Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Oxford Day 2

This is the last of 12 posts about my 2018 UK Trip (Glasgow + West Highland Way + Oxford)
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I wasn't sure I had the right place when I arrived at Somerville College, given the sign forbidding "visitors" and saying the place is only open to (if I recall correctly) residents and guests. Was there perhaps a separate B&B building where they house members of the public?  But it turns out I was actually deemed a "guest" so that all worked out well.

The room was ye olde basic dormitory, with three guests sharing a bathroom down the hall.  The breakfast was a simple buffet in the cafeteria (again typical of dorms), but it was fun to eat it at the long tables overlooking the courtyard in wood-paneled dining room.

My only complaint about the accommodations was a little window on the courtyard that didn't latch properly; it rattled incessantly through the windy night.  (Though I was mildly relieved to realize it wasn't people upstairs banging away for hours on end.)
Somerville College courtyard

Mary Somerville

I tried a different route to the Bodleian for my second visit.  It took me through this little graveyard...

... where homeless people camp out.  In addition to the tents, there were liquor bottles strewn about.

Overall, I was surprised by the number of vagrants or panhandlers I saw in Oxford.

a cup of cappuccino while waiting for the Tolkien exhibit to open

more gargoyles

the forbidden courtyard of another college...

After the Tolkien exhibit, I went across the street to the Museum of the History of Science.

skull netsuke
("toggle securing a silk cord used to carry a purse
or other item when wearing traditional Japanese dress")

three skeleton netsuke

"Ingenious devices: Mathematicians and designers enjoyed the challenge
of arranging sundials on all sorts of surfaces and geometrical solids"
(here: octahedron and star)

sundial within a bowl (1810)

"the first commercially manufactured calculating machine" (France, 1820)

"The pinnacle of mechanical miniaturization was achieved by the fully-featured Curta calculator,
which performs multiplication and division as well as addition and subtraction."

"By effectively cutting up a long scale and arranging it on a cylinder,
greater precision could be achieved [than with a regular slide rule."

"Doubt that the sun doth move": Armillary Sphere, Italian?, c. 1580

Pocket Sundial - "An Elizabethan instrument is a very rare find, but it is also unusual that
we know the identity of the original owner."

Fit for a queen: Astrolabe for Elizabeth I
(London, 1559)

Mathematical aide-mémoire, English c. 1665
"This tiny silver medallion is a unique witness to
17th-century mathematical and commercial culture.
On this side it shows solutions to quadratic equations[.]
On the reverse is a table for calculations of interest."

Pottermania in Oxford!

I picked up a seaweed salad and some dosa on the way to the train station, then rode back up to Glasgow without incident.

Red and white roses say....

...welcome to Lancashire!

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