Recent talks and news

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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