Susan Greenfield delivers Hurter Lecture in Liverpool

1 Apr 2011

The 2011 Hurter Lecture was presented by Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE on 17 March at the University of Liverpool.

Dr Ferdinand Hurter (1844 -1898) was a pioneer scientist in the late 19th century. He developed many important industrial processes, established the Central Lab for the United Alkali Company (later to become one of the founding companies of ICI), as well as applying his scientific expertise to his hobby - photography, and produced a correlation of density and exposure, which is still used today (read more). In addition he was a founder member of the then Liverpool Section and was Chair here from 1888 -1890. He was also a founder member of SCI itself and Vice-President on two occasions. In memorial to Ferdinand Hurter a fund was set up to enable endowed lectures to be given in the Liverpool region to reward pioneering scientists. Lectures have been awarded to well-known scientists such as: in 1913 Prof Fritz Haber (who was the first to synthesise ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen gases); in 1980 Dr R.O Gibson who discovered polyethylene; and many other famous scientists.

On 17 March 2011, the Liverpool and North West Group were honoured to add to their impressive list of past winners, Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE, 'most inspirational women in the world' and as 'Britain's most prominent female scientist.' Susan has carried our pioneering research work linking brain functions to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases; has written books; starred on television and radio; been an advisor to Tony Blair; given many public lectures including the Dimbleby and Royal Institute Christmas lectures; is a member of the House of Lords; has created several start-up companies, so is an ideal illustration of the SCI strap line 'where science meets business'; has received many awards; and is the only woman to have been appointed Director of the Royal Institution.

Nearly 100 people attended the Hurter Memorial lecture, held in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Liverpool (thanks to Dr Ian O'Neil for organising this). Baroness Greenfield spoke on the topic: 'The chemistry of consciousness: A neuroscientists view of a philosopher's problem'. Afterwards 50 guests joined Baroness Greenfield for a presentation and a meal at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

Everyone who attended said what a brilliant and inspirational lecture Baroness Greenfield gave and what a great time people had networking during the meal. Joanne Lyall (Executive Director 2010-13) represented HQ. In addition there were guests from local industries, academics, politics, other regional science groups, school education, as well as SCI Liverpool and NW Regional Group members.

My thanks to Prof Alan Heaton and Marie Connor who organised the Hurter Memorial Lecture and Dinner, whose hard work meant it all ran extremely smoothly and was a great advertisement for the quality of SCI. We now look forward to hosting another one of our Endowed Lectures.

Dr Trevor Rhodes
Chair, Liverpool and NW Regional Group

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