Literature and Science, Oxford

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


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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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Torch/Science museum research fellowship opportunity!

Up to: £10,000 for academic buyout and £2000 for travel to Science Museum and £2000 for exhibition/workshop event in Oxford/London are available for an Oxford staff member through a special research fellowship through TORCH and the Science Museum.

Deadline for applications: 29 June 2015.

See below for details:

http://torch.ox.ac.uk/sciencemuseumfellowship


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Literature and Science Events This Week

27 May, 5.30-7PM

Matthew Paskins (University of Leeds & The Open University), ‘For the Sake of a Dibbling Stick: the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and inventive communities, 1800-1830′. Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College.

30 May, 9AM-6PM

Working with Nineteenth-Century Medical and Health Periodicals – all-day workshop. Seminar room 8, Ruth Deech Building, St Anne’s College. See here for more details.


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Literature and Science Events this Week

Torch Book at lunchtime series: Theatre and Evolution in Science: From Ibsen to Beckett by Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, With Michael Billington (Guardian), Morten Kringlebach (Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford), Laura Marcus (Goldsmiths’ Professor of English Literature). Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford.

21 May, 6.30-8PM.

‘People-powered science: citizen science in the 19th and 21st centuries’. Speakers: Professor Sally Shuttleworth, Professor Chris Lintott, Dr Berris Charnley. An informal discussion-based event on Constructing Scientific Communities. Learn how 19th-century models are offering ways of harnessing this huge popular interest, and how these models are helping to advance science. At the Royal Society, London. See: https://royalsociety.org/events/2015/05/citizen-science/.

22 May, 2PM.
Dr John Holmes (Reading), ‘Science in Modernist Epic Poetry.’ Literature and Science Research Seminar. English faculty, Seminar Room A.


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Victorian Citizen Science Event, Royal Society London, 21 May

21 May, 6.30-8PM.

‘People-powered science: citizen science in the 19th and 21st centuries’. Speakers: Professor Sally Shuttleworth, Professor Chris Lintott, Dr Berris Charnley. An informal discussion-based event on Constructing Scientific Communities. Learn how 19th-century models are offering ways of harnessing this huge popular interest, and how these models are helping to advance science. At the Royal Society, London. See: https://royalsociety.org/events/2015/05/citizen-science/.


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Literature and Science Events this Week

11th May, 12:00-2:00PM.
Proustian Memory – a special event in the ‘Unconscious Memory’ seminar series. Professor Gordon Shepherd (Yale) Reassessing Mechanisms of Autobiographical Memory’. Dr Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (St Catherine’s, Oxford) Madeleines and Neuromodernism’. Chair: Dr Sowon Park (Corpus Christi, Oxford). Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, Meeting Room 4.

13th May, 5.30PM
Lee Macdonald (University of Leeds) ‘The magnificent services which it has rendered to science’: Astronomy and Meteorology at Kew Observatory. Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College.

15th May, 2PM.
Dr Christopher Pittard (Portsmouth). ‘Her dog’s voice: Wilkie Collins, animality, and rabies in the 1870s.’ Literature and Science Research Seminar. English faculty, Seminar Room A.


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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 Events this Week

5th May, 1.45PM.
Rey Lawson-Conquer (Somerville) ‘Orange is the new black: colour in/and poetry around 1900’. Literature and Science Early Career Researchers’ Forum. TORCH, Colin Matthew Room.

8th May, 2PM.
Dr Natalia Cecire (Sussex), ‘Faces in the Crowd: Flash’s Figuration’. Literature and Science Research Seminar. English faculty, Seminar Room A.


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Literature and Science Early Career Researchers’ Forum – upcoming talks

The Literature and Science Early Career Researchers’ Forum will convene four times during this Trinity term. The meetings will be in rooms in the Radcliffe Humanities Building and each will be based around one researcher discussing their current work. See times, rooms and speakers below. All are welcome.
05/05/2015 13:45-15:30, Colin Matthew Room
Rey Lawson-Conquer (Somerville) – “Colour in/and poetry around 1900”

19/05/2015 13:45-15:30, Seminar Room (RH07) 
Alison Moulds (St Anne’s) – The (Medical) Woman Question in Nineteenth-Century Medical Journals

02/06/2015 13:45-15:30, Seminar Room (RH07) 
Robert Daly (New) – ‘From Poetry to Algebra: Russian Formalism and the “Language of Science”’

16/06/2015 14:15-16:00 – Seminar Room (RH07B)
Lloyd Houston (Brasenose) – ‘Their Syphilisation You Mean’: James Joyce and the Politics of Venereal Disease