Public Lectures

Our 2015-2016 free public lecture series begins in October.

2015-2016 Lecture Programme:

Robotic Exploration of the Great Pyramid
Dr Rob C Richardson, School of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Leeds
Wednesday 7 October, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

 The Great pyramid of Giza is the last remaining wonder of the ancient world and still conceals many mysteries around its construction and internal configuration.  This talk will describe the challenges, engineering approaches and outcomes of a robotic expedition to explore small shafts (so called air shafts) within the pyramid. 

Supported by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Scotland


Chemistry and Energy: From Steam to Nuclear Power
Dr Mark Read, Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education & Research, University of Birmingham
Tuesday 10 November, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

This demonstration lecture will showcase the chemistry involved in the production and harnessing of energy, from Thomas Newcomen’s first successful steam engine in the world, used to pump water from coal mines of Lord Dudley’s estate in 1712, to modern day nuclear electricity generating power stations – and a lot more along the way! The important role of chemists in developing new materials that convert energy more efficiently and in a less polluting matter will be highlighted when considering energy materials for the future.

Supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Tayside Section
RSC logo


Mathematics – The Framework of Life
Dr Fordyce Davidson, Division of Mathematics, University of Dundee
Thursday 28 January 2016, 7 pm
Kydd Building, Abertay University, Bell Street, Dundee

A common perception is that mathematics has been designed purely to torture school pupils and has no relevance to “the real world”. In fact, we interact with mathematics throughout our daily lives and mathematical tools are being used to address some of the most fundamental challenges facing mankind today.

Supported by the Edina Trust

Edina Trust logo


In the Country of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is King
Dr John Ellis, Department of Ophthalmology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee
Wednesday 24 February, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

Half the brain’s input is visual; the other twelve senses combined make up the other half. How would it be if sight never enjoyed, were restored? The answer might surprise you. How big is the country of the blind? How many can be rescued from it and by what means? How are we doing? And where to now…?

Supported by the Department of Ophthalmology, Ninewells Hospital 


Sowing the Seeds of the Next Green Revolution
Professor Claire Halpin FRSE, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee
Thursday 17 March, 7 pm
D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Dundee University

How can mankind meet the challenges of achieving food and fuel security in a growing world without destroying the planet? Come and hear emerging ideas on how to use plants to sustainably produce food, fuels and chemicals while mitigating climate change, and learn about new crop breeding technologies that might allow us to achieve that. 

Supported by the Scottish Society for Crop Research
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The Tayside & Fife Branch of the British Science Association is most grateful to the University of Dundee, Abertay University , the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Scotland, the Royal Society of Chemistry Tayside Section, the Edina Trust and the Scottish Society for Crop Research 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: