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Researchers prepare for a new series of public talks at The Lit & Phil

19th January 2023

Academics from Northumbria University have teamed up with the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society, known as The Lit & Phil, to engage the public with their world-leading research through a new series of public talks.

The monthly programme called NU Ideas at The Lit & Phil features themed pairs of 20-minute talks from Northumbria researchers working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

“When I heard that the Lit and Phil was keen to expand its STEM coverage, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to showcase what we do at Northumbria,” explained Professor Martyn Amos, co-coordinator of the NU Ideas programme. “We were delighted by the response from colleagues, and we’ve put together a diverse set of talks that we hope will contain something for everyone.”

Supported by Joe Shimwell of Northumbria’s NUSTEM project, which works with schools across the North East to nurture a passion for STEM subjects from an early age, Northumbria researchers will present short TED-talk style overviews of their work, with time for questions at the end of the session.

Caption: The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. Image by Sally Ann NormanEstablished in 1793 and opened in 1825, The Lit & Phil is the largest independent UK library outside of London.

“The Lit & Phil is delighted to be able to work with Northumbria University on this innovative project,” said Head Librarian at The Lit & Phil, Kay Easson. “The promotion of cutting-edge STEM subjects is as important to us now as it was when the Society was founded.”

Each session will be held at The Lit and Phil, starting at 6pm, and entry is free but donations are appreciated. The full programme is below:

24 Jan

  • Melody Sandells: The Shape of Snow
  • Charlotte Goetz: Hairy Stars in the Sky - the Plasma Tails of Comets

22 Feb

  • Emma Wightman: Nutrition: When the Whole Tells More than the Sum of the Parts
  • Emma Barkus: The Importance of Social Connection for Mental Health

27 Mar

  • Stephanie Helber: Gardens Under the Ocean
  • Mike Jeffries: Can Ponds Save the Planet?

26 Apr

  • Clare Watt: Space Weather Forecasting
  • Adrian Jenkins: What is Happening to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

23 May

  • Pat Randolph-Quinney: Sex, Art, and Death: The Forensic Science of Human Evolution
  • Marc Etherington: The Fever Tree: How Quinine Lit the Way Towards Modern Spectroscopy


  • Dirk van der Linden: What Role Should Technology Play in our Pets' Lives?
  • Paul Vickers: What Does Data Sound Like?

Directions to the Lit and Phil can be found here and tickets can be booked online.

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