March 2014

March 2014

24 March 2014: RSE/RAEng Joint Annual Lecture: Bridging the Gap between Vision and Experience

Speaker: Dr Michel Virlogeux CorrFRSE FREng

Read the summary report of Dr Virlogeux's lecture on Bridging the Gap between Vision and Experience

Dr Michel Virlogeux is the leading project consultant responsible for the construction of the iconic Normandy Bridge, and the Millau Viaduct. Dr Virlogeux has designed over 100 of his native France's most beloved bridges, including the Ottmarsheim Bridge over the Alsace Canal, the Moulin sur Escaut rail bridge and the Seyssel cable-stayed bridge over the river Rhone. In this year's annual joint lecture, Dr Virlogeux looked back on the architecture and aesthetics of some of his projects, as well as predicting the direction of future designs and construction methods.

This was a joint event with the Royal Academy of Engineering.

8 March 2014: In Memoriam

Read the summary conference report In Memoriam

Please read a selection of poems by participants in the afternoon Poetry Workshop.

This life-affirming day explored human mortality, the body, and how we might consider and prepare for death. Attendees could choose from a range of workshops and pop-in events, including: sculpture; storytelling; creative writing; legal issues; social media; tales around dying at home, and the history of the Scottish funeral; reflections on the Mexican Day of the Dead and "The Lament Room" installation; artworks from the In Memoriam project; and readings from Dundee University’s MLitt students.

The morning consisted of a talk from speaker Professor Sue Black OBE FRSE, Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology, University of Dundee and an evening discussion forum followed with Right Reverend Richard Holloway FRSE, Former Bishop of Edinburgh & Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.


5 March 2014: United Kingdom(s)? Scotland's Referendum and Britain's Future

Read summary report of seminar on United Kingdom(s)? Scotland's Referendum and Britain's Future

On Wednesday 5th March 2014 the British Academy held a public event to discuss the historical, legal and constitutional issues around the referendum on Scottish independence.

The seminar addressed the resilience and possible evolution of the constitutional union between Scotland and the other parts of the United Kingdom. It took account of historical development since the 1707 foundation and  assessed contemporary trends, in particular the Scottish independence referendum scheduled for September 2014. The referendum choice is one that is clear and decisive in principle - either an independent Scottish state or continued membership of the United Kingdom. Yet in practice the range of constitutional options is more varied and less settled. Even within an independent Scotland, some aspects of the present union may continue - monarchical, currency, social, cultural. What are the limits to this? Equally, even within a continuing United Kingdom, we can envisage more autonomous institutional and economic arrangements for Scotland. What limits exist in such an arrangement, and how might it affect the integrity of the United Kingdom as a whole? The seminar seeked to highlight these more detailed constitutional questions, some of which have received little attention in UK-wide debate to date.

In broader terms, the goal of the event was to contribute meaningfully to the constitutional debate with a measured analysis of the evidence and the available options.

The event was hosted by Professor Neil Walker FBA and chaired by the BBC's Sally Magnusson, speakers included:

  • Professor Michael Keating FBA FRSE (Aberdeen)
  • Professor Adam Tomkins (Glasgow)
  • Professor Vernon Bogdanor CBE FBA (King’s College London)
  • Professor John Curtice FRSA FRSE (Strathclyde)

3 March 2014: Lord Kelvin Prize Lecture: Troubled Waters - Big Waves Beneath the Sea Surface

Speaker: Professor Peter Davies, FRSE, Professor of Fluid Dynamics, University of Dundee

Read summary report of Professor Davies' Lord Kelvin Prize Lecture on Troubled Water - Big Waves Beneath the Sea Surface

Observations of the surface of the sea can often be misleading. Even with relatively calm conditions, powerful waves capable of destroying underwater vehicles and tilting offshore platforms may still exist deep within the water column. These so-called internal waves, some of which have amplitudes of more than 100m, propagate on density surfaces and are ubiquitous in the world’s shallow seas and deep oceans. Professor Davies showed observational evidence for these waves and described attempts to model their behaviour. This lecture also formed a part of an RSE Ordinary Meeting and was preceded by Society business.


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