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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Lit and SciHebden Bridge Autumn Lecture series goes to work - on an egg

Speaker: Prof. Tim Birkhead

Sat 13 October, 7.30pm, Town Hall

One of Britain's most eminent ornithologists Prof. Tim Birkhead will be in Calderdale on Saturday October 13th, to kick off the 2018-2019 series of the popular Saturday evening Hebden Bridge lectures.

Prof. Tim BirkheadTim Birkhead, who is Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Sheffield, is a familiar voice on radio where he can be heard sharing the findings of his current research projects. For several years he has led research work monitoring guillemot populations on the island of Skomer off the Welsh coast, a study which among other things has found that climate change is directly affecting breeding success. He also is currently engaged in work interpreting the composition of birds' sperm, a research project intriguingly entitled postcopulatory sexual selection.

His lecture in Hebden Bridge will focus on a very familiar aspect of the reproduction of birds – the egg. 

As he points out, despite our familiarity with eggs, many people give little thought to the way that eggs are produced.  Why do different bird species produce eggs of different shapes?  How are the colours and patterns of an eggshell created, and why do they vary?  When does the shell of an egg harden and why do some eggs contain two yolks? And which end of an egg is laid first – the blunt end or the pointy end?

Tim Birkhead's work has led to a string of academic awards, including his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004.  He has also received the Elliot Coues medal, for outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research.

The Hebden Bridge Lectures are organised by the venerable Literary and Scientific Society (Lit & Sci) which traces its roots back to 1905 and which in recent years has attracted large and enthusiastic audiences to the Hebden Bridge Town Hall to hear a range of top-flight speakers from very different disciplines.

The 2018-19 season will include subjects as diverse as Yorkshire archaeology and the history of ghosts, with the November lecture on Saturday 24th featuring the historian Chris Renwick discussing the evolving story of the British welfare state.

Frank Woolrych, Chair of the Lit & Sci, said: "As in previous years, we have really excellent lecturers coming to Hebden Bridge, to share their knowledge and insights.  The questions and discussion after lectures suggests that there is a large audience locally who welcome the chance to engage in topics of which they probably would not normally take an interest.  We're delighted that Tim Birkhead will be launching the new season, and we're sure that his talk will delight everyone, whether you eat your eggs big-end or little-end up!"

The lecture will be held in the Waterfront Hall of Hebden Bridge Town Hall at 7.30pm on Saturday 13 October.  The bar will be open from 6.30pm and the doors open at 7pm.  Tickets are available at the box office at Hebden Bridge Town Hall.

See the Society’s website


Previous Lit & Sci coverage on the HebWeb

HebWeb News - What role for Auntie today? Jan 2018

HebWeb News - Lit & Sci lecture report - Judith Weir: A Composer’s Life Nov 2017

HebWeb News -Lit & Sci lecture report - Before the Big Bang Oct 2017

HebWeb News - Lit & Sci Meeting Report. Inequality and Social Anxiety: speakers Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson Feb 2017

HebWeb News - Lit & Sci Meeting Report. Dr Nicholas Cullinan: Picasso’s Portraits Dec 2016

HebWeb News - Lit & Sci: Report of talk by Sir Mark Elder Nov 2016

HebWeb News - Lit & Sci lectures 2016-2017 Sept 2016