The Milne Lecture Series

The Milne Lecture Series logo, blue text on white background

Experience pioneering engineering with world leading scientists from the University of Edinburgh and beyond.

Through annual talks from leading engineers, The Milne Lecture Series provides a glimpse into the future by exploring some of the most exciting advancements in engineering and considering how these will transform our world.

Join us to gain an appreciation of how complex problems can lead to powerful solutions through the minds of engineers.

These free lectures are open to all and no specialist knowledge is required.

Supported by philanthropy

The Milne Lecture Series is generously supported by a philanthropic gift from Dr David Milne to open up the potential of engineering and increase interest in the way that our world is changing.

Dr Milne says of the programme:

“I am delighted to enable Edinburgh’s renowned School of Engineering to connect more people with the greatest and most exciting engineering developments that are happening today. I hope these lectures will provide a better understanding of our modern world and encourage the next generation of creative minds to contribute to technology advances.”

Outreach activities

The Milne Lecture Series encompasses a programme of associated outreach work with local schools which aims to inspire interest in engineering among children and encourage scientific curiosity among those who could shape the future of innovation.

Exploring the nanoworld: 2024

We hosted 220 primary school pupils from four local schools as they took part in fun activities that introduce pupils to the nanoworld. They were held at the School of Engineering over four days, giving pupils an opportunity to see what life is like at the University. Activities were developed by Professor Themis Prodromakis and delivered by the Centre for Electronics Frontiers.

The programme was made up of three stages:

  1. Observe: microscope challenge
    Pupils worked together to guess what part of an insect they were observing using a microscope. This allowed the pupils to observe the structures of different parts of insects that are hard to see with the human eye, they understood how these structures aided the insect with feeding, moving, and seeing.
  2. Make: photolithograpy
    Pupils had the opportunity to understand what it is like to work in a clean room, like our own engineers do in our Scottish Microelectronics Centre (SMC). They wore protective coveralls, safety spectacles, face masks, and gloves before they moved on to the photolithography area where our brilliant PhD students helped them put masks on microscope slides, imprint a design on the slide using UV light, and develop the design using developing solution. The pupils got to take away their slides to show friends and family at home!
  3. Design: design activity
    Pupils were given the chance to design their own masks for photolithography. They came up with lots of inventive designs and our engineers will make some of these into real masks!

Feedback from the schools showed that the workshops improved the pupil's understanding of the nanoworld, as well as their understanding of what engineers do. Not only did their understanding improve, but the pupils also ‘enjoyed dressing up in the white suits’ and ‘loved creating designs on their microscope slides and using microscopes to view insects’. Pupils said this was ‘the best trip in primary six’ and there was ‘tons of things to try out’.

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