Free insight into university work, revealed via lecture series

Thursday 20 October 2011

A new series of lectures is being launched at the University of St Andrews to highlight the cutting edge research being undertaken at the institution.

Speakers will be post-doctoral researchers from various departments across the university. Known as the Beacon series, the talks are being run by the university’s Open Association in conjunction with St Leonard’s Postgraduate College.

The first lecture will be given by Dr Edwin Brady of the School of Computer Science.

His talk will explain how software has an enormous effect on our lives, from our home PC to aeroplanes, our cars and our mobile phones. He will also discuss why software glitches, which interrupt our lives, happen, why programming gadgets is so difficult, and why it’s becoming easier.

His talk will be introduced by the Head of the School of Computing, Professor Al Dearle.

The following week’s speaker will be Dr Nicky Allison of the School of Geography and Geoscience.

Her topic will be on how fossilised skeletons under the sea can reveal critical information on climate information in the past.

Current methods of measuring climate temperatures are restricted to the last 150 years, but the chemistry of marine fossils can provide estimates of past seawater temperatures over thousands of years  – providing a crucial insight on how future global warming can be understood.

In later lectures, Dr Alex Marlow-Mann of the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies, will explain why the Italian city of Naples has been such a prolific producer of films.

And Dr Simon Horsley of the School of Physics and Astronomy will explain how to design an invisibility cloak using the refraction of light.

Professor Dina Iordanova, Provost of St Leonard’s College, said: “The Beacon series will be a great opportunity to showcase the rich and diverse work that young scholars at St Andrews are engaged with, to interested members of the local community.”

Ruth Harris, director of the university’s Open Association, said: “We are delighted to be working with the post-doctoral community in presenting this series of lectures which will give a fascinating insight into some of the cutting edge research going on at the university.”

The free Beacon lectures are open to all, and will take place on Thursday evenings from 6-7pm in Physics Lecture Theatre C in the Physics building at the North Haugh, starting on 20 October with Dr Brady.


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Fiona MacLeod on 01334 462108/ 0771 414 0559.
Ref: (beacon 17/10/11)
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