At Meeting Minds 2023 our speakers covered a huge range of topics. Here we present recordings of 14 lectures held at the Maths Institute on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September, as well as an image gallery with some of our favourite photos from the weekend.


Prof. Paul RileyIDRM Institute Director

Prof. Marco FritzscheOxford-ZEISS Centre of Excellence

Dr. Elena MitsiSenior Research Associate

Judy Sayers, Kirolous Hanna, Katarzyna Chwalenia & Loulia VorobievaDPhil Students

The Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine is a unique flagship institute and a formal merger of developmental biology and regenerative medicine. Its cutting-edge facilities provide a research base for 15-20 world-leading research groups comprising 240 cardiovascular, neuroscience and immunology scientists integrating their expertise to foster multidisciplinary collaborations.

Mike Kendall, Head of Department of Earth Sciences and Chair of Geophysics

Petroleum and mining companies aren’t usually considered "green” but they may be vital in achieving net zero. What role should they play and why?

Veronica LowePresident of the St Hugh College Alumni Association

Anne PerkinsWriter and broadcaster 

The Rt. Hon Theresa MayMember of Parliament for Maidenhead

Revd. Dr Margaret JoachimChair Liberal Democrat English Candidates' Committee

A tribute to Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwell OM PC (1929 – 2023), the first female Speaker of the House of Commons, and to Baroness Castle of Blackburn PC (1910 – 2002), the only female First Secretary of State, serving as Deputy to Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Veronica Lowe discussed their outstanding achievements with The Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP,  Anne Perkins and Revd Dr Margaret Joachim MBE.

Abigail WilliamsProfessor of Eighteenth-Century Studies

Jonathan CrossProfessor of Musicology; Director & Senior Scholar in Residence at Ertegun House

Abigail Williams’s latest book, Reading It Wrong, considers the ways in which texts were misread in the 18th century. In this session, she discussed how readers were bewildered by the books in front of them. But she also explored more broadly how we read texts in the digital age, how we got into the culture wars and – as she explored in her recent BBC series – why in our public life today we seem to value feelings over facts.

Dr Benjamin FrantaSenior Research Fellow and Head of the Climate Litigation Lab

Estelle Dehon, KCBarrister

The University of Oxford’s Climate Litigation Lab, led by Benjamin Franta, applies rigorous, multidisciplinary research methods to practical challenges presented by climate change litigation. Benjamin and climate litigation practitioner Estelle Dehon KC invited participants to understand the strategic and evidentiary landscape informing climate litigation efforts in various jurisdictions around the world.

Dr Nick Redman, Professor Des King, Helen Lackner, Dr Natalie Mrockova, Dr Alex Pravda, Dr Michael Taylor and Tom Wilkinson

Oxford Analytica’s daily editorial conference invited guests from the University of Oxford to discuss the news and identify analytical angles and future topics for discussion, with the aim of making tomorrow’s world clearer.

Professor llan DavisChair of Cell Biology

Professor Syma KhalidProfessor of Computational Microbiology

Dr Madhusudhan SrinivasanLab head and principal investigator of the DNA topology lab, Department of Biochemistry

Members of the Biochemistry Department delivered a series of talks exploring innovative uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI): how AI has enhanced our understanding of the fundamental processes that underpin life; using AI methods to predict new molecular causes of disease of the nervous system; and employing AI methods to design new antibiotics.

Lord Patten of BarnesChancellor of the University of Oxford

Kate ClanchyWriter in residence, Mansfield College

Philip PullmanAuthor

Richard OvendenBodley's Librarian and Head of Gardens, Libraries and Museums

David Isaac, Provost, Worcester College

This panel discussion chaired by Lord Patten of Barnes explored the issues swirling around free speech in person, in print and online: why is it being challenged; what are the implications for all of us; and what is the role of universities in this arena?

Tim PowerHead of Social Sciences 

Petra SchleiterProfessor of Comparative Politics and Tutorial Fellow of St Hilda's College

Kate O’Regan, Professor of Human Rights Law, and Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights

Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General of International IDEA

Heather Grabbe, Senior Adviser

Even in long established and affluent democracies we have witnessed the gradual deterioration of democratic institutions through growing support for populist authoritarian leaders and parties, and the erosion of checks and balances, the rule of law and media freedom. The panel discussed these trends and sources of democratic resilience.

Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford

In her Admission Ceremony in January 2023 Professor Tracey outlined four key areas which will be central to her tenure as Vice-Chancellor: education and teaching; discovery and translational research; local and global engagement; and people. In her address to alumni the Vice-Chancellor discussed how these themes will effect not only Oxford but also its reach nationally and globally.

Professor Marcus du SautoySimonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics

Professor du Sautoy gave some insights from his new book, Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut, which celebrates the power of mathematics to help you solve problems.

Balachandar RamamurthyExecutive in Residence at Saïd Business School

A cocktail of influences - the internet, open-source software, commercial availability of parts, concepts from other industries - has reshaped how we build and fly spacecraft. Balachandar examined how tackling physical challenges like increasing the amount of mass delivered to orbit and managing complex interacting systems keep stakes high and innovation paramount.

Professor Dame Sue Black, President, St. John’s College

In this session with Zuzanna Olszewska, Professor Dame Black examined how the processes and procedures used in the forensic identification of the deceased can be translated into more historical perspectives, focusing on the case of ‘Johannes the Kendrew Viking’ as an example.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England

This lecture explored the relative roles and abilities of the State, the medical profession and individuals to prevent disease and disability. This varies by disease type, intervention and the degree of consent required. Doctors have a role both where the State cannot act, and in shaping State actions where it can.