Monday, March 11, 2013

Free talks at the University of Dundee


Update from the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee:

The spring programme of free talks in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum kicks off next week with Jim Cook of the Dundee Naturalists’ Society discussing The History of Natural History in Angus. Jim’s talk, which takes place on Tuesday 12 March, will explore the long history of investigation of our local wildlife and wild places, with many interesting stories over the last 300 years such as the very first scientific dissection of an elephant, the discovery of the arctic-alpine plants of Clova and the recording of now-extinct plants, rare birds and numerous unusual mosses and lichens. 

This will be followed on Tuesday 19 March by museum curator Matthew Jarron (that's me folks!) with a talk entitled A Sketch of the Universe: Building the Bridge between Science and Art. Matthew will discuss the profound influence that the work of Dundee’s first professor of Biology D’Arcy Thompson had on 20th century art as well as many artists today. His book On Growth and Form showed that physical and mathematical laws could be used to explain the growth and form of living organisms, inspiring some of the most celebrated artists of the past century, including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Hamilton and Jackson Pollock. Matthew will also be discussing his current Art Funded project to build a collection of art for the University inspired by D’Arcy’s ideas and collections.

On Tuesday 26 March we will mark the centenary of the death of Mary Lily Walker, one of Dundee's most visionary social reformers. Walker was one of the first students at University College, Dundee, and in a talk entitled Never More Blessed, Suzanne Zeedyk and Peter Kinnear will discuss her lifelong friendship with D'Arcy Thompson. The scientific training that D'Arcy gave her was put to good use in providing irrefutable evidence of the despair suffered by so many Victorian children. 

After a break for Easter, the programme resumes on Tuesday 30 April with Dr Jenny Bryce, wildlife ecologist at Scottish Natural Heritage, talking about Scottish Wildcats, their conservation, the background of research that has led to our current understanding and proposals for future action.

All talks will be at 6pm in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee. Admission is free and there is no need to book. We hope you can join us.