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.

Filter Blog Posts

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?

View Blog Post


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?

View Blog Post

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…

View Blog Post

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…

View Blog Post

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

View Blog Post

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

View Blog Post

Brain and lightbulb

How we make decisions: inferential reasoning in humans and mice

21 Oct 2020

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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…

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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?

View Blog Post

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’

View Blog Post

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…

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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…

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

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…

View Blog Post

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.

View Blog Post

Zac Cesaro (2nd year DPhil in Engineering Science) working at UK Demonstrator, in front of electrolyser and Haber-Bosch synthesis loop.

From Fertiliser to Fuel

25 Feb 2020

As the world seeks pathways to rapid decarbonisation, an old technology is gaining new attention as a carbon-free fuel. This month the BBC covered a special Royal Society report focused on using “green ammonia” for…

View Blog Post

St Edmund Hall Copy of Uni statutes

You Shall Not reveal the Secrets of It: The St Edmund Hall Copy of the University Statutes of 1634

19 Feb 2020

A rather guilty pleasure whenever I have to fetch a book from the Old Library is to examine those on either side on the shelf, which is how, when looking for one of the early catalogues of the Old Library last summer, I first c…

View Blog Post

Student searching for book in St Edmund Hall Library

RE: Search

12 Feb 2020

How much do you know about how to find things in the library? Do you know your section like the back of your hand? Do you do your browsing in person or on SOLO? Do you stick to your reading list like a baby sloth to a tree or b…

View Blog Post

Russian Revolution poster in 1917 welcoming the the third communist international

Russian Revolutionary Posters

4 Feb 2020

An explosion of images accompanied the Russian Revolution. Posters were an important feature of the historical landscape: over 3,600 posters were designed and printed in millions of copies between 1918 and 1921, the period of C…

View Blog Post

Flagon - college Silver at Teddy Hall

A History of Teddy Hall Silver

29 Jan 2020

During John Mill’s principalship, students were encouraged to leave to the Hall either a book for the library or an item of silver.

View Blog Post

The 21st Century Global Economy

22 Jan 2020

The world changed dramatically in the latter part of the 20th century. The conclusion of the Cold War at the end of the 1980s heralded a period of not only profound political but also economic change.

View Blog Post

12 Days of Christmas Puzzles

2 Jan 2020

Over the Christmas period we ran a Christmas puzzle challenge on our social media channels. Due to their popularity, we have compiled them all here and provided more for everyone to try in case you missed the posts.

View Blog Post

Diagrams of snowflakes from Hooke

Johannes Kepler on Snowflakes or what to give someone who has everything

4 Dec 2019

As Christmas approaches I find myself again, as every year, wondering rather desperately what to give friends and family. This is also the dilemma that led to the writing of one of the rarest examples of early scientific writin…

View Blog Post