Research Talks

All members of Darwin are encouraged to present their research at informal seminars held on Tuesdays and Thursdays during term. Everyone is welcome, whatever your degree or discipline.

Darwin members pick up lunch from 12:00, taking it into the Richard King Room (on the left at the top of the stairs leading to the dining hall) or 1 Newnham Terrace (straight through at the far end of the dining hall). Wine is served. Non-Darwin members are welcome to attend, although lunch is only available to guests of members. The talk begins at about 1:15 and lasts for about 20 minutes and is followed by questions over coffee. We adjourn at 2:00pm at the latest.

Upcoming Talks

Thursday 21 January 2021
ONLINE - Email organiser to request link - Details to be sent by email
Dr Or Graur

Supernovae - the explosions of stars - play a variety of roles in the
workings of the Universe. Some of them are also used as tools for other
experiments in astrophysics. Type Ia supernovae, specifically, are used to
measure distances to faraway galaxies and, in turn, constrain cosmology.
However, we still do not know exactly what types of star systems explode as
these supernovae or how the explosions take place. In my talk, I will show
how *Hubble Space Telescope *observations of Type Ia supernovae years after
their explosion shed new light on the physics of their explosions.

Tuesday 26 January 2021
Online (ask organizers for link)
Dr Nebojša Radić, Language Centre

My interest in the subject of literary self-translation stems from my own multi-lingual writing practice. I am a native speaker of the Serbian and Italian languages. I have been living in English-speaking countries for thirty years and I have become a proficient user of the language. I have written fiction and academic works in Serbian, Italian and English and I have translated literary works from Italian, Spanish and French into Serbian. The self-translator is the author of both the first and second texts and his/her creative writing and translation practice overlap. Self-translation therefore, draws on the experiences of both creative writing and translation but it also proposes new forms of expression.
In this presentation, I will give a brief overview of the relevant theoretical issues and then move on to explore some aspects of this literary practice in the works of Rosario Ferré, Vesna Goldsworthy, Benvenuto Lobina and my own.

Thursday 28 January 2021
ONLINE - Email organiser to request link - Details to be sent by email
Dr Torben Sell

Almost everyone is aware that computers can drive cars, control robots, and beat world-class players in chess. In this talk, we discuss how this works by looking at a simple toy example. We further develop a statistical model which allows quantifying uncertainty in these control settings. The advantage of using the statistical model is that we can not only say which action is optimal (should the car accelerate or slow down in a given situation?) but also state how certain we are that a human controller would take the same action. The talk is roughly based on Sections 4 and 5 of the following preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/2012.10943 , but I will largely omit the mathematical technicalities.

Tuesday 23 February 2021
Online (ask organizers for link)
Dr. Edwin Rose, Munby Fellow in Bibliography, University of Cambridge

Many reading this abstract will be familiar with the New Museums Site in central Cambridge. However, prior to its development from the mid nineteenth century, this was the location of the Cambridge Botanical Garden. Founded between 1760 and 1763 on the grounds of the old Augustinian Priory and funded by a donation of £1600 from Dr. Richard Walker of Trinity College, the Botanic Garden remains one of the first major scientific initiatives established by the University of Cambridge. In 1762 Thomas Martyn (1735–1825) was appointed as the third Professor of Botany who immediately embarked upon arranging the Botanic Garden according to the new Linnaean system of classification that divided nature into kingdoms, classes orders genera and species; the first institution of its kind to be founded on Linnaean principles in Britain.
This talk examines how printed books and herbarium specimens, many of which are still held by Cambridge University Library and Cambridge University Herbarium, were used to manage information on the living plants in the Cambridge Botanic Garden between 1760 and 1820. This was the responsibility of Martyn and a succession of curators who navigated between the living plants, dried specimens and an annotated library of approximately 1000 volumes used to identify, classify, describe and arrange species represented in the garden and Martyn’s Botanical Museum. This system for managing information was designed to accommodate the increasing numbers of living plants, specimens and seeds Martyn and his curators received from a global network extending across the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, many of which they cultivated in the Cambridge Botanic Garden.

Tuesday 2 March 2021
Online (ask organizers for link)
Sophie Ellis (University of Cambridge)

Abstract not available

Tuesday 9 March 2021
Online (ask organizers for link)
Fangyuan Liu, MPhil Sociology student in Darwin College

Abstract not available

Past Research Talks

Tuesday 30 June 2020
Mayumi Sato

This research examines how digital technologies in decarceration and anti-prison-industrial complex (PIC) movements reimagine and formulate new sites of anti-racist praxis in the Global North. Through participatory action research in four settler-colonial states (U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia), this study looks at how counter-narratives contesting the PIC in the digital sphere from indigenous, prison justice activists, and formerly incarcerated peoples’ epistemologies can be examined as everyday sites of resistance. By examining the channels through which they organize, locally and transnationally, this research discusses how anti-PIC resistance in the digital age can help subvert and rethink the separation between those inside prisons and those in the “free-world”.

Tuesday 30 June 2020
Mayumi Sato

This research examines how digital technologies in decarceration and anti-prison-industrial complex (PIC) movements reimagine and formulate new sites of anti-racist praxis in the Global North. Through participatory action research in four settler-colonial states (U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia), this study looks at how counter-narratives contesting the PIC in the digital sphere from indigenous, prison justice activists, and formerly incarcerated peoples’ epistemologies can be examined as everyday sites of resistance. By examining the channels through which they organize, locally and transnationally, this research discusses how anti-PIC resistance in the digital age can help subvert and rethink the separation between those inside prisons and those in the “free-world”.

Thursday 25 June 2020
Ezra Hampikian

Abstract not available

Tuesday 23 June 2020
Dr Nebojša Radić, Chair of the SAH Online Teaching Working Group, Director of CULP

Abstract not available

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