Principal's Blog: 9 February 2022

Platnauer Concert:
We are delighted that the Concert series is back up and running. The concert on 4 February was a real treat with Sarah – Jane Bradley on viola and John Lenehan on the piano. They had performed on Radio 3 the day before. They played little known works by William Lewarne Harris and Rebecca Clarke as well as better known works by Vaughan Williams and Elgar. They really delighted a large audience in the Ante Chapel.

Arts & Societies Dinner:
On 2 February Xa Sturgis the Director of the Ashmoleian Museum spoke to our Arts & Societies Dinner about the glories of the Museum and the role of museums following the pandemic.

The Ashmolean’s  claim is to be the world’s oldest public museum and Xa referred to the excavation of the Ennigaldi-Nanna museum at Ur where labels were found describing objects in three languages. He encouraged undergraduates to visit the Ashmolean and was encouraged by the number who had already visited at least once, given the disruption of the pandemic. He discussed some objects in the collection, including two of the oldest free-standing statutes in the World, portraying the Egyptian god Min. He also said that the Ashmolean had more Raphaels than the Queen and the Pope. 

He adverted to the links between Ashmole and Brasenose where he is recorded as a “lodger”. He developed an interest in alchemy and magic. Xa has avoided alchemy but practices as a magician under the stage name “the Great Xa”. He has also written a book “Magic in art; tricks, perspectives and illusions”. It was a great evening.

Our Kurti Fellows:
Our Junior Kurti Fellow James Grist has recently been working with the research team in the department of Radiology, led by Professor Fergus Gleeson, at the Churchill Hospital. Here we have been imaging the lungs of patients with Long COVID, who experience breathlessness, with a novel imaging technique known as ‘hyperpolarised Xenon MRI’, and comparing the results against their standard of care ‘Computed Tomography (CT)’ and lung function tests.

The team found that although their CT scans appeared entirely normal, there was a decrease in the ability of patients to move xenon gas through their lungs. This is a really important result as it may show that there are changes in lung physiology that cannot be detected with methods currently available to us in the clinic. There will now be a multi-centre trial involving centres in Sheffield, Manchester, and Cardiff, funded by an NIHR award '

Our Senior Kurti Fellow Professor Russell Foster is prolific on the radio. On 5 January he was on Inside Health talking about  ways of knowing that you are not getting enough sleep and emphasising how important it is. Sleep, he says, is ‘quite vulnerable to disruption’ but he stressed it is good for your health and can help problem solving. 

Holocaust Memorial Day Sermon:
We heard a moving sermon in chapel on 30 Jan in an evensong service to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. The actual Memorial Day was three days earlier to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. On that day in 1945 Russian soldiers on horseback reached the gates of the camp, where over a million people had been murdered. The Sermon was given by my wife Suzanne and she spoke about her family's experiences in the holocaust.  There was also music from the choir related to the theme - including a wonderful  lullaby by the composer Gideon Klein who was imprisoned in the same  concentration camp as Suzanne's mother.  The sermon will probably be published in the Brasenose magazine.

Oxford’s lost College:
Coverage in the press of St Marys continues: We are in

The Oxford Mail

The Cherwell

Daily Mail

BBC News

BBC Radio Oxford (From 1h50m to 1h56m approximately)

BBC South Evening News (iPlayer link now expired)

The Times

Daily Express

The Smithsonian Magazine

 If you are interested in discrimination on the grounds of religion (which I recognise you may not be), you may find interesting my recent article on the concept of reasonable accommodation

I have been reading Sleaze by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter for news from students and tutors, Schools Liaison and other interesting things