Academic guest lecture series

The University of Manchester is home to world-class experts in a wide range of academic fields. In order to share our expertise and enrich your curriculum, we offer subject-specific lectures to students in local schools and colleges in a range of academic disciplines.

Where: Most lectures take place in your school or college.

When: You can arrange a date and time that are mutually convenient for you and our academic.

Duration: The guest lecture is approximately one hour.

Cost: All lectures are free of charge.

Location: Schools and colleges must be based approximately one hour’s travelling distance of The University of Manchester. We will try our best to meet your request.

Group size: Minimum 20 students.

Book a lecture

Information on the lectures we offer is available via the drop down list below.

For most of our lectures all you need to do is complete the booking form and we will liaise with our lecturers to arrange the booking. You can select up to two Academic Guest Lectures per form.

If your chosen lecture is part of the Doctors in schools, John Rylands Library activities or Social Science lectures you will need to email address listed under ‘contact’ in the drop down menu.

Please note that delivery of Academic guest lectures will depend on the availability of our academics.

To ensure that as many institutions as possible can benefit we limit lectures to five per institution per academic year.

Shortly after your lecture we will contact you for feedback so that we can continue to improve our offer.

or list all lectures.

 

 

Subject areasLecture title and descriptionBooking methodAge range
  • Medicine
  • Biology

What makes the Heart Beat?
The cardiac conduction system (CCS) is responsible for your heart beat. If it becomes diseased, this has serious consequences and is life threatening. Despite its importance, the CCS is the ‘Cinderella’ of the heart and it has been poorly researched and understood. This talk will consider:

• The actual position and extent of the sinus node, and how this is different from what is portrayed in textbooks
• The distribution of major cardiac ion channels (responsible for the heart beat) in the sinus and atrioventricular nodes, and the importance of this for our understanding of the CCS
• The complexities of CCS disease in ageing and heart failure

This talk will particularly focus on the giant leaps forward made by recent research in this area and it’s importance for our understanding of the heart.

Booking form Suitable for A Level students
  • Medicine
  • Biology

Growing human kidneys in the laboratory: My research finding out why people are sometimes born with abnormal kidneys

This interactive lecture will look at human genetics and also animal models, which we can use to learn how organs grow normally and what happens when this process goes wrong.

Booking form
Suitable for A Level students studying some science (especially Biology)
  • Medicine
  • Biology

Children and teenagers living with kidneys that do not work
This interactive, clinical talk covers what the kidneys do, why children can get kidney disease and what treatments they can receive (e.g. transplantation and dialysis) at the new Manchester Children's Hospital.

Booking form
Suitable for sixth form or Year 11.
  • English Language

English Language in the Real World: Accent and Identity
A discussion of accent is provided to see how our accent contributes to our personal identity and sense of self. However, when confronted with linguistic prejudice - accentism - do we choose to modify our accent to avoid negative stereotyping? This lecture investigates how this further affects our sense of who we are.

Booking form

Suitable for primary to secondary/sixth form

  • Mathematics

Dimensional Analysis
Covering the most fundamental of all mathematical problems: dividing 10 apples between 5 people and will proceed from "named numbers" of primary school arithmetic, to scaling invariance in mathematics and physics, briefly discussing on the way (time permitting) the Pythagoras theorem, pendulum, walking on Earth and on the Moon, "the heart attack equation" and turbulence in moving fluid.

Booking form

Suitable for sixth form only

  • Physics

Superfluids, Superconductors, Vortices and Cosmic Strings
Superconductors are materials that lose any resistance to current when cooled well below the room temperature. Examples are tin and lead but not copper and gold. Similarly, superfluids are very cold liquids that completely lose viscosity and hence can flow in circles without ever slowing down. Understanding the underlying quantum physics greatly enriched our knowledge of the laws of nature. It also resulted in various applications that include MRI scanners in hospitals, high-power motors in navy, levitating trains and particle accelerators. The talk will include general discussion of the meaning and uses of low temperatures as well as some practical demonstrations.

Booking form

Suitable for sixth form only

  • Physics 
  • Chemistry

On the Face of It: surfaces and interfaces in physics, chemistry and medicine
This talk looks at the importance of surface interactions in a whole range of applications from catalysis to medical implants to new solar cells. All of these applications involve processes occurring on a molecular scale. Surfaces are even thought to be important in the production of the chemicals found in interstellar space.

Booking form Suitable for years 10-11 
  • Physics 
  • Chemistry

Filling up on Sunshine: Solar Energy and Solar Fuel
This talk covers current methods and research in the area of generating energy from sunlight. It includes topics such as silicon solar panels and new methods for generating electricity from sunlight (photovoltaics). It then asks what happens when the sun goes down and describes how scientists are now trying to generate fuels from sunlight using sunlight activated catalysts and the advantages of this over photovoltaics. 

Booking form
Suitable for years 10-11
  • Environmental Sciences

Climate change and Siberia
About half the world’s soil carbon is currently stored in Arctic permafrost, largely in Eastern Russia. This huge freeze-locked pool is vulnerable to global warming and is being released through thawing, increased river runoff and erosion and transported to the Arctic Ocean. Warming caused an increase in Arctic permafrost temperatures of up to 2°C between 1971-2010 and ca. 7% increase in discharge rates of the main Arctic rivers, leading to increased release of carbon from thawing permafrost. In this lecture the fate of this remobilised carbon in the Arctic region, which is still a matter of debate, and the consequences for the global carbon cycle will be discussed.

Booking form
Suitable for 14+
  • Biomaterials
  • Drug Delivery
  • Materials
  • Solar
  • Stem Cells

From Today's Biomaterials to Tomorrow's Therapies
This presentation will consider key issues in biomaterials which include drug delivery, regenerative medicine, stem cell control, brain tissue repair and heart tissue repair. The discussion will consider current and cutting-edge approaches to biomaterials research. The presentation time is around 45 minutes.

Booking form
Suitable for years 11-13
  • Energy 
  • Materials 
  • Renewable 
  • Solar

Next Generation Solar Cells: A Bright Low Carbon Future
This presentation will consider current and future solar cell technologies. The principles for solar cell operation will be considered and also some of the science underpinning the state-of-the-art solar cells currently being investigated by the worlds leading researchers. The presentation time is around 45 minutes.


Booking form
Suitable for years 11-13
  • Mathematics

Patterns in the Unpredictable: Why random behaviour is surprisingly non-random
Most people are very bad at predicting random behaviour (for example: would you prefer to pick 1,2,3,4,5,6 as your lottery numbers or 3,17,18,21,33,46? Or if, when tossing a coin, if it has come down `heads' 7 times in a row, does that mean that `tails' is overdue?) However, what many people do not realise is that true random behaviour often contains a surprising amount of structure and order. Using simple ideas from probability theory, this talk gives some examples of this phenomena including why certain numbers appear far more frequently in the real world than you think they should, how to detect tax fraud, and how to hoodwink your friends!

Booking form
Suitable for year 7 and above
  • Mathematics

Enigma Variations: Cryptography and the Enigma machine
How do codes, ciphers and cryptography work? What was the Enigma machine? How did mathematicians such as Alan Turing shorten World War II and save possibly millions of lives? In this talk, we will look at how substitution ciphers have evolved from (easy to crack!) Caesar ciphers, through to the (much harder to crack!) Enigma machine, and (impossible to crack!) one-time pads.

Booking form
Suitable for year 7 and above
  • Mathematics 

Shuffling around: Why you shouldn't play cards with a mathematician
What is the best way to shuffle a pack of cards? How many times should you shuffle a pack to ensure that the pack is `random' (and what does `random' mean)? What can go wrong if you don't shuffle properly? In this talk we'll try to answer these questions, using a branch of pure mathematics known as group theory.

Booking form Suitable for year 7 and above
  • Biology
How cells sense their environment Booking form Suitable for year 10 upwards (most suited to A Level)
  • Nursing

The therapeutic nature of nursing
Nurses are highly skilled practitioners who are in contact with patients for longer than any other health care professional. This talk will discuss how nurses work with the patient/client towards recovery. It will be outlined how nurses are therapeutic instruments that can positively influence recovery.

Booking form Suitable for years 12 & 13
  • Nursing
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Pain hurts or does it?
Injury causes a series of internal events in the body. These events are adapted and modified by the body’s internal chemistry and by changes in the brain which lead to pain. This talk will explore these changes and how in certain cases pain will be internally controlled. Discussion will explore how we might be able to switch on our own pain killers.

Booking form Suitable for years 12 & 13
  • Nursing
  • Biology 
  • Medicine

Phantom pain
More than 80% of people who have an arm or a leg amputated feel pain in the missing limb. This talk will discuss how it is possible to feel pain in a part of the body that is no longer present and explore how by understanding the nature of phantom pain we can help people with other chronic pain conditions.

 

Booking form Suitable for years 12 & 13
  • Art History
  • Visual Studies

Victorian Art in Public Art Collections in Manchester and the North West
This lecture is an introduction to the remarkable collections of Victorian art in the Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester), Manchester Town Hall, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool), Sudley House (Liverpool), the Victoria Gallery and Museum (Liverpool), the Lady Lever Art Gallery (Port Sunlight), the Williamson Art Gallery (Birkenhead), Tabley House (Knutsford) the Harris Museum and Art Gallery (Preston), Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museums (Bury) and Bury Art Gallery. It explores these collections by spotlighting important works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Shields, Noel Paton, William Dyce, WP Frith, EM Ward, Frederic Leighton, Hubert Herkomer, Albert Moore, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Charles Ricketts and PW Steer.

Booking form Suitable for ages 14–17
  • Art History 
  • Visual Studies

Victorian Art in Public Art Collections in Manchester and the North West
This lecture is an introduction to the remarkable collections of Victorian art in the Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester), Manchester Town Hall, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool), Sudley House (Liverpool), the Victoria Gallery and Museum (Liverpool), the Lady Lever Art Gallery (Port Sunlight), the Williamson Art Gallery (Birkenhead), Tabley House (Knutsford) the Harris Museum and Art Gallery (Preston), Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museums (Bury) and Bury Art Gallery. It explores these collections by spotlighting important works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Shields, Noel Paton, William Dyce, WP Frith, EM Ward, Frederic Leighton, Hubert Herkomer, Albert Moore, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Charles Ricketts and PW Steer.

Booking form Suitable for ages 14–17
  • Pharmacy
  • Biology

Bugs 'n' Drugs
The presentation will focus on the spread of microbial infections, treatment and respionse by the microorganisms to antimicrobial therapy.

Booking form Suitable for years  10-13 
  • Chemistry

An X-ray vision of biology: exploring chemistry of the cell using crystallography
This lecture describes the history and impact of X-ray crystallography on our understanding of biology at the cellular/atomic level. It will illustrate how chemists and biologists use this technique at large facilities such as the Diamond synchrotron to determine the structure and function of biological macromolecules (i.e. DNA, enzymes and transmembrane proteins).

Booking form Suitable for 14 +
  • Meteorology
  • Weather
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Computer Science

Why do good weather forecasts go bad?
The future of the atmosphere can be determined from a fairly simple set of five physically-based equations. If so, why are weather forecasts sometimes so bad? In this talk, we will present the scientific basis for why weather forecasts are possible, how modern weather prediction occurs by computer, and why we sometimes fail. It will also describe a web-based tool that anyone can use to forecast the weather on their own.

Booking form Suitable for 14 +
  • Biology

How we control our blood calcium levels
Calcium is essential as it makes our heart beat, our muscles contract and gives strength to our bones. Mammals have developed mechanisms for controlling blood calcium levels, but we are still at great risk of mineral diseases such as osteoporosis.

 

Booking form Suitable for 6th form students only
  • Astronomy

Hunting for other Earths
How do we find planets around other stars? What kind of planets have been found so far? How common are planetary systems and how do they form? What are the prospects for finding evidence of life on other planets in the future? This talk discusses the current state-of-the-art in the relatively new research field of extra-solar planets.

 

Booking form  
  • Materials

Alloys
Probably the most important materials in the world. Alloys are used everywhere and have enabled the development of modern civilization, but they’re so often taken for granted (usually because they do their jobs so well!). This talk explores what alloys are, the types of alloy we commonly, and why they’re so useful. It includes two exciting demos of the usual behaviour alloys can display!

Booking form Suitable for secondary schools and sixth forms
  • Materials 


Hot and cold materials
This talk explores what happens when we heat up and cool down materials. It begins by asking what the types of material we use commonly are, and what states of matter are about. It then moves on to introduce what atoms are, how they behave in solids/liquids/gases, and what happens to them when we heat up and cool down materials. It finishes with some cool demos of magical materials, as well as a liquid nitrogen demonstration!

 

Booking form Can be tailored for any primary school year (particularly good for years 3–6). 
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Pregnancy
The science behind good bad outcomes For the majority of the adult population our physiological functions work in a predictable and hassle free way – our heart and lungs give us life, our digestive systems feeds us and our muscles and senses enable us to move about. One aspect of our physiology is however less reliable. The female reproductive tract is responsible for the maintenance of pregnancy, but unlike our lungs is prone to malfunctions in a way that may kill or harm both mother and child. Without developed healthcare death in childbirth occurs 1:50 cases and death of the baby ~1:10. With developed healthcare these risks fall dramatically, but morbidity (injury sustained from disease) remains high and only a third of women can expect straightforward pregnancy. This lecture will cover the facts about pregnancy outcome in the modern world, why things happen as they do and how scientific advances may improve this. It will be of interest to aspiring doctors and midwives as well as those who are interested in science as a careers on its own.

 

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Medicine
  • Healthcare
  • Chemistry

Being a Doctor: Communication is key
This lecture will give an insight into the qualities needed to be a medic, focusing on communication and providing case studies from General Practice. It will be delivered by a practicing GP who also teaches communication skills to medical students. Although academic skills are crucial when it comes to being a doctor, many other practical and interpersonal skills are also essential – including understanding what it takes to communicate effectively with sick and vulnerable people.

 

Booking form Suitable for years 9-11 in the Greater Manchester Area
  • Astronomy
  • Computer Science
  • Data
  • Scientific Analysis

Astronomy images on your computer
Astronomers have been placing their astronomical data online for a very long time, but most people do not know that they can download these data and either create their own astronomical images or perform their own scientific analyses. This talk will describe how anyone with access to a computer can do this as well as show some examples. 

In addition to this talk hands-on computer-based workshops can be arranged in schools.

 

Booking form Suitable for pupils aged 12-18
  • Archaeology


What do archaeologists really do?
This lecture will cover: An introduction to archaeological methods, an introduction to key concepts used in archaeology (also applicable to geology, history, science and maths) such as stratigraphy and dating techniques, and some hands on experience of archaeological kit and artefacts.

Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly
  • Archaeology


Forgetting the Flinstones: Rethinking prehistoric hunter gatherers
This lecture will cover: A critical examination of how modern media presents hunter gatherers and a re-examination of the archaeological evidence including a hands on session using real prehistoric artefacts.

 

Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly
  • Archaeology

Thinking through things
This lecture will include a critical analysis of what material culture can tell us. It will consider, are material things static, passive and meaningless or do they communicate information? If so how can they do this? And how might this be useful to archaeologists and anthropologists?

 

Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly
  • Medicine
  • Healthcare
  • STEM

Doctors in schools
As part of The University of Manchester Medical School’s commitment to widening access to the medical profession, we have recruited a team of doctors who would like to deliver presentations on a “Career in Medicine” to pupils who attend state schools in the Greater Manchester area. The doctors we have recruited have been fully trained to deliver presentations which outline the admissions process for medicine at the University of Manchester as well as talking about their own career path and motivation for being a doctor.

andrew.fear
@manchester.ac.uk
Suitable for years 9-11
  • Physics
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Engineering
History of Flight:  An overview with demonstrations Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Engineering

My Boomerang won't come back
The physics of why a boomerang does come back to you, with an optional session to make a boomerang depending upon time.

Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering

Sound of music
A discussion and demonstration of the physics of musical instruments, including some music!

Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering

Casino Royale
A discussion and demonstration of the mathematics of gambling

Booking form Suitable for any age group and can be adapted accordingly
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering


Drink to me
Discussion and demonstrations of the physics of hot and cold drinks including making an espresso with a bicycle pump, pythogoras’s solution to excessive drinking, the hot chocolate effect, etc.

Booking form Suitable for any age group and can be adapted accordingly
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering

The mechanics of toys
A talk covering a whole range of bizarre and unusual toys and explaining and demonstrating the mechanics and mathematics of toys.

Booking form Suitable for any age group and can be adapted accordingly
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering

The fluid mechanics of sport
A discussion, videos and demonstrations of the physics of ball games and others including golf, football, cricket, ski-jumping, hoop trundling, and so on!

Booking form Suitable for any age group and can be adapted accordingly 
 
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering


Games and sport
This talk contains highlights from 'The Mechanics of Toys' and 'The Fluid Mechanics of Sport' (see other entries)

Booking form Suitable for any age group and can be adapted accordingly
 
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Engineering

Spin!
This lecture contains a discussion and demonstration of the physics of spinning objects including odd things such as rattlebacks.

Booking form Suitable for any age group and can be adapted accordingly
  • Medicine

Cancer: what do I need to know if someone I love has it
Interactive lecture/question and answer session about hospices, palliative care and how people at the end of their lives can be supported. The aim is for participants to appreciate what end of life care involves, but also to dispel myths and fears about treatments, hospices and other aspects of the end of life.

Booking form Suitable for years 10-11
  • Archaeology
  • Environment

Environmental catastrophes
Volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes in prehistory This lecture will provide an introduction to the world-famous eruption of the volcano of Thera (modern-day Santorini) in Greece which is fabled to have caused the demise of the Cretan (Minoan) civilisation. We will explore the sequence of the volcanic eruption, its environmental consequences for the inhabitants of the island and nearby regions and explore the social impact of environmental catastrophes in prehistory.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form or year 11
  • Archaeology

Disease, illness and medicine in prehistory
This introductory lecture explores how diseases, illnesses and general living/working conditions effected the ancient Greeks (Minoan and Mycenaean periods). Drawing on skeletal evidence from a wide range of cemeteries, we will be investigating differences in life expectancy, nutrition, and access to medical and surgical skill.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form or year 11
  • Archaeology

Islands of the mind
Over the last few centuries, islands have become one of the most commonly used literary tropes whose meaning changes according to the historical context. This lecture traces our attraction to islands and explores why islands are anything but simple constructs. This lecture is deliberately cross-disciplinary and will touch upon archaeology, history, literature, tourism, economics and politics.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form or year 11
  • Physics

Liquid crystals
Organising of fluids for technology and biology. Liquid crystals are a part of everyday life - people use liquid crystal devices (LCDs) in their televisions, mobile phones, computers and many other appliances. Nonetheless, some people are unaware of what liquid crystals are and how the devices work. This talk describes liquid crystals in terms of organised fluids and explains why they are so important technologically. It also explains the key position that these materials hold in biology - for example your brain is 70% liquid crystal! Finally, the talk considers how liquid crystals might impact our life in the future.

Booking form Suitable for 16-18 year olds
  • Physics

Soft matter
In contrast to general views matter does not only consist as solids, liquids, and gases. There is a 4th state of matter, which comprises liquid crystals, polymers and colloids, which can be called "Soft Matter". And we do encounter these every day, in mobile phone, laptop and flat screen TV displays, as plastics and Kevlar and as cotton T-shirts, or simply as ketchup, all the way to NASA developed aerogels. This will be a lecture introducing the field through making relations between "simple physics" and numerous applications, such as displays, colour changing thermometers, light reflecting beetles, crazy putty (visco-elastic fluids) and the like. Students will be able to not just see experimental demonstrations during the lecture, but also to try some of them by themselves. Fundamental physical principles will be demonstrated through experiments.

Booking form Suitable for 16-18 year olds
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Geography
  • Planetary Sciences


Meteorites, stardust and the early solar system
The talk starts with an introduction to meteorites; what they look like, where they come from, and how they get here. It will look at what they reveal about the way planets like the Earth grew in a disk around the sun as it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Also showing that they preserve evidence of stars that died before our solar system formed, and that this helps us learn about how the atoms that make up our environment formed. There will be an opportunity to handle meteorite samples.

 

Booking form Suitable for year 12 
  • English 
  • American Studies

Shakespeare
Lectures can be offered on a range of topics (nearly all plays could be covered)

 

Booking form  
  • English 
  • American Studies

History in contemporary popular culture
Lectures can be offered on history in contemporary popular culture, from film to advertising, from historical novels to costume drama. Please indicate what topic(s) you are interested in covering in your email.

 

Booking form  
  • Philosophy

Could a computer think?
Science fiction is full of thinking computers. But is such a thing really possible? Some people think that our brains are complex computers and our thoughts akin to the programs that run on them. Is this the right way to think about thought? We will explore these questions by looking at what both philosophers and cognitive scientists have said on the topic.

 

Booking form Suitable for 16-18 year olds 
  • Philosophy

 

Is it Rational to Fear Death? (only available in the Manchester area)
Most of us are afraid of dying. But is this rational? It would seem irrational for me to fear things that are not bad for me. Yet how can my death be bad for me given that as soon as I die there is no me for my death to be bad for? What attitude should we take towards our own death? Why does post-life non-existence seem so much worse than pre-life non-existence? We will explore these questions and more, looking at the relations between existence, non-existence and value.

Booking form Suitable for 16-18 year olds 
  • Medicine
  • Biology

Digestion and health
It’s surprising how many illnesses affect the digestive system, but doctors have lots of exciting ways to explore the 'inner tube of life', literally from top to bottom. A perspective of the specialty of gastroenterology.

Booking form


Suitable for years 11-13 (Can be adapted for 15-18 year olds in some situations)

  • Physics

Nuclear Energy - The facts behind the fuss
Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima are all names associated with the negative aspect of nuclear energy, but is this perceived bad reputation deserved? Is nuclear energy actually a bad thing that should never have been developed, or can it be the fuel of the future helping provide security of supply and reduce our carbon emissions in line with the UK’s global commitments? This presentation will explain nuclear energy, compare it to our other forms of producing electricity, including their comparative safety, and explain some of the unique nuclear issues such as radiation and the management of radioactive waste.

 

Booking form Suitable for 14-16 year olds and sixth form
  • Physical Geography
  • Geology
  • Energy
  • Climate Change

Oil and Gas: can we afford (not) to use it?
The talk starts by explaining how oil and gas is generated and trapped in rocks and how geologists locate economic reserves kilometres below the surface? We will then review its current usage globally and how long oil and gas will be part of the global energy mix. All important considerations as we aspire to a carbon free world, and for anyone considering studying for a career as a geoscientists.

Booking form Suitable for years 12 and 13
  • Archaeology

Halls of the living and halls of the dead: recent excavations on Neolithic sites at Dorstone Hill, Herefordshire 
Recent excavations by the University of Manchester have revealed deliberately burnt house structures beneath a series of funerary long mounds on Dorstone Hill, dating to the period around 3700 BC. This lecture details the provcess of discovery, and the implications of this find.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Archaeology

Explaining the beginning of Neolithic Britain
Why did people give up hunting and gathering, and begin to herd animals and cultivate crops, to use pottery and stone axes, and to build monuments including long barrows from around 4000 BC in Britain? This lecture reviews the debates.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Medicine
  • Biology

Talking Molecules: the biochemistry of communication
Just as all living things sense and respond to changes in their surroundings, individual cells in multicellular organisms alter their behaviour in response to physical or chemical stimuli. Hormones such as insulin cause complex biochemical changes inside body cells to provoke appropriate changes in behaviour, and errors in this signalling process can result in serious diseases, including cancer and diabete

 

Booking form Suitable for years 10-11 and sixth form
  • Music

Ghosts in the Machine: Creative composing with computers
This is a lecture/demonstration of what it's like to compose original music at home and in the classroom using free or inexpensive software on ordinary computers.The lecture focuses on making original sounds and how to listen "inside" a sound, using it as a basis for original music-making.This lecture does not demonstrate how to be a DJ or make pop songs.Instead, it advocates how to use technology to make personally-unique music.

Booking form Suitable for GCSE and upwards
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Social Work

Psychosis – recognising how it starts and getting help early
Psychosis is a common condition affecting 3% of the population. The word describes when someone is having unusual or strange experiences which may be distressing and causes difficulty with recognizing what is real and what is not real. The trouble with psychosis is that it usually happens at a time of normal adolescent change or comes on very gradually so it can be difficult to spot. This talk will discuss what happens at the early stages and discusses what to do. The talk will also help debunk some of the common myths about psychosis and schizophrenia in particular.

Booking form Suitable for second level students
  • Medicine
  • Healthcare

Various talks on careers in STEM, medicine, hospitals or teamwork
Led by members of the trauma team these can range from plaster casts and introductions to the hospital for nursery children to secondary pupils thinking about options and careers.

Booking form Various
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics 
  • Physics

Magic of clays: Engineering solutions for environmental challenges
A huge quantity of waste is generated on a daily base worldwide, ranging from municipal waste and agricultural waste to long lasting radioactive waste. These wastes can contain hazardous and toxic chemicals that can considerably impact the environmental sustainability and impose high risk to the public health if they are not managed and disposed properly. Engineering solutions have been developed to deal with the waste, its disposal and containment, and protecting our environmental assets including air, soil and water. Clays are among the challenging geomaterials for civil engineers; however they possess significant characteristics enabiling the clays to absorb, retain and mitigate chemicals. These immensely important characteristics are hidden in the micro-structure of clays. In this lecture, we will look at the clays, their microstructure, hazardous chemicals and how they interact with each other. We will demonstrate experimentally how a clay soil reacts with pure water and a contaminated water that contains heavy metals. We will discuss how clays are used in various forms in various engineering applications such as landfills, engineering barriers and also the disposal of very toxic long lasting radioactive waste.

Booking form Suitable for students 15 and over
  • Engineering 
  • Healthcare

How 3D printing is shaping our world
The ability to print objects in three dimensions without almost any geometrical constraints is revolutionising our world. From the production of customized shoes and jewellery to high performance aerospace/automotive components 3D printing is increasingly becoming part of our daily lives. The future holds great promise but also great challenges. This lecture will provide a better insight into future applications of 3D printing with special emphasis on the generation of biological implants to regenerate human tissues and organs.

Booking form


Suitable for 14-18 year olds

  • German 
  • Turkish 

Wolfgang Becker's 'Good Bye, Lenin!' and Nostalgia for the East
A lecture on Wolfgang Becker's popular film which has become a classic document of 'Ostalgie' and of East German cultural memory. Other lectures on Turkish-German cinema and literature can be arranged.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form pupils, but can be adapted
  • Physics

Blood, guts and lasers
This lecture looks at the properties of lasers, and others light sources, that make them useful for medical and biological applications. Following a brief explanation of the interactions, specific examples are then covered - from cancer treatments to laser tweezers.

 

Booking form  Suitable for 14-18 year olds
  • Mathematics

Walking with Euler through Ostpreußen and the Genome
Graph theory is one of the simplest, yet most powerful abstractions in mathematics. This talk, which can take between 30 minutes and an hour, begins at the beginning, with Euler's solution to the Königsberg Bridge Problem (a topic that appears in the syllabus for Decision and Discrete) and ends by solving a problem that arises in the analysis of genomic sequences.

 

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Mathematics


Approximating the heavens (and the Real Numbers)
This talk uses the practical problem of building a mechanical model of the solar system as the starting point for a discussion of ways to represent real numbers. Everyday decimal numbers appear in the form of numbers-as-lengths, but a second view, of numbers-as-areas, turns out to yield a different, interesting and useful representation: the 'simple continued fraction".

 

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Mathematics

Going to the dogs
Applied probability with a dash of mathematical finance. Everyone knows that the way to make money at the track is to be the bookie, but what exactly does the bookie do? In this talk I'll explain how to use simple ideas from probability to understand the way in which it is, in an idealised setting, for the bookie to choose odds that lead to a guaranteed profit.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Mathematics

The Arrow of Time
If you see a film clip of two snooker balls colliding it's pretty hard to tell whether the film has been reversed: one ball smashes into the other and both zoom off in different directions, but pretty much the same thing happens if you run the film backwards. A mathematical way to see this is to note that the basic equations of mechanics don't change if you reverse the direction of time. On the other hand, if you see a video of the break at the beginning of a snooker match it's pretty easy to tell whether the film has been reversed. In one case - when time is running forward - a single ball smashes into a big cluster of stationary balls and the whole lot go flying, while in the time-reversed version a whole jumble of moving balls suddenly coalesce into a neatly organised, stationary block and a single ball goes zooming off omits own. Only the first of these looks like anything familiar from everyday life. These two examples contain the key ideas of the classical (as opposed to quantium-mechanical) answer to the question Why is Tomorrow Different from Today? This talk will introduce the problem more fully and then discuss a certain simple model system, the Feynman-Kac Ring Model, in which you can explore these issues mathematically.

 

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Electrical Engineering

Silicon Power
Every hour, the Sun bombards Earth with enough energy to power all human activity for an entire year. But how exactly do we convert that sunlight efficiently into electricity? Electrical engineers are looking for answers in the sand.

Booking form Suitable for Post-16/A Level
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environment
  • Environmental Sciences


Volcanic eruptions and mass extinction events
Mass extinctions in Earth’s history have made dramatic impacts on the biosphere, leading to conditions which promoted the development of human life on Earth. The purpose of this talk is to examine the processes which may have caused mass extinctions, and the scientific process which has allowed the strengths and weaknesses of diverse extinction processes to be evaluated. We focus in particular on the evidence supporting the Chicxulub asteroid impact compared with the Deccan Traps large igneous province as triggers for the K-T boundary mass extinction 65 millions years ago, which devastated the previously prolific dinosaur populations.

Booking form For KS3, KS4 and A Level. 
  • Mathematics

Counting to infinity, and beyond
Infinity is usually thought of as a rather vague idea but mathematicians take it seriously and Georg Cantor, at the end of the 1800s, developed a theory of infinite numbers. For example it turns out that there is a smallest infinite but there are other, bigger, ones! All sorts of strange, apparently paradoxical, things happen once we move beyond the ordinary, finite, numbers.

 

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Mathematics

Arithmetic round the clock
Modular arithmetic and secure communication. Counting modulo a number is something that we often do (for example clocks work, in hours, modulo 12 or 24). The mathematics of such counting, especially an old result of Fermat and Euler, has turned out to have completely unexpected applications to the security of internet communications.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form and well-motivated 14/15 year olds
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Electrical Engineering

Secrets of smart tech
Q: Why is your mobile like the Eurofighter, CERN's Large Hadron Collider, or an advanced industrial robot? A: They're all smart enough to respond to their environment, and then change their behaviour autonomously. This lecture explains why we can't get through the day without our technological 'nervous system'

Booking form Suitable for Post-16/A Level
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Electrical Engineering

The number that is you: Digital technology is transforming the world
In this audio/video presentation you will discover not just the power of digital signal processing but the fundamental meaning of information as a description of the Universe. There is a number out there that is...you!

Booking form Suitable for Post-16/A Level
  • Medicine
  • Biology

Man vs. Bugs
Bacteria are crucial for human health, yet can present one of the biggest threats to our existence. Focusing on emergency medical practice, I will explore how bacteria attack humans causing life-threatening infection (sepsis). I will describe how difficult this can be to detect and treat effectively, and I will introduce students to the principles of innovative diagnostic technologies being developed at the University of Manchester aimed at saving lives from infection globally.

Booking form Suitable for ages 16-18 with an interest in biology & healthcare.

 

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Engineering

 

Giant molecules and 2D materials
Giant molecules - polymers - are all around us.Research at Manchester is developing new polymers, and putting them together with two-dimensional materials like graphene, to help solve some of society's greatest challenges, such as how to ensure clean air and clean water for everyone.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Religions 
  • Theology

 

Natural (moral) law: new perspectives
Recent scholarship in this area has made a theological and scriptural turn. This lecture will consider how this new development impacts on the 'standard' presentation of natural law.

Booking form Suitable for 6th form only
  • Physics


Power from nuclear fusion
There is a great need for a new source of energy to meeting the growing demands of the world's population, and without the problems associated with fossil fuels. Nuclear fusion - which supplies the energy of the Sun and many other stars - is a very promising possibility. The talk will explain the physics behind this process, showing why extremely high temperatures are required, as well as sufficiently high densities and confinement times. Such a hot gas becomes a plasma, which can be confined using magnetic fields. The talk will explain how this is done in devices known as tokamaks, and will outline how close we are to achieving the goal of fusion, and what remains to be done.

 

Booking form Suitable for 14-18 year olds
  • Physics

Our active sun
The Sun is our nearest star, and while it has been the subject of scientific study since ancient times, there are still many unanswered questions. This talk will focus on the corona - the outer atmosphere of the Sun, which is visible from the Earth only at total eclipses. Our knowledge of the corona has developed greatly in recent years due to space telescopes which observe X-rays emitted by the corona. These show the corona to be highly active. The talk will describe the corona and the important role played by magnetic fields, explaining phenomena such as sunspots, the solar cycle and solar flares. It will also cover the topic of "space weather", explaining the major effects that solar activity can have on the technology we now depend on.

 

Booking form Suitable for 14-18 year olds 
  • Russian Studies

Russia under western eyes: Perceptions and Misconceptions
This lecture offers an overview of popular Western perceptions of, stereotypes about, and attitudes towards Russia, with a particular focus on the role of popular culture in shaping these views in the 20th-21st centuries.

Booking form Suitable for ages 16+ but can adapt to a younger audience (14+)
  • Music 

The birth of opera today
Opera is the blockbuster of the classical musical world, attracting the best singers, and the biggest audiences. But what were the first operas like? How was opera invented, and by whom? This lecture introduces you to the people, cultures and ideas that led to the birth of opera in the late sixteenth century.

 

Booking form Suitable for ages 16-18
  • Chemistry

Graphene and its applications in (Electro)chemistry
This lecture discusses the science behind electrochemical energy storage, specifically the lithium ion battery, which powers all laptops, smartphones and is increasingly being used to power cars and for the electricity grid. We also discuss how new developments with materials such as graphene can assist the further development of such technologies.

 

Booking form Post 16 
  • Biology 
  • Earth Sciences 
  • Evolution


Evolution and the explosive origin of animals
Much of what we know about the history of life on earth come from fossils. The earliest life on earth was simple, but this changed suddenly about 520 million years ago during the Cambrian period. Many of the major animal groups appeared almost simultaneously at this time, in some cases apparently fully formed. This dramatic and rapid event initially seems difficult to reconcile with ideas of gradual Darwinian evolution. New studies of Cambrian fossils, however, are helping us understand this event and how evolution generates new forms. Furthermore, laboratory experiments with rotten fish are providing unexpected insights into the preservation of the fossils and their evolutionary significance.

Booking form Suitable for years 10-13 (KS4 and KS5)
  • English Literature
  • American Studies

Literature and colonialism
This lecture will introduce you to the complicated relationships between creative literature and the experience of colonialism. There will be a brief introduction to the history of European colonialism from the early modern period to the present day, followed by discussions of the different ways in which the works of novelists, playwrights and poets have responded to that history. I will discuss Shakespeare's The Tempest, some of the great works of Victorian fiction and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, in addition to the works of writers from the 'postcolonial' world in Africa, Asia and Latin America such as Chinua Achebe and Aime Cesaire. Questions asked include: How does English literature register the experience of colonialism? How does 'postcolonial' writing resist or write against colonialism? How do writers respond to these experiences today?

Booking form Suitable for ages 11-18
  • Computer Science

Reading and thinking without seeing
What does being blind and using a computer tell us about interaction with information? This will be a personal talk about being a blind computer-user, and what this experience tells us about interacting with the information a computer presents. By considering this, we can gain insights into the nature of information, how we think and how we use computers.

This talk will not provide all the answers, but will raise many questions and show how interesting it can be to think about how humans interact with computers.

Booking form Can be adapted for all ages
  • Philosophy

Time travel metaphysics
Metaphysics is the philosophical investigation of the fundamental nature of reality. Studying the possibility and nature of time travel — especially paradoxes involving backwards time travel to the past — is a fun way to become acquainted with some of the central metaphysical problems currently receiving attention from contemporary philosophers, such as the nature of time, causation, free will, personal identity, and possibility itself.

Booking form For final year students (17-18 years)
  • Medicine

So you want to be a psychiatrist?
This talk will cover a week in the life of a busy Consultant Psychiatrist.

Booking form


Suitable for 16-18 and can be adapted for GCSE pupils who are seriously considering a medical career

  • Medicine 
  • Biology

Repairing the pump: how technology can be applied to treat heart disease
Covering techniques to restore blood supply to the heart muscle, open narrowed valves, close holes and correct abnormal electrical wiring within the heart. Linking anatomy, physiology and technology.

Booking form Suitable for ages 16-18
  • Dentistry

Orthodontics, is it for me?
Orthodontics is a subspeciality within Dentistry. This lecture will explain what Dentists do, including an outline of options when qualified and career paths.

Booking form Suitable for pre or early A Level
  • Archaeology

The emergence of civilization in ancient mesopotamia
This lecture provides an overview of a period in which some of the foundations of modern civilization can be seen for the first time. Between 4000 and 2000 BC, cities and states developed, writing was invented and empires were founded in southern Iraq, forming a new way of life that has a fundamental influence on subsequent periods of history.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only.
  • Archaeology 

Cannibalism in Prehistory?
Cannibalism is a dramatic and controversial topic. Studying its possible presence as part of prehistoric ceremonies at the site of Domuztepe in southern Turkey, provides an insight into human behaviour and the way in which archaeologists can understand past actions.

Booking form  
  • Archaeology

Cultural Heritage in the Middle East
A turbulent discipline The Middle East has been one of the most volatile regions during the 20th century, following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI. The human past has often been used as a weapon in the forging of new nations, and this lecture looks at the often striking relevance archaeology has had to contemporary societies over the last century.

 

Booking form Suitable for 14–16 year olds.
  • Medicine 
  • Healthcare
  • Nursing

Mental health nursing
People with mental health problems often represent some of the most stigmatised and vulnerable individuals in the societies in which they live. This talk will illustrate how mental health is conceptualised in different cultures and how this conceptualisation influences the way people with a mental health problem are treated. It will also describe what mental health nursing is like as a career and the difference a good mental health nurse can make to someone’s life chances.

 

Booking form Suitable for years 12 and 13
  • Physics
  • Astronomy

Cosmic explosions
We are all made of stuff that was created inside stars and spread into space when some of them explode. In this talk the lifecycle of a star will be described ending with the most powerful explosions in the Universe: novae, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts.

Booking form  
  • Physics
  • Astronomy

Seeing the invisible
Modern astrophysics relies on seeing the invisible. This talk traces a journey around the world: from giant optical telescopes in the Andes Mountains to global networks of radio observatories, and farther still to orbiting spacecraft. We will explore how modern technology has extended the range of the human eye allowing us a more complete view of the Universe.

Booking form  
  • Physics
  • Astronomy


Infinity: A wide-ranging overview of our current ideas about the Universe
We will travel from the Solar System to the most distant galaxies, describing the Big Bang picture for the origin of the Universe and exploring the future of the Sun, the Milky Way galaxy and the Universe as a whole. Finally, we will discuss whether modern cosmology has a chance of answering the fundamental question of whether space goes on forever.

Booking form  
  • Physics


Evacuation, Evolution, Epidemics, Economics - the science of agent- based models 
How do you model the spread of a disease ? How can physics help you to understand economics ? What do evolution and game theory have to do with physics ? This interactive talk will cover new and exciting applications of physics and maths across the sciences. Learn how a degree in physics can help to work on these problems, and why reading for a degree in physics is not always only about physics.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Anthropology

Living Cultures: The Rehabilitation of a Victorian Anthropology Collection
Over the past several decades museum anthropology has been in transition. Victorian curators viewed non-European people as primitive and failed to fully appreciate their complex societies. Today’s curators recognise this mistake and are constantly developing new techniques to better understand global cultures.

Booking form Suitable for 13-16 years olds
  • Mathematics

The mathematics of face recognition
Face recognition technology has made tremendous progress over the last decade, with modern systems achieving impressive results, mainly due to advances in the underlying mathematical algorithms. In this lecture I will explain the difference between face detection and face recognition, and illustrate the basic mathematical concepts underlying the eigenface method.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Mathematics


Why can we solve polynomial equations of degree 2, 3, 4 but not 5?
One of the oldest problems in mathematics is to compute solutions of polynomial equations. For instance, the quadratic equation x^2+x+3 has solutions that can be expressed using radicals, namely 1+sqrt(2) and 1-sqrt(2). In fact, we learn in school that there is a general formula to solve quadratic equations. Turns out this is also the case for the cubic and quartic. However, this is NOT the case for quintic equations; for example, the solutions of x^5-15x-3 cannot be expressed in terms of radicals. In this talk we will see how this can be beautifully explained using ideas of the brilliant, yet misunderstood at his time, mathematician Evariste Galois.

Booking form Suitable for sixth form only
  • Computer Science

Understanding the Artificial Intelligence Industrial Revolution
We are at the beginning of a large-scale societal change, induced by the rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI will force us to revisit and redesign the deepest aspects of our culture: our value system, economic models, political and educational systems. In this talk, we will describe, in layman's terms, the technical principles at the heart of this revolutionary force. Understanding these principles will allow us to extrapolate how AI will evolve in the following years and the challenges and opportunities it will bring.

About the speaker: André Freitas is a lecturer at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester. Previously, he was an associate researcher and lecturer at the Natural Language Processing and Semantic Computing Group at the University of Passau (Germany). His research work in Artificial Intelligence concentrates on understanding what are the general principles and how to design the universal machines behind the next generation of intelligent systems.

Booking form Suitable from year 8 to sixth form
  • Computer Science
  • Logic

Computer Science: creative design of (formal) languages
When talking about Computing, we often hear “coding” and “programming”…but who makes these “languages” that we use when programming? Computer scientists make them, and they come in many forms and shapes and for different purposes. This talk will sketch how we create languages, and bring some simple examples of languages that we can explore.

 

Booking form Can be adapted for all secondary and sixth form students
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering

Global warming and mitigating CO2 emission

Booking form Suitable for any age range and can be adapted accordingly.
  • Classics
  • Ancient History 

A variety of lectures in Classics and in Ancient History topics.

More details are available on the Classics and Ancient History website

Booking form  
  • English Literature
  • History
  • Languages

John Rylands Library (Deansgate) activities.
The John Rylands Library at Deansgate offers a range of on-site activities for post-16 learners, which are related to the specific collections of the Library.

 

jrul.education@manchester.ac.uk Suitable for 16–18 year olds.

 

  • Anthropology
  • Development Studies
  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology

Social science lectures
Social Science lectures give an insight into university study for potential applicants who are primarily interested in studying at Manchester. The lectures will be of value to students looking to study the following subjects at undergraduate level: Accounting
- Business Studies
- Criminology
- Development Studies
- Economic and Social History
- Economics
- Finance
- Politics
- Philosophy
- Sociology
- Social Anthropology

The aim of the session is to provide an overview of how social sciences are studied in higher education. The session will equip students with essential information regarding their UCAS applications. Furthermore, students will be given an insight into how an undergraduate course is structured and how teaching is organised.

More details are available on the Social Sciences website

Booking form  
  • Politics
  • Social Sciences

Enigma variations:  cryptography and the Enigma machine
How do codes, ciphers and cryptography work? What was the Enigma machine?  How did mathematicians such as Alan Turing shorten World War II and save millions of lives?  In this talk we will look at how substitution ciphers have evolved from easy-to-crack Caesar ciphers through to the much-harder-to-crack Enigma machine, and impossible-to-crack one-time pads.

Booking form Suitable for 14–16 year olds. 
  • Religions and Theology
Natural (Moral) law: new perspectives
Recent scholarship in this area has made a theological and scriptural turn. This lecture will consider how this new development impacts on the 'standard' presentation of natural law.
Booking form Suitable for sixth form only.
  • Anthropology
  • Development Studies
  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology

Social science lectures
Social Science lectures give an insight into university study for potential applicants who are primarily interested in studying at Manchester. The lectures will be of value to students looking to study the following subjects at undergraduate level:

  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Criminology
  • Development Studies
  • Economic and Social History
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology
  • Social Anthropology

The aim of the session is to provide an overview of how social sciences are studied in higher education. The session will equip students with essential information regarding their UCAS applications. Furthermore, students will be given an insight into how an undergraduate course is structured and how teaching is organised.

More details are available on the Social Sciences website.

tom.mccunnie
@manchester.ac.uk
 

If you have any enquiries about other activities for schools and colleges please email: schoolsandcolleges@manchester.ac.uk.

We also offer Why Study? talks that aim to raise awareness of some of the most competitive and demanding subject areas in higher education and inspire pupils to pursue them.