Image Credit: John Haswell

We cover a range of topics under the Science umbrella, with a number of areas forming a regular part of our programme, including:

  • Life Sciences
    • Medicinal Plants – Anne Larvin and Carol Burnett provided an introduction to the science, identification and uses of some common medicinal plants
    • AstronomyDr Adrian Jannetta generally delivers two courses during the year. The first is aimed at beginners, being a mix of practical advice and background theory, and the second describing some of the past discoveries which have shaped our thinking about the universe and our place in it, as well as looking to the future and how the universe continues to evolve.
    • ChemistryDr. David Smith lectures on a range of chemistry subjects, from an introduction to the subject, to the microbiome, the role of our gut bugs and why they no longer help us.
    • GeologyAlison Tymon’s talks examine the geology of North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, as well as the national picture. Her courses cover the different rocks and rock types (sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic) typically found in the area, together with the fossils and minerals.
  • Mathematics
    • Professor Mike Worboys has lectured on the power and limitations of human and machine reasoning, looking at the work of Bertrand Russell, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. In addition, Dr Adrian Jannetta covers a range of pure and applied mathematics topics in his lectures.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics   You can see Maurice Ward’s presentation Advancing Technology v2.
    • Social AnthropologyIn a future series of lectures, Joan Lawson will be outlining how anthropological tools can be used to understand societies, including our own during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • SustainabilityThis is an area we have covered in a number of ways. We recently worked with local organisation Sea the Change, who delivered a number of events around the theme of ‘Aspects of Sustainable Living’ from plastic in the ocean, to building your own eco house, and the use of ideas from positive psychology to identify simple ways to connect to the natural environment and so help to improve wellbeing.
      • The Berwick Energy Conference comprised a series of lectures which explored the past, present and future of energy; considered some of its consequences and looked at the challenges that it poses locally.
      • We are working with Catherine Weetman, of Rethinkglobal, to deliver two sessions on the Circular Economy, a term which includes recycling and repairing, reusing as much as possible, and making ethical purchasing decisions. The intention is that participants will be given the information they need to set up local initiatives, if they choose.
      • The sustainability of the way we currently organise our working lives has been considered by Maurice Ward in two ways. The first was to look at Universal Basic Income, whereby the present welfare system is replaced with a simple, untaxed, non-means tested payment to everyone, regardless of whether they work or not. While in the second session he considered advancing technology, what is likely to happen and how should we prepare and respond.
    • The Built EnvironmentWe have covered this topic through Brian Gowthorpe lecturing on why our rich built heritage is special and how it adapts to constant change over time, while Dr Catherine Kent will be exploring the history of buildings in north Northumberland and the Scottish Borders in a forthcoming series of illustrated lectures.