian starts off the session on experiments
Medieval science in action
Medieval science in action
Measuring Grosseteste's experiments
Measuring Grosseteste’s experiments
Modern science leading the way - Brian in action
Modern science leading the way – Brian in action
With Tom as well!
With Tom as well!
Refraction and the tea-cup (mutatis mutandis a medieval experiment)
Refraction and the tea-cup (mutatis mutandis a medieval experiment)
Imaging and lens
Imaging and lens
More medieval science...
More medieval science…
Final Sessions on the Medieval Cosmos, back in the Chapter House
Final Sessions on the Medieval Cosmos, back in the Chapter House
Richard and the making of the medieval and modern universes
Richard and the making of the medieval and modern universes
Our paticipants
Our paticipants
About to explore the medieval cosmos visualisation, which closed the day
About to explore the medieval cosmos visualisation, which closed the day

At the Wild Frontiers of Science: Being Human Festival Reflections 2

SOCIAL_MEDIA_RGB_02_500PXNovember 19th saw the second and final part of the Ordered Universe BeingDSC_0629 Human festivities, with a wonderful lecture by Michael Brooks. We took Michael on a tour of some of the resources at Durham: a visit to the Norman Chapel and then Cosin’s library for a trawl through early printed scientific collections, Galileo, Hooke’s Micrographia, and many others, before a visit to the Institute of Computational Cosmology and Richard Bower’s EAGLE project on galaxy simulation. We made our way to Ushaw, for another archival visit, of some of the scientific-related material in the collections, including a fascinating correspondence involving Cardinal Newman on Darwin’s theories of evolution and the Origin of the Species.

Michael’s lecture took us on a different tour; of questions and issues from contemporary science, in a compelling narrative which introduced science and its practitioners in context, the ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies of scientific discovery, and the changes in intellectual, social, cultural and economic circumstances that both affect and are affected by the practice of science. Continue reading

Reflections on Being Human – Festival of Humanities

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Early arrivals

SOCIAL_MEDIA_RGB_02_500PXThe Ordered Universe public workshop on Grosseteste’s scientific works, was a great success: part of the Being Human Festival, and with the aim of introducing the public to the work of the team on Grosseteste, why and how we do it, and the excitement provoked by the project. With a full house, some 60 participants, across a wide range of experience and background, and almost the full team (myself, Tom, Hannah, Richard Bower, Brian Tanner, Mike IMG_3662Huxtable, Sigbjørn and John Bissell), we started the day in the magnificent setting of the Durham Cathedral Chapter House. Continue reading

BBC Newcastle – Grosseteste Day: Being Human Festival

SOCIAL_MEDIA_RGB_02_500PXSo, the Durham Facing Out programme for the Being Human Festival of Humanities starts tomorrow – with Face to Face Encounters in Libraries based around the portrait in  Cosin’s library, which goes on for the week. Dark Ages to Dark Matter takes place on Tuesday, 18th, with Michael Brook’s Public Lecture at Ushaw College the following evening: 5.30 for 6.00 pm. You can hear Giles being interviewed by Ingrid Hagemann on her show this morning, the interview is about  2 hours 36 minutes (well, 2 hours, 37 minutes and 27 seconds to be more precise) into the listen-again podcast, which is available for the next four weeks. It was great to chat about why Grosseteste should be more of a household name, and the exciting ways in which the past can inspire the present and the future. 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

Critical Thinking, Critical Practice

IMG_1932A very interesting piece from Michael Brooks, in the New Statesman, which highlights the creative aspects of the Ordered Universe collaboration, both in terms of critical thinking, but also in terms of the way in which imaginative responses to the challenges of economic and social life can provide more than a mechanistic approach. Learning to translate, learning the patience to see what is being said and to listen carefully to how different disciplines (in our case) are expressing their points, and to what statements, conclusive or not, they are pointing, are skills too easily underestimated. The creation of environments in which these skills can flourish is surely a central task of modern academe. Critical thinking should lead to critical practice, which opens so many more approaches to the issues of the present, and the future, and making fuller use of the past.