Report from the 15th Ivan Levinstein Memorial Lecture

28 Nov 2016

The Ivan Levinstein Memorial Lecture was established in 1946 to recognise excellence in chemical research and knowledge, in particular the benefits of applying chemical research to everyday life. It is given in honour of Ivan Levinstein who was one of the founding members of SCI and who was SCI President (1901–1903). This year, Professor Dick Horrocks (Research Professor, University of Bolton), was selected to give the lecture on the The Role of Technical Textiles in Fire Protection and their everyday use.

A mixed audience of more than eighty people attended the 15th Ivan Levinstein Memorial Lecture, held at the University of Bolton on 19 October, including the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Lynda Byrne. Professor Horrocks gave a thoroughly stimulating lecture on Textile Engineering as applied to retarding fire (see below to view the presentation slides from the lecture). Enthusiasm for the subject brought fire safety into everyday context in a manner that completely engaged the audience; if only there had been additional time to learn even more. Many positive comments from non-scientists proved it was a resounding success with the subject matter being presented in a manner that everyone could understand. Dick had examples of fire retarding fabrics, some as valuable as gold. We were led to understand how the different demands for fire-fighters and racing driver protective clothing are achieved. Even the comfortable seats of the University of Bolton lecture hall drew mention as we became aware of the ways in which textile engineering underpins the safety of many public spaces and means of transport.

Many of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers are located within the north west and some had kindly loaned props. Far from being a dead technology, engineered fabrics are demonstrably at the heart of the 21st century.

Immediately following the lecture, SCI’s Liverpool and North West Group’s student awards were presented. Bill Webster, Assistance Vice Chancellor (Development) of the University of Bolton, presented the awards to students/alumni of Bolton University, three of whom were able to receive the awards in person. The winners were:

  • Martyn Raison – Best First Year Undergraduate Student
  • Chris Coleman – Best Final Year Undergraduate Student
  • Benjamin Schacht – Best student working with a partner organisation
  • Pengfei Zhao – Best Taught Post-graduate
  • Katherine Williams – Post-graduate Research Award

A common theme from the award winners was the help and support provided by the University, which was evident to us in their assistance organising and hosting the event.

After the lecture and prize-giving, sixty selected guests walked the short distance across town to the renowned Olympus Restaurant where a fish and chip supper was accompanied by live music. This type of prestigious event placed demands on so many and thanks are due to many individuals from the University of Bolton, SCI staff, and volunteers. Above all, particular thanks to Professor Dick Horrocks for such an excellent lecture, demonstrating how science and engineering delivered through industry protects society.

The Ivan Levinstein Memorial Lecture was delivered by SCI in partnership with the Society of Dyers and Colourists and the Textiles Institute.

Mike Halliday, Vice Chair, SCI Liverpool and North West Group

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