March 2009

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The Darwin Correspondence Project will award two prizes of £1000 each for the best student essays on science and religion that use materials from Darwin's letters. The competition is open to students from all disciplines, nationalities, and stages of education. One prize will be awarded to a university or post-graduate student; the maximum length for these submissions is 8000 words. The other prize will be awarded to a school student; the maximum length for these submissions is 3000 words. The essay must be in English. The closing date for submissions is 1 May 2009.

Sex, Ethics and Psychology: The Networks and Cultural Context of Albert Moll (1862-1939). A two-day conference examining the work of Albert Moll in the context of late Imperial and Weimar Germany medicine, culture and society and also looking at the international impact of his work.

Sponsored by the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine supported by the Wellcome Trust

Thursday 5th - Friday 6th November, 2009

Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease, Durham University, Wolfson Research Institute, Queen's Campus, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6BH.

Numeracy: Historical, philosophical and educational perspectives

St Anne's College, Oxford
Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 December 2009 (lunchtime to lunchtime).

In recent years studies of the history of mathematics have turned increasing attention to the mathematical experiences of ordinary people and to the teaching, learning and using of mathematics which takes place outside elite contexts and away from individuals who might ordinarily identify themselves as mathematicians. At the same time a focus exists in the educational world on the key skill of numeracy, its nature and its acquisition. Philosophers of mathematics have long been interested in the nature of our understanding of numbers and numerical operations and the nature of basic arithmetical knowledge.

This conference seeks to bring together these different approaches to numeracy, in order to share insights about what numeracy is, how we can recognise it (or its absence), how it relates to other cognitive capacities and other fundamental questions concerning basic numerical abilities. It will also provide a forum for the discussion of detailed case studies from the different realms of history, philosophy, and education, which will, it is hoped, prove mutually stimulating and fruitful for new interactions between these fields.
Novel and/or interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcomed, and we can accept pertinent studies based on any historical period or geographical region.

Confirmed invited speakers:
Philosophy: Marcus Giaquinto (University College, London); Stephen Laurence (University of Sheffield)
History: Natasha Glaisyer (York University); Jane Wess (Science Museum, London); Kathryn James (Yale)
Education: Terezinha Nunes (University of Oxford); Tom Roper (University of Leeds)

The cost will be £100, and will include two nights' B&B accommodation at St Anne's College, and attendance at the conference dinner on the 17th (a reduced rate of £50 will apply to students and to those who do not require overnight accommodation).

To propose a paper for consideration please send the title and abstract (approximately 200 words), together with your name and affiliation, in the body of an email to the address below. The deadline for the receipt of proposals is 31 July; every effort will be made to make decisions by 15 September. Speaking slots will be of 30 minutes, including time for questions.

Non-speaking delegates are also very welcome: to reserve a place please email the address below.

Dr Benjamin Wardhaugh
All Souls College
Oxford OX1 4AL

The British Society for Literature and Science is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2008 book prize. The four shortlisted books are:

  • Armstrong,Isobel. Victorian Glassworlds (Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Jackson, Noel. Science and Sensation in Romantic Poetry (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism, no.73) (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
  • Levine, George Lewis. Realism, ethics and secularism : essays on Victorian literature and science (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  • Reiss, Benjamin. Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2008)

The prize of £150 will be awarded to the best book published in 2008 in the field of literature and science. The winner will be announced at this year's conference at Reading University.


The Journal of Literature and Science, a peer-reviewed, electronically available journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature and science, is seeking new reviews for its next issues. The JLS reviews journal articles in the broad field of literature and science or the cultural history of science published within the year from one volume of the journal to the next (so presently from early-2008 to the present). The Journal does not publish book reviews (other journals do a more than adequate job of this already). Articles can be submitted without prior solicitation from the editors, should be 500-750 words in length, in MLA style, and should be submitted with a copy of the journal article. Publication of reviews is at the discretion of the editors.

The Editor-in-Chief, Martin Willis, would be glad to receive reviews and review queries by email to

The JLS can be accessed at

The European Science Open Forum will be held in Turin, Italy, 2-7 June 2010. It's a large, very international meeting of scientists, journalists, policy makers and members of the public. The call for proposals emphasises interdisciplinary research and includes strands on science and language and science and culture. The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2009. You can read about the conference themes here, and the call for proposals is here.

The ‘science’ in Science Fiction

Tuesday 7 April 7.00pm-8.30pm

Speaker: Prof Mark Brake and Rev Neil Hook

Since its emergence in the 17th century science fiction has been a sustained, coherent and subversive check on the promises and pitfalls of science. In turn, invention and discovery have forced writers to confront the nature and limits of reality. This lecture explores how this fascinating symbiosis shapes what we see and do and how we dream of the future.

Admission: Tickets cost £8, £6 concessions, £4 Ri members. You can book tickets online at or by calling the Events Team on 020 7409 2992 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Venue: The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS

For more information please visit

The Arts meet Science in a series of provocative talks, where anything could happen.

The Arts-Science Encounters are a series of talks bringing together researchers from across the University´s five faculties and recognised external speakers. The topics are broad ranging, including speakers from more than twenty disciplines, ranging from Chemistry, Fashion Design, Literature and Law, to Music, Neuroscience and Physics. Guest speakers and soloists include Darwin's great-great grand-daughter Ruth Padel, former Lindsay Quartet cellist Bernard Gregor-Smith, and renowned science writers Richard Holmes and Denis Noble. The talks are free and open to the general public and are pitched at non-specialists.

Details of the programme are available here.

“Romantic Biographies”: Writing Lives and Afterlives, c.1770-1835
The Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference for The British Association for Romantic Studies

8 May 2009 at Research Institute for the Humanities, Keele University

“As little more than an infant, he was walking through a graveyard with his sister, Mary, ten years his senior, and reading the epitaphs on the universally belauded dead — for he was a precocious reader, who, it is said, ’knew his letters before he could talk’. As he came away, he turned to his sister and asked: ’Mary, where are the naughty people buried?’ This, we may be sure, though a joke to the reader, was not uttered as a joke by the small child” — Robert Lynd on Charles Lamb

For the biennial BARS Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference for 2009 we invite papers on lives and afterlives in the Romantic period. In particular, we are interested in biography and biographical criticism, including the receptions and depictions of both major and minor writers and artists who lived between c.1770 and 1835. We are also interested in multidisciplinary conversations about the pedagogical issues associated with our theme, as well as reflections on archival and methodological problems and solutions. We will have a roundtable discussion on Teaching Romanticism, chaired by Professor Sharon Ruston, as well as a roundtable panel on Archival Research, a Q&A session on Academic Publishing, and a Keynote address by Professor David Amigoni.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • The production and reception of Collected Works
  • Biographies, book history & periodical culture
  • The Death of the Author: biographical criticism after Theory
  • Biographical dictionaries & anecdotes
  • “Biofictions” (e.g. Peter Ackroyd’s Blake)
  • Literature: Life: Science
  • Reception histories of major/minor authors
  • Biographies and the new media
  • Genius & Celebrity
  • Biographies after Johnson and Boswell
  • Classical precedents
  • Morality, censorship and life writing
  • Lives and visual art / Lives on stage
  • Published and unpublished letters
  • Autobiographical writing & memoirs
  • Epitaphs & tourist industries

Each paper will last 20 minutes. Please send abstracts of around 200 words to Dr. Daniel Cook. We especially welcome panel proposals. In this instance send us a panel title, a list of three or four speakers and a chair (if appropriate), titles of the papers, and abstracts.

Deadline for abstracts: 19th March 2009

Organisers: Dr. Daniel Cook (Keele), Amber Kay Regis (Keele) & Matthew Sangster (Royal Holloway)