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St Andrews in the News

May 2014


Welcome to the May issue of St Andrews in the News, our regular e-newsletter for alumni, friends and supporters around the world.


St Andrews Prize for the Environment

prizeBlue Ventures Conservation Madagascar has won the 2014 St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The Prize, a collaboration between the University and ConocoPhillips, aims to find practical solutions to environmental challenges around the globe. This year's winning project is empowering local communities in southwest Madagascar to protect their marine environment and manage their resources sustainably by integrating community-based health services within local biodiversity conservation initiatives.

To celebrate the Prize's fifteenth anniversary, eight former winners gathered in St Andrews to talk about the impact of the Prize in allowing them to develop their projects in new and exciting directions.

Further information on the Prize and details of the current and previous winners is available at

Flu breakthrough

virusPioneering research led by Professor Garry Taylor and Dr Helen Connaris of the University's Biomedical Sciences Research Complex has led to the development of a novel treatment that could protect against any strain of the flu, including current, future and even pandemic strains of the virus.

The Inaugural Andrew Carnegie Lecture

sandelProfessor Michael Sandel of Harvard University, described as "the world's most relevant living philosopher", delivered the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Lecture in St Andrews to a packed house of students, staff and local residents. Entitled 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets', his lecture examined how best to preserve the common good and build strong communities in the context of a society dominated by money and market values. Read a student review of the lecture here.

Professor Sandel's lecture was the first of a ten-year programme of public lectures in Scotland's ancient universities funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, in celebration of their centenary.

The spark of life

lightningResearchers from the University's LEAP (Life Electricity Atmosphere Planets) group in the School of Physics & Astronomy hope to discover whether a bolt of lightning could trigger life on planets outside the solar system. The team has been studying both exoplanets and brown dwarfs, which host clouds made of minerals or gemstones, to see how much energy is deposited into the atmosphere if a lightning strike hits.

Living Links: "inspired and inspiring"

groupWorld-renowned primatologist, conservationist and UN Messenger of Peace Dame Jane Goodall has recently paid a visit to the Living Links Centre in Edinburgh Zoo. The Living Links to Human Evolution Centre is a joint project between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the University of St Andrews, bringing together primatologists to focus on detailed aspects of primate behaviour.

Rethinking biodiversity

image from aboveAn important new study has challenged scientific understanding of the current biodiversity crisis. The research, led by Dr Maria Dornelas and Professor Anne Magurran of the University's Centre for Biological Diversity and Scottish Oceans Institute, has found that, despite fears, there has in fact not been a consistent drop in numbers of species found locally around the world. The researchers, who were surprised by the findings, say that the study should not detract from the threat many of the world's species are under, but that policy-makers should focus on changes in biodiversity composition as well as loss.

Scotland in pictures

fishermenAn important new collaboration between the University and Document Scotland will create a visual legacy of contemporary documentary photography and bring together some of the oldest photographs in Scotland with images from the present day. Through this initiative, the University, custodians of the oldest photographic collection in the country, will support the work of the photographers of today.

Nurture and nesting

finchesBy filming male zebra finches, scientists in the University's School of Biology have discovered that nest-building is not just an innate skill but a learning process that birds develop through experience. Their findings contrast with the previously held belief that birds' choice of nest material is solely dependent on their genes.

Royal Society recognition

naismithProfessor James Naismith, Director of the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex (BSRC) at St Andrews, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Professor Naismith is a structural biologist whose work has developed an understanding of the structure and mechanism of proteins in an attempt to develop new approaches to destroy drug-resistant bacteria and treat other diseases.

Alumni News, Clubs and Services

Reunion Weekend 2014: Friday 27 - Sunday 29 June

bannerHave you booked your tickets and accommodation for this year's Reunion Weekend? Perhaps you would like some assistance in contacting fellow alumni to attend as a group, or some further information? Simply contact the Alumni Relations Team at E: T: +44 (0)1334 467194/461913

Details of all the events on offer and instructions on how to purchase tickets and book accommodation are available at: There is something for everyone. In addition to Saturday's Reunion Dinner, Madras College Pipe Band display and Ball (with a ceilidh band and other live music), there is a wine tasting (Friday), library tours (Saturday), an exhibition at MUSA and, on Sunday, a Service of Thanksgiving in St Salvator's Chapel, a farewell buffet lunch and a reunion screening of the 600th Anniversary film, Ever to Excel. The summer meeting of the General Council on Saturday morning will provide an opportunity to hear first hand about news and developments at the University. We are also delighted to be able to offer a special reunion discount for those wishing to play golf at the Fairmont. To help us with our planning, please book your reunion ticket(s) and accommodation as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you and to welcoming you back in June.

Masters Programmes in the School of Management: 10th Anniversary Reunion
Friday 27 – Sunday 29 June 2014

posterA special 10th Anniversary Reunion is being held from 27 – 29 June 2014 to mark the 10th cohort of students on the Masters Programmes this academic year (2013/2014) in the School of Management. Current plans include talks on Friday evening (27th) on the theme of what the future holds - for the University, for Scotland and for business more generally - followed by a Wine Reception.

To be kept up to date with plans and to register to attend, please contact Julie Brooks at the School of Management. E: Those planning to attend can also book tickets for Alumni Reunion Weekend events and / or accommodation at

Class Gift 2014 Ever to Excel Screening

ever to excelStill making your Graduation Week travel plans? Be sure to include our Wednesday screening of Ever to Excel in your diary and help support the Class Gift!

Mediaeval (and sometimes strange) traditions, conflict, glorious scenery and famous alumni, including honorary graduate Sir Sean Connery, abound in this moving one-and-a-half-hour film by award-winning film-maker Murray Grigor and producer Hamid Shams.

School III, St Salvator's Quad
Wednesday 25 June, 8.30pm

Online ticket purchase available here.

University of St Andrews Alumni Club London (USAACL)

Founded in March 1954 by the amalgamation of the "St Andrews University Club London" and the "St Andrews University Women's Association (London)", USAACL is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. To mark this special anniversary, the Club is organising a number of events, including a Ceilidh on 6 June which we hope you can attend. Please see details of how to book your place for this and other upcoming events below.

12 May: AGM and Networking Drinks

Join the Club for its Annual General Meeting and stay for drinks afterwards. Held at the café bar "Fairly Square" (owned by at St Andrews graduate), this will be an informal networking evening to which all are welcome. Please email James North if you are interested in getting involved in the Committee. Further details about the event are available here.

6 June: Ceilidh Club!

This will be a fantastic evening of Scottish dancing, featuring top band "Licence to Ceilidh", in one of Shoreditch's coolest venues, Kachette, on Old Street. Tickets, priced just £20, include a ceilidh between 8pm and 11pm, followed by a disco until the early hours. A welcome drink on arrival is also included in the ticket price, with further drinks available from a pop-up bar all evening. Tickets can be purchased here.

10 June: Theatre Evening

The Club has organised an exclusive discount on tickets to see the comedy production The Confessions of Gordon Brown on 10 June, as well as attend a unique after-show event to meet the cast and the Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated writer and director for a Q & A session. To redeem this offer, enter the code word 'UNIVERSITY' when you purchase your tickets here. Once the code has been approved, you may then select your seats. You will have a choice of premium seats for £25 (50% discount) or £10 off £35 seats in the stalls.

Forthcoming event in North America

Atlanta, GA- May 15, 2014 – Whisky Tasting with alumnus Mac Irvin

Date: May 15, 2014
Time: 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Place: The Robert Burns Cottage of Atlanta- 988 Alloway Place SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
Tickets: $50. Purchased via:

Intrepid Alumna: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

clipperKirsty Russell (née Scott), BSc 2009, recently returned to Scotland after racing in leg 6 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race on Team One DLL. Kirsty was part of a crew of seventeen that raced from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, California, USA. Kirsty and the crew spent twenty-six days racing across the Northern Pacific Ocean against eleven other boats. Currently, the team is in second place with only a few more legs to go. Congratulations to Kirsty and Team One DLL.

The Open 2015 – accommodation opportunities now available

old courseThe Open Championship will return to the Home of Golf in 2015 when the 144th Championship is played at St Andrews from 16th to 19th July 2015. It will be the 29th time that golf's major has been held on the Old Course.

The University of St Andrews residences offer a selection of room types and catering options, ranging from bed and breakfast to dinner, bed and breakfast on a five or seven night package. All accommodation is within walking distance of the Old Course and the historic town centre of St Andrews.

Further details of accommodation packages are available here.

Scotland House: Teaming with Start-ups

logoAlumni with managerial roles in the technology sector are invited to attend this event at Scotland House, home to Team Scotland during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

You will be surrounded by the twelve most innovative new companies coming out of Scotland, a number of the top British and foreign technology managers and a host of sponsors. With top-quality pitches, panel discussions and plenty of networking time, there will be the opportunity to meet everyone at Teaming with Start-ups.

Date: 30 July 2014
Venue: Scotland House, Inovo, George Street, Glasgow
RSVP: Ronnie Johnston, Events & Communications Manager
E: T: +44 (0)131 650 9979

For more details and to register.

University Retail Store

student with notebookA full range of stylish branded merchandise is available from our University store. Alumni can enjoy an additional 10% off all items in our sale section when using either of the following discount methods: in store, present your SPARC card to a member of the sales team. Online, add the discount voucher code – SPARC600 – when prompted to do so.

All purchases help to directly support teaching and research at the University of St Andrews.

The address for the Retail Store is


Historic Scientific Instruments

Join the curators of the 'Making Waves' exhibition (see below) to handle and learn about some of the objects from the University's Recognised Collection of Historic Scientific Instruments, which played an integral part in the development of our understanding of acoustics. Free, but booking essential.

MUSA, 7a The Scores, St Andrews
Saturday 10 May, 2.00pm – 3.00pm

For full details of the Museum Collections' current season of workshops, talks and special events, please visit our website.

Professor Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago

nussbaumWorkshop on material from Professor Martha Nussbaum's 2014 series of John Locke Lectures in Philosophy (Oxford University) on "Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice".

School III, St Salvator's Quadrangle, St Andrews
Friday 16 May, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Institute of Intellectual History Lecture

fyfe'A Tale of Two Journals: Investigating the Referees, Editors, and Printers of Victorian Scientific Knowledge'

Dr Aileen Fyfe, School of History

School I, St Salvator's Quadrangle, St Andrews
Tuesday 27 May, 5.00pm – 6.30pm

L'ascension, Olivier Messiaen

Tom Wilkinson (University Organist and Director of Chapel Choirs) performs Olivier Messiaen's L'ascension in St Salvator's Chapel. Admission free

St Salvator's Chapel, St Andrews
Thursday 29 May, 8.00pm

For full details of all this season's Music Centre performances and events, please visit our website.

La mirada de Icíar Bollaín

miradaOne-day symposium on Spanish-language cinema with the films and participation of Iciar Bollain. The work of Iciar Bollain is little known on these shores and this is a unique opportunity to come to know her work and to meet the director in person. She is one of the most important women-directors working at large and one of the most important political film-makers in her own right. This event is open to all.

For further information, please email, putting "30may IB" in the subject line. Sponsored by Santander Universities

School III, St Salvator's Quadrangle, St Andrews
Friday 30 May 2014, 9.45am – 6.00pm

Objects Unpacked: The Costume Collection

Take a sneaky peek between racks crammed full of costume and find out more about university dress code in this tour with Deirdre Mitchell. Free, but booking essential.

MUSA Collections Centre, 87 North St, St Andrews
Wednesday 4 June, 1.00pm - 1.30pm

St Andrews Bioblitz 2014

logoTake part in a 24hr Bioblitz where you can help researchers at the University record as many species of plants and animals as possible around East Sands. You will have the chance to get your feet wet on the rocky shore, take a closer look at the small things in the undergrowth and discover what comes out at night. A timetable of activities will be made available closer to the date.

East Sands, St Andrews
Friday 13 – Saturday 14 June

General Council of the University of St Andrews

The next meeting of the General Council will take place in St Andrews on Saturday 28 June 2014 at 10.30am in Parliament Hall, South Street. Further information can be found here.


Making Waves: Innovations in the Science of Sound

tuning forks'Making Waves: Innovations in the Science of Sound' showcases the extraordinary scientific instruments that have helped us in understanding the science behind acoustics. Organised by students on our MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Continues to Saturday 17 May

Nobel Structures: Celebrating Crystallography

logo'Nobel Structures' investigates the achievements of some of the most important scientists of the 20th century and their work with X-ray crystallography. Organised by students on our MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies.

We have a full events programme for all ages.

St Andrews Museum, Kinburn Park, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews
Continues to Sunday 18 May

May They Always Flourish: Graduation at the University of St Andrews

flourishJoin us for a celebration of graduation at the University of St Andrews. Discover what happens during the academic ceremony of graduation, past and present, and find out more about what students and staff wear on this important day. Explore objects from the University's collections that range from mediaeval maces to academic gowns, paintings to photographs, and bow ties to the birretum (cap) used for generations in the formal 'capping' ceremony.

MUSA, 7a The Scores, St Andrews
Continues to Wednesday 30 September


Violence and the State in Languedoc, 1250–1400

Choice bookDr Justine Firnhaber-Baker, School of History

Price £65.00 from Cambridge University Press

I Put a Spell on You

Crafts bookProfessor John Burnside, School of English

Price £16.99 from Random House

Alumni Authors

Bumblebees (Naturalists' Handbooks 6)

Burned bookDr Oliver Prŷs-Jones, BSc 1976, and Sarah A Corbet

Price £19.99 from Pelagic

The Blue Stiletto

Sacred bookMark Bunyan, MA 1971

Price £1.93 (Kindle edition) from Amazon

Making a gift

Our 600th Anniversary campaign was launched in 2011 by our campaign Patron and graduate, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. We aim to secure £100 million to support a range of projects and aspirational new developments integral to the University’s ambition to consolidate its status as a world-class centre for teaching and research. To view the exciting and varied projects that make up the campaign, please visit our 600th website. You can make a gift to the campaign in a variety of ways.

You can also make a legacy gift to the University to safeguard its future.

We look forward to welcoming you to our community of donors, committed to securing a seventh century of excellence for this great University.

Social networking

Alumni and friends can keep up to date with alumni activities and events online via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our blog IncomparaBubble.

facebook twitter linkedin incomparabubble

Keep up to date with other University news on the University Facebook page.

US parents Facebook group is looking forward to hearing from you!

Contact details

Development Office
Crawford Building, 91 North Street
St Andrews, KY16 9AJ

Alumni Relations
T: +44 (0)1334 467194

T: +44 (0)1334 462154

General Enquiries
T: +44 (0)1334 462113

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