Hero of Alexandria: PhD Studentship

Published: 29 July 2014

The studentship is part of the three-year project ‘Hero of Alexandria and his Theatrical Automata’ funded by a Leverhulme Trust research project grant

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship in Classics at the University of Glasgow. The studentship is part of the three-year project ‘Hero of Alexandria and his Theatrical Automata’ funded by a Leverhulme Trust research project grant. The project’s aim is to investigate Hero's treatise On the Making of Automata (peri automatopoiētikēs), to set the work in its cultural, technical and textual contexts, and to assess the practicality of the treatise and the characteristics of the automata described therein by prototyping, building and testing the devices. The PI on this project and lead PhD supervisor is Dr. Ian Ruffell, and the project also includes Co-I Dr Euan McGookin (School of Engineering) as technical advisor, and a Research Assistant who will be responsible for the building and testing aspect of the project.

The topic of the PhD studentship is to undertake the fundamental textual research for this project, by providing an edition, translation and commentary on the treatise. The successful candidate will participate in regular meetings with the PI, Co-I and Research Assistant in order to make a technical analysis of the text, and will contribute material to the project website which will combine text, commentary, designs and experimental data.

The studentship comprises fees at Home/EU rate and a stipend (£13,726 p.a.) for three years (subject to satisfactory progress). The holder will also have the opportunity to undertake (paid) undergraduate teaching in the subject area of Classics.

Classics at Glasgow is a vibrant and lively research community, with particular strengths in drama, rhetoric, historiography and reception, and with a growing community around ancient technical literature. For more details, please see the subject’s web-page. Classics is part of the School of Humanities/An Sgoil nan Daonnachdan, which brings together Archaeology, Celtic and Gaelic, Classics, History, Humanities Computing and Philosophy.
More details on the School’s research culture and activities

Selection criteria


  1. Good first degree (at least 2.1 or equivalent) in Classics or Greek.
  2. Excellent knowledge of classical Greek and Latin.
  3. Ability to work effectively as part of a team.
  4. Excellent time management and written and oral communication skills.


  1. Master’s degree in Classics or a related discipline.
  2. Experience of Greek palaeography and textual criticism.
  3. Familiarity with ancient science and technology.
  4. Familiarity with Hellenistic and Roman history.


Application is by CV and covering letter, which should be sent to Christelle Le Riguer, Postgraduate Administrator, School of Humanities: christelle.leriguer@glasgow.ac.uk by August 18, 2014. Applicants should also send by this date a sample of academic writing (5,000 words max) with a description of its provenance (e.g. coursework essay, undergraduate thesis, masters’ dissertation etc). Applicants should also ensure that two academic references are submitted on their behalf by the closing date.

Informal enquiries to the PI, Ian Ruffell (ian.ruffell@glasgow.ac.uk), are welcome.

Further details on the project

First published: 29 July 2014

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