Past Public Lectures

We would like to record some of the great FREE lectures that the Branch organised for the public; here is a list covering 2005 to 2019.


Einstein and the road to cosmologyProfessor John A Peacock, University of Edinburgh

Should we all be taking statins to reduce cholesterol?Dr Jane Armitage, Reader in Clinical Epidemiology Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford

What is forensic scienceProfessor Jim G. Fraser – University of Strathclyde

How to live to be 90 – and not regret itProfessor Marion E.T. McMurdo, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School

Stem cells: Miracle cure or moral minefield?Professor Alison Murdoch, Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life Bioscience Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Nuclear energy: part of the solution to climate change or a victim of its history? Dame Susan E. Ion DBE OBE FRS FREng, British Nuclear Fuels, Daresbury, Warrington


Magic of the cosmosProfessor John C. Brown FRSE, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow

Saviours of the planet or Victorian anachronism? The role of botanic gardens in the Third MilleniumProfessor David G. Mann, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Does brain metabolism hold the key to successful dieting?Dr Alexandra Johnstone, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen

Maths is best!Professor Adam McBride OBE, Department of Mathematics, University of Strathclyde

Watching body organs at work by PET-CT: The fusion, in images, of the structure and function of vital organsDr John Davidson, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, University of Dundee

Fuel cells: Powering the future Professor John T.S. Irvine, School of Chemistry, University of St. Andrews


What microbes can do for us?Dame Lesley Anne Glover DBE FRS FRSE FASM FRSGS, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and Professor of Molecular & Cell Biology, University of Aberdeen

Brewing – Its evolution from a craft into a technologyProfessor Graham G. Stewart, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot-Watt University

The control of bowel cancerProfessors Robert J.C. Steele CBE and Annie Anderson, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

Waste – A problem shared is a problem solvedProfessor Jim I. Baird, The Sustainability Centre, Caledonian University

The magic of oxygenDrs Michael G. Batham and Robert Janes, The Open University, Milton Keynes

The Earth: An intimate historyProfessor Richard A. Fortey FRS, FRSL, Natural History Museum, London


The potato: Food for the peopleDr Gavin Ramsay, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee

Biofuel –Hype or hope?Professor Martin Tangney, Director of the Biofuel Centre,

Napier University

Are you dying for a suntan Professor Harry Moseley, The Photobiology Unit, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

Why do we need a grid?Dr Malcolm Kennedy CBE, FREng, FRSE, Non-executive Director of the New and Renewable Energy Centre, Blythe

How bacteria make a coat to baffle our immune systemProfessor Jim Naismith FRSE, School of Chemistry, University of Sty. Andrews

Storms from the SunDr Lyndsay Fletcher, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow


Tick, tick, pulsating star – How we wonder what you are!Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE FRAS, Astrophysics Department, University of Oxford

Darwin and the roots of the tree of lifeProfessor Malcolm F. White FRSE, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of St. Andrews

Networking to beat diabetesDr John R. Petrie, Reader in Diabetic Medicine, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

Playing games is a serious businessProfessor Lachlan Mackinnon, School of Computing & Creative Technologies, Abertay University

Ultrasound scienceProfessor David H. Bremner, School of Contemporary Sciences, Abertay University

The science of magicDr Gustav Kuhn, Department of Psychology, University of Durham


Discovery of new drug targets for the treatment of disease in the 21st CenturyProfessor Sir Philip Cohen FRS, Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling, University of Dundee

Why biodiversity matters: Tales of denial, survival and revival Dr Keith Skene, Director, Biosphere Research Institute

Joint pain – An approaching epidemic?Dr Jane H. Gibson, Consultant Rheumatologist, Whyteman’s Brae Hospital, Kirkcaldy

Creatures from beyond the abyssDr Alan Jameison, Oceanlab, Unive3rsity of Aberdeen

Carbon capture and storage: Coal in a low carbon economyMr David Campell, Longannet Power Station, Alloa and Dr Mark Wilkinson, Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage, Edinburgh University

Robots and youDr Barbara Webb, Institute of Perception, Action & Behaviour, Edinburgh University


Food supply in a changing worldProfessor Phil Thomas, Chairman of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Perth

Waste not: How should we deal with nuclear wasteProfessor Polly L. Arnold OBE, FRSE, FRSC, FRS School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh

Fish farming: How to grow your fish for supper!Dr John Webster, Technical Affairs Director, Scottish Salmon Growers Organisation

Do omega-3 fats really make children smarter?Dr Peter Willatts, School of Psychology, University of Dundee

Earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes –living on a dynamic planet!Professor Stuart Monro, Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Science in the Antarctic – Monitoring the PlanetDr Robert Mulvaney OBE, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge


Radar Science – making wavesProfessor John Roulston OBE, FREng, FRSE, Scimus Solutions Limited, Edinburgh

Antarctic sea Mammals – Sentinels and samplers of the Southern OceanDr Sonja Heinrich, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St. Andrews

Do fish have feelings?Professor Felicity Huntingford, Institute of Biodiversity, College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow

Lung cancer: Will early detection save lives?Dr Tom C. Fardon, Consultant Chest Physician, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

Sir Barnes Wallis: From airships to swing-wing airlinersDr Iain R. Murray, School of Computing, University of Dundee

Celebrating chemistry for health, wealth and happinessProfessor Lesley Yellowlees CBE, FRSE, College of Science & Engineering, University of Edinburgh


Islamic science: Inventions that changed the worldProfessor Mohamed El-Gomati OBE, Department of Electronics, University of York

Sustainable food production: Farming for a better futureProfessor Phil Thomas, Chairman of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Perth

Amazing birds: How we know what we know about birdsProfessor Tim R. Birkhead FRS, Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield

Life in extremes and the search for life beyond Earth Professor Charles S. Cockell FRSE, School of Phsyics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh


Cool astronomy: Exploring the infrared UniverseDr John Davies, Royal Observatory at Edinburgh

When a man’s best friend turns against him: The truth about prostate cancerMr Ghulam Nabi, Professor in Uro-Oncology, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

The internet of things: Building a connected worldDr George Weir, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde

Engineering giants: Making an aircraft carrierMr Sean Donaldson, Project Director, Babcock International Group, Rosyth

Who do you think you are? The 500-million-ago editionProfessor Carol MacKintosh, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee


Robotic exploration of the Great Pyramid Dr Rob Richardson, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds

Chemistry and energy: From steam to nuclear powerDr Mark Read, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham

Mathematics –the framework of lifeProfessor Fordyce Davidson, University of Dundee

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is kingDr John Ellis, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

Sowing the seeds of the next green revolutionProfessor Claire Halpin FRSE, School of Life Science, University of Dundee

Listening to Einstein’s Universe: The discovery of gravitational wavesProfessor Martin Hendry, School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow


The Forth Replacement Crossing: project updateMr Ewan Macdonell, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors

The modern life of bees: An insight into our nation’s favourite insectsFiona Highet, Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture

Sex, stress and mental healthDr Fhionna Moore, School of Psychology, University of Dundee

Are you thick-skinned enough? Dermatology discoveries in DundeeProfessor Irwin McLean FRS, FRSE, Chair of Human Genetics, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee

Sparkling clouds and crackling lightning in extrasolar planetsProfessor Christiane Helling, Director of Centre for Exoplanet Science, University of St. Andrews

2017/18                      50th Anniversary Programme of Tayside & Fife Branch

New horizons in the Solar SystemDr John K. Davies, Royal Observatory Edinburgh

Antarctica –Heartbeat of the PlanetMr Peter Gibbs, formerly BBC Weather Centre

From microprocessors to The Internet of Things: How the digital revolution was unleashedJosie Goodale, CISCO Systems Inc.

The Human Genome Project: Where are we now?Professor Colin Palmer, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

The matter of matter: The Large Hadron Collider, the Higgs boson, and beyondProfessor Aidan Robson, School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow

2018/19             50th Anniversary Programme of Tayside & Fife Branch (Continued)

Cardiovascular disease –Go with the flowProfessor Faisel Khan, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee

Futures Forum –Question the experts (with Dr Jorunn Bos, School of Life Sciences, Dundee University; Dr Natalie Coull, Abertay University; Mr Rodney Mountain, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School and Professor David Bradley, Abertay University)

Seals as sentinels of ocean health: Understanding the harmful effects of pollution from plastic,POPs and pillsDr Kimberely Bennett, School of Science, Engineering & Technology, Abertay University

Reducing the global burden of crop pests and diseasesProfessor Ian Toth, James Hutton Research Institute, Dundee

A compass always points north – Or does it?Dr Ciaran Beggan, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh

Forensic Science Serving Justice: Looking to the FutureProfessor Niamh Nic Daeid FRSE, Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee