Public Lecture Series

The Faculty of Science and Technology themed lecture series is delivered by academics from across Lancaster University.

Every Autumn, the Faculty of Science and Technology presents a series of free public lectures, held from 7-8pm at The Storey in Lancaster.

To book a place at one (or more!) of our upcoming lectures please register using either the Eventbrite link below each lecture or by contacting Kate Hutchinson on or 01524 593952.

Lancaster University was recently awarded the coveted University of the Year award by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and we were awarded TEF Gold status in the summer for the quality of our teaching.

Do you know where all the sheep dung goes?

Do you know where all the sheep dung goes?

Dr Ali Birkett

7pm, Tuesday 7th November 2017

Picture a Sunday stroll through the British countryside. You climb over a stile into a field of sheep munching on the grass. Idyllic, but as we all know, what goes in must come out…

Do you know where all the sheep dung goes?

Dr Ali Birkett will explain why a country walk doesn’t involve being up to your ankles in the brown smelly stuff. You’ll meet the creatures doing all the hard work - despite the fact that you probably didn’t know they exist in the UK - and hear of how they are being affected by environmental change.

Book here

Nuts and Lightning Bolts: the challenges and impact of future internet infrastructure

Dr Peter Garraghan

7pm, Tuesday 14th November 2017

Do you know where your smartphone app actually is, and how it works? Internet infrastructure around the world is expanding massively with no end in sight.  Did you know a single popular YouTube video now consumes more power than numerous countries? Or that failures in computers are similar to diseases within the human body? How about all our efforts to make the Internet more resilient and efficient, have actually made things much, much worse? In this talk, I will share real-world challenges currently faced by the tech giants towards building reliable and low power Internet, and how you can help.

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Did you know that your brain speaks when your ears listen?

Dr Helen Nuttall

7pm, Tuesday 21st November 2017

Listening to speech is an everyday task that most of us take for granted until we find ourselves struggling to understand a friend in a noisy bar or restaurant, that is. In this talk, I will explain how our brains achieve the remarkable feat of decoding spoken language.  Specifically, I will introduce the idea that we recruit brain systems needed for producing speech, even if we are just listening to speech and not speaking.

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Are we living on a nuclear reactor?

Professor Claude Degueldre

7pm, Tuesday 28th November

Geo-reactors have been found in the natural environment in the terrestrial crust. Others have been postulated in deeper Earth layers such as the core-mantle boundary and even deeper as a central Earth unit.

Recent high-precision isotope analysis data has been used to revisit the hypothetical past occurrence of a central Earth geo-reactor. Specific noble gas isotope signatures that could be generated by binary and ternary fissions were identified in volcano emanations or as soluble/associated species in crystalline rocks and semi-quantitatively quantified as an isotopic ratio or estimated amounts. The present lecture focuses on the geo-reactor hypothetical conditions including history, spatial extension and regimes. The discussion based on recent calculations involves investigations on the limits in term of fissile inventory, size and power, based on the coupling of geochemical reactions and stratification through the gravitational field considering behaviour through the inner mantle, the boundary with the core and the core.

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Did you know that there still needs to be a debate about reducing flood risk?

Professor Keith Beven

7pm, Tuesday 12th December 2017

Floods are (probably) going to get more frequent in future. Because of the large impacts on people and infrastructure, this means that we need to make decisions about reducing flood risk.  Recently “natural flood management” or “working with natural processes” has become very popular. The aim is to retain water on the catchment and “slow the flow” to mitigate the effects of flooding downstream. The talk will outline some of the measures being used in both rural and urban areas, and some of the benefits and possible disbenefits of such measures. It will be suggested that the cost-effectiveness of the measures in relation to their hydrological impacts has not been properly thought through and that there still needs to be a debate about reducing flood risk.

Book here