Sunday, January 27, 2019

"A History of the Small" One-Day Conference

Saturday 23 February 2019
10.30 am - 5.00 pm
St Cross College, University of Oxford - Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics 

Throughout the ages physics has sought to explain the nature of matter both on Earth and in the heavens. Millennia ago, the Greek philosophers posited the existence of atoms, thereby launching a journey through the centuries, which in due course confirmed their existence and have made them tools of our everyday life. More recently, modern thought combined the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics leading to an understanding of matter now encoded in the Standard Model. This progress has led to startling new applications in fields such as nanotechnology and genomics. This conference will trace the progress of thought from the speculations of the ancients to the reality of the modern day. Registration to attend this conference is free, but must be confirmed using the Conference booking form by midday on Friday 15 February 2019.

The programme for the day is below:

MORNING CHAIR: Dr Nicoleta Gaciu (Oxford Brookes University) 

10.30 am WELCOME 

10.40 am Professor Peter Atkins (University of Oxford) - The Evolution of the Atom 
11.30 am Professor Michelle Peckham (University of Leeds) - What is a Microscope? How the Microscope has Evolved over 350 Years 
12.20 pm Professor Sean Freeman (University of Manchester)- Searching for Atomic Constituents: Splitting the Atom? 

1.15 pm LUNCH BREAK AFTERNOON CHAIR: Dr Shirley Northover (The Open University) 2.15 pm Dr Rolf Landua (CERN, Geneva) - A Short History of the Smallest 
3.05 pm Professor Jeremy Baumberg FRS (University of Cambridge) - The Emergence of Nanoscience 


4.30 pm SUMMARY OF THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS - Professor Alfons Weber (University of Oxford/Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)

There will be a conference dinner at St Cross in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Jonty Hurwitz (nano sculptor and engineer) on his construction of the smallest human form ever created using nanotechnology. Although the conference itself is free of charge, the dinner carries a cost of £35 to attend - a place for dinner (only for confirmed conference attendees and their guests) can be booked until the deadline of midday on Friday 15 February 2019. This event is sponsored by the Faculty of History, University of Oxford and by a grant-in-aid from the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics.

Friday, January 18, 2019

ADC - End of the Line

London, 1969. A conscientious but mischievous phone-operator uses her specialist skills to avert the end of the network.

The last days of the manual telephone exchange. While the new automated switchboards are being installed across the nation, an operator resents connecting phone calls that are ending the careers of her colleagues. Never shy to a prank, Susan commits herself to take it further, using her skills of eavesdropping, rumour-spreading, and call-misdirection to save the present from the future. When the upgrades were only scheduled in Birmingham alone she was able divert and disrupt them; yet within days the threat starts to close in on London itself.

Unable to match the efficiency of the system, Susan must contend for the human side of the technological sector. Though she is up against an industry that prefers the superfast dreams of the visionaries, who promise instant connectivity and the removal of human error. Susan refuses to leave, in part to complete her employment, and in part to wait for the impossible return of a precious fellow operator.

Further details and ticket booking here.

CFP - Interdisciplinarity: The New Discipline?

School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, Crichton Campus, Dumfries, DG1 4ZL

Tuesday 3rd September - Thursday 5th September 2019

Conference Description

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, will mark 20 years of the University of Glasgow's presence at its Dumfries campus with a conference examining interdisciplinarity, its evolving interpretations, histories and uses. Amongst the key themes the conference will consider is the normalisation of interdisciplinarity methods, perspectives and discourses within research and educational contexts. Participants will address the drivers, challenges and opportunities of integrating approaches from different disciplines offered by funding bodies, academic journals and REF panels. Practitioners from teaching and learning are invited to address the processes by which the difficulties and benefits of teaching mixed disciplinary groups, with their own distinctive discourses and regimes of truth, have been negotiated, embraced and/or abandoned.

As well as keynote and plenary sessions, the conference will also have break-out sessions based on examining interdisciplinarity within discipline-specific, specialist and/or niche research and teaching groups. Each of these will feed back via a convenor at a roundtable event during the conference to explore questions to explore what changes have occurred and to what extent has the discourse of interdisciplinarity provided not new approaches to intellectual discovery but a cover for the continuation of existing disciplinary methods.

The types of key points we hope the participants on the specialist sessions will address and the co-ordinator will feedback on are:
  • What do you mean by 'interdisciplinarity', how far does it differ or concur with interpretations within your discipline/subject area and how is it manifested? 
  • What do different parties view as the strengths and weaknesses of interdisciplinarity as it is practised in your research or in relation to pedagogical approaches and teaching methods? 
  • To what extent is interdisciplinarity occurring and how do the demands of attracting funding, achieving publication, meeting REF, managerial and institutional demands shape the forms of interdisciplinarity? 
  • How are external pressures shaping interdisciplinarity resisted or transcended? 
  • What other factors shape the promotion, marginalisation, configuring and normalisation of interdisciplinarity? 
  • How, if at all, has 'interdisciplinarity' changed your discipline/subject area in general and your practice in particular? 
  • What might others from outside your discipline/subject area learn from your experience of interdisciplinarity?
Please submit abstracts of 200 words (maximum) proposing paper, presentation or poster by Thursday 4th April 2019 to either: Dr Sandy Whitelaw or Dr Benjamin Franks.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Talk - Fantasy and the Anthropocene

Prof Brian Attebery, University of Glasgow

Thursday 24 January 2019, 16:00-18:00

Mary Allan Building room 104, Homerton College, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ

The concept of the Anthropocene says that humans are primarily responsible for the current state of the world, and only we (if anyone) can fix it. In this talk, Brian Attebery will explore traditional narrative patterns and their repurposing by fantasy writers from J. R. R. Tolkien to N. K. Jemisin. Such patterns take on new purpose and significance in the context of species die-offs, climate change, and other human-caused alterations of the environment. Examples range from the killing of the forest guardian in the epic of Gilgamesh to John Crowley’s recent novel Ka.

Brian Attebery is the author of Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth and Decoding Gender in Science Fiction, among other genre studies. His work has been honored with a Pilgrim Award, two Mythopoeic Awards, and the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. He is a Professor of English at Idaho State University and editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. He is currently working on a new edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Always Coming Home for the Library of America and as of January, 2019, is Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Glasgow.