Medieval ‘Big Bang Theory’…

One not to miss! Tom McLeish is featured at 21.00 on Wednesday this week, talking with Philip Ball, on Science Stories, Radio 4: The Medieval Bishop’s Big Bang Theory. Tom and Philip explore the scientific world of Robert Grosseteste, rainbows, colour and light streaming through Cathedral windows, and the birth of the cosmos described in his treatise ‘On Light’ with its eerie resonance of modern thinking. Listen in, or to the podcast afterwards!

Medieval Rainbows at Cambridge Mathematics

The Cambridge University Mathematics Campus and one of its more famous denizens.
The Cambridge University Mathematics Campus and one of its more famous denizens.

Ordered Universe Co-investigator Tom McLeish was invited down to the Cambridge Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) to talk about the project in that famous institution’s regular ‘fluids’ seminar series. Continue reading

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

Ordered Universe Sessions at Porto

Cafe Majestic in Porto
Cafe Majestic in Porto

These are the details of the three formal sessions we have organised for the FIDEM Congress in Porto: focusing on the treatises on light and on colour. Each session has a mingling (to use a Grossetestian phrase) of scientific and humanities based scholars; all of which are needed to convey the richness and depth of these wonderful, and original expositions of Aristotle together with his Arabic commentators. The De luce we date to about 1225, the De iride is one of the last scientific texts Grosseteste composed, dated to 1228-1230.

Continue reading

The Colour Group – Great Britain

Hannah is hosting the next monthly meeting of the UK Colour Group at Pembroke College, Oxford, on Wednesday, 13th March. The meeting  will focus on the colour cues for material properties, drawing on experience from visual psychophysics, human neuropsychology, colour measurement, computer vision and the perception and representation of material properties in art. Perception of colour is not something that Grosseteste addressed directly in the De colore, but he gets a lot closer to the perception of different colours in different rainbows in the De iride. Sam Sargeant will be attending from the Ordered Universe/Durham Grosseteste Project research group (and having some time in the lovely Oxford libraries on matters Grossetestian and medieval scientific).

Details of the meeting and registration are here:

Durham Grosseteste Project in Portugal

IMG_1119So, our next engagement as a team will be the FIDEM congress in Porto. The congress gathers around 400-500 medievalists of various sorts and meets every 5 years. FIDEM itself is a network of institutes for medieval studies, with individual as well as institutional membership, and has been running since 1987. Greti sits on the executive board. Jose Mereinhos very kindy and enthusiastically accepted our suggestion that we might present the project in Porto. Continue reading