March 2012

March 2012


26 March 2012: Extreme Engineering

Speaker: Mr Ivor Tiefenbrun MBE, Executive Chairman, Linn Products Ltd.

Read the summary report of Ivor Tiefenbrun's Lecture on Extreme Engineering.

Man is a tool-making animal. Making things is a fundamental aspect of human expression which is essential for our development and survival. The people who make the tools, who integrate our science, technology and skills, set the standards for our society and are essential to our quality of life and fulfilling our hopes and expectations. They are called engineers.

Yet the importance of engineers and engineering is not understood.

This lecture focused on the most competitive activity of manufacturing to help people understand its challenges, importance, excitement and rewards.

This was a joint annual lecture with The Royal Academy of Engineering.


22 March 2012: Lecture: Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Conscious Processing

Speaker: Professor Jean-Pierre Changeux, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Moleculaire, Institut Pasteur.

Read the summary report of Professor Jean-Pierre Changeux's lecture on Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Conscious Processing

How does an external or internal piece of information gain access to conscious processing, as characterized by a reportable subjective experience?
Converging neuroimaging and europhysiological data, acquired during conscious and non-conscious processing, point to objective neural measures of conscious access: late amplification of relevant sensory activity, long-distance cortico–cortical synchronization at beta and gamma frequencies, and “ignition” of a large-scale prefronto–parietal network. These findings are compared to current theoretical models of conscious processing, including the Global Neuronal Workspace model. The clinical implications of these results for general anaesthesia, coma, vegetative state and schizophrenia were discussed.

22 March 2012: Workshop: Systems and Molecular Neuroscience

This Franco-Scottish workshop brought young scientists from France and Scotland together that collectively represented some exciting strands of contemporary neuroscience research currently underway in the two countries.  Neuroscience is marked by an astonishing degree of ‘interdisciplinarity’ with research underway on cells and processes at the genetic/molecular level through to studies of the whole brain using cognitive and functional brain imaging techniques.  Linking up these diverse strands to develop a comprehensive account of brain function is a “Grand Challenge” for 21st century neuroscience, together with the no less greater challenge of understanding the biological determinants of neurological disease and of mental ill-health.

This workshop was intended for an expert audience of researchers working in this area.

7 March 2012: Lecture/Ordinary Meeting: Infrastructure Costs Too Much, and it Needn't

Speaker: Mr Terry Hill CBE, Chairman, Arup Group Trusts

Read summary report of Terry Hill's lecture, Infrastructure Costs Too Much, and it Needn't 

Listen to Terry Hill's Lecture on YouTube

Infrastructure takes a long time to plan and implement and costs a lot, but it brings benefits for hundreds of years. However, there is mounting evidence that whilst the returns are immense, the costs are too high. In most other sectors, globalisation, efficient production and superior management bring down costs, but infrastructure is lagging in the implementation of innovative techniques to make step changes in efficiency.

Terry Hill is a member of the UK Treasury Infrastructure, UK Advisory Council and was Chairman of its Cost Review Committee.

This lecture formed part of an RSE Ordinary Meeting and so was preceded by Society Business.

1-18 March: enLIGHTen.

The RSE was delighted to be chosen to participate in enLIGHTen; building sized projections inspired by the Scottish Enlightenment at historic locations across Edinburgh’s city centre

Other videos of the event are also available on our YouTube site.


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