College of Science & Engineering

Academics Unplugged

Academics Unplugged is an opportunity for researchers to introduce their work to staff and students from across the College. These short talks provide the opportunity for University staff and students to engage directly with cutting-edge researchers.

There are over a thousand researchers working across the King’s Buildings campus. And yet, much of the time, the rest of us are unaware of their work, how it relates to other research, or how it may meet the challenges in contemporary society.

The format of the talks

The talks take place between 1.10pm and 1.50pm, several times each semester on the King’s Buildings campus (currently online). Each takes the form of a twenty-minute presentation, followed by the opportunity for the audience to discuss the subject further with the speaker. Links to further information on the speakers’ areas of interest will be provided through this webpage, so that you can delve into the subjects in more detail.

Upcoming talks


Photo Date Title and detail Venue Links




Previous talks

Photo Date Title and detail Links
Prof Lynne Regan
01 April 2021

How can we see what's going on inside a cell? A new approach to super-resolution imaging.

Professor Lynne Regan

School of Biological Sciences

Watch a video of this talk
Des Higham
25 March 2021

Deep Learning: what could go wrong?

Prof Des Higham 

School of Mathematics

Watch a video of this talk
Dr Encarni
18 March 2021

The true final frontier: oceans from space

Dr Encarni Medina-Lopez 

Institute for Infrastructure and Environment School of Engineering

Watch a video of this talk

Professor Murray Roberts
11 March 2021

Atlantic Adventures with ATLAS: understanding deep-sea ecosystems at ocean basin scale

Professor Murray Roberts, School of GeoSciences/ATLAS

Project website

BBC News report

ATLAS Results Compendium

ATLAS Science/Policy overview

Watch a video of this talk

Rosa - academics unplugged
10 December 2020

The smallest astronauts: how can microorganisms support us in space?

Dr Rosa Santomartino, UK Centre for Astrobiology, School of Physics and Astronomy

UK Centre for Astrobiology

Watch a video of this talk

Dr Baojug Wang thumbnail
5 December 2019

Engineering Biology: programming cells to compute, sense and manufacture.

Dr Baojun Wang, School of Biological Sciences

The Wang Lab

Baojun's Edinburgh Research Explorer page

Murray Collins
28 November 2019

Putting Edinburgh in Space: developing the University's Space and Satellite innovation programme.

Dr Murray Collins, School of GeoSciences

Dr Vaishak Belle thumbnail
24 October 2019

Artificial Intelligence versus Us: building explainability and ethical responsibility into automated systems

Dr Vaishak Belle, Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications, School of Informatics

Vaishak's website

Watch a video of this talk

Dr Amy Wilson
28 March 2019

Cocaine on banknotes: how strong is the evidence?

Dr Amy Wilson, Centre for Statistics, School of Mathematics

Amy's profile

Edinburgh Research Explorer page

Dr Job Thijssen thumbnail
14 March 2019

Soft materials for energy applications: how squidgy materials can help make better batteries

Dr Job Thijssen, School of Physics & Astronomy

Job's profile

Edinburgh Research Explorer page

Research in a Nutshell Video

Evelyn Telfer thumbnail
28 February 2019

Lab grown human eggs: a new way to preserve fertility

Professor Evelyn Telfer,  Institute of Cell Biology and CDBS, School of Biological Sciences

Watch a video of this talk

Evelyn's profile

Edinburgh Research Explorer page

Prof Jason Reese Thumbnail
7 February 2019

'A World in a Grain of Sand': why the particular matters

Professsor Jason Reese, Institute for Multiscale Thermofluids, School of Engineering

Edinburgh Research Explorer page

Image of Andy Dugmore
6 December 2018

Learning from Vikings: archaeological lessons for 21st century climate change adaptation

Professor Andy Dugmore - Institute of Geography, School of GeoSciences


Watch a video of this talk

Andy's Research In a Nutshell video

Andy's staff profile

Related articles:

Disequilibrium, Adaptation, and the Norse Settlement of Greenland

Rediscovering lessons of adaptation from the past

Medieval Iceland, Greenland, and the New Human Condition: A case study in integrated environmental humanities

Climate challenges, vulnerabilities, and food security

Professor Neil Robertson
15 November 2018

Catching the Rainbow: Solar Energy for photovoltaics

Professor Neil Robertson -  School of Chemistry (Prof. of Molecular Materials).

Neil's profile page

The Robertson Group

photo of Jonathan Gair

29 March 2018

Catching Cosmic Cataclysms: the new field of gravitational wave astronomy

Dr Jonathan Gair - School of Mathematics

Jonathan's personal page

Watch a video of this talk

Korin Richmond Thumbnail
22 March 2018

Seeing speech: ultrasound imaging for child speech therapy

Dr Korin Richmond

Korin's personal page

Ultrax website

Prof mark Bradlet thumbnail
15 Feb 2018

Optical Imaging: From Glass to Humans

Professor Mark Bradley (Professor of High-Throughput Chemical Biology)

Bradley Research Group
Francisca Mutapi
25 Jan 2018

TIBA: Why all the hype?

Professor Francisca Mutapi

Professor (Global Health Infection and Immunity)

Deputy Director TIBA partnership

Francisca's Research in a Nutshell video


Parasite Immuno-epidemiology Group

Khellil Sefiane portrait image

30 Nov 2017


The Leidenfrost Engine: from lifetime drops to powering life on Mars

Professor Khellil Sefiane

Chair of Thermophysical Engineering, School of Engineering

Khellil's personal webpage

Khellil's Research in a Nutshell video

Rachel Wood portrait image

9 Nov 2017


The Great Dying: What happened 250 million years ago?

Professor Rachel Wood

Professor of Carbonate Geoscience, School of GeoSciences

Rachel's personal webpage

Rachel's Research in a Nutshell video

Charles Cockell photo
30  March 2017

Asteroid and comet impacts: why microbes don't care, but you should

Prof Charles Cockell

UK Centre for Astrobiology

Charles's Research in a Nutshell video

Hille Tekotte photo
2 March 2017

The Edinburgh Genome Foundry: Bringing robots to life and vice versa

Hille Tekotte

Edinburgh Genome Foundry
Simon King image
2 February 2017

Synthetic speech: the nice (giving a voice to people who can't speak) and the not-so-nice (hacking your bank account).

Prof Simon King (Informatics / PPLS)

Director of the Centre for Speech Technology Research

Centre for Speech Technology Research
  26 January 2017

The Greening Arctic: how the changing tundra is influencing the planet

Dr Isla Myers-Smith

Chancellor's Fellow, School of GeoSciences

Team Shrub Research

Isla's esearch in a Nutshell video


1 December 2016

Urban Gold Mining: using chemistry to recover resources

Professor Jason Love

Professor of Molecular Inorganic Chemistry

Personal webpage

Jason's Research in a Nutshell video


3 November 2016

Liquid Crystal Lasers: from displays to anti-counterfeiting and biomedical imaging

Dr Philip Hands

Chancellor's Fellow, School of Engineering

Personal webpage

Philip's Research in a Nutshell video


17 March 2016

Major transitions in evolution: how did a dinosaur change into a bird?

Dr Steve Brusatte

Chancellor’s Fellow, School of GeoSciences

Personal webpage

Steve's Research in a Nutshell


25 February 2016

Multiphase fluid mechanics = Math + Phy + Eng + Bio + Chem + Big Data: an interdisciplinary melting pot

Dr Prashant Valluri​

Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering

Personal webpage

Prashant's Research in a Nutshell


28 January 2016

Antimicrobial resistance: how can physicists help?

Dr Rosalind Allen​

Royal Society University Research Fellow and Reader, School of Physics & Astronomy

Personal webpage


3 December 2015

Modelling Chemical Reactions (is chemistry really just a branch of mathematics?)

Dr Carole Morrison

Reader, School of Chemistry

Structural Chemistry

Carole's Research in a Nutshell video


19 November 2015

Informatics Challenges in Biology: from big data to big models

Dr Guido Sanguinetti

Reader, School of Informatics

Machine Learning Techniques

Guido's Research in a Nutshell video


5 November 2015

The Edinburgh Genome Foundry: making synthetic chromosomes from the ground up

Dr Patrick Yizhi Cai

Chancellor’s Fellow, School of Biological Sciences



Future events

Further talks will be planned in due course; details will be posted on this page when available. For further information about this event series, please contact