On Saturday 8 February, Hereford Cathedral will be hosting a morning conference discussing Robert Grosseteste and how modern physics was born at Hereford. Grosseteste was associated with Hereford for about 25 years, and studied and wrote while here.

Few figures of the Middle Ages command the attention of so many modern disciplines as Robert Grosseteste. Theology, Philosophy, History, and Science are all areas in which his life and thought continue to have significance and to inspire reinterpretation.

The Revd Canon Chris Pullin, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, further explains the significance of this great thinker to the city of Hereford:

“Robert Grosseteste is a name not widely known outside scholarly circles, although the people of Lincoln diocese remember him as one of their most important bishops. He was connected with Hereford for at least 25 years, assisting bishops and archdeacons in their work, and no doubt a familiar figure sometimes in the cathedral. 

He was connected with the Hereford Franciscans, and studied and perhaps taught in Oxford. During those years he was studying and thinking hard, and the fruit of that was a series of writings about science that have caused scientists today to be amazed. Although he writes in the style of his times, people who interpret what he wrote find that the resonances with modern scientific understandings about the coming into being of the universe are truly astonishing. He has been called "the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford, and in some ways, of the modern English intellectual tradition". Hereford has never made enough of him! He was an old man when he became Bishop of Lincoln, his most significant work belonging to his earlier years – the years when much of his life centred on Hereford.”

This half-day conference, which takes place from 10 am – 1 pm is being hosted in conjunction with members of The Ordered Universe Project, an international research project dedicated to the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste (c.1170-1253). Speakers include Prof. Giles Gasper and Bishop David Thomson.

The Ordered Universe Project has been running since 2010, and is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Based at Durham University and the Universities of Oxford and York, the project has partners all over the world. In a mutually enriching exercise the project brings the writings of Grosseteste into dialogue with contemporary cosmologists and other scientists.

The half day conference is part of the Life & Learning programme and will take place in College Hall. Tickets cost £20 (to include tea, coffee and biscuits) – advance booking is essential via the Cathedral Library on 01432 374 225/6 or by emailing [email protected]

To download a copy of the current Life & Learning programme click here.