SCIO STEM student reflects on his time at Oxford

SCIO is excited to be including STEM subjects formally in its programme from 2018 on. In previous years it has in some instances been possible to arrange STEM tutorials on a case-by-case basis.  In an interview for SCIO, one alumnus, Luke Arend, reflects on his time at Oxford, where he took STEM tutorials in philosophy of psychology and neuroscience/philosophy of science, and quantum mechanics. Luke now works as a neuroscience researcher at MIT’s Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, and in his interview, he explains how his time at SCIO prepared him for a research career and the significant impact it had on him as a young academic and scientist:
 My STEM coursework changed the way I do physics: I’ve since viewed quantitative problem-solving not as mere number-crunching, but as argument-building – granted, using mathematics rather than written language. As a double major in physics and philosophy, my time at Oxford helped me realize that both disciplines rely on similar methods of critical thinking and argumentation.
Read more about SCIO’s opportunities in STEM and the full interview with Luke here.

By |March 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Group selected for SCIO Science and Religion project

SCIO has selected the 24 participants for the Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities II project.

The group of participants comes from a range of universities around the world, including institutions in Canada, India, Kenya, Mexico, the United States, and Uruguay.

Funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and the Blankemeyer Foundation, project seminars will take place in Oxford, England, in the summers of 2018 and 2019. The program fosters in participants the interdisciplinary skills and understanding central to the study of science and religion.

In addition to attending the summer seminars with lectures from eminent scholars in the field, participants will work on an original research project in science and religion intended for major publication. Funds are provided for a research assistant to help the participant’s research project and establish (or bolster) a science and religion student club at the home institution.

Additionally, a weekend colloquium held in North America in February 2019 will give participants an opportunity to join with their chief academic officers, student development officers, and chaplains for discussion on issues connected to science and religion, while a roundtable with presidents from participating institutions will be held in the summer of 2019 at Oxford.

Helped by 10 specialist reviewers, the selection committee comprised:

Alister McGrath, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, and director of the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford; academic director of Bridging the Two Cultures
Stanley Rosenberg, executive director of SCIO, including the BestSemester Scholars’ Semester and Oxford Summer Programme, and faculty member of Wycliffe Hall and the Theology and Religion Faculty, University of Oxford; project director of Bridging the Two Cultures
Michael Burdett, research fellow in religion, science, and technology at SCIO and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford; project co-director [...]

By |March 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Special announcement: SCIO is now offering STEM studies

SCIO is excited to announce that it is expanding its disciplinary offering to its Registered Visiting Students to include many STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) drawing on the high calibre teaching and research of the University of Oxford.
“An academic organisation that endeavours to contribute to discussions of scholarship and Christianity should strive to touch on as many core disciplines as it reasonably can. For some years I have hoped we might begin offering STEM subjects, both out of our long-standing commitment to science and religion, and affirming that STEM subjects in themselves are worthy and important, and we wish to extend the great opportunities of Oxford to students advancing in those fields. These subjects are not peripheral: they are central to SCIO’s mission.”
Dr Stan Rosenberg, Executive Director, SCIO
Applications are managed through our BestSemester website: apply now!

As part of its Scholars’ Semester in Oxford (SSO) programme, from autumn 2018 SCIO will offer courses in the following areas:

Biological sciences (e.g. animal behaviour, ecology, disease, and cells and genes)
Chemistry (e.g. electrochemistry, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy, and soft condensed matter)
Mathematics (e.g. multivariate calculus and mathematical models, number theory, and logic and set theory)
Statistics (e.g. metric spaces and complex analysis, statistical machine learning, and applied probability)
Physics (e.g. classical mechanics and special relativity, quantum physics, and plasma physics)
Theoretical computer science (e.g. intelligent systems, machine learning, and computational game theory)
Earth sciences (e.g. palaeobiology, volcanology, and planetary chemistry)

Find out more about studying STEM with SCIO.

SCIO has since 2002 been offering a Science and religion seminar as part of its Oxford Summer Programme (OSP), and will be looking forward to running this again in 2018 [...]

SCIO co-sponsors lecture on ‘Environmental issues as a new framework for Christian dialogue’

SCIO is pleased to co-sponsor a public lecture by Dr Lluís Oviedo Torró of the Pontifical University Antonianum of Rome titled ‘Environmental issues as a new framework for Christian dialogue’. Lluís Oviedo Torró’s particular interests focus on the relationship between Christian and scientific anthropologies and on empirical approaches to religion and theology. At present he is conducting research trying to incorporate cognitive insights into theological and biblical hermeneutics.  His interests point in two fundamental but clearly linked directions: the conditions of religious survival in advanced societies; and the theological impact of the scientific study of religion and the human person.

The lecture takes place on Friday 16 February at 4pm at The House of St Gregory and St Macrina, 1 Canterbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6LU. Entry is free and no booking is required. Further details can be found on the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion website.

By |February 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Elizabeth Baigent welcomes attenders to the 25th anniversary meeting of The Oxford Seminars in Cartography

Elizabeth Baigent, SCIO’s Academic Director, and Nick Millea, head of the Bodleian Library’s map collection organised an international conference at the Bodleian on 22 September 2017 to mark the 25th anniversary meeting of TOSCA, The Oxford Seminars in Cartography.

The theme of this inaugural whole-day seminar was Enlightening maps and drew speakers and audience from around the globe. From universities came, among others, Danny Dorling, University of Oxford and Katy Parker, University of Pittsburgh; from major collections came several people including the National Maritime Museum’s Megan Barford and staff from the British Library and National Library of Scotland; and the major international research project The History of Cartography was represented by Mary Pedley, co-editor of the project’s Enlightenment volume to which several speakers and attenders had contributed.

As well as listening to excellent research papers which eloquently illustrated how maps can enlighten but also obfuscate, attenders participated in discussions and had the chance to go behind the scenes in the Bodleian and examine maps from the library’s collection at first hand. With some 1.3 million paper maps and extensive digital map collections to choose from, library staff and speakers readily found items to illustrate the themes of the day, and attenders were delighted to get up close to a range of interesting items including the enigmatic Selden map of China from the mid seventeenth century, one of the first maps of China to reach Europe, and the beautiful Sheldon tapestry map of Warwickshire which dates from the 1590s.

Papers from the very successful conference will be published in a special issue of the Cartographic Journal and Elizabeth Baigent and Nick Millea plan the second of TOSCA’s all day seminars in 2020.  In the meantime TOSCA offer their normal [...]

By |December 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

SCIO alumna awarded MSt with distinction from Oxford

Elspeth Currie, an alumna of the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford programme in Michaelmas 2014 and Hilary 2015, is graduating with an MSt in Women’s Studies from Oriel College, University of Oxford with distinction.

Concerning Elspeth’s recent success and her work during the Scholars’ Semester, Dr Jonathan Kirkpatrick, Director of Classics at SCIO, offered the following comment:
Elspeth sparkled as a student during her time studying in Oxford through SCIO.  She took advantage of Oxford’s resources to indulge her academic interest in the classics, and pursued undergraduate research in this area.  It was a pleasure to see her develop as a budding scholar, and extremely gratifying (though not surprising) to find her excelling as a Masters student as well.
Elspeth finds herself fascinated by how women’s history encourages compassionate consideration of persons, both historical and contemporary.  Her thesis was a historical study of matrilineal intellectual legacies in 16th–17th century England; she specifically explored how women with advanced educations pursued the life of the mind themselves and raised their daughters to embody a similar learnedness.

Given that the MSt and the act of stepping outside the comfortable confines of history into something more theory driven were challenging, Elspeth notes that ’receiving a distinction is affirming’.  While proud to have a mark that reflects the investment of her advisers, friends, and fellow students, she also feels that her mark ‘honors the various women [she] has studied throughout the year’.

Reflecting on her time studying at SCIO, Elspeth says:
Studying through SCIO gave me confidence that I lacked beforehand.  I left SCIO feeling like a scholar, if still an inexperienced one, ready to pursue an academic career.  Academically, the rigors (and supports!) of SCIO’s program ensured I had the skills needed to [...]

By |November 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

SCIO Alumni Scholarship awarded to Megan Loumagne

SCIO is delighted to announce that Megan Loumagne, a SCIO alumna from the Michaelmas 2006 Scholars’ Semester in Oxford, has been awarded a SCIO Alumni Scholarship for the academic year 2017–18.  Megan, who was also a recipient of the scholarship in 2016–17, is continuing her doctoral research in the field of theology at Christ Church, Oxford.

Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity at Christ Church Oxford, notes that “Megan’s progress has been remarkable given that she taught throughout Michaelmas and some of Hilary. She passed her Confirmation without a shred of hesitancy on the part of her assessors, and the thesis is on track for completion by the end of next year. Quite an exceptional woman!”

SCIO Alumni awards are funded by a generous gift from Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager.  Individual scholarships of £2,500 are open to applications from alumni of our SSO and OSP programmes, who are studying for, or have been accepted onto, a graduate degree programme at the University of Oxford.  One scholarship is offered in each of the following areas:

Texts and manuscripts with a focus on New Testament studies
Religion and science
Subjects in, or broadly related to, SCIO’s teaching fields

Those interested in applying for these scholarships can find further details on the Graduate Scholarships page of our website.

Megan, who has been awarded the ‘Religion and science’ Alumni Scholarship, writes:
SCIO first came into my life in 2006 when they provided me with the opportunity to study abroad as an undergraduate in Oxford for a semester.  That experience was a life-changing one for me in that it introduced me to the Oxford style of education and played a key role in developing my confidence in my abilities as [...]

By |October 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Congratulations to SCIO’s spring 2017 and summer 2017 de Jager prizewinners

Awarded at the close of the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford and the Oxford Summer Programme, the de Jager prizes recognize outstanding scholarly work.  The de Jager prize is facilitated by Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager, whose generous gift to each prizewinner is symptomatic of their abiding commitment to academic excellence.
Spring 2017

The prizewinners for spring 2017 of the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

A few students reflect on their time on the programme:
In brief, Oxford was scholarship incarnate.  While my home professors often talked of academic tradition and discourse, it was always a dull concept.  At Oxford, however, the global community of scholars seemed to be suddenly embodied in a vibrant and enchanting town.  Its beautiful pubs, meadows, and libraries played host to the daily conversations of researchers and students from across the world.  My stacks of books and journal articles were no longer dry tomes—they were the vibrant efforts of a local community seeking wisdom.

Michael Taft

While I expected my tutorials to be unique and interesting, I could have never imagined how inspired and giddy I would feel after each one.  My tutor’s insight and suggestions allowed me to study the topics that most intrigued me, and this opened an entirely new realm of learning that I had never before encountered in an American classroom.  I was constantly encouraged by staff, tutors, and students, and it was this supportive community that enabled me to thrive in the most intense learning environment I have ever experienced.

Natalie Seale

For a moment, I was simply a student: a student who was able to sit at a desk in the corner of the library for 14 hours and write a paper, a [...]

By |October 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Congratulations to SCIO’s fall 2016 de Jager prizewinners

SCIO is pleased to announce the fall 2016 de Jager prizewinners.
The de Jager prizes are awarded each term on the basis of academic merit to a selection of students attending the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford. These awards are made possible by the generous support of Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager whose commitment to excellence in education and scholarship is longstanding.

The prizewinners are named below along with their sending institution and the course for which they won their award.

Oxford was the dream I never knew I had. The warm, sunny meadows along rivers and majestic, medieval colleges took my breath away time and again. Being sent into the library system that winds throughout Oxford to sit and do what I love—read—invited me into a way of learning that felt like home. Just about everything about Oxford became home. A glance upwards at the looming, intricate spires made my heart leap at the realization that, at least for a treasured time, this place was my home. I never knew that tutorials would be some of the places and times where I would be most challenged to grow, nor did I expect that deep friendships formed over late nights of study would turn fellow-students into family. My heart was embraced by Oxford, and I left not just with wonderful memories but also with a broadened perspective and a willingness to engage more deeply with the world around me.Here are a few of the prizewinners’ reflections on their time in Oxford:
Elisha Colby
Some people think that studying at Oxford is paradise. Between the walls and grand staircases hide old books in ancient libraries, serene and idyllic gardens, small places to pause and muse and pretend like [...]

SCIO Receives Nearly $2 Million for Additional Science and Religion Seminars

Thanks to the unequivocal success of the 2014-2016 Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and Religion seminar, the Templeton Religion Trust and the Blankemeyer Foundation have awarded nearly $2 million in grant funding to Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) for another series of seminars.

The new seminar, which is planned for 2018 and 2019, will again offer selected CCCU faculty members from around the world the opportunity to have interdisciplinary training in the study of science and religion. They will also receive funding both for their related research projects and for supporting the development of students through such opportunities as hiring them as research assistants and starting science-and-religion-themed student clubs on campus.

“We are delighted that both the Templeton Religion Trust and the Blankemeyer Foundation have partnered with SCIO in hosting another seminar. Their continued support gives us the opportunity to further advance these important conversations and research opportunities that examine the interwoven relationship between science and religion and the world-impacting issues that they directly shape,” said Stan Rosenberg, SCIO executive director and the project director of Bridging the Two Cultures.

Theologians, philosophers, and social and natural scientists from around the globe will again have the opportunity to spend one month each summer amongst the rich historic venues of the University of Oxford, where they will participate in workshops, spend time working on their research, and receive individual mentoring by senior scholars in the field.

“I am very heartened by the conversation and the explorations that the Bridging Two Cultures seminar has launched,” said Mark Sargent, a member of the advisory board for both seminars and the provost and dean of faculty at Westmont College, who had a faculty member selected for the first seminar. “As a [...]