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STEM@Leeds Team

Educational Engagement
University of Leeds
18 Blenheim Terrace

0113 343 7495

Green Lecture – “What’s under a volcano… and how do we know?” given by Prof Kathy Cashman

One of the world’s leading experts on volcanoes, Professor Kathy Cashman FRS, gives a free public lecture on what lies beneath the world’s hottest, most dynamic places, and how scientists find out about them.

Environmental Science Academy 36th Mathematics Teachers and Advisers Conference Chemistry Taster Day Biological Sciences Summer School Maths Celebration Evening 50 Years of Plate Tectonics with Dr Sue Bowler

1967 and 1968 saw the publication of the first papers that explained the movement of rigid plates over the surface of the Earth. The plate tectonics revolution owed much to advances in data collection over the preceding decade and this data-led approach has transformed geophysics. Using the career and on-line archive of Dan McKenzie, the author of one of those first papers, I will examine how the ideas came together in the mid-1960s and how the concepts have evolved in the past half-century, shedding light on fundamental processes within the Earth, but also providing insights into the mitigation of natural hazards and the oil and gas industry.


Free tea, coffee and biscuits from 6:30pm

Experiment in a Box Teachers Event

Come and find out more about the Experiment in a Box project, launched by the University of Leeds in 2017 and funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Try your hand at some of the experiments and gather ideas for new ones to take back to the classroom. We hope you enjoy it as much as the children!

This session is aimed primarily at KS2 teachers (KS1 and 3 are also welcome!)

Refreshments provided. Free of charge but places must be booked in advance using the form found at http://www.stem.leeds.ac.uk/chemistry/experiment-in-a-box.

Food Science Taster Day

Would you like to explore the role of science in our understanding of food and nutrition? Would you like to experience life as a university student for the day? You can do just that during this hands-on taster day!

The programme will include a mini lecture, spectroscopy practical, taste testing and the opportunity to meet and speak to current staff and students in the School of Food Science and Nutrition.

Open to individual students from year 10, 11 or 12 with teacher and parental permission and to small school groups of up to 6 students. Free of charge to attend and lunch is provided.

For queries or more information please contact Louise Crabtree l.crabtree@leeds.ac.uk

Solar Geometry to Date Certain Art Works of Monet and Constable

Free IOP talk

Prof John Thornes, from the University of Birmingham

Free tea, coffee and biscuits from 6:30pm.

To what extent can we use works of landscape art as proxy data for what the environment was actually like at the time of painting? Artists like Monet and Constable can be trusted if care is taken to understand what the artist was trying to achieve. Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows was first exhibited in 1831 at the Royal Academy by John Constable. The depicted rainbow is totally out of place considering the solar geometry of the scene. Art historians have suggested that perhaps the rainbow was added just before the painting was exhibited – to symbolise hope, as the storm threatening the Cathedral, and by implication the Church of England, was nearly over. However solar geometry tells a different story. The depicted rainbow rests on John Fisher’s house – the house of his best friend where Constable had often stayed. Careful examination of the rainbow shows that it represents a full rainbow which would have been possible on the afternoon of the 25th August 1832 the day when John Fisher unexpectedly died. It is now clear that when the painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1831 it did not contain a rainbow. Indeed none of the many critics describing the picture mention a rainbow. Constable therefore added the rainbow sometime after his best friend had died as a remarkable tribute to him. It is impossible to know exactly when Constable added the rainbow but it is likely to be early in 1834 before he exhibited the painting in Birmingham in September 1834. In July 1834 he wrote to a friend: I have done wonders with my great Salisbury – I have been preparing it for [exhibition in] Birmingham, and I am sure I have much increased its power and effect – and I have no doubt of this picture being my best now…. The reviewer of the painting in The Birmingham Advertiser (November 20th 1834) wrote: Aiming at some striking effect of a summer storm, the artist…has rashly ventured, …ever too ethereal for mortal pencil – a rainbow; which looks as if it were built there, and must there ever remain. This is the first mention of a rainbow in relation to this picture and it obviously made an impression and certainly supports the theory that it had just been added to the picture. Constable believed that ‘painting is a science, and should be pursued as an enquiry into the laws of nature. Why then may not landscape painting be considered as a branch of natural philosophy, of which pictures are but the experiments?’ Constable studied the accepted physics of rainbows at the time which enabled him to create the remarkable rainbow in Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows. He wrote elsewhere ‘we see nothing truly till we understand it’. However he was quite happy to introduce an inconsistent symbolic rainbow


Multi-storey car park at the University of Leeds is open to the general public after 17.00. Up to two hours costs £2. http://carparking.leeds.ac.uk/directions-to-campus/