July 2015


Recognition of Distinction awards

Balliol warmly congratulates the following, who have each received a Recognition of Distinction award from the University and with it the title of Professor:
Lesley Abrams (Colyer-Fergusson Fellow and Tutor in History, pictured): Professor of Early Medieval History
David Lucas (Tutor in Physics): Professor of Physics
Sophie Marnette (Dervorguilla Fellow and Tutor in French): Professor of Medieval French Studies

Award for work on cancer app


Dr Anne Kiltie (1985), who works at the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, has received a Cancer Research UK Flame of Hope award for her help in developing and promoting its Reverse the Odds app. The app, which has now been downloaded more than 100,000 times, is a game in which players score points by spotting brightly coloured proteins in images of tumorous cells taken from bladder cancer patients. Dr Kiltie's team compares levels of the proteins spotted by the players with the patients' survival rates to work out which treatments work best for different people. The 'citizen science' project thus saves scientists hours of time by doing work that requires no specialist knowledge and contributes to their research.

Professor Martin West

The College was greatly saddened to learn of the death, on 13 July, of Professor Martin West, OM, MA DPhil DLitt Oxf, FBA, Balliol 1955, Honorary Fellow from 2004 and Honorary Fellow of All Souls College. The Telegraph's obituary of Professor West remembers him as a "Greek scholar and prolific author who combined a relish for technical detail with a love of puns," who "was never a man to go with the flow and was comfortable with heterodox opinion."


AUDIO: Free Thinking Fellows on Radio 3


Balliol Fellows Sudhir Hazareesingh (Tutor in Politics, pictured) and Kylie Murray (Junior Research Fellow in the Humanities) spoke on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking on 9 July. Sudhir spoke about his recently published book, How the French Think, while Kylie spoke about her investigations into the prophecies of Scottish seer Thomas the Rhymer. The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer.
Balliol Fellow Daniel Butt (Tutor in Political Theory) took part in BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze on 8 July, on the subject of 'Moral Luck and the Budget', also available to listen to through the BBC iPlayer.


Alumnus receives two maths awards


Congratulations to James Maynard (2009), who has received two prestigious maths awards. 
He received a 2015 London Mathematical Society Whitehead Prize 'for his spectacular results on gaps between prime numbers' and he has also been awarded a Clay Fellowship. Dr Maynard obtained his BA and Master’s degrees in Mathematics from Cambridge University, before completing his DPhil at Balliol. He joined Magdalen College, Oxford as a Fellow by Examination in 2013.



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

Dr Thomas Brown's (1953) memoir Forty-Two Million Minutes tells the story of his life from birth to age eighty, and a good portion of the book covers his two years at Balliol in the early 1950s.
Professor John-Christopher Spender (1957)
develops a new, creative approach to the question 'what is strategy?' in Business Strategy: Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise. Emphasizing that firms face uncertainties and unknowns, Professor Spender argues that the core of strategic thinking and processes rests on the organization's leaders developing newly imagined solutions to the opportunities that these uncertainties open up. The book was included among Strategy and Business' Best Business Books of 2014.
Stephen Coombs' (1962) flowingly expressive Latin poetry adheres to classical principles while often introducing novel metrical forms. His new collection, In Perendinum Aevum, includes parallel texts in English.
Robert Eales' (1969) The Compassionate Englishwoman tells the remarkable story of Emily Hobhouse, a courageous woman who, in a dark moment in British history, confronted the leaders of her nation - military, political and administrative - to uphold the values we all cherish.
Professor Ronald Beiner (1975) 
makes the case that political philosophy is centrally defined by supremely ambitious reflection on the ends of life in Political Philisophy: What It Is and Why It MattersThe book attempts to draw up a balance sheet for political philosophy in the twentieth century, by identifying a canon of towering contributions and reviewing the extent to which they fulfill their intellectual aspirations.
James Ogilvie (1976) summited Mt. Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica, in January 2015. His book Getting High: A world at my feet gives a passionate account of his climbs of the Seven Summits in the world’s seven continents, and Balliol also receives a mention.
Professor Richard Susskind (1983) and Daniel Susskind (2006, Lecturer in Economics), father and son, joined forces to write The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, to be published in October by OUP. They predict the decline of today’s professions and explain how increasingly capable systems - from telepresence to AI - will bring fundamental change in the way that expertise is made available in society.
Dr James Harris' (1988)
Hume: An Intellectual Biography is the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire career of one of Britain's greatest men of letters. It sets in biographical and historical context all of Hume's works, bringing to light the major influences on the course of Hume's intellectual development.
Dr Matthew Kelly (1994) has published his third book, Quartz and Feldspar: Dartmoor - A British Landscape in Modern Times. It offers an historical account of how Dartmoor has been encountered, imagined and governed since the late eighteenth century, and covers topics such as Druidical theories, cultures of improvement, National Park politics and more recent questions concerning preservation and conservation.
Robyn Williams (Former Visiting Fellow 1995-1996) will have been presenting his radio programme The Science Show for forty years in August. Several Balliol people have appeared on it, including Denis Noble (Emeritus Fellow), John Jones (1964, Emeritus Fellow) and the late Barry Blumberg (1955, Honorary Fellow). The founder of the ABC Science Unit was also a Balliol alumnus, the late Dr Peter Pockley (1961).
Sarah Green's (1995) second book, Causation in Negligence, was published in December, and aims to provide a timely and effective means of navigating the current maze of case law on causation, in order that the solutions to causal problems might more easily be reached, and the law relating to them more easily understood.



  • Meeting Minds: Alumni Weekend in Oxford - 18-20 September. Booking is now open. See more details.
  • Balliol Society Weekend - 3-4 October

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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