Thinking about almost everything
It is widely recognised that Durham's reputation as an international research-led university is enhanced by the pioneering work of our high-profile research institutes, in addition to the University's outstanding departments and individual scholars. But it is Durham's distinctive IAS (Institute of Advanced Study) which, for many, provides a more inclusive point of access to understand the value and importance of Durham's most innovative and exciting contributions to world ideas.
Annual programmes on major themes such as the Legacy of Charles Darwin, Modelling, and Being Human, delivered through public lectures and creative, multi-disciplinary workshops, have proven to engage, inspire and illuminate many University members, alumni, scholars and Durham's partners in the private and public sector, bringing people into the IAS and Durham's vibrant community. The next challenge for the IAS is to share its intellectual resource and riches with a broader audience. The answer to this challenge may soon be found on the shelves of your nearest bookshop as the IAS brings together Durham's research stars and most gifted writers to delve into the world of big ideas and mainstream, consumer publishing.
Released in Spring 2009 by Profile Books, Thinking About Almost Everything is a book which takes inspiration for its title from one of our most famous members - honorary graduate and University Chancellor, Bill Bryson - whose book ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything' won the Aventis Prize for science literature in 2006. Whilst the IAS's book shares Bill's playful and impassioned approach to critical subject matter, this illustrated paperback is about far more than just Science.
This book, and its collection of concise, pithy and ultimately challenging short texts from Durham staff, aims to explain the world around us from urbanism to terrorism, poetry to pornography, the housing market to how we think and feel, seducing new thought on ‘real issues'. The IAS, and this book, communicate authoritative work on a spectrum of significant matters in a lively, open and accessible manner. The essays and indeed many of the public-facing outputs of the IAS aim not to instruct, but rather to catalyse further thought and interest. In doing so, the hope is to show that universities can play a central role in shaping public opinion in a thinking society.
Thinking About Almost Everything is published by Profile Books in Spring 2009.