• September 5 → 10:00 am11:00 am

    We’re used to taking non-renewable resources from the ground, turning them into chemicals and then consumer goods, and eventually throwing them away. But a new approach turns this model right around. Green chemistry seeks ways to transform waste or renewable natural materials, and make safe chemicals and recyclable products. Prof. James Clark of the University of York’s Green Chemistry Centre describes examples that include cleaning products from sawdust and food wastes, fuels from waste cooking oils, medical devices from seaweed, and clothes from pineapple leaves.

  • September 5 → 11:30 am12:30 pm

    Water is an essential commodity for life on this habitable planet. Rainfall patterns are changing and set to change further in the future, particularly in the tropics where the lives and the livelihoods of more than a third of the world’s population are dependent. By using the chemistry of marine plankton and combining it with climate models, a team of researchers from The Open University have assessed drivers of monsoon rainfall, changes in the tropical rainfall pattern during past warm intervals, and the role of South Asian monsoon rainfall in past global climate.

  • September 5 → 2:00 pm3:00 pm

    650 million people worldwide have no access to electricity. For Rwanda it’s 24% of the population, for Zambia 65%, and Malawi 81%. But solar power opens the way for communities to set up their own local energy systems, whether grid-connected or off-grid. Prof. Stewart Galloway describes how Strathclyde University’s SG Global Renewables Centre provides knowledge needed for various stages of the progress – for developing core skills, for connecting off-grid systems to national grids, and for applying business models to run the resulting energy enterprises.

  • September 5 → 3:30 pm4:30 pm

    Earth has been the dominant masonry mortar in Scotland for over 5,000 years. Architect Tom Morton and mudmason and artist Rebecca Little have been studying its use in Orkney’s ancient buildings for Historic Environment Scotland, and they’ve identified a range of skilled techniques. Earth can bind stones for walls, and clay was found for sealing and bedding the roof slates found at the Ness of Brodgar. Recent studies also include Maeshowe and the Links of Noltland. And as they explain, it turns out that today, when using local materials can help carbon reduction, earth along with straw could quite remarkably have a role again.

  • September 5 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

    How was gold formed? University of Glasgow astrophysicist and ‘black hole hunter’ Prof. Martin Hendry goes on a journey through space and time to seek an answer, and explores how the detection of spacetime ripples from colliding neutron stars has brought exciting new insights into the cosmic origins of precious metals.

  • September 5 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

    Masanobu Shibuya has worked all his life as commercial diver in Japan, and is involved today in developing collaboration between the fisheries sector and marine renewable energy developments. He studies at first hand the growth of seaweed around marine units, and the home it provides for fish and shellfish in a developing new ecohabitat. He shows underwater film footage and describes his work in discussion with Dr Gareth Davies and Neil Kermode.

  • September 5 → 7:15 pm8:15 pm

    The only true plants in our ocean are seagrasses, with characteristic root systems, leaves, flowers and seeds. They provide a vital habitat for marine life, increasing biodiversity, and locking carbon into the sediment. These ecosystems have such great value that conservation and restoration work is under way globally. Orkney’s pristine meadows are particularly important and the subject of research through the Sjøgrass Project, funded by Highland Park. Prof. Joanne Porter of Heriot-Watt University joins Dr Esther Thomsen and Katy Waring of Project Seagrass to describe their work over the past three years.

  • September 5 → 7:30 pm8:30 pm

    The Orkney Club, Harbour Street, Kirkwall There are so many types of wine and whisky which we can sample and compare – and, says Marko Gajić from Slovenia’s Lake Bled area, that applies to water as well. There’s clear mountain water, mineral water with magnesium, water from Icelandic glaciers or the heart

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