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SCI Scotland Group Announces Upcoming Charles Tennant Memorial Lecture

Charles Tennant

24 Sep 2015

Charles Tennant
Charles Tennant, (1768 - 1838) was one of the first pioneers of the chemical industry and was instrumental in encouraging the growth of the textile industry.

Tennant came from modest beginnings as an apprentice weaver and went on to patent various methods of making bleaches. Eventually he set up his own company near Paisley, Scotland, to produce them for the burgeoning textile industry. He developed a highly successful dry bleaching powder from chlorine and slaked lime and built a second factory in Glasgow to produce it which was the largest chemical works in the world at that time.

Charles Tennant was a true entrepreneur who laid the foundations for the diverse and complex map of today's science-based industries. Tennant was a remarkable man whose skills lay not only in chemistry and chemical engineering but also in economics and business. This ability to capitalise on his scientific inquiries brought him enormous personal success and left an enduring legacy for science entrepreneurs in Scotland and far beyond.

Tennant began his career apprenticed as a weaver, hence Robert Burns' reference to him as 'wabster Charlie', but was quick to see the potential of applying science for commercial benefit. He won financial control of his first industrial works at the age of 32. Thirty five years later his St Rollox Works in Glasgow, occupying ten acres and with the tallest chimney (Tennant's Stalk), was the most important chemical works in the world.

Charles Tennant Memorial Lecture - 13 October 2015
Today the Charles Tennant Memorial Lecture is one of SCI Scotland's most prestigious honours and a popular and high profile social fixture in its national industrial calendar. The next lecture will be delivered by Prof Joseph Sweeney, and will be held in the University of the West of Scotland, in the Paisley Campus, on Tuesday 13 October, 17:30, just a short distance from where Charles Tennant initiated his pioneering work.

Prof Joseph Sweeney (SCI Membership Affairs Committee, SCI Early Careers Support Sub Committee and Chair of SCI’s Yorkshire and the Humber Group) is Head of Chemical Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. He has had a transformational influence within various sectors of science and innovation within the UK, including being the Chair of the Royal Society's Industry Fellows College.

The abstract for the talk is ‘In the modern world of science, ‘mature’ subjects often have a lower priority for governments and a low visibility amongst the public. In this context, this lecture will critically examine the relevance of Chemistry to past and contemporary society, posing questions about its modern-day impact and significance within the broader canvas of current scientific research.’

The Tennant lecture will be preceded by the SCI Scotland Group’s AGM at 15:00.

Lewis Fleming, recipient of an SCI funded Royal Society Studentship, will also give a presentation on the development of CO2 sensors for breath analysis and monitoring during anaesthesia at 16:30.

A drinks reception will follow after the main lecture.

For more information on the event, and to book your place, please click on the link below.

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