Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780198757764

What is college for?

1 May was National College Decision Day in the U.S. – the deposit deadline for admission into many U.S. colleges and universities. Early indications suggest that we’re poised for a fifth straight year of declining enrollments. In the Atlantic earlier this year, Alia Wong pointed out that this trend continues the widening gap between high school graduation and college enrollment in this country.

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From “O Fortuna” to “Anaconda”: A playlist of musical profanity

Almost everyone swears, or worries about not swearing, from the two-year-old who has just discovered the power of potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene. Whether they express anger or exhilaration, are meant to insult or to commend, swear words perform a crucial role in language. But swearing is also a uniquely well-suited lens through which to look at history

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9780198768814

Historical lessons for modern medicine

When looking at the use of drugs in modern medicine, specifically anaesthesia and intensive care – it is important to realise that this is nothing new at all. The first attempts at general anaesthesia were most likely herbal remedies and opiates, evidence of which has been found as early as the third millennium BCE. Antiseptics, from the Greek words anti (against) and sepsis (decay) were also used in ancient times

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9780199325818

Inequality of what?

Has inequality increased over the last several generations? The answer depends upon the “currency” for inequality assessment. An item has been distributed among the population of interest, and we are using a number to summarize that distribution. But which item is it?

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Bleak skies at night: the year without a summer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Two hundred years ago this month, Mary Shelley had the terrifying ‘waking dream’ that she subsequently molded into the greatest Gothic novel of all time; Frankenstein. As all who have read the book or seen one of the many film adaptations will know, the ‘monster’ cobbled together out of human odds and ends by rogue scientist, Victor Frankenstein, is galvanised into existence by the power of electricity.

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9780465060696

Dublin on Bloomsday: James Joyce and the OED

The sixteenth of June is the day on which James Joyce fans traditionally email each other their Bloomsday greetings. And nowadays it has become the focus for a global celebration of Joyce’s work, marked by readings and performances, and many other acts of Joycean homage.

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9780195387070

A timeout: the methods of etymology

I expected that my series on dogs would inspire a torrent of angry comments. After all, dog is one of the most enigmatic words in English etymology, but the responses were very few. I am, naturally, grateful to those who found it possible to say something about the subject I was discussing for five weeks, especially to those who liked the essays.

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9780198743927

The perks and perils of trespassing

Some eight years ago I sat down to draw out a blueprint for a book that should tell stories about how the chemistry of individual elements of the periodic table had changed, for better or for worse, the courses of ordinary peoples’ lives. Several things motivated me; I was sitting on a number of stories where literature and history intersected with chemistry that I would love to tell to a bigger audience

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James Madison and Tiberius Gracchus on representative government

In Federalist 63, Madison pointed out that the principle of representation was not exclusive to modern republics. In the Roman Republic, Madison thought, the Tribunes of the plebs were “annually elected by the whole body of the people, and considered the representatives of the people, almost in their plenipotentiary capacity.” Representation was not unknown to the ancients.

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9780199837144

Music parents’ tips for summertime music-making

The lazy days of summer pose a special challenge for music parents. With school and regular music lessons on hiatus until the fall, it can be hard to persuade youngsters to continue to practice their instruments without the prod of needing to prepare for a lesson or a school ensemble rehearsal. If there isn’t a certain amount of vacation practicing, however, some of the musical gains children made during the school year may begin to melt away.

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quest for professionalism-Romme

The quest for professional management

When you book an airline ticket, you trust that the pilot assigned to this flight is sufficiently knowledgeable and competent to fly the aircraft. In fact, you expect the pilot to be a professional that has gone through many hours of flight training and theoretical study.

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Valuing sadness, past and present

In September 2013, the American comedian Louis C.K. talked to chat-show host Conan O’Brien about the value of sadness. His comments grew out of a discussion about mobile phones, and the way they may distract us from the reality of our emotions.

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9780199660476

What does Brexit have to do with human rights?

The economy and sovereignty are the two main themes dominating the political campaign preceding the EU Referendum that is taking place on 23 June. The sovereignty argument revolves around the notion of “taking back control from Brussels” and human rights are amongst the examples of control lost to the EU cited by leave campaigners.

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