About What It Takes: Assumptions About Skill Sets in the Humanities and Sciences

20140320_10553120140320_105649From relatively early on in school, young people start to think of themselves as ‘more sciency’ or ‘more of a humanities or languages person’. With these two poles, to one of which many students sooner or later find themselves gravitating, we tend to associate different personality attributes and skills. For humanities subjects, creative and outside-the-box thinking is deemed to be important, and we tend to expect people in the humanities to have a vivid imagination and maybe also an elaborate, ornate writing style. For the natural sciences, by contrast, we assume that what’s needed is sharpness and coherence of thought, quickness of the mind, and maybe most importantly, good quantitative reasoning skills.

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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

Medicine, Science and a Porto Perspective

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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

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

Porto Experiences Thursday 27th June: De luce, Education and the History of Science

The Lost Legacies Team
The Lost Legacies Team

Thursday and the team kept at it, moving through the rest of the De luce, through the creation of the 9 celestial spheres (they are not named by Grosseteste but presumably followed the pattern 1 First Mover, 2 Fixed Stars, 3 Saturn, 4 Jupiter, 5 Mars, 6 Sun, 7 Venus, 8 Mercury, 9 Moon) and then the four terrestrial ‘spheres’. The property of matter, especially of lux and lumen, the notion of lumen as a very particulararistotle_universe type of body, of spiritual matter (possibly derived from Avicebron [Ibn Gabriol, 1021-1057/8]), were all topics considered. So to was the question of time: the operation of light and matter is not so much a notion as an activity of substantial change, and therefore indendent of time. Continue reading

Greti at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences/Canadian Society of Medievalists

Greti Dinkova-Bruun, one of the core team members for the Ordered Universe/Grosseteste Science project gave a paper in early June to the 2013 Congress of of the Humanities and Social Sciences/Canadian Society of Medievalists June 1-8, at the University of Victoria in Canada. The session was a roundtable on Grosseteste’s letter collection, and also to honour the translation made by Joe Goering and Frank Mantello (which won the Grosseteste LettersCanadian Society of Medievalists Margaret Wade Labarge Prize. Greti spoke on  ‘The Franciscans and Light in the Letters of Robert Grosseteste’ in a session which included Irven Resnick and Marc Cels.