Irene Manton Lecture 2020
Public Engagement describes the ways in which higher education and research can be shared with the public. It is a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit. In this blog category, you will find out about the different ways in which the Faculty engages with the public through events, projects and training opportunities.
The Faculty has hosted the 6th Irene Manton Lecture, in partnership with the prestigious Linnean Society of London. Due to the current pandemic restrictions, this year’s event was delivered online and streamed live via the Faculty’s Facebook page on 3 December.
The lecture celebrates the significant contribution made by women to the Natural Sciences and is named after British botanist Irene Manton who, as well as being the first female president of the Linnean Society, studied for her PhD here at the University.
This year’s guest speaker was Eleanor Drinkwater, a PhD student from the University of York. Eleanor highlighted the scientific contributions of women in science, through her talk entitled ‘Metamorphosis: a 300 year story of intrepid women, rainforests and butterflies’.
Eleanor’s presentation focused on the contribution to science from three different women across 1700-1900s – Maria Sibylla Merian, Mary Anne Theresa Whitby and Dr Margaret James Strickland Collins – highlighting how even several hundred years later there is still a gender inequality in science related subjects.
Commenting on the event Eleanor said: “It was a real honour to talk about such an important topic – the incredible women who have helped shape science. My take-home message for the audience is to be determined, be curious and to study bugs.”
The evening was a huge success with a varied audience of more than 70 attendees watching live, including Linnean Society members, University colleagues, sixth form students from local schools and members of the public. It was particularly pleasing to see students engaging with the event during the Q&A session, as the lecture aims to inspire and inform those interested in a career in the Natural Sciences.
Professor Mahesh Nirmalan, Vice Dean for Social Responsibility and Public Engagement commented: “Eleanor’s exploration of the natural world through the eyes of three pioneering women was engaging, exciting and pertinent. The annual Irene Manton Lecture has evolved into a highlight event in the Faculty’s Social Responsibility calendar.”
You can watch the lecture recording here.
Previous speakers have included:
- Sheena Cruickshank with her talk entitled ‘On you, inside you: the amazing and horrible world of parasites’ (blog article Linnean 2016),
- Dr Anna Gilchrist with her talk entitled ‘I’m a butterfly… get me out of here’ (blog article Linnean 2017),
- Dr Sandra Knapp, President of the Linnean Society of London with her talk entitled ‘Fieldwork in fancy dress? A natural history of women in the field’ (blog article Linnean 2018),
- Jan Bradley with her talk ‘From Man to Mouse’ (blog article 2019).