February 2012

February 2012

28 February 2012: Conference: Scotland and the United Kingdom

The Conference was held in London with the intention to bring further academic evidence and analysis to bear on the current debates on Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom, and to inform and challenge the discussions both inside Scotland and in Westminster about the future of this relationship.
This London meeting examined the three options that may be offered in the proposed referendum (independence; “devolution-max”; the proposals in the current Scotland Bill) and the implications of each for the relationship between Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Read Report ffrom Scotland in the UK

20 February 2012: Lecture: A Celebration of Women in Astronomy

Speaker: Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE, Visiting Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford

Read the summary report of Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell's Edinburgh lecture on A Celebration of Women in Astronomy

Professor Bell Burnell focused on the achievements and contributions to modern astronomy made by some unsung and under-sung female astronomers of the last 100 years. She also reflected on the position of women in astronomy today and how it might be made more equitable.

This lecture formed a part of the Edinburgh Lecture series of events.

16 Feburary 2012: Lecture: Extreme Light - a new Paradigm for Fundamental Physics

Speaker: Professor Gérard Mourou, Institut de Lumière Extrême, ENSTA

Read summary report on Professor Mourou lecture on Extreme Light - a new Paradigm for Fundamental Physics.

The laser just turned fifty.  Today, it can produce the highest peak power measured in Petawatts or 1000 times the world’s grid power. It delivers this gargantuan power in extremely short duration counted in femtosecond. This power can be focused over a small fraction of a hair size to produce the highest intensity, the highest pressure, the highest electric field, the highest acceleration, and the highest temperature. It can also produce high-energy particles and radiations. However in its first fifty year it was mainly limited to the study of the atomic structure. The extreme characteristics that are provided by today’s extreme light laser offer a new paradigm to Fundamental Physics for the investigation of the deeper strata of matter, as the nucleus, the nucleon and the vacuum.

This event formed part of the Franco-Scottish Science Seminar Series, jointly-funded by the ‎RSE and the French Embassy, London.‎

16 February 2012: Workshop: A New Paradigm of Science Driven by Ultrafast Lasers

Lasers have been responsible for a revolution in the science and technology that underpins many day-to-day aspects of our lives. This variety in type and capability has led to an impressive range of applications, from optical communications and the treatment of cancer, through cutting and welding to laboratory-scale studies of astrophysical phenomena. This Franco-Scottish workshop brought together some of the young rising stars whose research will highlight some of the unique properties of lasers, and the Evening Speaker is one of the pioneers in high power lasers, Professor Gérard Mourou, who proposed a new way of amplifying laser pulses to very high powers (chirped-pulse amplification). This workshop provided a fascinating insight into some of the latest advances in the application of lasers in material processing, gene and drug delivery using lasers, cancer treatment and high field investigations. 

13 February 2012. ECRR Peter Wilson Lecture: Appliance of Science in the rural sector of Scotland

Speaker: Professor Iain J Gordon, Chief Executive,The James Hutton Institute.

Read the summary report of Professor Gordon's ECRR Peter Wilson Lecture on Appliance of Science in the rural sector of Scotland

Managing land’s resources sustainably is essential to ensure the continuing availability of ‎Ecosystems Services.  Climate change, market fluctuations and Common Agricultural Policy reforms ‎influence land management decisions and thus shape how land is used.‎

Professor Gordon outlined  how working in close partnership with the rural sector, scientists can help inform how ‎land is used.  Through effective engagement, the development of new innovations and collaborative ‎learning, scientists and the rural sector can ensure the future environmental quality and economic ‎prosperity of our land. ‎

Listen to Professor Gordon's lecture.

 

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