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.

2021

Why does George Orwell matter today? Those who know something of his writings can probably name at least two of his books - Animal Farm and Ninety Eighty-Four - and appreciate their importance has to do with his analysis of authoritarian regimes...

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Sex, Lies and Brain Scans

Professor Barbara Sahakian

The recent explosion of neuroscience techniques has proved to be game-changing...

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Just over 20 years ago, two teams of astronomers discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating...

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From Cemeteries and sewers, to theatres; St Pancras Station in London, to the “windy city”. Mike Higginbottom’s lecture programme offers a diverse, informative and entertaining look at social and architectural history...

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An Act of Parliament was required to provide for the building of such a great engineering project across so much land.  This lecture will begin with a brief history of the battle against the proposal to construct the Manchester Ship Canal and the efforts made to get the act through parliament...

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Sarah has been studying dark matter and dark energy for the last 20 years, but when her children started school she began to think about our own planet in the next 20 years and beyond...

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The charity of the Middle Ages was misleadingly dismissed as haphazard and self-serving after the Reformation.  But the most recent research shows that this was not the case...

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Jim accidently started studying Romanian while taking a degree in French at Manchester in 1970. He first visited the country in 1972 and spent a year there as a British Council scholar studying Philology...

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In 1853 Captain Moody described reservoirs as being ‘engines of mighty force, strong in the aid of industry….and terrible in their power to destroy if mismanaged or neglected’...

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Every message we send on the internet is transmitted in code.  Like a kind of Morse code, these invisible messages surround us...

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The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis.  Russia’s actions since 2014 have removed all doubt in Europe and North America as to the nature of the challenge from Moscow...

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The end of the century will see 23 per cent and 2.5 billion of the world’s population aged 65 years and over.  This demographic development is driven primarily by declining fertility but also by declining mortality...

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2020

The super-rich are silently and secretly shaping our world through philanthropy – an increasingly powerful force in our world. Best-selling author Paul Vallely reveals how this far-reaching change came about in this talk...

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Cloudy with a Chance of Pain

Professor Will Dixon

Approximately 75% of people with long-term pain conditions, such as arthritis, believe weather affects their pain.  Many report pain is made worse by the cold.  Others report pain is made worse by the warm...

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21st Century Telescopes

Professor Michael Merrifield

Astronomical discoveries and the development of technology have always gone hand in hand. Only a few years after its invention, Galileo was already using the telescope to revolutionise our view of the universe...

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The Changing Arctic And Its Global Consequences - SOLD OUT

Professor Dr. Dr. H.C. Terry V Callaghan CMG

The Arctic is changing rapidly because of climate change and globalisation. Increasingly, the two aspects are linked and changes in the Arctic’s environment are accelerating....

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The presentation will be based on Richard Rawlins’ book – Real Secrets of Alternative Medicine.  It will outline how ‘alternative’ treatment methodologies arose, how they have beneficial effects, and the controversies arising...

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It is difficult to categorise Joyce Grenfell.  She was an entertainer, writer, singer, film actress and broadcaster on both television and radio.  She died 40 years ago and yet her influence can still be seen through the work of today’s performers.

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Elements in Danger

Professor David Cole-Hamilton and Dr M Pilar Gil

Five years ago, a cleaning up of a storage area in the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews revealed a time-worn periodic table covered by dirt and dust.  Its significance was immediately recognised, despite its brittle and fragile condition that suggested an eventful life in a classroom or laboratory.  The lecture will recount the pursuit to date of what it is now considered the oldest known published periodic table wallchart.

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Dr Kirstie Whitaker of the Turing Institute will be discussing her fascinating career journey with Tea Milanovic, a pupil from her former school, Withington Girls’ School. Event attendees will be able to ask questions during a live Q&A after the discussion. This event is part of our programme for Young People, rescheduled because of coronavirus; it promises to be very relevant to students who are beginning to consider their futures beyond the sixth form. The event will be more conversation than lecture.

 

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