Category Archives: History

Pathologically wrong: Humours and Miasma.

Humours and Miasma: Science in Society 8. Humoral theory and miasma theory: two long-lasting medical paradigms now consigned to the history of human error but which shaped our ideas about health and disease and the development of medical practice and … Continue reading

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My islands – by Line Mariani Playfair

I have always had a strong affinity for atlases and islands. Whether a single volcanic rock or one likely to fragment or disappear underwater, each one seems to be calling me, speaking to my imagination. I was fascinated by Thor … Continue reading

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Matisse in Corsica.

The great artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was inspired to use colour in radical new ways during his first visit to Corsica. After their wedding in early 1898, Matisse and his wife Amélie Parayre spent their honeymoon first in London and … Continue reading

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Brecht’s radical Galileo

Brecht’s ‘Life of Galileo’ is a great piece of theatre with universal appeal. It’s also a particularly good one for science students because it brings the scientific method to life. Galileo’s struggle to get acceptance for the ‘Copernican’ heliocentric model … Continue reading

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From ‘slumming’ to solidarity.

The evolution of responses to urban poverty and inequality. Part 2. From London to Chicago and back again Two selective and interlinked chronologies: London 1884: Toynbee Hall in Whitechapel was founded by Canon Samuel Barnett and his wife Henrietta Barnett … Continue reading

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From Toynbee to TELCO via Chicago.

The evolution of responses to urban poverty and inequality. Part 1. From settlement to social activism Living and working in East London, I am interested in how our part of the city has been shaped by its past, how today’s … Continue reading

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Four cousins went to war.

This is a very brief account of the lives of 4 young men from around a century ago; all members of the same Scottish family. The accounts are neither special nor representative and they form a tiny fraction of the story … Continue reading

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