Talks

There is superconductivity to whalesong, Arctic seaweed and Galapagos seabirds, Svalbard’s seas and Colombia’s mountains. There is papermaking, orca sighting, beachcombing, the story of women in shipbuilding, and the boats of Hudson’s Bay … and much, much more in a very full programme of events with what we hope will be something for everyone.

THE SCIENCE OF THE NESS

September 6, 2020 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

The archaeological work at the Ness of Brodgar is being followed worldwide. Although excavations couldn’t proceed this summer, the study of the vast amount of data and finds from previous years has been continuing, as director Nick Card explains. Two other members of the UHI Archaeology Institute team at Orkney College describe ongoing scientific analysis of the finds. Dr Ingrid Mainland speaks on the animal teeth found over time and the clues to a possible marine diet, and Dr Scott Timpany describes plants, pollen and Brodgar’s Neolithic landscape. All the speakers are Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who’re hosting and highlighting the session.

SAILING ON STONES

September 7, 2020 → 10:00 am10:45 am

Neolithic mariners in north-west Europe may have employed a fundamental nautical engineering principle, says Dr Mark Cooper of the University of Washington, Seattle – sailing with ballast. Using a long, knife-shaped megalith as the central hull of a trimaran would have increased stability, as well as speed and cargo-carrying capacity.

WOMEN IN SHIPBUILDING

September 7, 2020 → 11:30 am12:15 pm

From one of the industries traditionally most dominated by men come stories of an 18th-century shipwright, a 19th-century propeller designer, a pioneer marine engineer and a WW2 shipyard electrician – and all of them women. Their newly-discovered histories are revealed by engineering historian Dr Nina Baker, who was herself a Merchant Navy deck officer, and highlights the role of women in engineering today.

A SPACEPORT FOR SCOTLAND

September 7, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:45 pm

Will it be in Sutherland or Shetland, or both? Dr Matjaž Vidmar of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh speaks to some of those involved in the plans for Tongue and for Unst.

THE BOATS FOR THE BAY

September 7, 2020 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

Orcadians working for the Hudson’s Bay Company over its three and a half centuries have had to use a wide range of vessels – York boats and canoes, ocean-going ships and paddle-steamers on lakes and rivers. Naval architect Dennis Davidson and former boatbuilder Len Wilson tell the story of the boats and the design principles behind their success.

A POLLUTANT’S TALE

September 7, 2020 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

The story of the gases in the atmosphere, their interactions with each other and with us, and the way they affect life on the planet, with colourful practical illustrations. This lecture/demonstration by Tim Harrison and Prof. Dudley Shallcross of the University of Bristol has been given in 31 countries, from the US and China to Australia and New Zealand, to over 2500 audiences. Supported by the Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group at the University of Bristol

OTTERS AND ORCAS, PUFFINS AND SKUAS

September 7, 2020 → 7:30 pm8:15 pm

Award-winning wildlife cameraman and photographer Raymond Besant takes us on a tour of Orkney's coast, from cliffs and geos to sandy beaches, and the varied birds and mammals who live and feed there in a world of wild weather, orcas, otters, seabirds and seaweed.

THE NEWS FROM THE HEART OF THE WORLD

September 7, 2020 → 9:00 pm9:45 pm

High on a mountain in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada, the Kogi are among the very few indigenous people to survive contact with the western world. Despite their isolation, they have a deep concern with what we are doing to the Earth. In a film made by Alan Ereira, From the Heart of the World (1990), they warned of the danger. With growing concern, the initiated a second film with him, Aluna the Movie (2012), in which they sought to share some of their ways of thinking with western scientists, to find a solution to the deeper causes of the problem. What response have they had? Can indigenous and modern knowledge be brought together to repair damaged landscapes? Alan Ereira in conversation brings the latest news and answers questions, along with zoologist Prof. Alex Rogers of REV Ocean and Oxford University.

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