Literature and Science, Oxford

A news and information hub for studies in literature and science at Oxford


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People Powered Medicine: A one-day public symposium

Constructing Scientific Communities

L0070040 Public Health: Bermondsey Dental health publicity, Bermondsey. Credit: Mirrorpix/ Southwark Local History Library and Archive/ Wellcome Images

Registration has now opened for our one-day public symposium investigating public participation in medicine and healthcare from the nineteenth century to the present.

The symposium, held at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS), will bring together historical and contemporary perspectives to look at the relationship between the medical profession and the public. It will explore challenges to professional boundaries throughout the period, how the doctor-patient relationship has changed and in what ways the public can contribute to matters of medicine, health and disease.  See below for a full programme.

This public event will be followed by a drinks reception at the College’s Hunterian Museum.

It will be of interest to medical and healthcare practitioners, the public, historians and medical humanities scholars. The event is open to all.

This event has been generously supported by the Arts and Humanities…

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TEXTS AND CONTEXTS: THE CULTURAL LEGACIES OF ADA LOVELACE WORKSHOP – Registration now open!

The mathematician Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of poet Lord Byron, is celebrated as a pioneer of computer science. The notes she added to her translation of Luigi Menabrea’s paper on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine (1843) are considered to contain a prototype computer program. During her short life, Lovelace not only contributed original ideas to the plans for this early computer; she also imagined wider possibilities for the engine, such as its application to music, and meditated on its limitations. Lovelace leaves a legacy not just as a computer scientist, but also as a muse for literary writers, a model to help us understand the role of women in science in the nineteenth century, and an inspiration for neo-Victorian and steampunk traditions.

As part of the University of Oxford’s celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Lovelace’s birth, this one-day workshop will bring together graduates and early career researchers to discuss the varied cultural legacies of this extraordinary mathematician. The day will feature an expert panel including graphic novelist Sydney Padua and biographer Prof Richard Holmes, as well as a keynote address from Prof Sharon Ruston, Chair in Romanticism in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Papers on the influences of Lovelace’s work will cover a broad spectrum from literature, philosophy, medicine, computer science to science teaching and Lego!

Follow this link to register for the workshop -more information about the workshop can be found here.


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Literature and Medicine Seminars Michaelmas 2015

1st week (15th October) Chekhov and Psychiatry – Ward no 6 and The Black Monk
(Femi Oyebode, University of Birmingham)
Poet, psychiatrist and academic, Femi Oyebode talks about two Chekhov short stories from his perspective as a psychiatrist

5th week (12th of November) Probably Nothing
(Matilda Tristram)
Matilda Tristram is an illustrator of children’s books and writer of BBC TV series Here she talks about her blog and graphic novel, Probably Nothing – a witty and moving diary of her experience of being diagnosed with colon cancer when she was 4 months pregnant.

7th week (26 November) Anatomy Tables
(Emma Shepley, Curator, Royal College of Physicians)
Emma Shepley discusses the history and significance of the RCP’s unique collection of Renaissance anatomy tables.
(What is an anatomy table? Not what you think – come and find out.)

All welcome: graduates, undergraduates, humanities and medical researchers, clinicians, interested others

Convenors: Peter Friend (Green Templeton College); Laurie Maguire (Magdalen College)

— A programme and more information can be found on the events page of Green Templeton College


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Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century Seminars in Michaelmas Term 2015

The programme for Michaelmas Term 2015 is now announced with three seminars taking place at St Anne’s College. Drinks will be served after each seminar and all are welcome.

Wednesday 28 October 201 5 (Week 3): Dr Madeleine Wood, Queen Mary University of London
“A ‘heart hard as a nether millstone’: The relational dynamics of Victorian ‘addiction’”
5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

Wednesday 11 November 201 5 (Week 5): Dr Claire Jones, King’s College London
“Septic Subjects: Infection and Occupational Risk in British Hospitals, 1870-1970”
5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

Wednesday 25 November 201 5 (Week 7) Professor Karen Sayer, Leeds Trinity University
“Radical Requiems: the return of the past in British agriculture, 1850-1950”
5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

– More information is available on the Diseases of Modern Life events page


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Call for Papers for Ada Lovelace Bicentenary Postgraduate Workshop

The Call for Papers for a Postgraduate Workshop on Ada Lovelace is now open, which will be taking place on the 8th of December 2015 as part of the Bicentenary Celebrations of the computing pioneer at The University of Oxford.

Texts and Contexts: The Cultural Legacies of Ada Lovelace

“That brain of mine is more than merely mortal; as time will show.”

A workshop for graduate students and early career researchers

Tuesday 8th December 2015

Mathematics Institute and St Anne’s College, Oxford

The mathematician Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of poet Lord Byron, is celebrated as a pioneer of computer science. The notes she added to her translation of Luigi Menabrea’s paper on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine (1843) are considered to contain a prototype computer program. During her short life, Lovelace not only contributed original ideas to the plans for this early computer; she also imagined wider possibilities for the engine, such as its application to music, and meditated on its limitations. Lovelace leaves a legacy not just as a computer scientist, but also as a muse for literary writers, a model to help us understand the role of women in science in the nineteenth century, and an inspiration for neo-Victorian and steampunk traditions.

As part of the University of Oxford’s celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Lovelace’s birth, this one-day workshop will bring together graduates and early career researchers to discuss the varied cultural legacies of this extraordinary mathematician. The day will feature an expert panel including graphic novelist Sydney Padua and biographer Richard Holmes.

The day will conclude with a reception and buffet when there will be opportunities to meet with speakers from the Ada Lovelace 200 Symposium, which will also take place in the Mathematics Institute on the following two days (9th-10th December). Researchers from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals for papers on the influences of Lovelace’s work, on topics including, but not limited to, literature, history, mathematics, music, visual art, and computer science. This might include:

  • Lovelace’s place in the study of the history of science.
  • Lovelace and women in science in the nineteenth century
  • Early nineteenth-century scientific networks, including Lovelace’s relationship with such individuals as Charles Babbage and Mary Somerville.
  • Lovelace and discussions about the role of the imagination in scientific practice in the nineteenth century.
  • Lovelace as translator and commentator.
  • Mathematics and music, and the musical possibilities Lovelace envisaged for Babbage’s engine.
  • Lovelace’s own textual legacies, such as her correspondence, childhood exercises and mathematical notes held in the Bodleian.
  • Lovelace’s technological legacies, from her seminal work on Babbage’s Analytical Engine to her impact on computer programming today.
  • Lovelace’s role in the steampunk tradition, from Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine to Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, and neo-Victorian fashion.
  • Efforts and activities to commemorate and memorialise Lovelace, from the recent Google Doodle to the annual Ada Lovelace Day.

Proposals, not exceeding 250 words, for 15-minute papers should be submitted to    adalovelaceworkshop@ell.ox.ac.uk by 5pm, Friday 28th August 2015. Those who are accepted to speak at this graduate workshop will also be offered free registration for the Ada Lovelace 200 Symposium taking place on the following two days.


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Today: Rey Lawson-Conquer: “Orange is the New Black: Colour in Poetry around 1900”

Joijn us today at TORCH, 13:45 at the, Colin Matthew Room, for

Rey Lawson-Conquer (Somerville) – “Orange is the new black: colour in/and poetry around 1900″

Rey Conquer is a second year DPhil student at Somerville College, Oxford. Rey is working on colour in poetry around 1900 and is currently a visiting student at the Freie Universität, Berlin.

Colour in Poetry around 1900

Colour in Poetry around 1900


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Literature and Science Early Career Researcher’s Forum, 3. March 2015

The speaker at this week’s Literature and Science ECR Forum will be Kanta Dihal. She will be speaking about her work on
 

“The Simultaneous Development of Quantum Mechanics and its Popularizations”

The first popularizations to discuss quantum mechanics were published at a time when the field itself was still far from being entirely understood. This situation is used as an example to highlight the fact that science never develops separately from culture at large.

Kanta Dihal is a first-year DPhil student at St Anne’s College. Her project, supervised by Prof. Sally Shuttleworth, and investigates representations of quantum mechanics in science fiction and popularizations of science.