March 2012

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We have received the following nominations for the vacancies on the BSLS Executive. We will update this page if and when further nominations arrive.

CHAIR: Dr John Holmes (University of Reading), nominated by Kirsten Shepherd-Barr and Sharon Ruston.

TREASURER: Dr Daniel Cordle (Nottingham Trent), nominated by Martin Willis and Sharon Ruston.

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Jessica Evans (University of Salford), nominated by Sharon Ruston and Wahida Amin.

MEMBER-AT-LARGE (1): Dr Peter Garratt (Northumbria University), nominated by Vike Martina Plock and Peter Middleton.

MEMBER-AT-LARGE (2): Prof. Sharon Ruston (University of Salford), nominated by Michael Whitworth and Martin Willis.

BSLS Executive Committee posts

Several posts on the BSLS Executive Committee will either be vacant or up for renewal this April 2012: Chair, Treasurer, IT Officer, Membership Secretary, and two Members at Large. If you are interested in any of these posts and have questions please do contact us, or any member of the committee. The sections of the Constitution relevant to this process are appended below.

We already have expressions of interest for the posts of Chair, Treasurer, and one of the two posts of Member at Large. If others are nominated for the posts of Chair or Treasurer, or if there are more than two candidates for the member-at-large posts, there will be an election during the AGM.

We are also looking for a candidate for the post of Membership Secretary, and for one of the posts of Member at Large. We would be interested also to hear from anyone with a knowledge of websites and IT who might be interested in taking over the role of IT officer now or in the future.

Any member of BSLS is eligible for these posts and can propose themselves. Each proposed candidate will also need two nominations from members of BSLS, and these proposals and nominations should be sent to our current Chair, Michael Whitworth (, and myself, the Secretary (

Could any proposals be sent as soon as possible please, and ideally before April 2, 2012. This includes those who have expressed an interest.

Peter Middleton
26. 3. 12

4.1 There shall be an Honorary President, whose appointment is for an unlimited period.
4.2 There shall be an executive committee, consisting of: Chair; Secretary; Treasurer; Membership Secretary; Communications Officer; and not more than three Members at Large.
4.2.1 The role of the Chair is to oversee the fulfilment of the Society’s aims.
4.2.2 The role of the Secretary is to document meetings and other aspects of the Society’s activities, particularly to prepare minutes of Committee meetings and General Meetings, and to put them forward for approval.
4.2.3 The role of the Treasurer is to be signatory to the Society’s bank account(s); to present accounts for approval at the AGM.
4.2.4 The role of the Membership Secretary is to receive and process membership applications, to obtain fees from existing members, to pass on money to the Treasurer, and to maintain a membership database.
4.2.5 The role of the Communications Officer is to develop electronic resources; to manage and maintain an e-mail list, and to liaise with the Membership Secretary in relation to membership of the list.
4.3 Where it proves impossible to fill posts, one member may hold two, but no more than two posts.
4.4 Signatories for the society’s bank account(s) shall be the Treasurer and any other committee member.
4.5 The membership of the Executive Committee shall be determined by elections held at the annual general meeting of the society. Members wishing to stand for election should be nominated by two members of the society before the start of the AGM. Where there is more than one candidate for any post, election shall be held by a ballot on the basis of a single transferable vote.
4.6 Members of the Executive Committee shall serve three-year terms of office.

Online booking for the BSLS 2012 conference is now available here:

Please note that if you wish to book for the conference dinner at Merton, you must do so by Friday 30th March. (Because of the Easter break, the college needs notice of numbers far in advance.) Please note also that the price of the dinner is not inclusive of drinks.

The conference programme is now available here (at a slightly different address from the one previously ciruclated):

A number of financial awards for study towards the Mlitt and PhD are available at The University of Aberdeen under the Research Project Awards Scheme (RPAS) under the umbrella theme ‘The Emergence of a Scientific Culture’. For further details, see here:

The closing date for applications is Friday 6 April 2012.

Dr Claire McKechnie will speak on 'Fossils, monsters, and the Sydenham Crystal Palace dinosaurs: imagining extinct animals in Victorian science' on Friday 23rd March, 6-7pm, in the University of St Andrews, Bute Medical Building, Lecture Theatre D.  The lecture will be followed by a reception at the Bell Pettigrew Museum.

Applications are invited for BSLS small grants to advance and/or promote the study of literature and science. Examples of things for which the awards might be used are expenses for visiting speakers, seminar series and debates, and other funding to stage events on literature and science. The scheme is not intended for individual conference travel, but applications to stage special BSLS panels at appropriate conferences will be considered.

Applicants should be members of BSLS (with membership paid for 2012) and should apply by making a case, in up to 300 words, for how the award will contribute to the development of literature and science; a brief costing should be appended to the end of the application. Where funding is sought for BSLS panels a clear indication of the scope of the panel, and of its contribution to the understanding of literature and science, should be included; applications for panels at the 2012 BSLS conference are not eligible. Recipients of small grants are asked to acknowledge BSLS sponsorship appropriately in publicity for events and to provide a brief report on events.

The application should be e-mailed, as a Word attachment, to the BSLS Treasurer, Daniel Cordle (, by April 5 2012. Applications will be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee and a total of up to £300 will be awarded. Applicants may apply for any amount up to £300. Successful applicants will be informed in April; in some instances a proportion of the amount applied for may be awarded. Queries about the scheme may be directed to Daniel Cordle, but no correspondence will be entered into about the decisions of the Committee. International members of BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards, but should note that they will be distributed in the form of bank cheques made out in pounds sterling. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the awards.

The University of Reading is recruiting a Research Fellow in Biology and the Humanities for four months starting from May. Here are the details of the job.

Job title : Research Fellow
Job reference : RS12015
Application closing date : 11/04/2012
Location : Whiteknights Campus
Salary : Grade 6 £27,578 to £30,122 pro-rata, per annum
Package : School of Biological Sciences, part-time 0.5 FTE, fixed term from 1 May to 31 August 2012
Job category/type : Fixed Term, Part time, Research

Job description :

We seek to appoint a highly motivated individual with a research background in either the humanities, the sciences or the social sciences and with an interest in the development of academic disciplines.     

The post-holder will occupy a focal position in the organisation and dissemination roles associated with a workshop to be held in July 2012 and entitled 'Cultivating Common Ground: Biology and the Humanities'. The project will study the reaction of biologists to humanities research and establish a long-term collaborative network.  

Informal contact detailsContact name: Nick Battey

Contact phone: +44 (0)118 378 6441

Contact email:

Alternative informal contact detailsContact name: John Holmes

Contact phone: +44 (0)118 378 7009

Contact email:


Formal contact details

We invite you to apply online for this vacancy by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

Alternatively, if you wish to apply using a hardcopy form please email or contact Human Resources, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading RG6 6AH or Telephone +44(0)118 378 6771 (voicemail).

Further Particulars

To view job details or apply on-line click here.

Cognitive Futures in the Humanities: A One-Day Symposium funded by  the AHRC

Saturday 28 April 2012 Northumbria University,  Newcastle

How have the arts and humanities responded to the cognitive science  revolution? How far have we evolved new knowledge and models in areas such as  literary, aesthetic and historical analysis in connection with cognitive  paradigms? What future possibilities lie open for the analysis of culture and  cultural objects using concepts from cognitive science?

Speakers include:

·          Alan Richardson (Boston College)

·          Mark Turner (Case Western Reserve)

·          David Miall (University of Alberta)

·          Ellen Spolsky (Bar Ilan University)

This symposium marks the launch of a new AHRC-funded  interdisciplinary network for researchers working across the cognitive  sciences and the arts and humanities. Attendance is free; all welcome. For  further details visit <>  or email Dr Peter Garratt (  to indicate you wish to attend. 


The shortlist for the BSLS prize for the best book in the field of literature and science published in 2011 is as follows:

The winner will be announced at the BSLS conference in April 2012.

Saturday 17th March at St John's College Library, Cambridge

A day of special events looking at evolution in the nineteenth century. All
events are free and all are welcome.

'Evolution: The Race to Understanding' (Old Library, 11am-5pm) - This
special exhibition charts the development of evolutionary thought through
the nineteenth century using a range of unique and rare printed books from
the Library's special collections. The exhibition will showcase some of the
early theories that helped Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace to
formulate the case for natural selection, and will look at some of the
competing theories that led to fierce public and personal debates in the
nineteenth century and beyond.

'Butler Among the Machines: Evolutionary Literature and Science in Europe,
1859-1902' (Fisher Building, 14:00) - Dr Elinor Shaffer, who has just
finished co-editing volume three of 'The Reception of Charles Darwin in
Europe', discusses the European responses to Darwin that have shed new
light on the works of Samuel Butler.

'Falling Foul of Natural Selection: Samuel Butler and the Darwins' (Fisher
Building, 15:30) - Dr Alison Pearn, Associate Director of the Darwin
Correspondence Project, looks at the letters exchanged by Charles Darwin
and Samuel Butler and charts the disintegration of their relationship, from
a shared spirit of intellectual enquiry to a state of personal and public

Further details are given on the St John's College website. All the
events are FREE and all are welcome. To attend any of the talks, please
pre-book via the Cambridge Science Festival website.