College of Science & Engineering

The College Centenary Lecture Series

A series of lectures will take place over the coming year, in which leading figures from Schools and centres will present talks covering the history of research at the College: a mixture of past, present and future predications. The talks will close with a keynote lecture discussing the challenges facing the University in the next century.

To meet then current University COVID-19 guidelines, during Semester 1 we delivered the first lecture (Informatics) to a maximum live audience of 50. We will, however, be recording, editing and publishing all talks online for a wider audience at a later date. We will adjust theatre numbers in Semester 2 and onwards in alignment with University policy; from May 2022 onwards, for example, we expect to be able to accommodate audiences up to the maximum capacity of the theatre.

Semester 1 lectures


17 Nov 2021

Prof Philip Wadler & Dr Ajitha Rajan

Is Computing an Experimental Science?

Three and a half decades ago, Robin Milner delivered a talk with the above title to mark the inauguration of the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS), which grew into one of six institutes in the School of Informatics.

We will discuss how the interaction between theory and practice in Informatics at Edinburgh has played out over that time, with applications drawn from programming language design, software testing, machine learning, and smart contracts for cryptocurrency.


Semester 2 lectures

More information, booking links and information on capacity sizes for live events will be added soon. The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions mean that we are rescheduling the remaining centenary lectures: dates will be announced online and by email, when a new schedule has been approved

Physics & Astronomy

4 May 2022 - postponed (tbc)

Prof Catherine Heymans and Prof Richard Kenway

The Universe: Reality or Simulation? 

As we learn about the Universe, we discover more of it that can be simulated by a computer. If we program the known laws of physics into a computer and the result is indistinguishable from our observations, then we understand how that part of the Universe works. When a simulation differs from observation it gives a clue to new physics and a deeper understanding of reality.

In this way, physicists and astronomers at Edinburgh have been exploring the Universe from the largest scales to the quantum world inside a nucleus. Today, computer models of neural networks are solving tasks we once associated with human intelligence. So is our Universe, including ourselves, anything more than a simulation?

You can book free tickets for the lecture at the Eventbrite link below.

Physics & Astronomy lecture Eventbrite booking



Prof Mark Parsons

To the Exascale and beyond: the history and future of supercomputing 

Biological Sciences    

Prof Andrew Millar

he Coming Century of Biology:  Growing a way to Sustainability 


Prof Robin Wallace

Renewable Energy: Edinburgh’s first (and second) half-centuries 


Prof Des Higham & Dr Amy Wilson

When Ideas meet Data: Connections across Mathematics and Statistics


Dr Nicholle Bell

From pioneering discoveries to protecting our planet: Edinburgh's School of Chemistry 


Dr Isla Myers-Smith

Edinburgh’s Climate Enlightenment: A 300-year scientific journey

Closing lecture    

Prof Ann Glover

Opinion versus Fact: the challenges facing Universities in the next century 



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