Awkward Objects

If ever I had combined my interest in science with that in mediaeval history, this wonderful-sounding conference, taking place in Helsinki this April, would have provided the ideal vehicle. Its topic is “awkward objects” associated with the body; “including, but not...
Vale Leonard Cohen: that’s how it goes.

Vale Leonard Cohen: that’s how it goes.

Leonard Cohen has died. Perhaps he should have received a Nobel Prize, or shared one with Bob Dylan, because he certainly produced some of the most memorable descriptions of the human condition to be found anywhere. The one that sticks in my mind is this: Everybody...
Are you over-exerting your brain?

Are you over-exerting your brain?

In the days when I was an enthusiast for competition bridge, I read a book by the British writer Victor Mollo which featured a character called The Hideous Hog. One sentence from that book, describing the Hog’s excuse for making a mistake, has always stuck in my mind...
Rabelais in the modern world

Rabelais in the modern world

Rabelais’s rumbustious romp with the brief title  The Heroic Deeds of Gargantua and Pantagruel was written in the sixteenth century, with the first part being written in 1532. I am lucky enough to own a limited edition illustrated by the Australia artist Francis...