The Ordered Universe Project: An interdisciplinary approach to the medieval science of Robert Grosseteste Professor Hannah Smithson (Oxford), Professor Giles Gasper (Durham) and Professor Tom McLeish (York)
York Medieval Lecture
A medieval historian, an experimental psychologist, and a theoretical physicist explain why they have been working together for 12 years on a series of treatises written in the first third of the 13th century. Their author, the great polymath Robert Grosseteste, Master in the Liberal Arts, first Lector to the Oxford Franciscans, and later Bishop of Lincoln, penned an extraordinary series of natural philosophical works on astronomy, the properties of matter, light, sound, colour, comets, atmospheric phenomena and optics. It has taken a decade of work by an interdisciplinary team numbering dozens, and constituting the international Ordered Universe project, to re-discover the delicate and profound mathematical content of Grosseteste’s thinking, and to make the remarkable discovery that reading medieval natural philosophy can stimulate new science today. The lecture will cover some of the project’s connections between science old and new, and introduce the first of a six-volume series of publications with OUP on Grosseteste’s scientific canon, the first of which, Knowing and Speaking, will receive its York CMS launch after the lecture.