Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A Naive Realist Theory of Colour

The problem of colour

Colours are a familiar and important feature of our experience of the world. Colours help us to distinguish and identify things in our environment: for instance, the red of a berry not only helps us to see the berry against the green foliage, but it also allows us to identify it as a berry. Colours perform a wide variety of symbolic functions: red means stop, green means go, white means surrender.

Read More

Five favorite “Rainbows”

“Over the Rainbow,” voted the greatest song of the twentieth century in a survey from the year 2000, has been recorded thousands of times since Judy Garland introduced it in The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Even the most diehard fans, including myself), are unlikely to have listened to every version.

Read More

The philosopher of Palo Alto

Apple’s recent product launch on 12 September has cast into the mainstream technologies that were first envisioned by Mark Weiser in the 1990s, when he was Chief Technologist at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Though Weiser died in 1999, at the age of 46, his ideas continue to inspire cutting-edge smartphone innovations. Now is a good time to revisit Weiser’s ideas.

Read More

Why physicists need philosophy

At a party, on a plane, in the locker-room, I’m often asked what I do. Though tempted by one colleague’s adoption of the identity of a steam-pipe fitter, I admit I am a professor of philosophy. If that doesn’t end or redirect the conversation, my questioner may continue by raising some current moral or political issue, or asking for my favorite philosopher.

Read More

A holy revolution

With hundreds of churches built, rebuilt, or restored in the nineteenth century, they can be found nearly everywhere today. Out of thousands of possible choices, below are five characteristic specimens — four small churches and one large synagogue — that explain Victorian belief.

Read More

Three millennia of writings – a brief history of Chinese literature

Chinese scholars traditionally have considered the Han fu-rhapsody, Tang shi-poetry, Song ci-song lyrics, and Yuan qu-drama, as the highest literary achievements of their respective dynasties. However, Chinese literature embraces a far wider range of writing than these four literary genres. Explore a treasure trove that offers rich information about Chinese society, thought, customs, and social and political movements

Read More

Defining moments in cardiology

In 1967, Christiaan Barnard carried out the first ever human-to-human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The patient and recipient of a new heart was 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky, and the success of the operation took centre-stage in the world’s media as hourly bulletins followed his recovery.

Read More

Allowing the past to speak

Beginning in January a new editorial team will take over the OHR, bringing in some fresh voices and new ideas. Before we hand over the reins, we asked the new team, composed of David Caruso, Abigail Perkiss, and Janneken Smucker, to tell us how they came into the world of oral history. Check out their responses and make sure to keep an eye on our social media pages in the coming weeks for more.

Read More

Christmas at King’s College, Cambridge

“The Christmas season is something that takes up a lot of head-space here at King’s from quite a long time before October, primarily due to our service on Christmas Eve, the famous ‘Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s.’ Andrew Hammond, Chaplain of King’s College, gives us a behind-the-scenes peak into famous for their annual live broadcast Service of Nine Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve.

Read More

Brexit versus UK higher education

Higher education has generally been reckoned to be one of the UK’s success stories, competing with the best American universities and setting the standard against which universities in other European countries measure themselves. UK universities receive roughly €1bn a year from European programs, as well as scooping up many of the brightest students from around Europe who want to study in Britain.

Read More

Pain relief and palliative care around the world

Around the world access to pain relief and to palliative care services is emerging as a growing public health issue. In many countries getting appropriate pain relieving drugs for those with advanced disease is constrained by overly-zealous laws and procedures. Likewise the provision of palliative care education, research and delivery, although making some headway and achieving policy recognition in places, is still extremely limited, often where the need is greatest.

Read More

Using evolutionary history to save pangolins from extinction

Pangolins, or scale-bodied anteaters, are a unique lineage of mammals exclusively feeding on ants and termites. Eight species are distributed across Africa and Asia. They all show extraordinary adaptation to myrmecophagy (specialized diet of ants and termites), including a scaled armor covering the body and tail that protects them from bites (both from bugs and large predators!)

Read More

Nine of diamonds, or the curse of Scotland: an etymological drama in two acts. Act 2, Scene 2

See the previous posts with the same title. We are approaching the end of the drama. It will be a thriller without a denouement, a tragedy without catharsis, but such are most etymological dramas. Putting the kibosh on the origin of a hard word or phrase is an almost impossible endeavor. Heraldry for etymologists and a note on unlikely candidates – It has been said, and for good reason, that, whenever people played cards, every man whose unpopularity made him hated by the people and bearing as arms nine lozenges could be referred to as the curse of Scotland.

Read More

Test your knowledge of the English legal system

The English legal system has a long history of traditions and symbolism. Do you know your periwigs from your powdered wigs, your judicial dress from your barrister’s robes, and your green bags from your gavels? While some of the quirks and traditions of the English legal system may seem archaic, even bizarre, they from part of the fundamental constitution of UK culture and are therefore of relevance to anyone with an interest in it.

Read More

Labour unions and solidarity in times of precarity

=Labour unions have traditionally been at the forefront of the struggle to improve job security, pay, and working conditions. The widely observed growth in precarious work in recent decades is a result of union weakness, as they are increasingly likely to lose these battles. Many have argued that unions often promote the job security of their ‘insider’ core members at the expense of more precarious ‘outsiders.’

Read More

Open access: reflections on change

Sally Rumsey shares her reflections on the changing open access environment and experiences from the University of Oxford. Cast your mind back 15 years to the earlier days of open access. In 2002 the University of Oxford contributed to the SHERPA project, with a collaborative pilot between the then OULS (Oxford University Library Services) and OUP. In 2006 we set up a new institutional repository service that launched very quietly in early 2007.

Read More