Thinking with Things: Reframing Relics in the Early Middle Ages

Professor Julia Smith

Inaugural Lecture, 31 January 2019

This lecture assessed the material culture of Christianity in Europe c. 600 to c.1200 by investigating the contents of selected relic collections in France and Switzerland, and demonstrating the continuing relevance of Medieval History in the present day.

Science Fictions: The triumph of the imagination and the invention of scientific creativity

Professor Rob Iliffe

Inaugural Lecture, 8 November 2018

In this lecture Professor Iliffe describes the various attacks on the imagination launched by natural philosophers in the seventeenth century, and accounts for the dramatic change in its reputation that occurred in the middle of the eighteenth century, when a powerful imagination became the defining characteristic of the recently-invented scientific genius. It continues to play a key role in modern accounts of scientific creativity, but the ways in which the potential dangers of scientific theorizing have been emphasised shows that the imagination, while essential to areas such as modern physics, is still seen by many as posing an existential threat to science.

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