Curious Minds 8.11: The University of St Andrews Photographic Collection

For the last meeting in this PSNS season, Laura Brown, curator of the collection, gave us a guided tour of the photographs available – somewhere between 1.6 and 1.8 million photos(!), some dating back to the earliest days of photography in the late 1830s.

Unfortunately, due to technical issues, a video of the evening will not be available. However, the live link at which the collection can be viewed is:

Curious Minds 8.10: Science and Theology

Professor Mark Harris, director of the Ian Ramsey Centre at the University of Oxford, is both a physicist by training and an ordained Anglican priest. He spoke about the ways the relationship between science and religion and theology can be seen – from outright conflict (which is bigger than the other?) through independence to a dialogue and more.

The video of his talk is available on Youtube:

Curious Minds 8.9: Pure Dead Brilliant

The moment we hear someone talk, their accent and dialect influence the mental image we form of that person’s national, social, economic and educational background.

Dr Sadie Ryan is a sociolinguist at the University of Glasgow with a keen interest in the relationships between accents and identity. She spoke particularly about the relationships between Scots and English.

See the video of the lecture here:

Curious Minds 8.8: Bioethics

Last night Dr Sarah Chan from the University of Edinburgh spoke on the ethics of running medical trials – do people have the right to refuse to join trials, a moral obligation to join one, or even the right to ask to join a clinical trial?

A video of the lecture is available at .

Curious Minds 8.7: Who’s got the Maintenance Manual for Planet Earth?

For this year’s McAlpine Lecture, Professor James Curran (visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde, amongst many other positions held including former chair of SEPA) spoke to us about the state of climate change.

From problems – CO2 emissions leading to global warming, biodiversity loss, extreme weather events and more – to how our perception of the solutions should change, understanding Sustainable Development of the environment supporting society and the the (circular) economy.

The video can be seen on our Youtube channel:

Curious Minds 8.6: The Impact of Noise on Marine Wildlife

Even to a casual observer it seems obvious that the noise generated by ships, boats, drilling rigs, sonar and other forms of human activity must be a problem for marine creatures.

Yesterday evening, Dr Luke Rendell, from the University of St Andrews, spoke about the extent and detrimental effects of both natural and man-made noise on marine mammals.

This video is available in high quality on our youtube channel:

Curious Minds will return in the new year.

Curious Minds 8.5: Inside the World of Killer Fungi

For the fifth in this series of Curious Minds lectures, Dr Delma Childers (University of Aberdeen) spoke to us about “killer fungi”.

Fungal diseases are an under-appreciated global health threat that are responsible for more than a million deaths per year. Delma is keen to raise public awareness about fungal infections and the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Content Warning:

A couple of the slides have moderate gore. These are preceded by slides with an asterisk in the top-right corner by way of advance warning.

The video can be seen on our youtube channel at

Curious Minds 8: Video: Next-Generation Batteries

Dr Rob Armstrong (University of St Andrews) gave us a very informative talk about research into battery chemistry – from the history of early NiCd and Li-ion battery designs through LFP and on to sodium-based chemistry options, with a view to what’s best for EV cars, recyclable for home storage and usable as part of grid infrastructure.

View the video of the evening here:

First Curious Minds Season 8 Lecture: Blue Carbon

For the first talk in our 8th Curious Minds season, Professor Bill Austin from St Andrews spoke about “Blue Carbon”.

Oceans absorb 30% of our CO2 emissions and 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases. But some marine habitats can sequester 10 times as much Carbon per acre as a terrestrial forest.

Professor Austin Bill spoke about the potential benefits of Blue Carbon and about government initiatives, both in Scotland and beyond, to conserve this vital and useful habitat.

This video is available in 4k on YouTube:


For further investigation, see:

Project Seagrass:

Blue Carbon at St Andrews:…/sustainability/blue-carbon/

Our YouTube channel with this and other videos:

Our Faacebook page with this and other videos:

You can support our video work via our Patreon page:

More about Peru from Dr Sabine Dedenbach Salazar

We all enjoyed Sabine’s talk on Peruvian culture. She has kindly provided handouts of her talk.

The first handout is a short description of Sabine’s research into clearances of the indigenous population from their agricultural land by Estate owners. There are remarkable parallels with Scottish history.

Dedenbach Clearances Peru – Handout (SD 20-11-16) SHORT

This handout describes the clearances in more detail

Dedenbach Clearances Peru – Handout (SD 20-11-16)

And finally, a short handout on “Coca is not Cocaine”. How Coca is used by the indigenous peoples in Peru.

LONGDedenbach Coca – Handout (SD 20-11-16