Examining the science which will define the 21st century

Professor Jim Al-Khalili looks at the shape of things to come

Date posted

1 September 2017

12:18

A whirlwind tour of advances in science and engineering will highlight just how far we have come since John Napier devised his calculating bones and changed mathematics forever.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili is heading north to take an Edinburgh audience on a journey through the cutting-edge developments which will change the way we live.

In Future Science: advances that will shape the 21st century, the scientist, author and broadcaster will discuss, among other things, the self-mending bicycle, medicine tailored to an individual’s DNA and the possibility of living in space.

His public lecture, at Edinburgh Napier’s Craiglockhart campus on Thursday September 21, will also cover climate change, artificial intelligence and the potential for time travel and teleportation. 

University of Surrey-based Professor Al-Khalili will take centre stage in the latest in a series of events marking the 400th anniversary of the passing of mathematics genius John Napier. 

Napier – who lived from 1550 to 1617 – had deep interests in astronomy and religion but is best known as the inventor of logarithms. He also invented ‘Napier’s bones’ and made common the use of the decimal point.

The mathematician’s Merchiston Tower family home now lies at the heart of Edinburgh Napier’s Merchiston campus.

This month’s lecture by Professor Al-Khalili - who will address an audience at Craiglockhart’s Lindsay Stewart Lecture Theatre at 6.30pm on September 21 - follows a John Napier 400 commemoration service in April and the composition of a new poem about the mathematician by leading Edinburgh writer Alexander McCall Smith.

Professor Al-Khalili said: “John Napier’s contributions to mathematics and science were profound and far-reaching, and I am looking forward to travelling to his home city to explore the developments which will shape our own world. It should be a very interesting evening.”

The lecture is free to attend but tickets should be reserved by registering here