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Green Templeton College | Oxford


Speaker: Dr Raghu Garud, Smeal School of Business, Pennsylvania State University.

3 November 2016

Dr Garud provided a narrative-infused design perspective on innovation at work.

Sustaining ongoing innovation is essential for the growth and survival of organizations. Whereas many scholars advocate the separation of activities associated with innovative from the rest of the organization, Dr. Raghu Garud argues for their integrating into everyday work. Drawing from literatures on design and narratives, he offers a perspective on how innovation can be sustained through the cumulative synthesis of distributed yet interconnected experiments. He explores the implications of this narrative-infused design perspective, and offers avenues for future research.

Speaker: Christopher Boes MD, a consultant at the Department of Neurology in Rochester, Minnesota and Medical Director for the W Bruce Fye Center for the History of Medicine, will explore the history of William Osler (1849-1919) and British neurologist William Gowers (1845-1915).

27 October 2016

Osler and Gowers first met in 1878, when Osler was studying in London to prepare for the Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians examination.

Osler visited Gowers often when in London, and they vacationed together in 1892. Osler dedicated his book On Chorea and Choreiform Affections to Gowers in 1894, addressing himself as Gowers’ sincere friend. Two warm letters between Osler and Gowers exist in the Osler Library Archives, highlighting their strong friendship. Gowers’ son Ernest wrote Osler a letter after the death of his father. Referring to the relationship between William Osler and William Gowers, he noted that Osler had “indeed been a good friend to him all through.”

Osler wrote and edited the first edition of his textbook from 1890 through early 1892, and was influenced by Gowers’ Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System. Gowers’ name was mentioned more often than any other author in the first edition of Osler’s textbook. In 1913, Osler wrote to the American neurologist Silas Weir Mitchell: “You will be sorry to hear that Gowers is very ill - his own disease, ataxic paraplegia, it looks like, and ascending, so that now there are bulbar symptoms.” Macdonald Critchley disagreed, and felt that Gowers had “generalised cerebrovascular degeneration.”

Osler and Gowers were close friends, and this friendship was mutually beneficial.

Speaker: Dr Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo, principal investigator of the WHO’s ongoing trial of Ebola virus vaccination

3 March 2016

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa is by far the largest ever recorded.

Evaluating vaccine efficacy during outbreaks can be challenging. To observe a sufficient number of events, trials may need to vaccinate very large numbers of people in populations believed to be at risk. Trials may fail because too few transmission events occur during the study period, leaving studies underpowered to detect a statistically significant vaccine effect. The Ebola virus spreads from person to person through direct physical contact with body fluids of symptomatic EVD patients.

During this presentation, De Henao-Restrepo describes a novel trial design referred to as a ring vaccination trial since it adopts the outbreak containment strategy of ring vaccination. In a ring vaccination trial, a patient newly diagnosed with EVD becomes the index case around whom a socially and geographically defined ring of his or her contacts and the contacts of these contacts is formed. This ring is then randomised to either immediate or deferred vaccination with the candidate vaccine.

This series of four lectures raised questions about the nature of developments associated with the availability and analysis of large datasets (big data) and the implications for core aspects of everyday life.

What is the digital future and how will it significantly change our lives and how we do research?

Questions relating to uncertainty over the assembly and holding of data, its communication and usage, methods of analysis, and potential beneficiaries were at the heart of the lecture series which aims to discuss the assumptions, expectations, trends and research methods carried forward by the increasing digitisation of everyday life.

Visit the Living by Numbers: Big Data and Society webpage

  Download the lecture series briefing note

Speaker: Professor Susan Halford, Director Web Science Institute, University of Southampton.

Monday 25 January 2016

The phenomenal growth of Web-based social media data provokes great interest and activity from researchers across a range of disciplines.

For most, if not all, the lure of these data is that they offer important insights into the social world: digital traces of the things that people say and do in everyday life, at scale, in real time and over time.However, in the emergent field of social media analysis the challenges of working with these data are becoming increasingly apparent.

This lecture outlined the disciplinary, methodological and ethical challenges of working with social media data and explored some of the routes through which these might be addressed.

Speaker: Professor Helen Margetts, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute and Professor of Society and the Internet, University of Oxford

Monday 1 February 2016

The internet and social media bring political change, allowing 'tiny acts' of political participation which can scale up to large-scale mobilisation of millions - but mostly fail.

These new forms of mobilisation increase instability and uncertainty in political systems, challenging policy-makers in both democratic and authoritarian regimes. But they also generate new sources of large-scale data.

Drawing on research carried out for the new book Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (Margetts, John, Hale and Yasseri, 2015, Princeton University Press), this lecture discussed how social media is changing political systems - and how data science tools and methodologies might be used to understand, explain and even predict the new 'political turbulence'.

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