Colours of Art and Science

The RSE proudly presents Colours of Art & Science: discover how colour is important to medicine, photography, marine science, fashion, forensics, chemistry and much more!

Listen to expert talks; explore interactive displays; and participate in creative fashion and illustration workshops.

Event programme

Professor Phillip Whitfield provides an overview of the principles and everyday
uses of chromatography. He highlights some of the pioneering work in developing this analytical technique and explains how
chromatography has evolved from a tool for separating plant pigments, to an advanced technology with applications in
pharmaceuticals, food and environmental analysis, clinical diagnosis, anti-doping testing and forensics.

Do you really see colour in the natural world? Is a leaf simply green, a pebble just grey, a stick only brown?

Claudia Wellwood, Freelance Illustrator, looks at complementary contrast colours and their vibrancy in nature when they appear together. She also explores the depth
and many colours in natural objects.

Often limited to ancient photographs highlighting the white outfits of well-dressed upper-class children, research in Fashion
has not considered coloured and visual sensations as a major
development of children clothes. However, looking at childrenswear throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, especially contemporary fashion, the playful and cheerful patterns of colourful garments are the norms.

What is so special about colours, prints and textures? And, what do children think
about this?

Dr Aude Le Guennec, Heriot-Watt University, explores the educational role of colour in contemporary childrenswear and
looks at ways for a more inclusive design where the spontaneous approach of children to the world is revealed.

An exploration of knitting techniques through hand-knitting needles and a manually operated knitting machine with knitwear
designer Maija Nygren from AlmaBorealis.

This workshop is a taster session to experience the activity of knitting, exploring the technique through two very different
means; hand-knitting with needles and a manually operated knitting machine, with the aim of creating knitted stitches or a small piece of fabric.

Professor Rory Duncan, Heriot-Watt University, tells the wonderful story of how a Pacific jellyfish has helped, literally, to illuminate modern biology and unveil the beauty of how cells work; focusing on how some imagination from physics helped biologists see deeper inside cells than ever thought possible, and how this led to a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The beauty we now see is very real and Professor Duncan discusses the very rewarding experience of working with a sculptor, who in turn used her imagination to help us celebrate the beauty of life and reach ever-wider audiences in our art exhibition called ‘From the dark ocean comes light’ and how our work using these powerful microscopes is discovering surprising facts about diabetes.

Auroras bring outer space into earth, linking our home stars and home planet. Their shifting patterns and colours make parts of the
push and pull of solar and terrestrial forces visible. Science, beauty, myth and mystery meet when the northern lights start to dance.

Dr Kenny Taylor explains what about the Northern Lights fascinates both researchers and watchers.

Professor David Cole-Hamilton FRSE demonstrates how elements are responsible for colour in fireworks and many other things.

He presents a newly developed Periodic Table that shows the number of elements available and is colour coded to show how quickly we are using them up. It also shows which elements are in most smartphones.

He goes on to discuss how we can protect and nurture the 90 elements which are the only building blocks of the diverse and beautiful world around us.


Saturday March 16th, 2019 10:30


Eden Court Inverness