Stephan Matthiesen

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Patterns in Nature (OLL Jan-Mar 2009)

Ten evenings about the mechanisms of pattern formation in Nature form this evening class which is held again from January to March 2009 as part of the open studies programme at The University of Edinburgh. When the course was held in spring 2008 for the first time, it was fully booked.

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Patterns in Nature (OLL Jan-Mar 2008)

Ten evenings about the mechanisms of pattern formation in Nature form this evening class which is held from January to March 2008 as part of the open studies programme at The University of Edinburgh.

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Climate and human history (OLL Sep-Dec 2007)

My evening class at at the Office for Lifelong Learning, the University of Edinburgh, investigates the effects of climate change on some periods of world history. It runs for 10 evenings from 26 Sep. 2007.

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Atmospheric Dynamics (UoE 2007)

This course introduces the fundamentals which govern atmospheric circulation including steady and unsteady flows and wave motions in the tropics and mid-latitudes and their role in transporting heat. Meteorological data will be used to illustrate phenomena such as cyclones, jetstreams and ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation).

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The Japanese Encounter with the West in the 1850s and 1860s

After 200 years of almost complete seclusion from the rest of the World, in 1853 Japan was suddenly thrown into turmoil by the appearance of Commodore Perry with his “Black ships” in Uraga, threatening military action if negociations to open the country were not started immediately. The decades to follow were probably some of the most turbulent in Japanese history, with Japan transforming from a “medieval” feudal state(1) to a modern nation that soon became one of the leading industrialized states of the World. How did this transition happen?

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How important was trade for Troy?

The investigation of antique trade links has become rather fashionable in recent years. However, while archaeological methods can clarify the question which goods were exchanged between which cultures, it is by no means clear whether such an exchange of goods is to be interpreted as evidence for “trade”, nor is it even obvious what exactly we mean by the term “trade” when we use it to describe ancient societies.

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Oriental and mystery cults in Pompeii

The archaeological evidence in Pompeii can give us some information about oriental or mystery cults, mainly the cults of Isis and of Dionysos. There are different types of archaeological sources which differ in the kind of information they can provide us with. Paintings and mosaics give us an pictorial impression of some aspects of the religious live and therefore help to complete written sources. Their interpretation, however, is often not without ambiguities. Furthermore, the architectural remains, in particular the size and design of buildings related to religious ceremonies, can give us background information about some sociological and economic aspects, e.g. how widespread certain cults were.

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