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Public Lecture Series 2013/14  These lectures are free and open to all

On behalf of the School of Applied Sciences I am very pleased to announce a new series of evening Public Lectures for the 2013-2014 academic year.

This is the 8th year that we have provided science-based talks for the community. We are committed to improving public knowledge of science and public appreciation for the contributions of science to social progress and to share some of the exciting research being conducted at the University. This commitment has a long history dating back nearly 200 years.

A Huddersfield Scientific and Mechanics Institute was founded in 1825 for "the supplying at a cheap rate, the different classes of the community, with the advantage of instruction in the various branches of science". This was followed by The Young Men's Mental Improvement Society in 1841 at the Temperance Hotel, Cross Church Street which, in turn became the Huddersfield Mechanics' Institution in 1844. A separate Female Educational Institute was established in 1846 and Huddersfield claims the distinction of having been the first to establish an Institution “organized and managed on a separate and independent basis, for the education of the young women of the working classes." The Mechanics' Institution was transformed into a Technical or Trade School during the 1880s as a result of the shift of emphasis from teaching mainly elementary education to scientific and technical teaching. By 1914 the College had 42 full-time and 37 part-time staff teaching 1,800 students ranging in level from University of London external degrees, principally in Chemistry, to the newly introduced day-release classes for apprentices.

Chemistry teaching and research in Huddersfield was seminal in establishing the College of Technology, the Polytechnic and finally in gaining University status.  Now there is a broad coverage of all the major sciences and there are currently about 1500 students in the School studying for BSc, MSc and PhD qualifications in biology, chemistry, food science, pharmacy and physics. The present School of Applied Sciences continues to grow and be successful and the series of talks this year reflects some of that activity.

Our Public Lectures are free and open to all, so I hope you are able to take these opportunities to find out more about the scientific research that is being carried out in the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield.

We look forward to seeing, entertaining and informing you!

This Season's Programme of Lectures

The first Public Lecture of the series will be held on 16 October when Dr Karl Hemming will look at the history and folklore of molecules that occur in nature and have made it to the clinic as effective medicines. Very famous examples include the painkiller morphine from the opium poppy and the antimalarial quinine from the cinchona tree. More recent medicinal drugs that are used for treating serious diseases have been derived from the yew tree, from the Artemisia bush, from poisonous plants like the rosy periwinkle, from exotic soil bacteria found in the jungles of Borneo, from sea sponges and deep sea sediments, and even from snakes and amphibians.


Professor John Atherton has over 37 years industrial experience, most of them in Process Development, starting with ICI, and more recently with Zeneca and Avecia, developing fundamental understanding of the chemistry involved in the manufacture of fine chemicals. He is well qualified to talk on 13 November about chemicals and their impact on our lives. ‘Chemicals’ have got a bad name, but we wouldn’t go far without them, and our lifestyles would revert to those of the pre-industrial age. Without fertilizers, the world population would starve, without modern medicines we would live shorter and less pleasant lives, and without anaesthetics there would be a lot a screaming in dental surgeries and hospital operating theatres. So this lecture will discuss what is meant by a ‘chemical,’ and will show how our lives have been transformed in the above and other ways by the application of a knowledge of chemistry over the past 150 years.


Dr Martin Carr will talk on 11 December about how the natural world appears, to the naked eye, to be dominated by animals, plants and fungi; however, microscopy and molecular genetics have revealed that most of life’s diversity is hidden in microscopic organisms. His lecture will lift the lid on the diversity now known to be present in the Tree of Life. In particular we will learn about the closest relatives of animals and show how and when animals evolved from their single-celled ancestors. Finally, we will see how modern molecular studies and genome sequencing have overturned our views on the evolutionary relationships between different animal groups.

Insects are the largest and most widely distributed group of animals in the world, being 75% of all known animal species. Dr Stefano Vanin will talk on 15 January about how they colonized all terrestrial land masses and how their feeding habits are equally varied, including taxa that are phytophagous, predatory, parasites, saprophagous, coprophagous and obligate blood-feeders. Given this, it is not surprising that they have constantly been in close contact with humans and that their presence and activity can play an important role in the human life and health. Insects, from crime scenes and archaeological sites can provide important information useful to help “solve the case”. The application of new technologies like μCT can open new gateways and offers a new level of knowledge and understanding.

In his lecture on 12 February, Dr Dougie Clarke will talk about how scientists have made enormous advances in the cloning of animals and the genetic blueprint of life (DNA). Reproductive cloning is now possible for a large number of animals including your pet cat. The possibility of resurrecting your favourite extinct animal might now be plausible. Therapeutic cloning using your own cells holds great promise for transplant therapies without rejection problems. Cloning of DNA has allowed us to determine the genetic blueprint of humans and can now be used to predict diseases you may suffer from later in life and personalise drug therapies. DNA present in your body has also been cloned and used to create medicines such as clot busting drugs. The lecture will use non-technical language to give an overview of the different cloning methods from past to present and the exciting future promise of technologies.


In the final lecture on 12 March, Dr Pooja Panchmatia will speak about concerns over declining fossil fuel reserves that have led to one of the biggest challenges in the twenty-first century – the development of clean, sustainable sources of energy! A range of "green" technologies, including fuel cells and lithium batteries, are being developed to help reduce carbon emissions. New materials and greater understanding are crucial for major advances in these energy technologies, ranging from hybrid and electric cars to solar power. Her talk will show how scientists use structural and modelling techniques to help understand the fascinating properties of crystalline materials for use in these technologies.

Please see the Programme for full details of the Lecture Series.

The lectures take place in the Canalside West Lecture Theatre (CWS/10) and will begin at 6.30pm, with refreshments served before the lecture from 6.00pm.  To help with our catering arrangements, please contact Janet Goodridge if you would like to attend.

 

For further information contact:
01484 473138
j.e.goodridge@hud.ac.uk

 

These lectures are FREE and OPEN TO ALL
University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

Last updated Friday 4 October 2013
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