Previous Lectures

Previous Lectures

RSE Christmas Lecture 2015

The buzz around the 2015 Christmas Lecture was amazing. When news broke that Minecraft legend Stampy Cat (aka Joseph Garrett) was coming to town, over 500 excited fans queued in the centre of Dundee; some from as early as 5.20am.The show sold out within a couple of hours.
On the 30th November at the Caird Hall in Dundee, close to 2,000 local school children attended the day event and a further 2,000 fans witnessed Stampy in action during the evening event. The RSE hosts an educational Christmas Lecture every year, however this year's was bigger than anything that has come before.

The buzz around the 2015 Christmas Lecture was amazing. When news broke that Minecraft legend Stampy Cat (aka Joseph Garrett) was coming to town, over 500 excited fans queued in the centre of Dundee; some from as early as 5.20am. The show sold out within a couple of hours.

On the 30th November at the Caird Hall in Dundee, close to 2,000 local school children attended the day event and a further 2,000 fans witnessed Stampy in action during the evening event. The RSE hosts an educational Christmas Lecture every year, however this year's was bigger than anything that has come before.

To view the event, please visit the BBC website.

For more coverage of the event, see:

RSE Christmas Lecture 2014

On the evening of Thursday 27 November, Professor Iain Stewart, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, delivered the 2014 Royal Society of Edinburgh Christmas Lecture, at Hawick High School, Hawick, Scottish Borders, entitled Meet the Frackers: A Geological Perspective on UK Shale Gas?

The exploration and extraction of UK shale gas is being touted by our politicians as a potential energy game changer and yet the prospect of its development here has met with widespread public concern and intense community hostility. Whether it be the central plains of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, the upland spine of northern England, or the leafy commuter hinterland of London, a new energy frontier lurks beneath our feet. But is it a resource that we can or should exploit?

RSE Christmas Lecture 2013

On the evening of Monday 9 December, Professor Caroline Wilkinson FRSE, Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification, University of Dundee delivered the 2013 Royal Society of Edinburgh Christmas Lecture, Your Face and Your Identity, at St Matthews Academy in Salcoats, Ayrshire.

What does your face reveal about your identity? What details in the face tell us whether the person is male or female, old or young, White European or Middle Eastern, and how accurate will this assessment be? This interactive lecture will look at the details of the face that reveal identity using famous faces and faces from the past to illustrate those features.

Is it possible to predict the face of an individual from the skull? Can we identify a face just from the bones and will such a facial reconstruction be accurate? The lecture will look at the facial depictions of Richard III, Mary, Queen of Scots, Robert Burns, Rameses II and St Nicolas to describe the techniques used to help identify bodies in forensic investigations and bring faces from the past alive.

RSE Christmas Lecture 2012

On Tuesday, 11 December 2012, Glasgow-born Katherine Grainger CBE delivered the 2012 RSE Christmas Lecture The Journey to Gold, where she talked about the challenges she has faced along with the successes over the past 12 years. Katherine first took up rowing during her student days at the University of Edinburgh. Since then, she has gone on to win six rowing World Championships, three silver Olympic medals and, most recently, a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. These remarkable achievements make her an inspiration to all.

You can now read the summary report of Katherine Grainger's Christmas Lecture The Journey to Gold.

RSE Christmas Lecture 2011

On the 12th December 2011, Professor Tom Devine delivered the ‎prestigious RSE Christmas Lecture, where he explored the puzzles of Scottish migration in the Victorian era.

The lecture was attended by students and teachers from ten senior schools across Scotland and was webcast ‘live’ by BBC Scotland to a worldwide audience.

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora. Professor Tom Devine OBE DLitt Hon MRIA FBA FRSE

The Scots have long been one of Europe's greatest emigrant peoples. In the nineteenth and ‎early twentieth centuries the Scottish exodus reached truly unprecedented proportions. Yet ‎this was also an era of remarkable material and social transformation in Scotland as the ‎nation became one of the most prosperous on earth during the Victorian decades. Why then ‎were so many Scots leaving the country of their birth to make new lives in the New World at a ‎rate only paralleled by emigration from some of Europe's poorest countries? This lecture will ‎confront this intriguing and challenging puzzle and comes up with some surprising answers. ‎

Tom Devine is currently Personal Senior Research Professor in History and Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies in the University of Edinburgh. Until 2011 he was  the Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography in the same institution.  Other former posts include the Glucksman Research Professor of Irish and Scottish Studies in the University of Aberdeen, and Professor of Scottish History and Deputy Principal at the University of Strathclyde. He also holds two visiting Professorships at universities in Canada and the USA.

Professor Devine has published some three dozen books and numerous articles. Among his many prizes and awards are the OBE, for services to Scottish History, the RSE's Royal Medal, presented by Her Majesty The Queen to individuals of distinction and international repute, and honorary doctorates from four universities. Additionally, he is a regular contributor to national and international print, radio and television media.

Interview with Professor Devine, by David Lyons (Glasgow University Student)

RSE Christmas Lecture 2010

In 2010 the RSE teamed up with BBC Scotland to webcast its prestigious Annual Christmas Lecture live across the UK. This ground-breaking initiative allowed viewers to both see and hear Allan Little, the distinguished BBC World Affairs Correspondent, deliver his lecture, Reporting the World in an Age of Conflict, live from Stranraer Academy on Friday 10th December.

 

2009 Lochaber High School.

Professor Paul Jowitt FRSE. Facing up to Climate Change

2008 Arbroath High School

Professor Anne Glover, FRSE. Science and Arbroath in the 21st Century

2007 University of Edinburgh

Johnny Ball. Wobbling on the Shoulders of Giants

2006 University of Stirling

Heather Reid, BBC Broadcast Meteorologist. Weather Forecasting In the 21st Century

2005 Elgin Academy

Professor Sue Black, OBE, FRSE. Who Are You?

2004 Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Professor Ian Wilmut OBE FRS FRSE. Why Clone? Cloning in Biology and Medicine.

2003 Inverness Royal Academy

Professor John Brown, FRSE, Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Black Holes and White Rabbits

2002 Lochaber High School, Fort William

Heather Reid, BBC Broadcast Meteorologist. Weather Forecasting for the 21st Century

2001 Dumfries Academy

Dr Bonnie Dunbar, NASA. Exploring Space Into the New Millennium

2000 Perth High School

Dr Steve Jones, University College, London. Nature, Nurture or Neither - what genetics tells us about ourselves followed by a public lecture, entitled Almost Like a Whale: Is Man Just Another Animal?

1999 Kirkwall

Professor Aubrey Manning, FRSE. The Animals and Ourselves

1998 Lochaber High School, Fort William

Mr John Schollar, National Centre for Biotechnology Education, Reading. DNA: Chemical of the Century, Molecule of the Millennium

1997 Douglas-Ewart High School, Newton Stewart

Dr Susan Hartley, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Banchory. 300 million years of war: the arms race between plants and the animals that try to eat them

1996 North Atlantic Fisheries College, Shetland

Professor F Close, Head of Theoretical Physics, Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Didcot, Oxfordshire. The Cosmic Onion

1995 University of Paisley Craigie Campus, Ayr

Professor Trevor Norton, FRSE, Director, Marine Laboratory, Port Erin, Isle of Man. Biologists Underwater

1994 Scottish College of Textiles, Galashiels

Dr Oliver Musgrave, Department of Chemistry, University of Aberdeen. Flashes and Bangs

1993 Nicolson Institute, Stornoway and Sgoil Lionacleit, Benbecula

Professor M B Wilkins, Department of Botany, University of Glasgow. Are Plants Intelligent?

1992 St Joseph's College, Dumfries and Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby, Perth

Professor C Blakemore, University Laboratory of Physiology, University of Oxford. How the Brain Works

1991 The Highland Theatre, Oban

Professor D J Cole-Hamilton, Irvine Professor of Chemistry, University of St Andrews. How Chemists help to Preserve Life on Earth

1990 Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline

Professor D J Wallace, Tait Professor of Mathematical Physics, University of Edinburgh. Communicating with Computers

1989 Culloden High School, Inverness and Wallace High School, Stirling

Dr P G Debenham, Director of Scientific Services, Cellmark Diagnostics, Abingdon, Oxfordshire (a subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries plc). Genetic Fingerprinting

1988 Universities of Glasgow and St Andrews

Professor M S Longair, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of Edinburgh. Build your own Universe

1987 Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh

Dr G R Coope, Department of Geography, University of Birmingham. The Natural History of the Ice-age

1986 University of Edinburgh

Professor Dr W Burger, Institut fur Theoretische Mechanik, Universitat Karlsruhe, West Germany. An Entertaining Lecture on Physical Toys

1985 Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh

Professor R H T Edwards, Head of University Department of Medicine, Royal Liverpool Hospital. Molecules, Muscles and Movement in Man

1984 Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen

Professor R V Jones, CB, CBE, FRS, Formerly Department of Natural Philosophy, University of Aberdeen. Some Principles Common to Physics, Engineering and Life in General

1983 Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen

Dr G Farrow, Department of Geology, University of Glasgow. Reconstructing Ancient Environments

1982 Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh

Professor G G Roberts, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, University of Durham. Microelectronics or Transistors from Mothballs?

1981 Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh

Dr A J Hale, Vice-President, European Pre-Clinical Research and Development, G D Searle & Co Ltd, High Wycombe. Biotechnology: Old and New

1980 Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh

Professor J I G Cadogan, FRS, Chief Scientist, British Petroleum Company Limited, Sunbury-on-Thames

 

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