Philosophy, Physics and Fantasy open autumn lecture series

Philosophy, Physics and Fantasy open autumn lecture series

The influence of great scientific discoveries on the culture of nineteenth century Scotland and Ireland will open a series of public talks by internationally renowned Aberdeen academics.

Starting next week, six leading scholars from the University will share their thinking and showcase pioneering research on subjects ranging from norse mythology and stem cell therapies to the connections between mathematics and music.

Opening the Inaugural Lecture series on Monday, October 20 is Professor Cairns Craig, who will discuss philosophy, physics and fantasy in nineteenth century Scotland and Ireland.

Between 1850 and 1890, the two countries – in the shape of ground-breaking scientists Lord Kelvin, Peter Guthrie Tait and James Clerk Maxwell – were responsible for the development of the new science of energy.

However, the period is generally regarded as one of intellectual decline in Scotland, as well as intellectual escapism in Ireland, characterised by W.B. Yeats' interest in magic and the fantasy literature of Robert Louis Stevenson and J. M. Barrie. Professor Craig's talk will reconsider the cultural achievements of each country during this time.

The remaining Inaugural Lectures are as follows:

  • Passing into Poetry: Viking Funerals and the Origins of Norse Mythology, Professor Neil Price – Monday, October 27
  • Wiring and Firing Nueronal Networks: Endocannabinoids Take Centre Stage, Professor Tibor Harkany – Monday, November 3
  •  'The Wild Geese'. Reflections on the History of the Irish soldiers in the Service of France in the Eighteenth Century, Professor Thomas Bartlett – Monday, November 10
  • Mathematics and Music, Professor J. Benson – Monday, November 17
  • Stem Cell Therapies for Muscoskeletal Applications: From Bench to Bedside, Professor Cosimo De Bari – Monday, November 24

All the events begin at 6pm in King's College Centre on the Old Aberdeen campus, and will be followed by an informal wine reception. Places are free, and can be booked online at www.abdn.ac.uk/inaugurallectures or by calling 01224 273 874.

Lori Manders, Director of External Affairs and Development at the University of Aberdeen, said: "We are delighted to offer this series of public lectures showcasing some of the ground-breaking work taking place at the University.

"For over 500 years, ideas from the University of Aberdeen have spread across the globe, acting as an inspiration to those who seek to change lives and create a better world.

"Today we continue to attract great minds – professors, lecturers, researchers and students – who come to Aberdeen because of the freedom to challenge orthodoxies and tread new paths.

"I hope that the Inaugural Lectures will provide members of the public with the opportunity to hear first hand about their ground-breaking work."

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