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European Science Week and the Year of Physics (Einstein Year in the UK) provided the opportunity to stage a distinctive event, in which the European dimension and interaction with other groups in Europe played a key role. The SCI-FUN Roadshow provided a selection of hands-on activities, complemented by demonstrations from the School of Physics, which illustrated the range and quality of the university's research activity. Exhibits and displays described the legacy of famous scientists such as Einstein and his hero, Edinburgh-born James Clerk Maxwell. During the hands-on session, pupils had the opportunity to take part in a short quiz, based on the ten Kids' University posters.
To complete their week at 'university', pupils had the opportunity to attend the final graduation ceremony (and receive their graduation certificates, shown opposite). Click here or on the picture above-right to see photographs of some of our graduates receiving their certificates.
A selection of the exhibits, workshops and displays from the Kids' University was exhibited in the Public Foyer at Holyrood (opposite).
The LERU event wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been for the help of our team of volunteers, listed below.
Edinburgh Neuroscience celebrated the retirement of its clinical co-director, Professor Charles Warlow, with a festschrift organised by the Division of Clinical Neurosciences, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences on Monday 19th May 2008. This Festschrift was supported by: The University of Edinburgh, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, Guarantors of Brain, Mrs Dale Fund, Scottish Association of Neurological Sciences, Stroke Association, Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, Royal Society of Edinburgh and The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. There were many wonderful photographs taken on the day by Peter Sandercock - a small selection is shown here. Naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin’s radical ideas shaped modern thinking about where we come from. Born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1809, Charles Robert Darwin was the fifth of six children and the grandson of potter and anti-slavery campaigner Josiah Wedgewood and Erasmus Darwin, a key thinker of the Midlands Enlightenment and the author of Zoonomia, a work which anticipated natural selection.


Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and heading north to Edinburgh University to study medicine. Squeamish about surgery and uninspired by lectures, Charles was far from the model medical student. Stalwart of the Plinian Society and freethinker, Robert Edmond Grant had a particular influence on the young Darwin.
Grant had qualified in medicine from the University but gave up medical practice in favour of marine biology.
Encouraged to pursue a profession by his father, Darwin enrolled at Cambridge University with a view to becoming an Anglican parson.
After Cambridge came the trip of a lifetime as he was invited on a voyage around the world on HMS Beagle as a gentleman naturalist. For the next five years Darwin collected specimens and investigated the local geology of four continents.
Ill health, family tragedy, his career as a geologist and prolific author, and concerns that his revelations would be “like confessing a murder”, meant that; despite writing a pencil sketch in 1842 and a longer essay in 1844, it was November 1859 before the abstract On the Origin of Species was published. Origin of Species was a bestseller worldwide and with each new edition Darwin revised and strengthened his arguments.
One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
Darwin had largely avoided the subject of human evolution in Origin of Species but public discussion honed in on this controversial and compelling subject and 12 years later he set down his ideas regarding human evolutionary theory in The Descent of Man. He continued working right up until his death in 1882, publishing his final book, The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms, just a year before.
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh 2016.


With a particular focus on Physics, the Edinburgh event included the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics, the e-Science Centre, the Institute for Astronomy, the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions and those areas of science which are underpinned by Physics-derived understanding, such as Earth and Planetary Science, and new areas of Biotechnology and Medicine. The PP4SS Particle Physics project also presented its suite of exhibits for schools, including the recent Muon Lifetime experiment at Cairn Gorm. The event took place at Our Dynamic Earth, and was attended by pupils, parents, teachers and other invited guests. Almost 250 people gathered at The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh to hear talks from many of Professor Warlow's colleagues, past and present. He did however enjoy the chemistry lectures of Professor TC Hope and as a member of the Plinian Society; a club at the University for students interested in natural history, found likeminded individuals and radical freethinkers. Charles became Grant’s most attentive student, assisting him with collecting specimens along the shores of the Firth of Forth, and it was Grant who Darwin approached for advice regarding specimen storage prior to the second voyage of HMS Beagle. As with his time at Edinburgh, his interests lay outside his expressed studies and his focus quickly shifted from religion to natural science. He was frequently sea sick but the long periods spent reading and reflecting combined with his observations were to form the basis of his ground breaking theory of evolution by natural selection. It was the fifth edition, published in 1869 that contained the phrase survival of the fittest. He died a virtual recluse but his impact and legacy is profound; influencing fields as diverse as zoology, philosophy, theology and literature, and helping us understand our place in the world.
It was a fabulous day and, in tribute to one of Charles' enthusiasms, had a nautical theme!




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