Past events

Information about the past few years' lectures are listed below.

If you have a query about a lecture given earlier than 2013, please contact the office and they can consult the Society's archives.

2019

Polio - the Rocky Road to Zero

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson

Many people think that polio is gone from the world. Only those now over 70 years old can remember the devastating paralysis it caused in childhood. The introduction of a vaccine was transformative and swept the disease out of most affluent countries of the world very quickly. Over time, the battle against the disease was won in low- and middle-income countries too.

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Almost every week a paper is published describing a new battery technology that is going to revolutionise the world and provide a step change in battery performance. Yet, this never appears to happen...but why? And can we expect the rate of improvement to change significantly? 

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Molecular Surgery with CRISPR-Cas9

Professor David Hornby
The field of Genetic Engineering was born out of fundamental research into bacterial defence mechanisms against viral infection (termed restriction and modification). During the 1970s companies such as Genentech (Genetic Engineering Technology) in Silicon Valley and Biogen in Europe began to translate these discoveries into pioneering medical applications. 

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Lindsay Anderson called Humphrey Jennings “the only true poet of the English cinema”. This lecture asks whether propaganda can be poetic through an exploration of two of Jennings’ GPO and Crown Film Unit productions from 1940 and 1942, London Can Take It and Listen to Britain...

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The programme ‘Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds’ was an experiment in which a group of children carried out their usual nursery activities in a retirement community with a group of older volunteers. The impact of such intergenerational learning often had surprising results...

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We are told that the Knowledge Economy holds the key to the future prosperity of the UK, an economy where knowledge has replaced capital, land and labour as the main resource. What does this entail? What is Manchester's approach to building a knowledge economy? Will it act a leveller for the wealth gap or widen it?

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2018

Weather forecasts are one of the great unsung triumphs of science. These predictions can even warn of impending extreme weather and this aids many areas of society, but can we go further?

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In 1992, art critic David Sylvester said “I always thought women couldn't be painters….That's just the way it has always been”. This lecture will chart the place of women in art from medieval times to the present day, considering the means by which women have emerged into the light, as artists, curators, art historians and policy makers.

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Despite past improvements in air quality, very large parts of the population in urban areas breathe air that does not meet European standards let alone the health-based World Health Organisation Air Quality Guidelines...

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Established in 1921, Universal Aunts is much the same now as it was – the calls have hardly changed through the decades; Universal Aunts still endeavours to rise to any challenge, however unusual, and the remarkable history of the company is added to every day...

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Despite being the most common non-infective disease in the world, we really know remarkably little about osteoarthritis. This talk will discuss the history, cause and features of the disease and how revolutionary new medical technology will change how we diagnose, investigate and treat it.

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Art on Death Row

Mary Vaughan

The link between prison and artistic endeavour has a long history. There are currently over 3,000 people facing many years on Death Row in the US, a large proportion of whom have experienced trauma, mental health issues, and poor legal representation. This lecture will talk about their art, their inspiration and their difficulties in obtaining suitable materials & outlets.

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Every two minutes somewhere in the world a woman dies of cervical cancer – a preventable disease. There are some big challenges ahead, but can cervical cancer ultimately be eliminated in our lifetime?

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The first day-time seminar to be organised by the Science and Technology Section will be presented and lead by Dr John Proctor. His talk will describe his current and recent work on the nature of liquids and solids under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure.
Members Only

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We are seeing the greatest mass migration ever, driven by conflict, population growth & economic inequality. This lecture will highlight the impact of global forces on communities & vulnerable individuals, and how this misery is exploited by gangs & the indifference of the developed world.

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"Willy Loman is an ordinary man, he’s the New England man, he’s well-liked. For thirty-six years he’s been on the road, paying his way and one day he’s going to come good. When his son Biff returns home, suddenly things are looking up. Because you reap what you sow, right?"

Our next Theatre Group trip is to see Death of a Salesman on 25 October.

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Alderley Edge has a rich, complex history of geology, archaeology, early mining and social history. For many people it remains a special place, and its legend of a sleeping king, a wizard and a hoard of treasure is still very much alive...

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It is 28 years since the IPCC's first report and a quarter of a century since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit – such heady days of international hope and optimism. Now, in 2018 and with the benefit of hindsight, we can look back and trace our voyage of abject failure...

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The NHS at 70

Sir David Dalton

This the NHS turns 70 and has been described as “the closest thing the English have to a religion”. However, the organisation still receives criticsm as it does praise and there are still significant discrepencies in health care outcomes. This lecture will try to answer how we can understand the reality and complexities of one of the largest organisations in the world.

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Lit & Phil AGM 2018 followed by lecture by Immediate Past President, Dr Diana Leitch.

AGM is at 6.30 p.m. and the lecture will start at 7.30 p.m.

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