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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

The Ordered Universe

The Importance of our own Past: Research at Durham University

The Importance of our own Past: Research at Durham University

Views: 1184

Dr Giles Gasper explains that by bringing together historians and scientists we are shedding new light on medieval thinking and what it means for scientific learning today.

The Ordered Universe Project is run from Durham and has both UK and International partners. It is dedicated to interdisciplinary reading of the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste (c.1170 – 1253). The aim of the project is to re-edit, translate the scientific treatises, and present them from the perspective of their own intellectual history, and to analyse them functionally, using where appropriate the insights and conceptual tools of modern science. An interdisciplinary reading is able to identify fresh and invigorating insight into the scientific works of this remarkable thinker.

Key investigators: 

Dr Giles Gasper, Durham University – History/Theology (Principal Investigator)

Professor Tom McLeish, Durham University – Physics

Dr Hannah Smithson, University of Oxford – Vision Science (Co-Investigator)

Dr Cecilia Panti, Universita di Roma, Tor Vergata – Philosophy of Science

Dr Sigbjorn SønnesynUniversity of Bergen and University of Copenhagen – History/Medieval Latin

Professor Brian Tanner, Durham University – Physics

Dr Mike Huxtable, Durham University – English

Ordered Universe

Ordered Universe

Views: 889

The Ordered Universe This film examines the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded 'Ordered Universe' project which brings together medieval scholars and scientists to consider the writings of an exceptional 13th Century Bishop, Robert Grosseteste. Research collaboration has inspired a new perspective on Grosseteste’s writings as well as new scientific experiments. Featuring Dr Giles Gasper, University of Durham, Dr Hannah Smithson, University of Oxford, Professor Tom McLeish, University of Durham and science writer, Dr Michael Brooks the film looks at the benefits of inter-disciplinary research and the possibility of working reciprocally between the sciences and the arts and humanities. This film was made at a public workshop in Durham Cathedral organised in November 2014 as part of Being Human: the UK’s first festival of the Humanities. It also demonstrates how members of the public can contribute to research creation. Further information about the Ordered Universe project, which is funded by the AHRC and developed under the Science in Culture Theme, is available at

Ordered Universe Blog