Public Lectures

Tayside and Fife Branch 50th Anniversary 1968 – 2018

In 2018 the Tayside and Fife Branch of the British Science Association will be 50 years old. To celebrate this our public lecture series this year will highlight five key developments in science and technology, one for each decade of the Branch’s life. These will cover space exploration, climate change, computing, genetics and particle physics.

2017-2018 Lecture Programme:

New Horizons in the Solar System
Dr John K Davies
Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
Wednesday 4 October, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

Planetary exploration has recently seen a return to the heady days of the
1970s with three new, and very different, worlds explored by three very
different spacecraft. John will present highlights from these newly explored objects: the dwarf planet Ceres orbited by the Dawn spacecraft, the Rosetta/Philae
mission to comet Cheryumov-Gerasimenko and the flyby of the Pluto-Charon
system by NASA’s New Horizons mission.


Antarctica – Heartbeat of the Planet
Peter Gibbs, formerly BBC Weather Centre
Wednesday 8 November, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

Meteorologist Peter Gibbs worked in Antarctica in the early 1980s, making measurements which alerted the world to the impending disaster of a growing hole in the ozone layer. He recently returned to the remote Halley research station for BBC2’s ‘Horizon’ programme, to find that Antarctic science is once again helping us to understand the magnitude of an environmental threat – this time from rapid climate change.


 From Microprocessors to the Internet of Things: How the Digital Revolution was Unleashed
Josie Goodale, Senior Manager, CISCO Systems Inc.
Thursday 18 January 2018, 7 pm
Kydd Building, Abertay University, Bell Street, Dundee

Computer technology has developed rapidly in the last 50 years, radically changing how we work, live, play and learn. This talk will showcase the major network, hardware and software innovations in each era, and the life-changing impacts they have had. It will conclude by outlining some current areas of digital innovation and speculate where they might lead us over the next 50 years.


The Human Genome Project: Where are we now?
Professor Colin Palmer, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee
Wednesday 21 February, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

In 2000 the sequence of the human genome was revealed. However this was just the beginning of the story.  The past 18 years has seen an explosion in research into how this sequence works and how differences in the sequence seen between individuals influences all aspects of health and disease.  Is precision medicine now an achievable goal?


The Matter of Matter: the Large Hadron Collider, the Higgs Boson, and Beyond
Professor Aidan Robson, School of Physics and Astronomy,
University of Glasgow
Thursday 22 March, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

The Large Hadron Collider is one of the most ambitious scientific machines ever constructed, creating conditions close to those in the early universe.  Professor Aidan Robson will talk about the challenges of the machine and its detectors, the discovery and significance of the Higgs boson, and what looking through the Higgs window on the universe might tell us next.




The Tayside & Fife Branch of the British Science Association is most grateful to the University of Dundee, and Abertay University for their contributions towards this lecture series.


More Information

The annual Public Lecture programme seeks to offer a varied and interesting series
of talks by accomplished scientists in a range of disciplines. It runs from Autum to Spring with five or six talks evenly spaced out over the winter months.

Prof. John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, shows the "Magic of the Cosmos" during his very popular lecture to mark the 50th anniversary of Dundee Astronomical Society in September 2006.

All talks are FREE and are intended for a non-specialist public audience and are open to everyone . There is no need to book in advance.

You may also be interested in the following series of talks which are held locally: