King Solomon’s Mines

January 25, 2011

Well, I’ve now seen the Stewart Granger-Deborah Kerr version of King Solomon’s Mines. I have to say the book was better, and I hope no-one is relying on the film for a plot summary of the book! Dire, but fun. Hollywood just can’t leave well enough alone.

We’ll deal with the real text tomorrow.


Interesting Quotes

January 24, 2011

Useful and In teresting Quotes about Science, Scientists and Other Signifcant Figures

“The coincidence of such distinguished men of religion as Zwingli, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Melanchthon and Beza; of such dramatic and lyric poets as Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare and Jonson; of such scientists as Boyle, Wren, Wallis, Hooke, Newton, Halley and Flamsteed cannot readily be attributed to the chance concurrence of individuals biologically endowed with predispositions toward special fields of activity. The more plausible explanation is to be found in the combination of sociological circumstances of moral, religious, aesthetic, economic and political conditions, which tended to focus the geniuses of the age upon specific spheres of endeavour. A special talent can rarely find expression when the world will have none of it.” Robert Merton, Science Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England, page 5

“In his very person he was the great Janus-like symbol for the dual nature of modern science – its capacity for good and evil, its genius for the finding of truth and for lying to protect the truth discovered, its transcendent unworldly quality, free from the lust of possession, and its hoarding of secrets….The polarities of his nature are paralleled in the ambiguous nature of science itself.”

Frank Manuel, A Portrait of Isaac Newton, page 392

“Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science, which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century. The Italian Renaissance, though not medieval, is not modern; it is more akin to the best age of Greece. The sixteenth century, with its absorption in theology, is more medieval than the world of Machiavelli. The modern world, so far as mental outlook is concerned, begins in the seventeenth century. No Italian of the Renaissance would have been unintelligible to Plato or Aristotle; Luther would have horrified Thomas Aquinas, but would not have been difficult for him to understand. With the seventeenth century it is different; Plato or Aristotle, Aquinas and Occam, could not have made head or tail of Newton.”

“Four great men – Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton – are pre-eminent in the creation of science.”

Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, page 512

“The substantial and persistent development of science occurs only in societies of a certain kind, which provide both cultural and material conditions for that development. This becomes particularly evident in the early days of modern science before it was established as a major institution with its own, presumably manifest, value.”

Merton, op cit, page xix

The science of external things will not console me for ignorance of ethics in times of affliction; but the science of morals will always console me for ignorance of external sciences.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées, (67)

More links

January 22, 2011

Dear All,

It was a great pleasure to meet the class every night this week. It seemed too short and I wish our conversation would continue. It can via the blog or via email. I’ll be happy to continue sending lists of films and books as well as articles about the topic.

About immigration, there is a good link with the cite of immigration, which has a film about the history of immigration in France:

Some of you were interested in  the harki community, here are a few links to their organizations:

You can also check on line the Memorial to the war of Algeria near the Quai Branly Museum.

A bientot,



January 20, 2011

The inspiration for this course came from a trip in January/February 2010, when my husband and I flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate to see the magnificent glaciers in the area.  From there we travelled by bus to Punta Arenas in order to fly to the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, where we spent a week on a sheep farm at Port Stephens on the Western Island.  Returning on the weekly flight to Punta Arenas, we then boarded the Mare Australis for a 4-day cruise through the channels and alongside the glaciers of the Magellanic fiords, sounds and straits, including a landing at Cape Horn.

The stark magnificence of the landscape, the courage and hardiness of the people, and the fascination of so many strands of history coming together made me want to explore further.

Efforts to find botanists, zoologists and glaciologists who could contribute to the course were unsuccessful.  Fortunately historian Nigel Worden and oceanographer Isabelle Ansorge agreed to participate.  I look forward to their lectures very much, and am finding material in my own reading which is intriguing and enlightening.


Imperial Adventure Fiction

January 20, 2011

Hello, everyone. I’m just learning about blogging, so bear with me. I’m teaching the course on Imperial Adventure Fiction next week. I just wanted to let you know that I do realize that it isn’t always easy to get the Rider Haggard books (second hand bookstores and public libraries are often the best sources). The Man Who Would Be King is very frequently anthologized, so is available in more than one collection. It was first published in ‘Wee Willie Winkie’, but is also in ‘Twenty-One Tales’. If you are willing to read the books online, try, as a good source of free online books. But I will be assuming that people have probably read these things at some point in their lives, but not recently, so I’ll be giving some plot summaries as we go along. There should be a poetry handout on the day.
If you are interested in some secondary reading, I will also be making reference to Frederick Courtenay Selous’s ‘A Hunter’s Wanderings in Africa’ and Joseph Thomson’s ‘Through Masai Land’. Don’t worry, reading these is by no means obligatory–I haven’t even finished the Thomson myself yet.
Looking forward to seeing you all next week.
Elizabeth Baldwin


January 19, 2011

Hello everyone,

I am posting two links about maps of Algeria:

I will post all web links in the blog or will send them as attachments as there are no internet cables in the classrooms.

Today, I will give you a couple of links on the lecture notes as well regarding the 10/17/61 history.




January 19, 2011


Why do we need feet?  I am sure everyone can think of a number of very practical and sensible reasons for having feet, but did you ever conceive in your wildest imaginings that you really need your feet to stop yourself from falling over!  To prove his point orthopaedic surgeon Professor J P Driver-Jowitt not only explained this phenomenon, but gave a practical demonstration to prove his point. A further case in point is that of  the stilt walkers who manage quite well without feet even though it may take more energy!

We can no longer blame our pointy-toed stilettos for problems with our feet – lot’s of people don’t even wear pointy stilettos – men for example – and still have problems with their feet. There goes another misconception.

What about the elaborate marketing strategies of the sports shoes sales people? Mmmmm!
Don’t be so critical of your feet – they are unique to you and if they don’t cause you any problems why  take action to improve those perceived physical imperfections.

Maybe you have toyed with the idea of the occasional Botox treatment here and there – consider the possibility of using Botox to strengthen your calf muscles which will in turn relieve that pain in your foot. A whole new world has opens up!

Appreciate your feet, be kind to them and give them a break.

Thanks to Professor J T Driver-Jowett for a fascinating and informative lunch hour lecture peppered with subtle humour.