Past Professorial lectures

Previous professorial lectures

Utilita ex machina: building a computer-aided understanding of the cosmos

Professor Robert Crain

Professor Crain discusses how numerical models (or “simulations”) of the evolution of the cosmos from the Big Bang to the present day have enabled a leap in our understanding of the origin and evolution of the diverse population of galaxies we observe with ground and space-based telescopes. These sophisticated models often take many years to develop, and are evolved using large supercomputers, for months at a time. Professor Crai discusses how LJMU is positioned to play a leading role at the frontier of this discipline thanks to the development of its own central high performance computing facility.


Professorial Inaugural Lecture

Professor John Byrne

John Byrne is a Professor of Useful Art at Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Art and Design. Byrne is also currently Head of The Institute of Art and Technology at Liverpool John Moores University’s Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies.


In conversation with Colin McKeown MBE

Adjunct Professor Colin McKeown

Tuesday 6 February 2024

In this in conversation style inaugural lecture, Adjunct Professor McKeown was joined by his long-time collaborator Mike Neary to relive more than 50 years in TV and film production. From teaching a scouse accent to Laurence Olivier to ground-breaking storylines in Brookside to award-winning TV dramas featuring Sean Bean, all while championing women writers and directors as well as Liverpool creatives – the audience were taken right through Colin’s illustrious career.


Breaking Boundaries with Microwave Sensors: Enabling Diverse Applications in Health, Heritage and Beyond

Professor Patryk Kot

Prof. Patryk Kot is a Professor of Microwave Sensor Technologies and the Deputy Director of Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University. Prof. Kot leads a multidisciplinary research team in the design and development of bespoke microwave sensors for global challenges. The focus of these sensors is the real-time detection of foreign substances/contaminations on various materials as quality assurance NDT devices. Prof. Kot started developing the fundamental concepts for using microwave spectroscopy to determine the moisture content in building fabrics during his PhD completed in 2017. The developed algorithms and concepts have led to close collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and securing external funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to explore the adaption of the fundamental concept of microwave spectroscopy for the detection of insecticide on walls for quality assurance of Governmental Indoor Residual Spraying programmes in low- and middle-income countries (India and Africa) to prevent the vector borne diseases. The developed prototype has just undergone its late stage of field trials and will go to manufacture in 2024.

The success of this project has also led to further external funding from BMGF to explore the fundamental concept of microwave spectroscopy being applied as a wearable technology for the detection of LF in humans. His research team have also developed microwave sensors for applications such as biohazards detection (DASA), healthcare applications (SBRI and UKRI), cultural heritage (Horizon 2020) and chemical process enhancement (Horizon 2020 FTI). Prof. Kot has recently formed an international collaboration with Warsaw University of Technology, University of Bamberg and University of West Attica investigating the expansion of using this technology for safeguarding of cultural heritage sites.


Useful Art as Social Change

Professor John Byrne

Useful Art as Social Change will be a conversation between John Byrne, Professor of Useful Art at Liverpool School of Art and Design and Alistair Hudson, the Scientific-Artistic Chairman of the ZKM (Centre for Art and Media) Karlsruhe. The discussion will look back over a two decade series of collaborations between Byrne and Hudson which have focus on the role of useful art as a tool for social change. The discussion will also look forward to ways in which useful art can act as a catalyst for future thinking, community activism and as a means for living otherwise.


Tourism is...

Professor Hazel Andrews

Tuesday 16 May 2023

In this lecture, Professor Andrews takes us on a journey to understand why tourism is a dirty word, why it isn’t an industry, but why it is a valuable research lens that touches all areas of our lives and gives insights into the socio-cultural world we inhabit.


How birds learn about the world: individual and species differences

Professor Claudia Mettke-Hofmann

Thursday 4 May 2023

Drawing on her expertise in animal cognition and personality, Professor Mettke-Hofmann describes how ecological conditions, animal movements and their personality influence what they learn about their environment and how this affects their response to environmental changes.


The Universe inside a computer

Professor Ian McCarthy

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Professor McCarthy considers how our understanding of the formation and evolution of the Universe is being shaped through the use of supercomputer simulations.


Back to nature: nature-inspired optimisation in maritime, transportation and engineering

Professor Trung Thanh Nguyen

Wednesday 23 November 2022

The professor of operational research (in transportation) talks about two of his passions: real-world problem solving and nature. Professor Nguyen discusses how learning from nature can help us solve challenging transportation and engineering problems.


A public health approach to violence prevention
Research with a hint of lived experience

Professor Zara Quigg

Thursday 11 November 2021

A career and personal journey through research into public health approaches to violence prevention. Professor Quigg reflects on how her work has informed the development and implementation of public health interventions across the Liverpool City Region and beyond.


Words, pictures, kids and trees

Professor Zoe Knowles 

Friday 21 June 2019

Drawing on her extensive experience of conducting research with children, clinical populations, sports practitioners and the community, Professor Knowles shares the words and pictures of participants, clients, students and her own family. She aims to challenge, provoke and disturb conventional thinking on research motivation.


Unnatural selection? Applying evolutionary theory to academic practice

Professor Clare Milsom

Monday 4 June 2018 

Professor Milsom examines how applying evolutionary theory can help universities define their place and protect themselves from the race to evolve too disparately. In this way, universities can thrive, and not simply survive, in the rapidly changing higher education landscape.


Patients, pragmatism and privilege: Influences on healthcare leadership

Professor Raphaela Kane

Friday 6 April 2017

Professor Kane explores the extent to which lasting memories of encounters with individual patients, and settings such as A&E, have characterised her work and the way she makes decisions. She examines the philosophy of pragmatism and the way that different theoretical perspectives drive and shape leadership impact. Professor Kane also analyses the concept of privilege and what this means for her leadership, for nursing and for the wider health care context.


How exercising makes your muscles better, faster, stronger

Professor Jatin Buniston

Friday 15 December 2017

Professor Burniston is one of the pioneers of a new research tool that enables us to measure the many thousands of different proteins that make up muscle. He explains why proteins are the workhorses within muscle and how the new research tool helps our understanding.


You’ll never walk alone: from Nijmegen to Liverpool (and back)

Professor Dick Thijssen

Thursday 2 November 2017

Drawing on his interest in physical activity, medicine and physiotherapy, Professor Thijssen talks about his journey, outlines answers to some of his key “why-questions” and discusses how his work affects daily clinical practice of doctors. 


It’s a Grand old ‘tube’ to play for…

Professor Helen Jones

Thursday 5 October 2017

Professor Jones presents some of her research into health and disease risk, with a focus on blood vessels or ‘tubes’, understanding the impact of hormones on these vessels and how to improve the health of blood vessels with novel interventions.


Of Muscles, Mice and (very big) Men

Professor Graeme Close

Friday 31 March 2017

Studying skeletal muscle and a look at how to maximise performance, Professor Close explains why we should all be interested in ageing and what sports science can contribute to that study.


Cardiovascular Care - It's Only Half Time

Professor Ian Jones

Thursday 2 February 2017

The Professor of Nursing introduces his two passions: football and cardiovascular care. A look at what the school has done over the last twelve months.


Walk a mile in my shoes

Professor Dave Richardson

Friday 2 December 2016

The Professor has a long association with LJMU and discusses collaborations with Everton Football Club and how to lead a project whilst working with the football club in their environment.


Creating impact in elite football: A 20 year journey from the north east to the middle east

Professor Warren Gregson

Thursday 9 June 2016

Something for everyone… working with scientists and spending time in the field as a practitioner. Working with cyclists, jockeys and all kind of athletes. What do they need and what can we learn from working at the coalface?


Holding hands with Dave': origins and future directions of children's movement development

Professor David Morley

Friday 26 February 2016

The developing child: the notion that the journey from childhood to adulthood is constructed around a series of sensory stages. A look at the ‘mappers’ of cognitive development.