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Philosophy Plus Science Taster Day

Friday 10 January 2020

09:45 – 4:45pm.

Bookings are now closed with a long waiting list.

Philosophy and Computer Science

What is chaos? What is infinity? Can machines think? The links between Science and Philosophy are broad and deep, extending well beyond the obvious overlaps in logic, artificial intelligence, and ethics. Some of the greatest philosophers of the past - from Aristotle to Newton - are now known as scientists. Sir Isaac Newton's book, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (Mathematical principles of Natural Philosophy), outlines this everlasting relationship between science and philosophy which can still be seen today. This taster day provides an opportunity to find out more about how science and philosophy intertwine. More specifically, how Computer Science, Physics, and Mathematics all have one thing in common, Philosophy. This event is an opportunity for students who are considering applying for a joint degree in these subjects, and want to find out more.


This event is open to high-achieving year 11 and 12 students from UK schools. (Year 13 students taking a gap year, who will be applying for 2021 university admission, are also welcome.) Students should be taking, or planning on taking Maths A-level (or equivalent), and expect to receive at least an A grade in it. Students taking Further Maths A-level are particularly welcome, as are those taking Physics A-level. Attendees should be considering applying to university. This event is not designed to be a school trip for classes of Philosophy A-level students. If you have previously attended a Philosophy Plus event, this is not for you, as much of the material will be similar to previous years.

When and where

Mathematical Institute, Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG. Friday 10 January 2020, 09:45 – 4:45pm. Booking essential. Please note, that schools need to book places for their students, even if the student is coming unaccompanied, or with a parent.


Do participants need to have studied either philosophy or Computer Science/IT or Physics before coming to the day?

No, you don't need to be studying all of these subjects at school. We're looking for students with a flair for Maths and an interest in finding out more about the subjects mentioned. So you need to be taking (or planning on taking) Maths A-level, or equivalent. If you're not doing Physics or Computer Science that's fine. If you're not doing Physics A-level (or equivalent) you wouldn't be eligible to apply for our Philosophy and Physics degree, but you're still welcome to attend the day.

How much does the taster day cost?

This event is free. You should bring your own packed lunch. Attendees will need to organize their own transport to Oxford. (See below).

How do I book?

The booking form can be found here. Bookings can be made by students or their parents. Teachers: you are very welcome to organise this as a school trip, however we do need the students themselves (or their parents') to fill out the form. Please note we normally only offer a maximum of ten places per school. However, we can offer more in exceptional circumstances: please email us with details.

My school would like to send a couple of students with a parent/unaccompanied. How do we book?

We understand that sometimes schools might only have one or two students who you would like to attend, and can't justify sending a teacher for so few pupils. We are happy for a parent to accompany the student(s) or for students over the age of 16 to attend unaccompanied. If the school wishes to be informed that a student has signed up, please include a name and an e-mail address in the "Special Requirements" box that we CC the confirmation e-mail to.

Do I need to book a parent place? (My young person is 16 or over.)

The number of people who can attend this event is limited by the number of seats in our lecture theatres. Parents who sign up to the event will follow the same timetable as the student attendees. Therefore, if you only wish to drop off/pick up your young person (or even just drop in for a coffee with us) there is no need to book a parent place. Parents are, of course, welcome to attend, but please be aware that if you book a parent place, but decide instead to spend the day shopping in Oxford without telling us in advance, that is a wasted place at the event, that could have been used by a keen young person. If your young person is under 16 you do need to book a parent place as you will remain responsible for the student during the day.

My students aren't doing A-levels and we're a college not a school — can our students still take part?

Yes! We don't mind what kind of school or college attendees come from, just as long as it's in the UK and the students are thinking about university applications. We tend to talk about 'schools' when we should say 'schools or colleges' because the word 'college' means something different to us: at Oxford colleges form part of the University. Students who are taking Baccalaureates, Scottish Highers, etc are also more than welcome — there are just too many alternative qualifications to list them all. Please don't be offended, or think that we're trying to exclude you. If we are oversubscribed priority will be given to students from state schools.

We are a UK independent/fee-paying school or home schooling — can our students still take part?

Yes! Please fill out the booking form. If you are home schooling please just write 'home educated' in the school name box. Don't forget: students under 16 years of age need to be accompanied by an adult.

How do I get to the venue?

Maps and directions can be found here. We strongly recommended that you use public transport if at all possible. If you do travel by car or minibus, please note that parking in the city centre is very limited. There are several Park & Ride bus services that run from car parks on the outskirts of Oxford. If you are bringing a minibus please note the Council's pages on access for High Sided Vehicles at Park and Rides.

Can I stay overnight?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide accommodation. If you cannot get to Oxford in one day you may like to consult Oxford Rooms which offers B&B accommodation at Oxford Colleges. Alternatively you might consider one of the city's Youth Hostels.

Can I pick which college tour I go on?

Sorry, no. We will allocate you a college tour. If there is a college that you're really keen to see, or you've visited before and want to see somewhere different, let us know in one of the free fields on the booking form and we'll see if we can accomodate your preferences.

What should I bring/wear?

You need to bring a packed lunch. There will be some walking during the day (eg a College tour) so sensible shoes are suggested. Some students wear school uniform, others don't. We really don't mind. There really is no need to wear a suit. (Unless of course you really really want to.) It's going to be a long day, so we suggest you wear something you're comfortable in.

I've got a question — who do I talk to?

Please contact:

Please note the organisers reserve the right to change programme without notification or to make alterations to the advertised details for the day at short notice.