Queen's College Symposia
It’s good for the mind, good for the soul, and good for the stomach!
The Queen's College Symposia are a collection of talks by MCR and SCR members of the college. They're short and accessible, so whether it's a particular subject that takes your fancy or you simply want to sample the vast cornucopia of Queen's scholarship, please come along! Our guests are also invited to a free dinner afterwards in the Magrath Room.
25th April 2017
from 6pm, in the Schulman Auditorium
Girl Meets God: Shirabyōshi in Japanese Medieval Literature and Performance
Ms Iris Tomé Valencia
First appearing in the 12th century, shirabyōshi were female singer-dancers organised in matrilineal families, who wore male clothing, and chanted legends and sang at temples and shrines. Even though they came to be considered outcasts, the most famous ones would be preserved in popular culture as the lovers of high-ranking noblemen and warriors. This talk will explore the way in which they are depicted as characters in medieval historical tales and theatre plays opens a window to the strategies these women used to present themselves not only as entertainers, but, I will argue, as religious figures.
Quantum physics and the nature of computing
Dr Jelmer Renema
In recent years, an interesting connection between the quantum physics of light and the theory of computing has become apparent. It was demonstrated that certain optical experiments contain the answer to particular computational problems which computer scientists strongly believe to be hard to solve. If these experiments are made 10 times bigger than what is currently experimentally achievable, they will compute the problem with which they are associated faster than is possible with current supercomputers. This surprising fact means we are faced with a trilemma: either quantum mechanics, which governs these experiments is incomplete and somehow scale-dependent, causing the experiments to fail at larger system sizes, or the assumptions which computer scientists use to classify the hardness of computing problems are incorrect, or we must admit that the hardware on which we compute a problem somehow matters for how difficult it is to solve. While any of these three possibilities may perhaps sound innocuous to a layman, they in fact directly contradict founding assumptions of physics, complexity theory, and computer science, respectively. Resolution of this trilemma is therefore bound to upset someone. I will discuss recent efforts in Oxford to address this question. The talk will be accessible to people without a background in the sciences.
Save the day for the next QCS!
9th May 2017, at 6pm
Ms Eleri Watson
Mr Guillaume Matthews
6th June 2017, at 6pm
Dr Carmen Sanchez-Canizares
Dr Katherine Hunt