Sharing things

1.7 Geoff and David

In this episode, Geoff Palmer and David Gray talk about Scottish-Caribbean relations and slavery, beer and a changing Edinburgh.

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A figure of a man working in a maltings, a carving from Jamaica, telephone directory, 'The Living World of Science in Colour' book, a geode, a book with a red cover.
Geoff's objects (left) and David's objects (right).

About our guests

Geoff Palmer

Chosen object: a carving, Jamaican telephone directory and man working in a maltings

Geoff Palmer is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University and a passionate human rights activist. He became the first black Professor in Scotland in 1989 and was knighted by the Queen for services to human rights, science and charity in the 2014 New Year Honours. He has been involved in a wide variety of community work and studies linking Scottish history with Caribbean history.

Geoff specialises in grain science and has extensive expertise with barley, sorghum, other cereals and malt, having written a textbook on the subject entitled 'Cereal Science and Technology'. In 1998, brewing science pioneer Geoff became the fourth person to be honoured with the American Society of Brewing Chemists Award of Distinction, considered the "Nobel Prize of brewing".

Alongside his academic work, Geoff is also a prominent human rights activist and is involved in a considerable amount of charity work in the community. He wrote a series of articles for the Times Educational Supplement from 1969 to 1971 on way to improve the education of children from ethnic minorities. His book on race relations entitled 'Mr. White and the Ravens', was first published in 2001. Geoff has also authored a book on the history of slavery, 'The Enlightenment Abolished: Citizens of Britishness' (2007), and has spoken out extensively against the slave trade.

Geoff Palmer's alumni profile

David Gray

Chosen object: two books and a geode

David Gray, who is originally from Scotland, works at the World Bank within the Development Finance group, leading on the Knowledge and Learning Programme. He graduated from Edinburgh with degrees in Geography and Geographic Information Systems before applying his expertise to international development.

Prior to working at the World Bank, David worked in various places across the globe with the UK’s Overseas Development Administration, in countries such as Indonesia, Belize, the Caribbean, and Brazil.

David is the President of the Edinburgh University Alumni Club of Washington DC where he helps to bring former students together for events such as Burns suppers, happy hours, and recruitment sessions for prospective students.

He is a fan of Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club and enjoys motorcycling.

David Gray's alumni profile

Geoff, host Amalie and David recording the podcast.
In the recording studio.


View transcript for 1.7 Geoff and David

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Host: Amalie Sortland

Theme music: Nathan Webb

Audio recording: Vicki Bell