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Stirling toasts its inaugural Pint of Science event

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(L-R): Dr Christian Schröder, Professor Gerry McCormac, Professor Maggie Cusack and PhD student Jessica Goodman, who helped organise the event.

University of Stirling academics have raised a glass to a successful Pint of Science Festival after selling out three nights at a local whisky bar.

Experts swapped the lecture theatre for the pub as they presented their scientific discoveries to patrons of the Curly Coo, in Stirling, as part of the popular global event.

Professor Gerry McCormac gives a presentation on carbon dating

Professor Gerry McCormac gives a presentation on carbon dating.

University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac; Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Professor Maggie Cusack; and Dr Christian Schröder – the only UK scientist working on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity mission – were among the speakers.

It is the first time that Stirling has participated in the festival, which launched five years ago in a bid to promote the work of scientists to a wider audience. Today, Pint of Science holds events in almost 300 cities globally and has been recognised by the Prime Minister for its voluntary work and making a change in the community.

Professor Maggie Cusack presents to patrons of the Curly Coo, Stirling

Professor Maggie Cusack presents to patrons of the Curly Coo, Stirling.

Professor McCormac, who delivered a presentation on the world of carbon dating, said: “I am delighted that Stirling’s inaugural Pint of Science event was a great success. Over three nights, our academics received a warm reception as they presented their work to a capacity crowd in the convivial surrounds of the Curly Coo.

“I would like to congratulate the organisers on a successful event and thank our members of staff who volunteered their time to take part. Public engagement, such as this, is vitally important to the University in terms of demonstrating the impact of our teaching and research on society.

Dr Christian Schröder considers whether there may be life on Mars

Dr Christian Schröder considers whether there may be life on Mars.

“Everyone at Stirling is looking forward to next year’s event already.”

Nine presentations took place over three differently themed nights, organised by student volunteers, with staff support, and sponsored by the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

On Monday 14 May, Dr Naomi Brooks (Senior Lecturer in Sport), Dr Lee Hamilton (Lecturer in Sport, Health and Exercise Science) and Dr Paul Dimeo (Senior Lecturer in Sport) discussed the roles of different aspects of our lives on our fitness, looking at how genetics, training and drug taking can alter fitness and ability.

On Tuesday 15 May, Professor Kirsty Park (Professor in Conservation Ecology), Dr Alan Law (PhD research student) and Dr Stuart Auld (Research Fellow) looked at different aspects of ecology; specifically, the reintroduction of beavers, the evolution of sex, and some of our most charismatic native species.

And, on Wednesday 16 May, Professor McCormac, Professor Cusack and Dr Schröder (Senior Lecturer) considered how we can use carbon dating to answer important questions, whether seashells act as thermometers and whether there could be life on Mars.

For more information on the Pint of Science Festival, visit:

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    University of Stirling

    The University of Stirling is ranked fifth in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Stirling is committed to providing education with a purpose and carrying out research which has a positive impact on communities across the globe – addressing real issues, providing solutions and helping to shape society.

    Interdisciplinary in its approach, Stirling’s research informs its teaching curriculum and facilitates opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration between staff, students, industry partners and the wider community.

    The University’s scenic central Scotland campus – complete with a loch, castle and golf course – is home to more than 14,000 students and 1500 staff representing around 120 nationalities. This includes an ever-expanding base for postgraduate study. @stiruni

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