WatchFromHome - Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences

We invite distinguished speakers to deliver a public lecture on themes of art and science. 

The Poetry and Music of Science
  • Professor Tom McLeish
  • University of York
  • February 2020


'I could not see any place in science for my creativity or imagination,’ was the explanation, of a bright school leaver to the author, of why she had abandoned all study of science. Yet as any scientist knows, the imagination is essential to the immense task of re-creating a shared model of nature from the scale of the cosmos to the smallest subatomic structures. A four year project led to the book, The Poetry and Music of Science (OUP 2019), which takes a journey through the creative process in the arts as well as sciences. The lecture draws on both past testimony and contemporary accounts of scientists, artists, mathematicians, writers, and musicians today to explore the commonalities and differences in creation. Tom McLeish finds that the ‘Two Cultures’ division between the arts and the sciences is not after all, the best classification of creative processes. Instead, the three modes of visual, textual and abstract imagination have woven the stories of the arts and sciences together. The lecture concludes by asking how creativity contributes to what it means to be human, and asks how scientists’ training and education might help them work more creatively.

Unexpected connections: Different disciplines in public space
  • Rosie Stanbury
  • Wellcome Trust
  • February 2019


Public space is now more private than ever. Advances in technology have impacted on our relationships with each other, the space around us and our access to knowledge. We can tune in, one demand to whatever we chose more than ever before. What does this mean for unexpected connections and surprise? What role might quasi-public spaces have in this context? This talk will discuss examples of different disciplines and personal perspectives coming together to reveal new questions, understanding and surprises for everyone.

What role do the humanities play in our scientific world?
  • Professor Martin Willis
  • Cardiff University
  • October 2018


The relationship between the humanities and the sciences often has the hallmarks of melodrama: one is forever falling out of love with the other, or entering into a crisis of faith about their ongoing suitability. In this lecture I want to examine the long history of this relationship, highlighting those key moments where the disciplines have successfully combined as well as moments of disruption and conflict. Looking backwards, across 200 years, will enable me to consider their present interdisciplinary relationship and ask what the future holds for collaborative success. This is a story that will take me from Frankenstein to Futurology, during which we will encounter the key protagonists in what might be described as a battle to define truth and evidence.