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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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New Year’s Day through the ages

How are you spending New Year’s Day this year? If your mind has turned to resolutions and plans for the coming months, or even if you’ve got a touch of the January blues, then you’re in good company. To mark the start of 2017, we’ve taken a snapshot of poems, novels, and letters from famed historical and literary figures, all composed on January 1st.

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Aging Cheddar: a timeline of the world-famous cheese

In the cheesemaking world, “Cheddar” is a generic term for cheeses that fall into a wide range of flavor, color, and texture. According to the US Code of Federal Regulations, any cheese with a moisture content of up to 39% and at least 50% fat in dry matter is legally considered a form of Cheddar. […]

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The life and times of Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys penned his famous diaries between January 1660, and May of 1669. During the course of this nine year period, England witnessed some of the most important events in its political and social history. The diaries are over a million words long and recount in minute and often incredibly personal detail, events such as the restoration of the monarchy, the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Great Fire, and Great Plague of London.

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Rebuilding and restoring the Houses of Parliament [timeline]

The Houses of Parliament in London is one of the most famous buildings in the world. A masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture which incorporates survivals from the medieval Palace of Westminster, it was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO along with Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church, in 1987. With its restoration and renewal in the news, find out more about the background in this interactive timeline.

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Philosopher of the month: Aristotle

Among the world’s most widely studied thinkers, Aristotle established systematic logic and helped to progress scientific investigation in fields as diverse as biology and political theory. His thought became dominant during the medieval period in both the Islamic and the Christian worlds, and has continued to play an important role in fields such as philosophical psychology, aesthetics, and rhetoric.

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Ben-Hur: tracing the iconic novel and films through history

The latest film adaptation of the story of fictional Jewish noble Judah Ben-Hur is premiering in theaters today. You’ve probably seen the 1959 film version starring Charlton Heston, but do you know about the story’s rich history and impact over the last 136 years?

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The life and work of H.G. Wells: a timeline

August 13th marks the 150th birth and the 70th death anniversary of legendary science fiction writer H.G. Wells. A prophet of modern progress, he accurately predicted several historical advancements, from the World War II, nuclear weapons, to Wikipedia.

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Philosopher of the month: René Descartes

This August, the OUP Philosophy team honors René Descartes (1596–1650) as their Philosopher of the Month. Called “The Father of Modern Philosophy” by Hegel, Descartes led the seventeenth-century European intellectual revolution which laid down the philosophical foundations for the modern scientific age. His philosophical masterpiece, the Meditations on First Philosophy, appeared in Latin in 1641, and his Principles of Philosophy, a comprehensive statement of his philosophical and scientific theories, also in Latin, in 1644.

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Ten under-appreciated ancient thinkers [timeline]

The influence and wisdom from ancient philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato is undeniable. But how well do you know the life and works of Macrina, Philo of Alexandria, or Gorgias? Although known for his work in botany, did you know Theophrastus was a pupil of Plato?

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Philosopher of the month: Bertrand Russell

Considered among the most distinguished philosophers of the 20th century, Russell’s style, wit, and contributions to a wide range of philosophical fields made him an influential figure in both academic and popular philosophy. Among his best known philosophical works, the History of Western Philosophy demonstrates the scope of Russell’s curiosity and understanding, and highlights the interrelation of seemingly disparate areas of philosophy.

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A brief history of corpuscular discoveries [timeline]

Philosophers of science are in the business of explaining the special features of science, like the unifying power of scientific explanation and the wonderful sense of understanding it produces. We try to explain the amazing success of modern scientific theories, the structure of inductive inference in the science, and extract systematic positions – like realism, constructivism, and empiricism – from the evidence of theoretical success.

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Philosopher of the month: Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes is remembered as the author of one of the greatest of books on political philosophy ever written, Leviathan, in which he argued with a precision reached by few other thinkers. He was famously a cynic, holding that human action was motivated entirely by selfish concerns, notably fear of death.

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You Belong to the Universe

The life and work of Buckminster Fuller: a timeline

A self-professed “comprehensive anticipatory design scientist,” the inventor Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was undoubtedly a visionary. Fuller’s creations often bordered on the realm of science fiction, ranging from the freestanding geodesic dome to the three-wheel Dymaxion car.

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Celebrating 40 years of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

“The knowledge of the capabilities of antibiotics is still essential to control infections which nowadays are more complex and often occur in patients whose defences are compromised by other forms of medical and surgical treatment” wrote Professor J. D. Williams in his first Editorial in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (JAC) in 1975.

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