Mathematics, Measurement and Money

Throughout its brief history, mathematics has been closely linked with measurement and money. In the ancient settlements the rules of arithmetic and geometry were used to solve problems about the allocation of food and resources. When life became more complex, the use of coined money led to computational problems that required good algorithms for their […]

Changing Minds and Mental Development

In this talk, Professor Gwen Adshead will discuss what happens when the minds change, drawing on evidence from neuroscience and research into psychological therapy. She will discuss mentalisation: the process whereby humans learn to read others intentions, and explore how that can fail. Professor Adshead will discuss research into mindfulness practice, and the implications for mental development. […]

Development, Developers and the Water Environment

Would you want a quarry near your house? Driven by EU law, environmental impact assessment is now a requirement for developers planning mineral extraction, waste disposal sites and major housing schemes. Initially, the emphasis lay on the prevention of environmental damage, but very rapidly this shifted into the language of ‘sustainability’, and what might be […]

Why Society Needs Astronomy and Cosmology

‘One day, Sir, you may tax it’: Faraday’s prescient quip when quizzed about the practical value of electricity in 1850 neatly demonstrates that advanced societies cannot afford to stifle scientific curiosity for its own sake – a powerful if serendipitous driver of technological and societal progress. It will be argued that fundamental research into astronomy, […]

Why Society Needs Astronomy and Cosmology

‘One day, Sir, you may tax it’: Faraday’s prescient quip when quizzed about the practical value of electricity in 1850 neatly demonstrates that advanced societies cannot afford to stifle scientific curiosity for its own sake – a powerful if serendipitous driver of technological and societal progress. It will be argued that fundamental research into astronomy, […]

Darwin, Evolution and God: The Present Debates

This lecture sets the scientific and religious context for Darwin’s theory of evolution, before considering this theory and the challenges this raised for traditional religious beliefs. In particular, we will consider some issues raised by Richard Dawkins in his Blind Watchmaker (1986) and The God Delusion (2006). The lecture will then conclude by looking at “social Darwinism”, particularly the […]

Changing Minds and Mental Health

What happens when people change their minds? In this lecture, forensic psychiatrist Professor Gwen Adshead will offer a historical perspective on changing minds, starting with a discussion of the role of medicine in changing minds. She will discuss the move from changing behaviour to changing thinking, and changing stories; and how modern mental health services […]