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Christ Church cathedral

Professor Graham Ward

Being human

'I would make a distinction between conventions (like tying a tie) and rituals. Rituals are religious but not necessarily in an overtly Christian or traditional way. You might get people who obsessively wash their hands, and underneath that is a fear of pollution, it’s about purification.'
Businessman in blue suit tying the necktie: a ritual of sorts

Professor Harvey Whitehouse

Being human

'Rituals are important to us as a species. Our success has, in part, been due to our ability to co-operate in a way that is unusual in the animal kingdom. Rituals provide a kind of gadget for facilitating that co-operation. Rituals are all pervasive in human activity – we adopt them without really realising it.'
Facebook notifications of friend request ,message and notification on a smart phone. Facebook is a social networking service, owned and operated by Facebook, Inc.

The Internet Institute

Manuscript to megabyte

'At the dawn of the millennium we had a world in which just over 5% of humanity was connected to the Internet. Only 15 years later, we are approaching a world in which the majority of the population has access. The vast majority of these new connections are in low- and middle-income countries.'
Detail of Cornelia Parker working on Magna Carta (An Embroidery) Photograph Joseph Turp

The Ruskin School of Art

Manuscript to megabyte

'At the Ruskin School of Art, our research programme includes cross-disciplinary commissions with established and emerging artists. We bring artists to Oxford so that they can work with different faculties across the University.'
Ancient Greek writing chiseled on stone

Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents

Manuscript to megabyte

Dr Jane Masséglia is a research fellow for AshLI (the Ashmolean Latin Inscription Project) working to encourage general public engagement with translating ancient documents.
Pressure ridge and melt water at the Geographic North Pole

Caitlin Black

Making sense of the numbers

Caitlin works with Dr Tom Hart to collect and analyse vast numbers of photos of penguins in the Southern Ocean. By setting up a series of cameras around the penguins' habitat, they have collected unprecedented amounts of information on the penguins’ behaviour during the breeding season.
Robot car

Professor Paul Newman

Making sense of the numbers

Paul Newman is BP Professor in Information Engineering at the University, and heads up the Oxford Mobile Robotics Group (MRG), and its spin-out ‘Oxbotica’.
The Maths Institute in the Andrew Wiles building, Radcliffe Observatory

Professor Alain Goriely

Making sense of the numbers

'Mathematical modelling is one of the branches of applied mathematics which takes a question from any of the social, life, medical or physical sciences and transforms it into a mathematical statement that can then be analysed through mathematical methods.'
Mike Mason

Mike Mason

Making sense of the numbers

Mike Mason's current research, as a DPhil student at Christ Church, tries to challenge the way we think about biomass – 'a grossly undervalued renewable energy'. Specifically, he is interested in how we can harness methane (a significant byproduct of digestion in cows) to unlock a huge new renewable energy opportunity.
Subtropical forests in Nepal

Yadvinder Malhi

Our place in the world

'I went to the Amazon on a very technical research project to measure carbon dioxide emissions. But I found myself bewitched and seduced by everything about the rainforest.'
Law scales on table

Dr David Edmonds

Our place in the world

100,000 years ago we didn’t have to worry about people on the other side of the world – we may not even have known about people on the other side of the valley. But although we now know about people in distant lands, we don’t have moral intuitions that reflect that. It’s difficult to bring our intuitions in line with our rational theory.
Shutterstock

Is journalism inherently pessimistic? Why is there so much ‘bad news’?

Our place in the world

'I think we have to start with journalism to understand news. News is what journalists make. And the tension that we see there is between two different ideals for the profession that are overlapping but not identical.'
Smallpox was globally eradicated in 1977 – This map shows the year of eradication of Smallpox.

Max Roser

Our place in the world

Max Roser is originally from Germany; he studied in Austria and then briefly in Brazil before coming here to work at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. His previous studies (in Philosophy and Geo Sciences) left him with a pessimistic attitude to the future.
Porcelain Phrenology Head

Michael Kohl

Healthy body and healthy mind

Michael Kohl is from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. His key research interest is information encoding in the brain.
Bronze head of Hypnos, god of Sleep

Professor Russell Foster

Healthy body and healthy mind

Professor Russell Foster is Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and Director of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University. The interview discusses sleep: what is it? Why do we get disrupted sleep? Do animals? And what can we do to give us the best chance of some decent slumber?
Fruit and vegetables

Professor Susan Jebb

Healthy body and healthy mind

'We’ve all got what I call an ancient physiology. We evolved in a world where food was scarce and the effort to get that food was pretty enormous, so everybody stayed thin. But in today’s modern western world there is more than enough food available.'
Addiction Word Definition In Dictionary

Professor Paul Aveyard

Healthy body and healthy mind

What is behavioural medicine?

Bringing back the large blue butterfly - Jeremy Thomas

Bringing back the large blue butterfly - Jeremy Thomas

Video

In 1979, after a century of failed conservation efforts and decline across Europe, the iconic large blue butterfly was declared extinct in the UK. But after 40 years of field and lab research by Professor Jeremy Thomas at the University of Oxford, and previously NERC's Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (now a part of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), the globally-threatened species has been successfully reintroduced.

The surprising uses of silk [Annual Review 2013-2014]

The surprising uses of silk

Video

Professor Fritz Vollrath discusses the appeal of working with spiders–and the amazing properties of the silk which they and other creatures produce, a candidate for 'material of the future'.

Tackling the Shame of Poverty [Annual Review 2013-2014]

Tackling the Shame of Poverty

Video

The work of Professor Robert Walker and his collaborators investigates the day-to-day experiences of low-income families living in societies as diverse as Norway and Uganda, Britain and India, China, South Korea, and Pakistan, and confirms the role of shame in their lives – which has already shaped how policymakers deal with poverty, in a way that tries to retain the dignity of the individual.

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