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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Professor Paul Jowitt FRSE. Facing up to Climate Change
Professor Anne Glover, FRSE. Science and Arbroath in the 21st Century
Johnny Ball. Wobbling on the Shoulders of Giants
Heather Reid, BBC Broadcast Meteorologist. Weather Forecasting In the 21st Century
Professor Sue Black, OBE, FRSE. Who Are You?
Professor Ian Wilmut OBE FRS FRSE. Why Clone? Cloning in Biology and Medicine.
Professor John Brown, FRSE, Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Black Holes and White Rabbits
Heather Reid, BBC Broadcast Meteorologist. Weather Forecasting for the 21st Century
Dr Bonnie Dunbar, NASA. Exploring Space Into the New Millennium
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?
Professor Aubrey Manning, FRSE. The Animals and Ourselves
Mr John Schollar, National Centre for Biotechnology Education, Reading. DNA: Chemical of the Century, Molecule of the Millennium
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
Professor F Close, Head of Theoretical Physics, Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Didcot, Oxfordshire. The Cosmic Onion
Professor Trevor Norton, FRSE, Director, Marine Laboratory, Port Erin, Isle of Man. Biologists Underwater
Dr Oliver Musgrave, Department of Chemistry, University of Aberdeen. Flashes and Bangs
Professor M B Wilkins, Department of Botany, University of Glasgow. Are Plants Intelligent?
Professor C Blakemore, University Laboratory of Physiology, University of Oxford. How the Brain Works
Professor D J Cole-Hamilton, Irvine Professor of Chemistry, University of St Andrews. How Chemists help to Preserve Life on Earth
Professor D J Wallace, Tait Professor of Mathematical Physics, University of Edinburgh. Communicating with Computers
Dr P G Debenham, Director of Scientific Services, Cellmark Diagnostics, Abingdon, Oxfordshire (a subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries plc). Genetic Fingerprinting
Professor M S Longair, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of Edinburgh. Build your own Universe
Dr G R Coope, Department of Geography, University of Birmingham. The Natural History of the Ice-age
Professor Dr W Burger, Institut fur Theoretische Mechanik, Universitat Karlsruhe, West Germany. An Entertaining Lecture on Physical Toys
Professor R H T Edwards, Head of University Department of Medicine, Royal Liverpool Hospital. Molecules, Muscles and Movement in Man
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
Dr G Farrow, Department of Geology, University of Glasgow. Reconstructing Ancient Environments
Professor G G Roberts, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, University of Durham. Microelectronics or Transistors from Mothballs?
Dr A J Hale, Vice-President, European Pre-Clinical Research and Development, G D Searle & Co Ltd, High Wycombe. Biotechnology: Old and New
Professor J I G Cadogan, FRS, Chief Scientist, British Petroleum Company Limited, Sunbury-on-Thames