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New creative perspectives on science and engineering

Published: 12 December 2011
Multidisciplinary Research Week

Creative writers are joining forces with University scientists in a unique project. MA and PhD Creative Writing students from Humanities have paired up with PhD researchers in Biological Sciences, Electronics and Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering, drawing on their research to produce a new piece of poetry or prose. The results of their collaborations will be revealed during the University’s Multidisciplinary Research Week in February.

The Litmus Project was developed by Frances Clarke from Research and Innovation Services (R&IS), and Professor Peter Middleton and Dr Will May from English are leading the initiative. It started with a pairing of poet Robyn Bolam, Resident Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Humanities and Professor Paul Lewin from Southampton's High Voltage Laboratory; participants have also taken part in guest workshops run by the poet Allen Fisher and novelists and epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta.

Peter Middleton notes that when pre-modern Greek, or Persian scientists wanted to discuss a concept, they often did so via poetry. "Scientists generally are very interested in the arts", explains Frances "and it will be fascinating to see what both Robyn Bolam and our students produce"

Scientific subjects under the spotlight include complexity modelling and imaging, complexity science, genetic adaptation to rising CO2 levels in plants, the nature of biological individuality, how life on Earth developed from simple physical/chemical systems to biological systems, numerical modelling of wave resistance, vibration and noise in cars, trains and airplanes, the voice following cochlear implantation and photonics.

Multidisciplinary Research Week (6-10 February 2012) is a programme of activities showcasing different aspects of multidisciplinary work at the University of Southampton. You can discover how the poets and scientists got on at Building 85 (Life Sciences), The Observatory, level 7, Highfield on Thursday 9 February from 10.00 - 12.00.

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