Outreach, blog posts and press
Information about our work beyond the lab including outreach, blog posts and the group in the news
When we are not in the lab we are keen to communicate our research as widely as possible with the public. We take part and organise outreach events and share our research through blog posts and with the popular press. Find out more below.
We are always after more opportunities to engage and educate so do get in contact if you want to learn more about our work or think we may be able to help with your activities.
Here in the Molecular Palaeobotany Group we have a passion for plant evolution and for promoting the importance of natural history collections.
Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences Outreach
We are member of the the Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences Outreach Committee which organises a whole range of outreach activities here in Edinburgh.
Communicating plant evolution with the public
We are keen to engage and educate about the study of plant evolution and the importance of fossil plants. Examples of these educational events include:
- Fascination of Plants Day
- The Edinburgh Science Festival
- Public lectures at Botanic Gardens and to regional geology groups
Promoting and using natural history collections
The work of the groups relies on the extensive collections of fossil plants in natural history collections around the world. An aim for the group is to utilise and promote natural history collections to ensure they are maintained and accessible to future generations. Examples of our work in this area include:
- Our work with the fossil plant collections in the Oxford University Herbaria was highlighted on the BBC.
- Sandy co-curated a public exhibition highlighting natural history collections in Magdalen College Oxford, termed The Flora and Fauna of Magdalen College.
Find out a bit more about the groups research through blog posts:
2023: Holly-Anne wrote a blog about her recent paper in Science - "Undergraduate Student Holly-Anne Unlocks Mysteries of Extinct Plants".
2023: Tea wrote a blog "IMPS at Edinburgh Science Festival 2023".
2022: Fascination of Plants Day 2022 – a blooming success!, IMPS Outreach blog.
2021: A Spotlight On Dr Sandy Hetherington, IMPS Outreach blog.
2020: Unearthing the complex evolutionary origins of root branching, on the Nature Ecology and Evolution Community website.
2018: The flora and fauna of Magdalen College, New Phytologist blog.
2018: Getting to the root of plant roots, on the Nature Ecology and Evolution Community website.
2017: Going back to your roots, New Phytologist Behind the Cover blog.
2023: Interview with Sandy featured in Earth, episode 2, Green. Produced by the BBC. Aired live on BB2- 31/07/2023. Access via BBC iplayer.
2023: Listen to Sandy giving an overview of his research on the podcast Multiverses.
2023: Sandy and Holly-Anne wrote for The Conversation "How a 400 million year old fossil changes our understanding of mathematical patterns in nature".
2023: Sandy wrote for The Conversation "How soils changed life on Earth".
2023: Sandy was interviewed by The Sunday Post about the labs work on the Rhynie chert. The article “The secret of life? It’s 37 miles from Aberdeen and around six feet under the sheep” was published in print pg 15-16 Sunday 29/01/23.
2022: The power of your garden's hidden half, Sandy's work on root evolution was featured in an article on BBC Future.
2022: Listen to Sandy giving an overview of his research on the podcast Acaudio.
2022: Listen to Sandy talking about Silurian plants on Season 2 of The Backpacker's Guide to Prehistory podcast.
2021: Listen to Sandy talking about Devonian plants on Season 1 of The Backpacker's Guide to Prehistory podcast.
2019: Listen to Sandy’s interview on the ‘In Defence of Plants’ podcast.
2018: Sandy’s work with the palaeobotany collections in the University of Oxford Herbaria, featured in a BBC article about the importance of natural history collections.
2018: The work demonstrating that plant roots had at least two separate origins, featured in the Guardian science pages.
2016: Work describing a new fossilised root meristem, featured in the Guardian science pages.