2011 lectures online

Throughout the year, the University of Sussex is host to an exciting series of public lectures that illustrate the breadth and quality of research being conducted at the University.

Most lectures are recorded and made available here in a number of formats.

Professorial Lecture: Blowing in the wind: desert dust in the Earth's climate system

Professor Martin Todd

06 December 2011
Speaker: Professor Martin Todd, Professor in Climate Change - School of Global Studies

The Earth's climate is a complex and interconnected system incorporating the atmosphere, ocean, land and ice surfaces. These components are linked together through a myriad of physical, chemical and biological processes, which together constitute the whole Earth System. To make predictions of climate in the coming years and decades requires that we understand, and can model, as many components of the Earth System as possible. This lecture focuses on one component, which exemplifies this complexity: desert dust particles, or aerosols, and the role they play in the climate system.

Vast plumes of desert dust are are transported in the atmosphere many tens of thousands of kilometres around the world; these plumes have important, but relatively poorly understood, direct and indirect effects on the Earth's climate system through physical and bio-chemical processes. In this lecture, Professor Todd draws on his involvement in recent international projects to provide a summary of the state-of-the-art in the science of climate and aerosol processes.

More information about Professor Martin Todd

Serotonin, satiety and the challenge of obesity

Professor Pete Clifton

22 November 2011
Speaker: Professor Pete Clifton, Professor of Psychology - School of Psychology

Serotonin is an important brain neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of many functions, including mood and appetite. As with all neurotransmitters, it exerts its effects by binding to specific receptors and then changing brain function. A key challenge in neuroscience is to understand the distinct roles that different neurotransmitter receptors play in influencing our behaviour.

This lecture will explore actions of serotonin that affect different aspects of feeding, including our feelings of satiety and the way in which environmental cues may arouse hunger. It will also discuss how such studies can suggest new approaches to the pharmacological treatment of obesity and describe some of the pitfalls that arise in translating preclinica.

More information about Professor Pete Clifton

Issues in Criminal Justics Lecture: Reforms in criminal justice

Nick Herbert MP - Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice

27 October 2011
Speaker: Nick Herbert MP - Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice

Nick Herbert was elected MP for Arundel & South Downs in May 2005. Prior to being appointed Minister of State for Justice, he held positions as Shadow Minister for Police Reform, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and most recently Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Prior to his election as an MP, Nick was the Director of Reform, an independent think tank that he co-founded in 2002. He was Chief Executive of Business for Sterling from 1998 to 2000.

The art of the possible

Professor Peter Boxall

11 October 2011
Speaker: Professor Peter Boxall, Professor of English - School of English

The phrase 'politics is the art of the possible' is used to justify political pragmatism, particularly when a pragmatic solution to a political problem requires us to compromise a dearly held ideal or principle. The practice of such a narrow realpolitik, however, belies another tradition of thought, which sees art itself as the place in which new and previously unimaginable possibilities emerge.

This lecture will offer a brief history of the relationship between art and possibility, from Thomas More to Samuel Beckett, before going on to look at the fate of possible worlds in the contemporary arts. Under increasing financial pressure, and the enforced conventional categorisation of writers by publishing houses, it appears that the scope for the arts to invent becomes increasingly narrow. However, this lecture will suggest that the historical currents that drive us towards pragmatic and instrumental thinking can nevertheless produce new conjunctions between art and the possible.

More information about Professor Peter Boxall

Issues in Criminal Justice Lecture: Rape: a unique crime?

Baroness Stern CBE

08 June 2011
Speaker: Baroness Stern CBE

Professorial Lecture: Prophecy, prediction, approximation and computation

Professor Erik Burman

24 May 2011
Speaker: Professor Erik Burman, Professor of Mathematics - School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

More information about Professor Erik Burman

Asa Briggs in converstion with Michael Farthing, plus Q&A session

Asa Briggs and Michael Farthing

22 May 2011
Speaker: Asa Briggs and Michael Farthing

Professorial Lecture: The Republican Party and the secession crisis of 1860-61

Professor Robert Cook

17 May 2011
Speaker: Professor Robert Cook, Professor of American History - School of History, Art History and Philosophy

More information about Professor Robert Cook

Issues in Criminal Justice Lecture: Privy Council and death penalty - a buried treasure of jurispridence

Edward Fitzgerald CBE QC

04 May 2011
Speaker: Edward Fitzgerald CBE QC

David Miliband in conversation with Tim Bale, plus Q&A session

David Miliband and Tim Bale

03 May 2011
Speaker: David Miliband and Tim Bale

Professorial Lecture: Can we really abolish child poverty in Britain?

Professor Richard Dickens

08 March 2011
Speaker: Professor Richard Dickens, Professor of Economics - School of Business, Management and Economics

More information about Professor Richard Dickens

Issues in Criminal Justice Lecture

Kier Starmer QC

02 March 2011
Speaker: Kier Starmer QC

Professorial Lecture: Byzantine Art: all that glitters is gold

Professor Liz James

22 February 2011
Speaker: Professor Liz James, Professor of History of Art - School of History, Art History and Philosophy

More information about Professor Liz James

Issues in Criminal Justice Lecture

Dominic Grieve QC MP

09 February 2011
Speaker: Dominic Grieve QC MP

Professorial Lecture: Challenges of producing cleaner energy from gasified coal and solid waste

Professor Abdulnaser Sayma

08 February 2011
Speaker: Professor Abdulnaser Sayma, Professor of Computational Fluid Dynamics - School of Informatics

More information about Professor Abdulnaser Sayma

Professorial Lecture: Symmetries, scales and the origin of everything

Professor Philip Harris

25 January 2011
Speaker: Professor Philip Harris, Professor of Physics - School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

One of the greatest mysteries of cosmology for the last half century has been the question of why the Universe contains so much matter but little or no antimatter. Just after the Big Bang, matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts – about a billion times as much as there is matter today. These then interacted and annihilated, leaving behind background radiation that floods the Universe. But it also left behind a tiny excess of matter, which constitutes all of the planets and stars and galaxies that we see around us. Why did this happen?

Professor Harris's research centres around a beautiful and subtle experiment – widely regarded as one of the most important projects in UK particle physics – that links a structural asymmetry of fundamental particles, on the tiniest scale imaginable, to the grand cosmic asymmetry that is responsible for the existence of all of the matter in the Universe.

More information about Professor Philip Harris