Recent talks and news

Art and Artifice of Prediction

During the winter, I spoke with Ruth Morgan about “The rise and fall of world systems modelling in the 1960s and 1970s” as part of a British Academy-funded 7-episode podcast project on The Art and Artifice of Prediction, which has recently been uploaded. Other interviewees in the series (produced by Ruth Morgan, Lise Butler and Maria Christou) are Patrick Whitmarsh, Theo Reeves-Evison, Matthias Heymann, Daniel Bessner, Andrew Sanchez and Jenny Andersson.

West Churchman on film

Recently, I made a short video about West Churchman as part of a course I took on film-making as a method for communicating academic research. Churchman was a philosopher who helped found the discipline of management science and wrote influential books on systems thinking. He wanted to better understand the relationship between systems and ethical human relationships so that systems thinking might have a chance of bringing about positive and lasting change in the world. He had the philosopher’s knack of asking child-like questions with serious intent. In the film, Churchman asks a few disarmingly simple questions about the ‘good’ of systems. Churchman was often to be found knitting during academic seminars. With thanks to the Gates Scholarship, which organised the film-making course, to Ryd Cook who taught with good grace and a steadying hand, and to Kristo Ivanov, who generously gave me permission to use footage from his 1987 interview with Churchman.

Newton in China

An event was held in China on March 31, 2022 to mark the 295th anniversary of Newton’s death. Three books on Newton recently published in Chinese were highlighted, including my The Newton Papers, recently translated into Chinese, (right on the table below), Rob Iliffe’s Very Short Introduction to Newton and of course Newton’s own Principia. A staggering 43,000 people attended the online event.

History of Climate Science talk at the Royal Meteorological Society

On March 12, 2022, I spoke at a conference on “The History of Climate Science Ideas and their Applications,” organised by the history section of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Science and the Public Sphere Seminar at Maison Française Oxford

On December 1, 2021, I spoke about what historians can offer to public discussions of climate change with Mogens Laerke of the Maison Française Oxford in his “Science and the Public Sphere Seminar.”

Cambridge Alumni talk: Newton, Darwin, Hawking

On Friday, September 24, 2021, I participated in an online discussion of the three heavy-hitters held in the collections of Cambridge University Library–Newton, Darwin, Hawking.

Science museums and the ‘culture war’ Association of British Science Writers panel

On October 2, 2021, I spoke with Aminul Hoque on a panel on “Science museums and the ‘culture war’ ” chaired by Sara Abdulla and sponsored by the Association of British Science Writers.

Late Night Live on ABC

On November 11, 2019, I appeared on Late Night Live, an Australian radio programme hosted by Phillip Adams to speak about Waters of the World.

Waters of the World talk at IAS

In February 2020, I gave a talk on “Waters of the World: The Story of Climate in Six Lives” at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.

Talking about the Newton papers at Cambridge University Library

In April 2019, I spoke about the Newton manuscripts held by Cambridge University Library.