Saturday, December 6, 2014

Oxford Literary and Scientific Bits

As a university town, Oxford has many claims to fame thanks to the highly educated nature of its inhabitants (even if some didn't stick around). Both literary and scientific types have made their names here, a fact nicely demonstrated by the close proximity of Sheldonian Theatre and the Museum of the History of Science.

Sheldonian Theatre and Museum of the History of Science

My claim is a bit spurious--the Sheldonian Theatre is not for stage productions. Rather, it was built for the university's graduation ceremonies. The building was designed by Christopher Wren and completed in 1669 so it has seen many students come and go.

Many literary memorials are found in Oxford. At the entrance to Christ Church's Memorial Garden is a quote from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, "My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage." The garden is dedicated to those who died in World War I.

Bunyan quote at the Christ Church Memorial Garden

A more prosaic remembrance is of Lewis Carroll, who taught at Christ Church. A shop has his name over it and sells all sorts of Alice in Wonderland items.

Alice's Shop!?!

Merton College has named their theater after T. S. Eliot, he of The Wasteland and Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock fame, among other poems and plays.

Merton College Theater (not the most accessible or visible spot)

A street plaque commemorates the house where Robert Boyle discovered the law named after him. In the same house he was assisted in his scientific experiments by Robert Hooke, who used his own microscope to discover the first living cell.

Boyle/Hooke plaque

The house was replaced with a college

The University's devotion to logic is so strong that they named a street after it!

Logic is not beneath me!

I'm sure there are plenty of other memorial and sights but we only saw a smattering during our weekend visit.

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