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    UCL Events blog

    By Nick Dawe, on 6 May 2011

    Reviews of UCL public lectures, debates, exhibitions, shows, and more…

    Sense and Sensibility: The Old English Boethius as opus generatum

    By Guest Blogger, on 16 October 2014

    pencil-iconWritten by Charlotte Hyde (third-year student, UCL English)

    Can two translations of the same text have a relationship? How can we define this relationship? Experienced practitioners and novices of Old English alike were treated to a fascinating exploration of the link between the Prose and Prosimetrical translations of Boethius as part of the Translation in History lecture series, given by Quain Professor of English Language and Literature, Susan Irvine.

    Ivory diptych of Boethius (late 5th century)

    Ivory diptych of Boethius (late 5th century)

    Having devoted much of her career to advancing our understanding of both versions of the Old English Boethius, Professor Irvine was able to give the audience a detailed history of the text, explaining the Latin origins of ‘The Consolation of Philosophy’ and outlining the programme of translation established by Alfred in the 9th Century. Concerned by declining literacy in Latin, Alfred placed great importance on raising the cultural status of the vernacular and as such introduced a radical programme of intellectual reform, translating seminal works into English.

    One of the most important insights revealed here was the nature of translation. Quoting from Alfred’s ‘Preface to Gregory’s ‘Pastoral Care’, Professor Irvine brought to light the nature of translation at the time as being ‘sometimes word for word, sometimes sense for sense’. Translation according to Alfred comprised first of gaining an understanding of the text before being able to convey that ‘sense’ into the vernacular. It is interesting to keep this in mind when considering any translation into Old English from the Alfredian programme as the meaning of the text can be altered during the process.

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    Lunch hour lecture: On supernovae and serendipity

    By Irrum Ali, on 13 October 2014

    Like a white dwarf, autumn 2014’s first Lunch Hour Lecture was dense, full of energy and tightly packed (but in this case, time and not space, I might add).

    Psyched for my first Lunch Hour Lecture, I was ready to explore the world of supernovae with a 45-minute guided journey through the stars, namely, ones in the process of exploding very dramatically.

    Radiating enthusiasm and demonstrating expertise from start to finish, Dr Steve Fossey (UCL Physics and Astronomy) took a capacity audience on a whistle stop tour of January’s discovery of a Type ia supernova, memorably named SN 2014J, and situated in our neighbourhood galaxy, the sci-fi sounding, Messier 82.

    After summarising the rules for supernovae discovery (there are two options: looking, and not looking but accidentally finding), Dr Fossey gave a short overview of history’s accidental supernova discoveries.

    One scenario for Type Ia supernovae: a white dwarf accreting matter from a neighbour till it becomes unstable Credit: European Southern Observatory

    One scenario for Type Ia supernovae: a white dwarf accreting matter from a neighbour until it becomes unstable
    Credit: European Southern Observatory via Oli Usher

    Beginning with Tycho Brahe’s find in 1572 – labelled SN 1572 – which rewrote the rules of astronomy, he moved on to Johannes Kepler’s discovery of SN 1604 in, wait for it, 1604 (are you seeing a pattern here?) and finally, and more recently, SN 1987A, found by astronomers in Chile.

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    Astronaut touches down in Swiss Cottage

    By Oli Usher, on 10 October 2014

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    NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visits UCL Academy

    Charlie Bolden was born in the deep south of the US, during the days of segregation and institutionalised racism. Despite this inauspicious start in life, he went on to a high-flying military career, commanded the Space Shuttle, spent 28 days in orbit and, in 2009, was made head of NASA by President Obama. He is the first African American to hold the position.

    During a trip to the UK to meet senior officials in the UK and Italian space agencies, Bolden dropped into the UCL Academy for a few hours to talk to the students and teachers there. The visit was organised by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL.

    He started off with a conventional inspirational speech, full of quotable soundbites – “study hard, work hard, don’t be afraid of failure” – as well as first-hand anecdotes from the four Space Shuttle missions he flew on. (Most memorably, he went on a long and highly entertaining digression about Newton’s laws of motion, and how in microgravity you need to be attached to a computer keyboard if you want to avoid launching yourself across the cabin when you type.)

    As he went on, and the students gradually became more and more enthused, more and more hands shot up in the audience.

    A quarter of an hour in, any pretence of this being a lecture was off. Instead, it had become a wide-ranging conversation covering everything from what happens if someone falls ill in space (there is someone with basic surgical training on every mission) to whether or not there is wi-fi on the International Space Station (there is).

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    Launch of new network for early career researchers in population health

    By Guest Blogger, on 11 September 2014

    pencil-iconWritten by Dr Sadie Boniface (UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health)

    Attendees at the launch of the Early Careers Network

    Attendees at the launch of the Early Careers Network

    Early career researchers should be inspired and supported, which is why the UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain launched its Early Careers Network (ECN) on Wednesday 3 September. The afternoon was packed with lively discussion and insightful talks from academics working in population health at various stages of their careers.

    The event was led by Dr Ed Fottrell (UCL Institute for Global Health), who is Chair of the ECN’s 12-strong Committee. Ed made it very clear that while the ECN will aim to support early career researchers working in population health across UCL, the real value of the Network will depend on the researchers themselves and the links that will form in time.

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