Friday, July 16, 2010


Today we left at 7:55 am to visit Oxford University! We toured around the city, Hertford College, in the Oxford University Press, Christ's Church College, went to St. Mary's Cathedral and then walked around the city.

During my winter semester last year, I took a HIST 202 class. The professor required that each student choose and read a text from a list of about 5-10 different books. I chose Soul Made Flesh by Carl Zimmer. I highly recommend this book. Not only is it about the rediscovery of the brain (Thomas Willis), but other people's discoveries. These include: William Harvey, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke, Nathaniel Hodges, William Petty, Christopher Wren, and Rene Descartes. One of my favorite anecdotes in the book is about how William Harvery discovered that blood moves in a circular pattern around the body.

As I have trekked around Ireland, Wales, and England, I have seen the actual books and documents that these men wrote on as they tried to piece together how the body functions. I feel so connected to them, especially as a science/med major. I even found out that Thomas Willis graduated from Christ's Church College with an M.A. and I went there today! I know that these men had to be inspired by God to discover these things and I am so glad that they had the courage to stand for what they knew to be true. It's very amazing.

There is one spot in Oxford that is dedicated and never paved over. This particular place is where two men, Nicholaus Ridley and Hugh Latimer, were burned for defending what they believed was the only true church of God. As they were burning, Latimer encouraged Ridley by saying, "Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." This reminds me of the many courageous men, women, and children who were put to flames for their testimonies of the scriptures. I hope that if the day ever comes, I will be just as brave.

Hertford college was pretty neat. Now that I think about it, I don't remember much except that they have a huge stained glass window in the chapel with William Tyndale in it. He is the guy who decided to translate the Bible in English and he was murdered for doing so, but because of him, King Henry VIII was able to distribute Bibles for even the poorest farmer to read. (Although his intentions had more to do with his numerous wives than with sharing the gospel with the world. No matter his intentions, though, this was an important turning event for Christianity.)

Here is what I learned about the Oxford University Press: they are constantly working on the next dictionary. They have people read books for them and find words that aren't in the dictionary already or meanings that have changed and then these people spend hours changing the OED. The man we met with has been working with the longest entry ever to be added to a dictionary so far which is the word "run." We use run in so many different ways that he has spent from November until exactly today trying to find each way we use the word run. 

We visited Christ's Church because, of course, the Great Hall from Harry Potter is situated there. We actually got to walk in, take pictures, and then leave. On the way out, we stopped to see where we could exit and this old British man said, "Move along." Loitering laws??

We then went to see St. Mary's Cathedral which was pretty cool, but I think Lauren and Janelle got more out of it than I did because they recognized some of the people who were either buried there or connected to the cathedral.

And lastly, I bought an Oxford sweatshirt. I could have resisted, but I didn't and I'm glad. It makes me look very slim. :)

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