Programme: 2017 – 2018

Highlights:


2nd October 2017

President’s Address:

LEICESTER’S DEBT TO A VICTORIAN ENGINEER: JOSEPH GORDON (1837-1889)

This is an open meeting followed by a social gathering.

The Lord Mayor of Leicester will attend.


Monday 9th October 2017

The Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, Leicester Museum and Art Gallery Joint Lecture:

A future Emperor goes East: The visit of the Prince of Wales to India 1875-6

Professor John McKenzie
Emeritus Professor of imperial history at Lancaster University and founder of the Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series (1984)

This talk is in support of the current exhibition: Splendours of The Subcontinent : A Prince’s Tour of India 1875-6

By permission of the Royal Collection Trust


16th October 2017

JOE ORTON AND SHAKESPEARE: LIBRARY BOOKS, CLASS AND QUEERNESS

Dr Emma Parker
Associate Professor of English, School of Arts University of Leicester

This lecture will examine what the library book covers that Orton defaced (or redesigned) with his partner Keith Halliwell reveal about his subversive attitude to the Bard, social class and sexuality in mid-century Britain.


30th October 2017

THE TRUE STORY OF JFK’S FAVOURITE SISTER, AND THE HEIR TO CHATSWORTH

Paula Byrne’s international bestseller brings to life the story of the vivacious, unconventional – and nearly forgotten – young Kennedy sister, who charmed American and British high society.

Dr Paula Byrne
Biographer

Sponsored by the University of Leicester


13th November 2017

THE WAR OF THE PORTRAITISTS: ARTISTIC COMPETITION AND THE DYNAMICS OF EXHIBITION CULTURE IN GEORGIAN LONDON

Professor Mark Hallett
Director of Studies, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, visiting professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art

In the spring of 1792, Sir Joshua Reynolds, President of the Royal Academy and leading portraitist of his day, died in his house at Leicester Square in London. A few months later, the Academy’s annual summer exhibition bore witness to the beginnings of an intense struggle for prominence on the part of a group of leading British portraitists, each of whom hoped to fill the artistic and cultural vacuum left by Reynolds’s death. Thanks to a remarkable raft of surviving images of that year’s Academy show, we can, not only recover this struggle as it played itself out across the walls of the display, but address far larger questions about the ways in which images – and portraits in particular – operate and interact within the exhibition environment.

Sponsored by Loughborough University.


27th November 2017

DEMOCRACY, DEMAGOGUERY AND PLATO

Professor Angie Hobbs
Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy University of Sheffield

Seasonal refreshments will be served after the lecture

Sponsored by De Montfort University


8th January 2018

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE?

Professor Hasok Chang
Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

In a progressive endeavour such as science, it may seem that there is nothing significant to learn from history: past science would at best include inferior versions of our current knowledge. Contrary  to this common impression, I will argue that science can benefit significantly from attention to its own past. Useful ideas and facts do get left behind especially after paradigm shifts, and historical work can recover them. Our critical awareness is enhanced by learning that past scientists have conceived and engaged with the world in valid ways that are very different .from our own. Such historical recovery and critical awareness can also prompt new ideas and experiments that mainstream scientists may not easily think of. These points will be illustrated with a number of examples especially from the history of chemistry.

Sponsored by the British Science Association


22nd January 2018

TECTONIC EVOLUTION OF EARTH

Professor John Dewey FRS,
Structural Geologist, Emeritus Professor and Supernumerary Fellow, University of Oxford

The driver for much of Earth process is heat loss. For the last two billion years this has been by plate tectonics, the cooling of the lithosphere and hydrothermal circulation at oceanic ridges. Prior to two billion years ago, the Earth had a stagnant lid and heat loss was mainly by plutonism and volcanism by mantle plumes.

Joint Lecture with the Geology Section


5th February 2018

Leicester Mercury Media lecture:

FROM TYPEWRITERS TO TWITTER, THE CHANGING FACE OF YOUR NEWS

Mr Richard Bowyer,
Senior lecturer at Derby University

This lecture will look at the revolution in news, not only how it is consumed but also produced by the 21st century journalist and asks, can newspapers survive?

Sponsored by Leicester Mercury


19th February 2018

BREATHING SPACE

Professor CL Thomas
Analytical Scientist, Dept. of Chemistry, Loughborough University

A wise woman teaching a group of us how to be better lecturers placed a firm hand across my solar plexus.  “Breathe.” she smiled, “Breathe from here. Communication is all about breathing”.

As your stale and oxygen depleted blood flows towards the vena cava super highway it draws metabolic waste from all the tissues in your body. Into and through your right heart to your lungs at a 100,000 beats per day the volatile by- products of your body’s biochemistry are exchanged into your breath, and 30,000 times a day your exhale a complicated signature that communicates your body’s metabolic processes . To test the premise that exhaled breath offers a way to faster and cheaper medical tests a substantial research effort has established and developed the science and technology of breath analysis. This lecture will describe the current state of the art of breath-based diagnosis with examples drawn from current studies involving mass casualty triage, stress detection and current clinical studies being run in partnership between Leicester and Loughborough Universities.

Will future visits to your GP involve a breath test?  The answer may lie in the results of proposed research to monitor astronaut health on future missions to the moon and Mars through breath analysis.

Sponsored by The Royal Society of Chemistry


5th March 2018

CUCKOO- CHEATING BY NATURE

Professor Nick Davies FRS,
Professor of Behavioural Ecology, University of Cambridge

The cuckoo is our herald of spring but for many other birds its arrival is a signal of doom, for the cuckoo is Nature’s most notorious cheat. The sight of a little warbler or pipit feeding an enormous cuckoo chick has astonished human observers for centuries. Why are  these little birds apparently so easily tricked? In this talk I will show how field observations and experiments reveal a continuing evolutionary arms race, in which escalating host defences have led to remarkable cuckoo trickery, including different guises in female cuckoos, forgeries of host eggs and manipulative begging by cuckoo chicks.

Joint lecture with the Natural History Section


19th March 2018

EVOLUTION: CONVERGENCE, ANIMAL COGNITION AND EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS

Professor Simon Conway Morris FRS
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Funny how starting one’s career studying fossil worms from the Burgess Shale one can end up talking about extra-terrestrials. But there are links. “Re-run the tape of life” said Stephen Jay Gould and the outcome will be totally different; not humans, for example. Evolutionary convergence points to exactly the opposite conclusion. But if evolution is broadly predictable, then where are the extra-terrestrials?  Equally problematic is, given advance cognition evolved multiple times (dolphins, crows octopus), then how come only one species thinks it is worthwhile to join Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society?

Funny old world.


23rd April 2018

Annual General Meeting (NB 6.45 pm)

FOLLOWED BY A RECITAL BY WIND INSTRUMENTALISTS FROM THE BARDI ORCHESTRA

Conductor: David Calow

Wine will be served in the interval