Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The life and work of Alan Turing

Alan Turing was one of England’s most influential scientists of the twentieth century. He is best remembered as having cracked the codes used in the Enigma machines, enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many important battles, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean. While this achievement which arguably helped to bring the Second World War to a quicker end has been brought to the fore through popular histories

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9 facts about hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is the art of understanding and of making oneself understood. But what does ‘hermeneutics’ mean? Where did the term originate and how is it used in day-to-day life? Jens Zimmermann, author of Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction, tells us 9 things everyone should know about hermeneutics.

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How can we save the pollinators?

An often-cited estimate is that one-third of the food you eat comes from insect pollinators. Many of the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy develop their fruit and seed primarily through insect pollination services. Other sometimes overlooked benefits of pollinators are the ecological services that they provide. For example, insects pollinate many plants that provide erosion control, keeping our waterways clean.

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Latino fathers and parenting: lessons learned from Puerto Rican fathers

atherhood is a complex and an evolving concept which has gained national attention. Fathers play an important role in the development of their children, which also has an impact on their identity as a father. Minority fathers, particularly Latino fathers, have been under-recognized in this call to better understand fatherhood. However, given that Hispanics are the largest minority group in the US, the experiences of these fathers are of heightened importance.

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Katherine Dunham: the artist as activist

In October 1944, the African American choreographer Katherine Dunham (1909-2006) stood in front of an audience in Louisville, Kentucky and announced that she and her dance company would not return to Louisville until the city desegregated its theaters. Word of her brave stance ricocheted across the country, finding its way into a newspaper in Indiana, where a fifteen-year-old boy wrote her an admiring letter saying that she was an inspiration in the fight for racial equality.

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The dwarfs of our vocabulary

I receive all kinds of questions about etymology. Unless they are responses to my posts, they usually concern slang and exotic words. No one seems to care about and, as, at, for, and their likes. Conjunctions and prepositions are taken for granted, even though their origin is sometimes obscure and their history full of meaning.

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Visualizing the global income distribution

The evolution of the distribution of income among individuals within countries and across the world has been the subject of considerable academic and popular commentary in the recent past. Works such as Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century or Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality have become unlikely bestsellers, garnering a startling degree of both academic and popular interest.

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The biological ironies of transgender debates

Transgender issues have made significant headlines in the United States. Not long ago, North Carolina struggled to repeal a 2016 law that required people to use only public restrooms that matched the sex on their birth certificate, not their lived gender identity. Only weeks earlier, the US Supreme Court declined to hear a case from a Virginia student on the same issue.

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Can all refugees become economically successful?

We are celebrating the 16th United Nations’ World Refugee Day, scheduled on 20 June every year. It is a day to recognize and honour refugees’ resilience, agency and capability. In the area of refugees’ economic lives, there is growing evidence demonstrating that refugees are economic actors who are able to sustain themselves and to make socio-economic contributions to their hosting society.

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New bank resolution regime as an engine of EU integration

On 1 June 2017 the European Commission and Italy reached an agreement ‘in principle’ on the recapitalization of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS). A mere week later, the Single Resolution Board (SRB) put Banco Popular Español (BPE) into resolution, and had its shares transferred to Banco Santander. Both cases must be understood in the context of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) and both can be considered as examples of how the new European bank resolution regime performs as an engine of European integration.

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Shining evolutionary light: Q&A with EMPH EIC Charles Nunn

Evolutionary biology is a basic science that reaches across many disciplines and as such, may provide numerous applications in the fields of medicine and public health. To further the evolutionary medicine landscape, we’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Charles Nunn of Duke University as the new Editor-in-Chief of Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, the open access journal that aims to connect evolutionary biology with the health sciences

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How much do you know about refugees?

The United Nations’ (UN) World Refugee Day is observed on 20 June each year. In honour of the UN World Refugee Day, we have compiled the following quiz about the extraordinary achievements of well-known people who have all had to flee their homelands. From artists to sportspeople, writers, and scientists of world renown, take our quiz to raise awareness and celebrate their talent and courage at a time when this has never been more important.

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Climate change: are you an expert? [Quiz]

Climate change is one of the most significant and far-reaching problems of the twenty-first century and it is a frequent topic of discussion everywhere from scientific journals to the Senate floor. Because climate change is often the subject of heated debate, it’s easy to mistake political stands for scientific facts. Inspired by The Death of Expertise, in which Tom Nichols explores the dangers of the public rejection of expertise, we’ve created a series of quizzes to test your knowledge.

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How can we measure political leadership?

Understanding and measuring political leadership is a complex business. Though we all have ideals of what makes a ‘good’ leader, they are often complex, contradictory and more than a little partisan. Is it about their skills, their morality or just ‘getting things done’? And how can we know if they succeed or fail (and why?). From Machiavelli onwards we have wrestled with our idea of what a perfect leader should look like.

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The representation of fathers in children’s fiction

There aren’t many areas in literature where men are under-represented, but it’s safe to say that in children’s fiction, men – and fathers in particular – have been largely overlooked. And deliberately so. Adult carers with a sense of responsibility have been ousted from the action because of their exasperating tendency to step in and take control. Children’s authors don’t want competent adults interfering and solving problems.

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