Speaker: Chris West, CEO, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Read summary report of Chris West's lecture - From Gannets to Pandas - 100 Years of Progress at Edinburgh Zoo
Please view Chris West's presentation for further information
In 2013 Edinburgh Zoo will be 100 years old. There is justifiable pride in achievements that echo the evolution of zoos globally. New CEO, Chris West, is a highly respected and experienced vet and conservationist with international experience and has worked overseas. He reflected on future challenges and diverse activities of zoos as they conduct scientific field programmes and education outreach in addition to breeding endangered species– and running major visitor attractions. In a world that is increasingly crowded, warming and damaged, the role of zoos is even more relevant as ’refugee camps’ and as centres for environmental awareness.
Speaker: Professor Tom Devine OBE HonMRIA FRSE FBA, Personal Senior Research Chair of History, University of Edinburgh
Read summary report of Professor Devine's lecture on why the Scottish Enlightenment happened.
The Scottish Enlightenment is widely regarded as the nation's most important and influential contribution to the intellectual and cultural life of humanity. From science to philosophy, history to medicine, economics to geology and beyond to numerous other subjects ,Scottish thinkers of the eighteenth century helped created a new understanding of the contours of existence.
Why this happened is a conundrum: Scotland seemed a most unlikely seedbed for such an intellectual revolution. In the decades before the great creative transformation, it was regarded as a desperately poor country on the outer fringes of the great centres of European civilisation in the grip of a Taliban-type culture of unyielding religious orthodoxy fundamentally opposed to innovative thought. This lecture tried to answer this challenging question and resolve one of Scottish history's most enduring mysteries.
In April last year, the Royal Society of Edinburgh published its report 'Tapping all our Talents'. In our report we drew attention to the high percentage of female graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) who leave these sectors. We made the case for a strategic and coordinated approach to tackling this issue and called for a Programme of Action that included specific recommendations to government, research councils and other funders, universities and research institutes, business and industry, and learned and professional bodies.
Together with the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University, the RSE hosted a seminar on Scotland’s strategy for lifting barriers to women in STEM. This seminar focused on the progress that organisations within Scotland have made towards this goal, and identified areas that still need to be addressed.
Speaker: The award-winning author of ten books, Ken McGoogan.
Read summary report of Ken McGoogan's lecture John Rae - Forgotten Hero of Arctic Exploration
Please view a selection of Ken McGoogan's photographs
Born in Orkney in 1813, John Rae grew up hunting and fishing. He trained in Edinburgh as a doctor, sailed with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and became an outstanding Arctic traveller. In 1854, Rae was mapping the Arctic coastline, slogging overland through snow and ice, when he discovered a strait that proved to be the final link in the Northwest Passage. Returning to camp, he encountered Inuit hunters who informed him that the long-lost, two-ship expedition of Sir John Franklin had ended in disaster and cannibalism. Rae acquired relics. He brought the tragic news to London, where his report scandalized Victorian England and prompted Charles Dickens to join Lady Franklin in a ferocious campaign to discredit him. Rae fought back, but historians and map-makers ignored his achievements, and he remained the only major explorer never to receive a knighthood.