Find details on past lectures back to 1999

Full information on all our past lectures back to 1999 can be found in our Lectures Archive.
  • Bestriding the world stage like a Colossus? Or “Doomed, we’re all Doomed!”

    Baroness Young, Chair of the Woodland Trust

    In the lecture, I would lay out the scale and nature of the twin and interlinked challenges we face, the steep decline in biodiversity and the challenge of climate change. I would explore the causes of both these crises, their impacts and what needs to happen to tackle them in…

  • Nature and Climate: an Emergency Response

    Francesca Osowska, CEO of NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage)

    Ten years to save the planet. It doesn’t sound long enough. But our response to COVID-19 shows what we can do when we put our minds to it. While COVID-19 is an acute emergency, it has come from the chronic climate-nature emergency. While the economic recovery must be ‘green’, our…

  • The climate emergency in Scotland – what can we do about it?

    Pete Smith, Director of Scotland’s Climate Change Centre of Expertise

    Climate change is an existential threat and time to tackle it is rapidly running out. In light of this, the UK and Scottish Governments have both declared a climate emergency. We are now into a make-or-break decade of climate action. While governments have a role to play in creating the…

  • Vid D title

    Is vitamin D the ‘sunshine superstar’ or is it all media hype? Professor Susan Lanham-New

    Vitamin D is an extraordinary nutrient – indeed it is not a ‘vital-amine’ in the true sense of the word but instead a prohormone. It is the only nutrient where our main source is not dietary intake but UVB exposure. In the UK, it is only between April to September…

  • photo of speaker

    ‘The EU without Britain: Never Closer Union?’ Professor Vernon Bogdanor

    Was Brexit an aberration or does it reveal real weaknesses in the European Union? The European Communities, forerunner of the European Union, were founded by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 in circumstances very different from those of today, with just six member states at roughly similar levels of economic…

  • Mission Economy : a moonshot guide to changing capitalism – Professor Mariana Mazzucato

    Even before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, capitalism was stuck. It had no answers to a host of problems, including disease, inequality, the digital divide and, perhaps most blatantly, the environmental crisis. Taking her inspiration from the ‘moonshot’ programmes which successfully co-ordinated public and private sectors on a massive scale,…

  • The human scale: technology and leadership in times of crisis – Misha Glenny

    What happens when technological, political, biological and economic change outstrips the capacity of humanity to comprehend that change? Humans face a challenge of scale which has reached a moment of crisis. The exponential increase – which we are about to witness – in the power of technology and our dependence…

  • The Mind of the Bee – Professor Lars Chittka

    Bees have a diverse instinctual repertoire that allows the functioning of the beehive like a smoothly oiled factory, with different workers specialising in comb construction, climate control system, defence and foraging for nectar and pollen. However, the richness of bees’ instincts has traditionally been contrasted with the notion that bees’…

  • Catching the artist’s skill: a journey of discovery and wonder – Prof Erma Hermens

    We are often marvelling at the 17th-century painter’s skilful and realistic rendering of materials such as glass, metal, fur and human skin, or at the technical ingenuity of the goldsmith or glassblower, who manipulate their materials with such sophistication. Through a multidisciplinary approach, combining expertise and methods from technical art…

  • Raising the Dead: Constructing Characters from the Ancient Christian Past – Professor Helen Bond

    The gospels are full of memorable vignettes – Pontius Pilate washing his hands, Jesus healing a blind man, Mary Magdalene weeping at the cross. It’s no surprise that these scenes have an established place in Western art, literature and culture. But what do we really know about any of these…

  • Elite sport performance: is there a formulae for success? – Prof Mark King

    In the increasingly competitive world of elite sport, understanding the factors that limit human performance is critical as athletes push their bodies to the limit to achieve incredible performances that we can only dream of. Over the last 30 years as technology has developed we are now able to quantify,…

  • Understanding suicidal behaviour – Professor Rory O’Connor

    Suicide and self-harm are major public health concerns with complex aetiologies which encompass a multifaceted array of risk and protective factors. There is growing recognition that we need to move beyond psychiatric categories to further our understanding of the pathways to both. Recent approaches have conceptualised suicide as a behaviour,…

  • Britain’s police and food supply in World War One – Dr Mary Fraser

    The example of Britain’s police families shows how many middle-class households fared in World War One on the Home Front. By 1915 the police portrayed themselves as struggling to feed their families as food prices rose twice as fast as the war bonus. From October 1915 their journal published costed…

  • ‘Volcanoes from fuming vents to extinction events’ – Prof Tamsin Mather

    Volcanoes are spectacular natural phenomena. Earth has experienced volcanism since its beginnings and observing a volcanic eruption is a truly primeval experience. Volcanoes have shaped our planet and have been key in creating and maintaining its habitability. However, they can also be deadly natural hazards and are implicated in some…

  • The building of the Borders Railway – Hugh Wark

    The Borders Railway has been hugely successful since its opening in 2015. In this presentation we will take a look back to the challenges of building the line including bringing old viaducts and tunnels back to life, dealing with old mineworkings and protecting the environment whilst delivering this £300m project.…

  • A guided excursion round the geology of Islay – David Webster

    The island of Islay is a treasure trove of geological sites. We will visit the “Billion Year Gap”, look through a “window” at the basement underlying most of the Grampian Highlands, see signs of “Snowball Earth”, and discover the best evidence in the British Isles of Precambrian life. With the…

  • Archives logo Strathclyde

    View the Lectures from 2017 to 2020

    University of Strathclyde Archives and Special Collections Home of the recordings of Society Lectures 2017 – 2021 Digital recordings of lectures, plus abstracts of lectures and biographies of speakers, from the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow’s 216th, 217th, 218th and 219th lecture series. Annual accruals are expected. Arranged by lecture…

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