Newton and the Origin of Civilization

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm on Tuesday 27 November 2012
at The Royal Society, London

Public history of science lecture by Prof. Mordechai Feingold and Prof. Jed Buchwald.

Event details:
Isaac Newton's Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, published in 1728, one year after the great man's death, unleashed a storm of controversy. And for good reason. The book presents a drastically revised timeline for ancient civilizations, contracting Greek history by five hundred years and Egypt's by a millennium. This lecture will tell the story of how one of the most celebrated figures in the history of mathematics, optics, and mechanics came to apply his unique ways of thinking to problems of history, theology, and mythology, and how his radical ideas produced an uproar that reverberated in Europe's learned circles throughout the eighteenth century and beyond.

Jed Buchwald and Mordechai Feingold reveal the manner in which Newton strove for nearly half a century to rectify universal history by reading ancient texts through the lens of astronomy, and to create a tight theoretical system for interpreting the evolution of civilization on the basis of population dynamics. It was during Newton's earliest years at Cambridge that he developed the core of his singular method for generating and working with trustworthy knowledge, which he applied to his study of the past with the same rigor he brought to his work in physics and mathematics. Drawing extensively on Newton's unpublished papers and a host of other primary sources, Buchwald and Feingold reconcile Isaac Newton the rational scientist with Newton the natural philosopher, alchemist, theologian, and chronologist of ancient history.

Attending this event:
This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 6pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Recorded video will be available on this page a few days after the event.

Enquiries: Contact the events team

Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association Biennial Conference | Shakespeare and Emotions [Call for Papers]

In collaboration with
The Arc Centre of Excellence in the History of Emotions

27 – 30 NOVEMBER, 2012

at the University of Western Australia


The study of emotions in history and literature is a burgeoning field in Early Modern Studies and other areas, and Shakespeare takes a very central and influential place. We invite papers on any aspect of the ways in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries represented emotions in poetry, drama and other works, and how these have been received by audiences and readers from the sixteenth century to today. There are paradoxes to be explored – how ‘the bodily turn’ of physiological influence on emotions could in turn generate more modern models of inner consciousness alone; how concepts rooted historically in Elizabethan and Jacobean England could be adapted to fit the philosophies and concepts of later ages, through eighteenth century literature of sensibility, nineteenth century and Darwinian approaches, twentieth century psychologism stimulated by Freud, and a host of others. Did Shakespeare tap into a ‘collective unconscious’ of ‘universal’ stories, or did he arbitrarily choose stories to dramatise which his affective eloquence incorporated into world literature? Why have his works proved so durable in their emotional power, both in themselves and adaptations into other media such as opera, music, film and dance? Equal attention is invited to plays in performance and in ‘closet’ critical readings, as well as textual studies and adaptations.

The new Fortune stage will be available for original practice performances, open rehearsals, stage-based research papers, etc.

ABSTRACTS of 200 words can be submitted for consideration at:  Please bear in mind that although our venues have full capability for powerpoint and projecting files from your computers, wi-fi reception is in some rooms unavailable, so if you will need full internet reception for your presentation please make this clear in your abstract and we will try to programme accordingly.

Science in the news: regional independent television in the British Midlands during the 1950s and 1960s

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Friday 23 November 2012
at The Royal Society, London

History of science lecture by Dr Sally Horrocks.

Event details:
Dr Sally Horrocks is Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Leicester.

From the outset science and technology stories were an integral part of the output of regional television news in the English Midlands, reaching an audience that went far beyond those that chose to watch dedicated science programmes. Initially these reports drew heavily on the visual style of newsreels, but gradually developed new approaches and began to exploit the possibilities offered by television, particularly for audience engagement. This talk will consider how reporting on science and technology developed in the early years of regional television and the images of science it presented to the public.

Attending this event:
This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Recorded audio will be available on this page a few days afterwards.

Enquiries: Contact the events team.

Redcrosse, performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company

'How do we think about identity in ways that don't reflect anxiety, fear of the other, uncritical adulation of our past and all the other pitfalls that surround this subject? The Redcrosse project manages to negotiate these difficulties with immense imaginative energy and honesty: no sour notes, no attempt to overcompensate by desperately overapologetic rhetoric, simply a recovery of deep roots and generous vision. As much as it takes its cue from Spenser, it's a contemporary working out of some of the great and inexhaustible legacy of Blake, a unique contribution to what is often a pretty sterile discussion of who we are in these islands.'
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, UK

On the evening of Saturday the 17th of November the Royal Shakespeare Company will be performing *Redcrosse*, the new poetic liturgy for England and St George which Ewan Fernie (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham) wrote with the major poets Jo Shapcott, Michael Symmons Roberts and Andrew Motion, and the theologian Andrew Shanks, as part of a multi-grant-winning academic project. *Redcrosse* got considerable national press last year, in *The Guardian*, on radio and television, and even in *The Daily Star*, when it was performed in Windsor Castle and Manchester Cathedral. Its RSC production in the modernist masterpiece of Coventry Cathedral will be its most dramatic and exciting instantiation to date, taking its audience on an exciting and affirming adventure into what England is and could be. Don’t miss it!

For further details and tickets, please see the link below.

A book of the project will also be launched on the 17th:

Iron from the sky: the potential influence of meteorites on ancient Egyptian culture

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Friday 16 November 2012
at The Royal Society, London

History of science lecture by Dr Diane Johnson.

Event details:
Diane Johnson is Project Officer (FIBSEM) at the Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space & Astronomical Research, Open University.

Ancient Egyptian belief was frequently derived from observations of the natural world, where the gods were considered to control the forces of nature; and as a society, ancient Egyptians placed great value upon order and balance. So how would the appearance of a fireball bringing meteorite iron to the ground be interpreted, and what was the perception of this iron as such a rare material? This lecture will explore the theory that meteorites may have influenced many aspects of ancient Egyptian culture with evidence in the form of artefacts, ancient texts and architecture.

Attending this event:
This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Recorded audio will be available on this page a few days afterwards.

Enquiries: Contact the events team.

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities: Knowledge and its Pretenders

Tuesday 13th November 1.30pm – 3pm Room B36, Main Building

Speaker: David Bell (Visiting Professorial Fellow BIH/BISR)

Psychoanalysis centres upon the capacity to know oneself and this perspective, very clear in Freud , was given a new theoretical basis and centrality in the work of Wilfred Bion This seminar will centre on those factors which operate in the service of furthering self knowledge and those which acts against it, the latter substituting for knowledge its various 'pretenders'. These processes will be investigated in the individual, group and broader societal levels.

This workshop is free and open to all – no registration

The workshops and lectures during the year will explore our twin capacities for knowledge and self-deception as made manifest in the consulting room, in everyday life and in the socio-political contexts we inhabit.

Next Workshop in this series is on 21st May 2013 1.30pm Room B04, 43 Gordon Sq.

Information about all David Bell’s lectures with the BISR/BIH is here

Julia Eisner, Manager
Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities
Birkbeck Institute for Social Research
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

T: (0) 20 7631 6612

Teaching language to the deaf in the 17th century: the dispute between John Wallis and William Holder

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Friday 09 November 2012
at The Royal Society, London

History of science lecture by Dr David Cram

Event details:
David Cram is Emeritus Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford.

In the early years of the Royal Society an acrimonious dispute broke out between John Wallis and William Holder as to which of them had been successful in the ‘experiment’ of teaching the deaf child Alexander Popham to speak. Using evidence from the recently-discovered manual composed by Wallis for instructing Popham, this talk will aim to position the dispute in the context of the broader experimental concerns in Royal Society circles, including the schemes for a philosophical language with which both Wallis and Holder were intimately associated.

Attending this event:
This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and general seating will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

The talk will be interpreted by a BSL interpreter, and priority seating will be given to those who require this service. If you do, please email Felicity Henderson ( in advance of your visit with your name and the number of people in your group.

Recorded audio and video will be available on this page a few days afterwards.

Enquiries: Contact the events team.

Funding: BSHS Student Assistance for For Conference Fees

The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) is pleased to offer financial assistance to its student members attending the 2013 International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Manchester. The value of each award will be 205 British pounds, which is the amount of the conference fee for early registration (ending on 14 April 2013).

These bursaries will be available to all student members of the BSHS, but you must make an application by 31 January 2013. The application should simply consist of an e-mail attachment submitted to Lucy Tetlow<>, the Executive Secretary of the BSHS, giving your name and institutional affiliation and stating that you would like to receive a bursary. (Please note that you can also apply separately for travel assistance from the BSHS Butler-Eyles fund.)

Decisions will be made by the Council of the BSHS, and announced by 28 February 2013. Funds will be made available directly after the Congress on confirmation of attendance.

Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP)

English Professor Laura Mandell, Director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC), along with two co-PIs Professor Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna and Professor Richard Furuta, are very pleased to announce that Texas A&M has received a 2-year, $734,000 development grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP, ). The two other project leaders, Anton DuPlessis and Todd Samuelson, are book historians from Cushing Rare Books Library.

Over the next two years, eMOP will work to improve scholarly access to an extensive early modern text corpus. The overarching goal of eMOP is to develop new methods and tools to improve the digitization, transcription, and preservation of early modern texts.

The peculiarities of early printing technology make it difficult for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to discern discrete characters and, thus, to render readable digital output. By creating a database of early modern fonts, training the software that mechanically types page images (OCR) to read those typefaces, and creating crowd-sourced correction tools, eMOP promises to improve the quality of digital surrogates for early modern texts. Receiving this grant makes possible improving the machine-translation of digital page images with cutting-edge crowd-sourcing and OCR technologies, both guided by book history. Our goal is to further the digital preservation processes currently taking place in institutions, libraries, and museums globally.

The IDHMC, along with our participating institutions and individuals, will aggregate and re-tool many of the recent innovations in OCR in order to provide a stable community and expanded canon for future scholarly pursuits. Thanks to the efforts of the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) and its digital hubs, NINES, 18thConnect, ModNets, REKn and MESA, eMOP has received permissions to work with over 300,000 documents from Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), totaling 45 million page images of documents published before 1800.

The IDHMC is committed to the improvement and growth of digital projects and resources, and the Mellon Foundation’s grant to Texas A&M for the support of eMOP will enable us to fulfill our promise to the scholarly community to educate, preserve, and develop the future of humanities scholarship.

For further information, including webcasts describing the problem and the grant application as submitted, please see the eMOP website:

Project partners are:

Forum for European Philosophy Event: In the Zone: Spontaneity and Mental Discipline in Sport and Beyond

Thursday 8 November, 6.30 – 8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Michael Brearley is a psychoanalyst in London, in earlier life he taught philosophy, and was a professional cricketer

David Papineau, Professor of Philosophy, King's College London

Chair: Simon Glendinning, Reader in European Philosophy, European Institute, LSE and Director of the Forum for European Philosophy

What is meant by ‘being in the zone’? Can philosophy or cognitive science help explain the combination of mental and physical effort required for sporting excellence?Michael Brearely will discuss technique and emotion, concentration and relaxation, self-criticism and self-confidence, and will consider whether the capacity to find an optimum balance of such qualities can be learned or fostered. David Papineau will speak about the way that high-level sport requires intentional mental control of reflex behaviour, and will reflect on what this tells us about both cognition and sport.

Podcasts of most FEP events are available online after the event. They can be accessed at

All events are free and open to all without registration
For further information contact Juliana Cardinale: 020 7955 7539

Forum for European Philosophy
Cowdray House, Room G.05, European Institute
London School of Economics, WC2A 2AE

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Berlin

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Department II (Prof. Lorraine Daston), announces one Postdoctoral fellowship for two years with possibility of renewal for a third year, starting date September 1, 2013.

The fellow will join the MPG Minerva Research Group “Reading and Writing Nature in Early Modern Europe” lead by Dr. Elaine Leong. The group is part of Department II at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and is connected to the project “The Sciences of the Archive.”

Further details concerning the project may be found at >

We particularly welcome applicants whose research contributes to the working group project ‘Testing Drugs and Trying Cures in Early Modern Europe’
 (Project website).

Other possible topics include:
  • Cultures (material, social and intellectual) of selecting, collecting, preserving, classifying, and transmitting knowledge and, in particular, notebooks and paper technologies 
  • Histories of reading (e.g. investigations of reading practices and histories of book collections and libraries) 
  • Histories of book production including publishing and print, scribal publication and translation practices. 
The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is an international and interdisciplinary research institute ( The colloquium language is English; it is expected that candidates will be able to present their own work and discuss that of others fluently in that language. Candidates should hold a doctorate in the history of science, history of medicine or related field at the time the fellowship begins.

Outstanding junior scholars are invited to apply. Fellowships are endowed with a monthly stipend between 2.100 € and 2.500 € (fellows from abroad) or between 1.468 € and 1.621 € (fellows from Germany). Candidates of all nationalities are welcomed to apply; applications from women are especially welcomed. The Max Planck Society is committed to promoting more handicapped individuals and encourages them to apply.

Applications should be submitted in English. Candidates are requested to send a curriculum vitae, publication list, research prospectus (maximum 750 words), a sample text, and two letters of recommendation no later than January 15, 2013 to:

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Administration, PD-II-Minerva
Boltzmannstr. 22
14195 Berlin, Germany

Electronic submission is also possible: For questions concerning the research project and Department II, please contact Dr. Elaine Leong (; for administrative questions concerning the position and the Institute, please contact Claudia Paaß (, Head of Administration, or Jochen Schneider (, Research Coordinator.

Wellcome's Collectors

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Friday 02 November 2012
at The Royal Society, London

History of science lecture by Ross MacFarlane.

Event details:
Ross MacFarlane is Academic Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library, London.

Pharmacist, philanthropist – and Fellow of the Royal Society – Sir Henry Wellcome is now widely recognised as one of the most acquisitive of collectors during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But Wellcome’s collection of historical objects was not the work of one man acting alone. This talk will aim to bring forth from the shadows of his store rooms the men and women who bid, bought, and collected in Wellcome’s name.

Attending this event:
This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Recorded audio will be available on this page a few days afterwards.

Enquiries: Contact the events team.

Call for Papers: ‘New Directions in the Renaissance’

Friday 2 November 2012
The University of Edinburgh

The cultural movement known as the Renaissance, and the profound affect it had on the intellectual and artistic life of early modern Europe, continues to provide inspiration for new scholars across a wide range of disciplines. ‘New Directions in the Renaissance’ is an interdisciplinary conference which aims to provide a forum for those studying the Renaissance in its birthplace and heartland, Italy, to reflect on the broad range of topics and themes which characterise study in this field.

Contributors are invited to explore emerging areas of inquiry, new approaches to existing Renaissance scholarship, and the use of new media and sources in their research. Participants must be concerned with the Renaissance in Italy between c.1400-c.1600, but topics are not otherwise limited.

The conference offers the opportunity for postgraduate students and early career researchers (whether at PhD, MPhil, or MSc by Research level) from universities across the UK to present their research in a constructive, friendly environment. It is expected that funding will be available for speakers’ travel and accommodation.

Please send proposals of 300 words for papers of 20 minutes, along with a short biography, to: by Friday 1 June 2012.

New Directions
In Renaissance Italy

New Directions in Renaissance Italy

1-2 November 2012, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Lecture Theatre, doorway 5, Teviot Place, University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh will host the interdisciplinary conference 'New Directions in Renaissance Italy'. Gathering postgraduate students and early career researchers from a wide range of disciplines, the event provides a forum to explore and discuss emerging areas of enquiry related to the Italian Renaissance.

Keynote address: Dr Genevieve Warwick (University of Edinburgh), 'Looking in the Mirror: The Toilet of Venus in Renaissance Art', 1 Nov. 2012, 5.15pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Minto House

Please follow the link for information about programme, papers and registration: