Past events

Our public events programme started in November 2009. Since then we have had influential, forthright and engaging speakers covering a wide variety of topics. 

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2015 Events

Take 1 Minute for Chemistry in Health

Take 1 Minute for Chemistry in Health

Thursday 3 September 2015, 6.30pm. The shortlisted entrants from this year's competition explain their areas of research and why they think chemistry is so important for human heal...

Feed the world: The Challenges of Global Food Security

Feed the world: The Challenges of Global Food Security

Thursday 13 August 2015, 6.30pm. Professor Tim Benton explores the challenges of sustainably and equitably providing food for a growing world population.

Is radioactivity good for you?

Is radioactivity good for you?

Thursday 2 July 2015, 6.30pm. Professor Philip Blower and Dr Samantha Terry discuss the use of radioisotopes in imaging and therapy of disease.

Air pollution past, present and future

Air pollution past, present and future

Thursday 4 June 2015, 6.30pm. Professor Alastair Lewis examines the history of pollution and considers how our generally improving health leaves us more vulnerable to pollution.

Drug Discovery in a University: Fact or Fiction?

Drug Discovery in a University: Fact or Fiction?

Thursday 7 May 2015, 6.30pm. Professor Barry Potter discusses drug discovery and the link between academia and industry.

Medical imaging

Shining light on medieval illuminations: pigments through the ages

Thursday 2 April 2015, 6.30pm. Professor Beeby discussed pigments through the ages and his research into manuscripts.

Space The ups and downs of modern exploration

Space: The ups and downs of modern exploration

Thursday 5 March 2015, 6.30pm. Helen Sharman explored some of the issues of space travel and how they are solved.

Medical imaging

Medical imaging in the International Year of Light

Thursday 5 February 2015, 6.30pm. Adrian Dixon discussed the principles behind modern imaging techniques and how they are replacing the need for physical examination.

BH flag

The human battery - mobile energy of the 21st century

Thursday 8 January 2015, 6.30pm. This lecture replaced a public lecture on ancient parchments.

2014 Events

man with test tube

Graphic Chemistry: The Science in Comics From Fantasy to Factual

Thursday 4 December 2014, 6.30pm. Paul Gravett illustrated how chemical characters and stories appear across the whole spectrum of comics.

The Invention of Colour

The Invention of Colour

Thursday 6 November 2014, 6.30pm. Dr Philip Ball traced the chemical history of the pigments on the artist's palette.

Sir Humphry Davy: Natural philosopher, discoverer, inventor, poet, man of action

Sir Humphry Davy: Natural philosopher, discoverer, inventor, poet, man of action

Thursday 2 October 2014, 6.30pm. Sir John Meurig Thomas traced Davy's path from his lowly origins in Cornwall to the pinnacles of international fame.

Problematic plastics in museums and galleries

Problematic plastics in museums and galleries

Thursday 4 September 2014, 6.30pm. Brenda Keneghan outlined where plastics are found in collections and illustrated their sometimes dramatic degradation.

Beneath the Surface: Examining paintings at the National Gallery

Beneath the Surface: Examining paintings at the National Gallery

Thursday 3 July 2014, 6.30pm. Dr David Peggie discussed the work of the National Gallery scientific department, including the analysis of the materials found in paintings.

Josiah Wedgwood: the arts and sciences united

Josiah Wedgwood: the arts and sciences united

Thursday 5 June 2014, 6.30pm. Gaye Blake Roberts, Director of the Wedgwood Museum, described Josiah Wedgwood's interest and involvement in chemistry.

Molecular Oncology - Past, Present and Future of Anti-Cancer Drug Design

Molecular Oncology - Past, Present and Future of Anti-Cancer Drug Design

Thursday 1 May 2014, 6.30pm. Dr Michael J. Waring described the role medicinal chemistry has played in the development of today's established treatments.

Water, water everywhere

Water, water, everywhere: But how do we know what's in it?

Thursday 3 April 2014, 6.30pm. Professor Dermot Diamond discussed the current status of autonomous sensors and the key breakthroughs that could drive a sensor 'revolution'.

Extreme Collaboration: when chemistry and art collide

Extreme Collaboration: When Chemistry and Art Collide

Thursday 6 March 2014, 6.30pm. Helen Storey and Tony Ryan shared their experience of a unique collaboration, seeing to bring the power of science and culture together.

War and Peace: Chemistry's Contribution

War and Peace: Chemistry's Contribution

Wednesday 19 February 2014, 6.30pm. Professor Peter Atkins explored a variety of aspects of chemistry's involvement in warfare, including ethical considerations.

Liquid Crystals from Butterflies to iPads

Liquid Crystals from Butterflies to iPads

Thursday 6 February 2014, 6.30pm. Professor Stephen M Kelly explained the evolution of liquid crystals, from the iridescence of a butterfly wing through to iPads.

From burn to bottle

From Burn to Bottle: Scotch whisky's journey to global success

Thursday 9 January 2014, 6.30pm. Prof Paul Hughes and author Ian Buxton held an informal and highly interactive discussion of trends in the world of whisky.

2013 Events

Biofuel containers.

Not just for Christmas - Making the most of your Christmas tree

Thursday 5 December 2013, 6.30pm. Professor Matthew Davidson discussed how wood and other biological resources can be developed into a wide range of renewable products.

Cheese and tomatoes

Chemical Lunchbox: Cheeses ARE good for our health

Wednesday 20 November 2013, 12.30pm. Mr Richard Marshall demonstrated how in reality cheese has multiple health benefits. A cheesy lunch was included.

Pills forming the shape of a question mark

Beating the Superbugs: avoiding an antibiotic apocalypse

Watch our public panel discussion exploring the challenges of fighting antibiotic resistance, which took place on Monday 18 November 2013

Meat with question mark

Fighting Food Fraud - from Hassall to Horsemeat

Thursday 7 November 2013, 6.30pm. Dr Duncan Campbell looked at both historical and current aspects of food fraud and the techniques used to detect them.

Wheat field.

Professor Lord Krebs - Feeding the 9 billion

Thursday 31 October 2013, 6.30pm. Professor Lord Krebs lectured on the increasing world population and the demand on food production.

Selection of cosmetics.

Cosmetics, Chemicals and the Truth

Thursday 3 October 2013, 6.30pm. A panel of speakers from the cosmetics industry participated in a Q&A session providing an interesting insight into the industry.

Microchip held in fingertips

A Hospital Lab that Fits in Your Palm

Thursday 5 September 2013, 6.30pm. Professor Jaap den Toonder lectured on the point of care diagnostics.

A beer barrel with tap

The Science of Beer Flavour and Food Matching

Thursday 1 August 2013, 6.30pm. Dr Debbie Parker discussed the science behind beer and food pairings to make a memorable meal.

See saw balancing oil and the globe

Balancing World Energy Needs: Securing the future

Thursday 4 July 2013, 6.30pm. Professor Karl Rose discussed the challenge of balancing world energy needs to bring about real change for future generations and the planet.

Image of a Julian Hakes Shoe

A Bridge to your Sole

Thursday 6 June 2013, 6.30pm. Julian Hakes, award winning creator of the Majito shoe, explained the path he took to create this design and the science behind it.

two bottles of engine oil being poured

Slippery Secrets: The hidden science within the life-blood of your car

Thursday 2 May 2013, 6.30pm. Dr Ian Bell explored the advances in lubricant technology to allow superb vehicle performance and discussed the CO2 reduction challenge.

Mars the Planet

Where the Streets have No Name

Thursday 18 April, 6.30pm. Paolo Bellutta, a driver of the MSL rover Curiosity, explained what has been done on Mars and where they are going next.

Joseph Priestley image

Joseph Priestley, Champion of Enlightenment in Science and Education

Thursday 4 April 2013, 6.30pm. Prof Hasok Chang explained how 280 years after the birth of Joseph Priestley we can still draw a lesson of modernity from his ideas.

Picture of meat as a crime scene

Stop Horsing Around with Our Food: A Panel Debate on Food Safety in the UK

Thursday 14 March 2013, 6.30pm. The RSC held a panel discussion to identify the issues which would lead to better food security for the UK.

Image of Martians in space

The Arsonist, the Martian, the Cat and the Coke... oh and Dwain

Thursday 7 March 2013, 6.30pm. Dr Tony Bristow looked at exciting applications of mass spectrometry and how it is used in ways that directly affect our lives.

Circle of hands image

Confronting the Silent Tragedy of Skin Disease

Thursday 7 February 2013, 6.30pm. Professor Matts discussed the problems of skin disease in developing countries and how chemistry has helped via prevention and treatment.

British Society of Perfumers logo

Making Sense of Scents

Thursday 10 January, 6.30pm. A panel of experts discussed the powerful effects that fragrances have on enhancing lives, rehabilitation and triggering reactions and memories.