September 2015


Talk: How the French Think with Sudhir Hazareesingh


In a talk for the How To Academy on How The French Think on 10 November, Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh (Tutor in Politics) will discuss the French intellectual tradition, exploring its long-term characteristics and evolutions over the past 400 years. Ranging from the philosophical ideas of Voltaire and Descartes, to the symbolic significance of Astérix, Dr Hazareesingh will show how bold, imaginative and sweeping French thought has been, tracing its tumultuous history from a confident and often brazen optimism to the current mood of increasing introspection. More details and tickets are available here.

A Visual Feast in the Garden Quad


In celebration of the recent refurbishment of the College kitchen, Balliol's gardeners have grown a feast of vegetables in the Garden Quad. The colourful display of plants, chosen for their food value as well as their aesthetic value, is also a tribute to the gardeners of the University who played their part in the British government's 'Dig for Victory' campaign during the Second World War. Photographs by Chris Munday, Head Gardener, of a selection of the vegetables can be seen here.Visitors are welcome to come and have a look at Balliol's gardens and buildings, and to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in our Buttery.

September telethon: Old Members donate in record numbers


"I love finding out what people have done after Balliol," says Ellen Ellis (2013), who has now taken part in four telephone appeals, "and it's wonderful to see how supportive alumni are of current students." Ellen and 14 other students called 3,000 alumni over the past two weeks, with fantastic results - 74% of Old Members made a gift, collectively donating over £187,000 for student support. Beattie Sturrock (2013), says: "One of my favourite conversations was with an Old Member who'd studied Experimental Psychology. I'm really interested in Psychology myself, so it was fascinating to learn that his studies had led him to work with the police, studying how people's environments affect their behaviour and whether they commit crimes. I felt like I'd really learnt a lot by the end of the conversation!" We hope you enjoyed talking to the students as much as they enjoyed talking to you, and thank you to everyone who has so far donated. If you pledged to make a gift but have not yet sent it in, you can donate online here.

Save the date: Young Alumni Winter Party at the Barbican – 16 November


Alumni from the years 2002-2013 are invited to a drinks reception at the Barbican Centre on 16 November. This special evening, kindly made possible by the Director of the Barbican, Sir Nicholas Kenyon (1969), will include a private viewing of ‘The World of Charles and Ray Eames’. Your email invitation will follow shortly - in the meantime, save the date!


Humans and computers working together to fight disasters

Over the past five years, researchers from Oxford University have been working on a collaborative project called ORCHID to develop new ways for humans and computers to work together to respond to disasters. Dr Steven Reece, a Senior Research Fellow at the University’s Pattern Analysis and Machine Learning Research Group, says, "Traditionally, humans tell computers what to do; Human-agent collectives (HACs) turn that relationship on its head and allow computers to take control occasionally and request information from humans ... There are many ways machine learning can be used in disaster response. The key now is to sit down with crisis responders and develop relevant data processing algorithms that will actually save lives." Read more.
Reading: An evening with Samuel Shem

Samuel Shem (pen name of Dr Stephen Bergman, 1966), author of the classic The House of God and Mount Misery, both fictional but close-to-real first-hand descriptions of the training of doctors in the United States, will be speaking on Monday 5 October at the Royal Society of Medicine's Medical Humanities Conference. The conference presents an opportunity to learn more about how the humanities has impacted medicine, as well as to hear Samuel Shem discuss his literary and academic work. More details and tickets are available here.


Varsity Matches - 10 December, Twickenham


Since 1872 the Varsity Match has been the focus of Oxford and Cambridge rivalry, and this year is particularly special as Twickenham will host the Women's Varsity Match for the very first time. Oxford need one more win to create a new record for the fixture. Cambridge still lead the series by 61 wins to 58 and will be doing everything possible to further widen the margin. Whatever happens, you will be guaranteed a game full of pride, passion and commitment and a great day out to kick-start your festive season. Discounted tickets for Balliol alumni are available online.





If you would like us to mention in this section any significant work published this year or last, please contact Josie Turner.

John Cooper's (1955) biography of the first Lord Rothschild, The Unexpected Story of Nathaniel Rothschild, was published by Bloomsbury in July. 
Michael Selzer (1960)  recently published Renewing the Fear: A Jew goes to Berlin, reflections on the Nazi Holocaust which open with the author's childhood in a prison camp and culminate in a short but profoundly disturbing visit to Berlin sixty-five years later. He has also published The Symmetry Norm and the Asymmetric Universe.
Matthew Green (1995) has published Aftershock: The Untold Story of Surviving Peace, which tells the story of veterans' journey from the frontline of combat to the reality of return.



  • Balliol Society Weekend - 3-4 October
  • Young Alumni Winter Party - 16 November at the Barbican. Email invitation to follow soon.
  • The Usborne Dinner - 19 November. Invitations have now been sent, and invitees can book online here.
  • Balliol at the Varsity Matches - 10 December.

SAVE THE DATE - 2016 Gaudies

  • 19 March 2016 - Gaudy for the years 2000 – 2002
  • 25 June 2016 - Gaudy for the years 1978 – 1980


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