Introduction to Lecture Programme

2016-2017 lecture programme (Session 159)

This is my first year as the new Meetings Secretary and I hope you will enjoy the varied programme of lectures that I’ve managed to pull together for you. Several speakers were suggested by members of the society; I hope that you will continue to help me out if you hear of or know of a good speaker. (My email address is: There are a couple of changes from the draft programme circulated by email in August, affecting the December and February lectures.

First up on the 13th October is Professor Rachel Wood from Edinburgh University. Rachel gave her talk "The Great Dying" on the Permian-Triassic mass extinction at the Edinburgh Society last year and I was so impressed with it that I immediately asked her to repeat it for us. In the UK this event is difficult to study but in the Middle East the boundary occurs in a full carbonate sequence with nice weather to boot. Rachel makes the "C-word" (Carbon Isotopes) and the "B-word" (Buffering) very easy to understand as she talks us through the relevance of her work to the current issues around ocean acidification.

More carbonates on the 10th November as Professor Ian Fairchild from Birmingham University delves into the underworld of speleothems (cave deposits) which, as Ian will demonstrate, can now provide definitive records of regional to global environmental change in the Quaternary. By now you’ll be experts on carbon isotopes!

Our speaker for the 8th December lecture is well known to many of you - Professor Tony Fallick from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in East Kilbride will give his talk on "Planet Earth’s Mid-Life Crisis" (preceded by a brief AGM).

Into the New Year and it’s dinosaur time. On the 12th January we welcome Dr Stephen Brusatte from Edinburgh University – one of a team of palaeontologists who have unearthed some amazing fossils on Skye including a remarkable tracksite left by colossal long-necked dinosaurs moving through an ancient lagoon.

On the 9th February we welcome Dr Diarmad Campbell (Scotland’s Chief Geologist at the BGS), who is going to talk about the interdisciplinary mapping and modelling project of the Clyde basin known as the Clyde Urban Super Project (CUSP).

"There’s been a murder!"  9th March is "whodunnit" night when we welcome Dr Lorna Dawson from the James Hutton Institute, Dundee to talk about her speciality - soil forensics. Lorna has advised many of the "noir" type detective series on TV and fans of this genre should enjoy this! A good time to invite your non-geological friends to what should be a fascinating evening.

The "Deep Biosphere in Scotland" is the topic of our talk on 20th April given by Dr John Parnell from Aberdeen University. John has a fantastic range of geological interests and a vast number of publications to his name. John’s talk should be well worth listening too. (Note: the date is the third Thursday of April, not the second.)

Finally, don’t forget the usual Members' Night on 11th May. (Please note that this meeting will be held in the Alexander Stone Building (Lecture Theatre, Room 208) in University Gardens and not in the Gregory Building The Alexander Stone Building is diagonally across University Gardens from the Gregory Building, just beyond the Queen Margaret Union, and is about 100 m from the Gregory Building.)

David Webster.