St Edmund Hall Blog

Research

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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Descartes

Descartes goes to Hollywood

5 May 2021

What possible connection could there be between the philosopher René Descartes, androids, zombies, and Hollywood? More than you might have originally thought.

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Reconstructing d’Holbach

28 Apr 2021

Begun in 2018, Digital d’Holbach will provide the scholarly community with the first critical edition of the complete works of one of the most important thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment.

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Vaccine Development by Dr Jack Tan

Developing a Next Generation SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine

23 Mar 2021

Discussion on the need for and research leading to a next generation vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 capable of targeting multiple variants.

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A fluorescently labeled image of endometrium

Understanding Endometriosis

15 Mar 2021

Endometriosis is one such condition, affecting an estimated 1.6 million women in the UK alone and 190 million worldwide.

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The Poet's Mistake Book Cover

Reading Gone Awry

9 Mar 2021

We’ve all done it—used a word incorrectly, believing it means one thing when it really means another: saying “disinterested” when we mean “lacking in interest,” or “prostrate” ins…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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…

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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…

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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.

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