In January, Oxford University Press announced its support for SHAPE, a new collective name for the humanities, arts, and social sciences and an equivalent term to STEM. SHAPE stands for Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy and aims to underline the value that these disciplines bring to society. Over the last year or so, huge attention has—rightly—been placed on scientific and technological advancement but does that mean we’re overlooking the contribution of SHAPE in finding solutions to global issues?
Today’s episode of The Oxford Comment brings together two leading voices from SHAPE and STEM disciplines to discuss how we might achieve greater balance between sciences and the arts. In the episode, Dr Kathryn Murphy, a Fellow in English Literature at Oriel College at the University of Oxford, and Professor Tom McLeish, inaugural Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics at the University of York, discuss the origins of the SHAPE/STEM divide and what might be done to address it.
Check out Episode 61 of The Oxford Comment and subscribe to The Oxford Comment podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our expert authors.
For more from the experts in today’s episode, you can read the introduction to The Poetry and Music of Science by Professor Tom McLeish or “Of Sticks and Stones”, a chapter from On Essays, co-edited by Dr. Kathryn Murphy. Both of these texts were referenced in this episode, helping to explain the many and complex connections between SHAPE and STEM. Alternatively, take a deep dive into the world of physics with the first chapter of Professor Tom McLeish’s Soft Matter: A Very Short Introduction.
For more about SHAPE, check out OUP’s SHAPE hub or catch up with the two-part conversation between Sophie Goldsworthy, OUP’s Director of Content Strategy & Acquisition, and Professor Julia Black, Strategic Director for Innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science and incoming president of the British Academy, introducing SHAPE and what its future might look like in light of the pandemic.
Featured image: Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1490), Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.