St Edmund Hall Blog

The St Edmund Hall blog brings you the latest thought in academic research and interesting artefacts from our archive and library.

Please note that any opinions or views expressed by blog contributors are not shared or held by St Edmund Hall.

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DNA strands double helix

What Will Genomics Mean for You?

3 Mar 2021

The first human genome was sequenced nearly 20 years ago, but what impact will this have for you? Understanding the information in our genes is already helping to decipher the molecular basis of rare diseases.  Now genomic…

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Are European Universities Building Alliances as Rhizomes?

24 Feb 2021

Using the concept of rhizome to examine the newly-established European University alliances and their influence on the formation of European students and re-formation of the idea of University.

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Late Roman building known as the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom)

Modern Politics, Medieval Monuments in Turkey

15 Feb 2021

Over the course of its 1500-year history, the late Roman building known as the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) has served as the setting for many ceremonies, religious, political, and more often than not, a combination of the two.

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Harley Gospels

God, Gold, and the Gospel of the Poor in the Early Middle Ages

10 Feb 2021

Throughout history, the Church’s relationship to the poor and the powerful has been full of contradictions.

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Spanish Amber under a microscope

How to Link Palaeontology with… Cosmetics?!

3 Feb 2021

Find out more about the unexpected scientific connections in this research entailing minute enigmatic structures preserved in 100-million-year-old amber.

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A scribe demonstrating to his pupils.

A Medieval Ink Recipe

27 Jan 2021

Medieval ink recipes provide fascinating descriptions of the materials, techniques, and patience required before a scribe could put pen to page.

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Adapted from colour wheel by Sakurambo

The Magic of Colour

20 Jan 2021

Materials that change colour in response to their environment are fascinating and useful – but how can we find more without breaking the bank?

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The Distribution of the Gingerbread

The Hierarchy of Gingerbread: Gift-Giving at Christmas in Medieval Convents

9 Dec 2020

Edmund Wareham delves into the world of medieval baking to discover the importance of gingerbread for a group of medieval German nuns.

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Sir Richard Blackmore

Sir Richard Blackmore—The Worst English Poet?

2 Dec 2020

Tom MacFaul reconsiders the work of Sir Richard Blackmore (SEH, 1669); is he the worst English poet?

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Pluto

Should we go back to Pluto?

25 Nov 2020

In 2015 we saw Pluto for the first time through a single flyby, now we ponder should we return with an orbiter?

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Sidney John Smith Newspaper clipping about his death in action during WW2

Remembering Aularian Sidney John Heath Smith

11 Nov 2020

I would say at the majority of enquiries that I get relating to the Hall Archives are from family historians; one of the many that I found on my return from furlough related to an Oxford man, who had come to the Hall in 1938 bu…

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A photo of Ed Lamb

Who Gets the Ventilator?

11 Nov 2020

Suppose that you have a ventilator with which you can prevent either Ahmed or Barbara from dying. Whilst Ahmed would live for nine years were you to save him, Barbara would only live for five. There are no other relevant differ…

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The entrance of St Edmund Hall with the inscription of Saint Edmund, Light of this Hall

Whose Hall is it Anyway? Annotation, Mutilation and a Mystery in our copy of 'The History of the University of Oxford'

4 Nov 2020

Annotation, Mutilation and a Mystery in our copy of The History of the University of Oxford

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Tom Crawford in Russia

Tom Rocks Russia

28 Oct 2020

This is Dr Tom Crawford’s video diary of his visit to ITMO University in St Petersburg Russia

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Brain and lightbulb

How we make decisions: inferential reasoning in humans and mice

21 Oct 2020

Have you ever faced one of those situations where you are compelled to make an important decision, which you know is doable because it rings a bell from your own experience?

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Darwin Birds

On genes, genetics and epigenetics

12 Oct 2020

What is a gene? Although the discipline within biology that we call genetics is well over 100 years old, this question remains an enigmatic one with fascinating new twists.

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Brancaster Staithe from Barrow Common

Update: A Coastal Mystery No More

24 Jun 2020

When the blog on the Hall’s painting by Edward Seago was published last month, I received numerous suggestions for its location.

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Discovering the Earthworm’s Half a Billion Year Old Cousin

16 Jun 2020

The worms that gave rise to earthworms and leeches have half a billion years of history in the ocean. A new discovery of 514 million year old fossils from China unravels the early origins of annelids, the segmented worms.

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Gross Domestic Product could fall by huge amounts overnight

This Time is Different: Economic Policy Challenges in the Time of COVID-19

9 Jun 2020

COVID-19 has already generated challenges to the global economy and the policy responses permeate political-financial-economic stability.

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Print by H Goson of Oxford running from the plague in 1630

‘The same Sad Calamyties’: Oxford in a time of Plague

2 Jun 2020

One of the things about being a more than 700-year-old institution, as Teddy Hall is, is that we have faced many trials before. This is not the first time the Hall and the University have had to cope with the effects of a deadl…

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A graph showing estimated probability of infection against probability of being tested. It shows probability of being tested increases from 0 to 1 as the probability of infection increases from 0 to around 0.3, and shows the probability of being tested dropping from 1 to 0 as the probability of infection goes beyond 0.75

Testing in a Pandemic

25 May 2020

What is the best way to use our limited capacity for infectious disease testing? This blog discusses how lives can be saved by optimal adaptive targeting of tests.

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Boris Johnson with a microphone in hand stands on a stage in front of a sign saying No Heathrow

Did the Court of Appeal ‘Kill Off’ the Heathrow Third Runway?

19 May 2020

In February 2020 debates about the third runway at Heathrow took a new turn, but did the Court of Appeal really ‘kill off’ the proposal?

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Working from home setup of College Assistant Librarian.

Don’t Stop! Your Reading! Hold on to that Fielding!

13 May 2020

Our Assistant Librarian, Sophie, updates us on the lengths the library team are going to ensure as comprehensive a service as possible is provided during ‘the weirdest Trinity Term most of us can remember’

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Seago Painting of the English coastal landscape

A Coastal Mystery

6 May 2020

One of the best loved pictures in the college’s art collection is a coastal scene by the English landscape artist Edward Seago. However, despite many suggestions, the precise location of the scene is unknown. Can any…

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Holman Hunt May Morning on Magdalen Tower

A May Morning Portrait

1 May 2020

On one day in any given year (other than this), tens of thousands flock to the roads and gardens surrounding Magdalen College, Oxford, at six o’clock in the morning to hear the choir sing.

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Hobbe's Leviathan

Censorship and Information Control

28 Apr 2020

For the past couple of years, I have participated in a similar comparative exercise run from the University of Chicago.  This brings together people from a wide range of disciplines and occupations – historians, anth…

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St Edmund Hall's Chapel and Old Library

340 Years of the Chapel and Old Library

19 Apr 2020

At the start of this most odd of terms, it’s nice to be able to celebrate something – the birthday of the Chapel and the Old Library.

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Make Your Own Pi

14 Mar 2020

March 14th is Pi Day, and as of 2020 is also the official UNESCO International Day of Mathematics.

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Line drawing of Sophie Scholl by Isabella

How Should You Remember an Icon? The Story of Sophie Scholl

8 Mar 2020

How do we talk about individuals and groups who resisted Nazism? How do we do justice to the complexity of their lives and actions? Dr Alexandra Lloyd (Fellow by Special Election in German Studies) examines the case of Sophie S…

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Conservative politicians Margaret Thatcher and William Whitelaw campaigning for EEC membership in 1975

Britain, Europe, and Politically Convenient Myths

4 Mar 2020

Mikko Lievonen discusses Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community in the 1970s.

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