18 June 2019, 10.30am – 4.30pm Victoria Hall. Fee: £45
This course is aimed at those with an interest in the ideas and the science underlying the construction of some of the great ancient monuments. The course requires no formal level of mathematics, but, if you can remember a bit of basic school geometry, it will come in handy.
In the ancient world, there was no such thing as a scientific paradigm. There was philosophy; there were beliefs, and there were skills. During the course, we will examine how the ancients used these attributes to create their civilisations. In the morning sessions, we will be concerned with the polytheistic worlds of Egypt, Greece and Rome. We will look at both the mythological inspiration for ancient buildings – such as the Parthenon, the Pyramids and the Pantheon – and the mathematical understanding which allowed their construction, and how from a consideration of both aspects, a classification of knowledge began to be established.
In the afternoon, we will look at the impact of Christian beliefs and the changes this brought about. In the context of an increasing importance of “revealed” knowledge, we will examine the adaptation of the Parthenon, the roles of Roman basilicas and tituli and the construction of Hagia Sophia.
Tutor Jim Lloyd Davies has been chairman of the Science Group at HLSI for the past three years. He has academic qualifications from Cambridge and the Ecole Militaire. He served thirty years with the RAF before becoming a tour guide specialising in London, Paris and military museums and battlefields.
11 June 10.30am – 12.30pm Victoria Hall, plus 12 June 10.30am – 4.30pm Visit to Royal College of Physicians Garden. Fee: £45 (Entry to gardens is free)
This course is designed for those interested in plants and their past, present and possible future uses in medicine. Although herbal medicine will be discussed, the course is not designed for those primarily seeking a course on herbal medicine. No knowledge of botany will be necessary.
Topics that will be covered include:
- Plants that were milestones in the discovery of medicines (e.g. Foxglove Digitalis purpurea)
- Plants as sources for modern medicines (e.g. Quinine, Cinchona )
- Plants illustrating the Doctrine of Signatures (e.g. Pulmonaria officinalis)
- Plants for treating cancer (e.g. Yew Taxus baccata)
- Herbal medicines (e.g. St John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum)
- Poisonous plants (e.g. Deadly nightshade Atropa belladonna)
- The lecture on the first day will focus on plants growing in the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) garden to illustrate each of the above. The format of the course will be a two- hour lecture with time for discussion and a coffee break. The lecture will be copiously illustrated in a PowerPoint presentation.
- Day two will be a guided tour (one or two groups depending on numbers) around the RCP garden in Regent’s Park to see some of the plants we have discussed.
- Recommended reading: A Garden of Medicinal Plants. Oakeley H, Knowles J, de Swiet M, Dayan A. Little ,Brown 2015, available from RCP
- The Gardener’s Companion to Medicinal Plants. Simmonds M, Howes M, Irving J. Frances. Lincoln Ltd 2016
- Tutor Michael de Swiet is a retired professor of medicine and has been a garden fellow at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) for six years, sharing responsibility for the management of academic aspects of its medicinal plants garden. He also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Chelsea Physic Garden.
- A June Short Course enrolment form 2019