Scientific insights to be shared in free talks

How sharks are helping scientists make medical advances, the science behind the spectacle of the Northern Lights and the cost of living a 'green' lifestyle, will come under the spotlight in free talks in Aberdeen and Inverness next week.

University of Aberdeen academics will give insights into their research as part of the institution’s Café discussion series, which aims to engage the public with topics across the scientific spectrum.

The peak of solar activity which explains the phenomenal recent sightings of the Northern Lights will be discussed by Dr Lyndsay Fletcher from the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy, in the first event in a new Café series in Inverness on Tuesday March 18 at 7pm.

The relationship between sound and marine animals, the philosophical questions that can be asked about time travel, and new research into understanding and preventing diabetes will be up for discussion in the remainder of talks in the series, which take place once a month until June.

Café Scientifique Inverness events are free to attend and held at Waterstones in the city’s Eastgate Shopping Centre.

The series is a partnership between the University of Aberdeen and the University of the Highlands and Islands, bringing an exciting range of topical subjects and research areas to people from an even wider geographical area.

On Monday (March 17) Professor Peter Teismann and Dr Carl Counsell from the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences will discuss new developments in understanding the progressive and frequently disabling brain condition, Parkinson’s disease.

Their Café MED event begins at 6pm in the Suttie Centre on the University of Aberdeen’s Foresterhill campus.

Politics and International Relations expert, Dr David Toke, will investigate the economic challenges of living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle in his Café Controversial talk on Tuesday (March 18) at Satrosphere Science Centre, beginning at 7pm.

On Wednesday (March 19) Dr Helen Dooley from the University’s School of Biological Sciences will discuss how research into the immune systems of sharks is shedding new light on human autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, and helping develop new drugs for cancer at.

Her Café Scientifique talk takes place at 7pm at the Union Bridge branch of Waterstones.

All of the events are free to attend and take place as part of National Science and Engineering Week – an annual celebration of science, engineering and technology led by the Aberdeen branch of the British Science Association with support from the University, BP and the Scottish Government.

Dr Heather Doran from the University's Public Engagement with Research Unit said: “The Café series allows the public to gain insight and understanding from researchers in a way that is informal and engaging.

“The topics covered in both the Aberdeen and Inverness events showcase the vast range of compelling and often cutting-edge scientific findings being developed by experts from the University of Aberdeen and other academic institutions in Scotland.

“These events are a welcome addition to the National Science and Engineering Week programme, which aims to engage both adults and children with a wide range of scientific topics and issues through a diverse mix of events.”

For more information on the Café Scientifique Aberdeen and Inverness series’ and National Science and Engineering Week visit .