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.

References for Isaac Newton and his enemies

January 18, 2011

References for Isaac Newton and His Enemies

1. On the Shoulders of Giants, a Shandean Postscript,
Robert K. Merton, University of Chicago Press, 1993
This is a delightful, extremely learned, very funny, full of amusing stories and very easy to read!

2. Never at Rest, a biography of Isaac Newton
Richard S Westfall, Cambridge University Press, 1980
This is the most scholarly, detailed biography of Newton and by far the best available. However, it is some 800 pages long, so it is not for a simple afternoon.

3. A Portrait of Isaac Newton
Frank E Manuel, Harvard University Press, 1988
A psychological study of Newton, with strong emphasis on psychoanalysis. Very interesting, quite controversial in the scholarly community.

4. Philosophers at War; the quarrel between Newton and Leibniz
A Rupert Hall, Cambridge University Press, 1980
Prof Hall is a real Newton expert. This book deals with only one of Newton’s enemies but does so in great and interesting detail.

5. Science and English Poetry,a historical perspective, 1590 – 1950

Douglas Bush, Oxford University Press, 1950

All of these books are full of interesting information and none is very difficult or overly technical. There are some significant details in Westfall’s book but they can easily be skipped over if burdensome (not too likely).

All of these books appear to be available through Amazon and, therefore, likely through your local bookseller as well.


January 17, 2011

There was a buzz of excitement and anticipation pervading the Leslie building as the class of 2011 arrived this morning to begin their chosen courses, catch up with friends and simply enjoy the special atmosphere that is Summer School. Whether the course of choice was practical – painting, writing, learning a new language or listening to a topic of special interest or indeed your favourite lecturer, everyone was eager to get started.

Ten more days to look forward to!

Introducing the UCT OpenContent Directory

January 17, 2011

Knowing that the attendants of UCT Summer School have a thirst for knowledge and a passion for learning, I wanted to introduce the concept of open educational resources here on the blog.   In today’s interconnected and networked world, one can find information on nearly any subject in the world using the internet.  A hazard of doing this is finding good quality content on the subject you are interested in.  Fortunately academic institutions around the world have started to openly share some of the teaching resources they use on campus, providing a rich set of academic resources for self learners.

UCT has launched its own open educational resources initiative which aims to showcase the teaching efforts of UCT academics.  UCT academics create some pretty amazing tools which are used in the learning process and this initiative aims to share the great work that UCT is doing with the entire world!

The Centre for Educational Technology is pleased to introduce you to the OpenContent open educational resource directory at the University of Cape Town.  The directory is the culmination of a years worth of project work, funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation, with aims to help UCT academics share their teaching and learning resources on a grander scale.

The OpenContent directory is a place for UCT staff and students to share their teaching resources with the rest of the world. Often teaching material resides on our computer hard drives, or on our local learning management system-Vula where it is only available to select members of the UCT community. The OpenContent directory provides a space in which to share resources beyond UCT, so that others can use them in their own teaching and learning environments.

Open content is also referred to as ‘open courseware’ or ‘open educational resources’ (OER). They are openly licensed educational materials (usually digital) that can be used by anyone, shared freely and adapted to suit a particular educational purpose.

The global nature of the internet and its ever-increasing culture of sharing have enabled the growth of the OER movement. Teaching and learning resources that were once only shared within departments and communities of practice, or at a cost, can now be made freely available to educators and students worldwide. Furthermore, in this age of abundance where it can be difficult to find suitable high quality resources for teaching and learning, OER offers educators and students access to top quality materials that can be adapted to suit their specific needs.

We are thrilled to share this new website with the UCT community and the world at large.

Visit the OpenContent website!