Humanities & Science 2015


In 2014-15 TORCH’s headline series focused on the relationship between the humanities and the sciences, exploring how new answers can be found – and new research questions can be set – by bringing the disciplines together.

The programme showcased many of the existing research projects in Oxford that already cross the disciplines, as well as providing an incubation space for new collaborative projects.

Humanities-Science Collaborative Research Projects

Thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are pleased to be supporting a range of new projects, including two Humanities-Science Joint Doctoral Studentships exploring Childhood Maltreatment and Lifetime Resilience and The Mental and Material Laboratories of Thirteenth Century Science, a Knowledge Exchange Partnership between a humanities researcher and a science organisation, and a paired research sabbatical.

Narrative and Proof

At the opening event for the Humanities and Science series on 21 January 2015 one of the UK's leading scientists, Marcus du Sautoy, argued that mathematical proofs are not just number-based, but also a form of narrative. In an unusually multidisciplinary panel, du Sautoy was joined by author Ben Okri, mathematician Roger Penrose, and literary scholar Laura Marcus, to consider how narrative underpins and nurtures the respective disciplines. Watch the video here.

Humanities and Science In Conversation

In Hilary Term 2015 this series of panel discussions brought together leading scholars and practitioners in the sciences and humanities to identify the shared methodological roots of their particular disciplines and explore how these points of convergence can be used to address current questions in their fields. How can musicians use concepts about randomness and order developed by physicists and mathematicians to enrich their compositions? How far is the image showing a patient’s brain scan an aesthetic choice made by the clinician? How can humanities scholars and policy makers help engineers to explore the potential social and cultural impact of their innovations? Is mathematical proof a form of narrative? What can mental health practitioners learn from the arts? These questions were not be posed by the humanities to the sciences, or vice versa, but were developed in dialogue to nurture new ways of research in both disciplines.

Seminars included (click for videos): Mental HealthRandomness and OrderRepresenting Science and Culture and Technology

Get in touch

If you are working across the disciplines and would like your project or seminar to be highlighted on TORCH's website, or if you are interested in developing a project that intersects the humanities and sciences, please let us know by contacting

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Hannah Penny

Past Events