St Andrews in the News

February 2013


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


Economic impact

economic impactThe University contributes over £484 million per year to the Scottish economy and supports over 8,900 full time jobs, according to a new economic impact report. The report found that for every £1 of public teaching and research grant invested in St Andrews, the University now returns £12.10 to the Scottish economy.

Union upgrade

saThe University and the St Andrews Students’ Association are to move ahead with a major and long-awaited redevelopment of the Students’ Association building in St Mary’s Place. The University Court has agreed that work can start on a top-to-bottom revamp of the Union costing up to £12 million.

Beam me up

tractor beamResearchers from St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic have created a real-life “tractor” beam, as featured in the Star Trek movies, which for the first time allows a beam of light to attract objects.

Prostate testing

harrisonProfessor David Harrison, Head of Pathology at St Andrews, and colleagues from the University of Edinburgh have undertaken research to show that a simple genetic test could lead to a more accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Benchmarking the chemists of the future

chemistsAspiring chemists gathered in St Andrews recently to take part in the regional final of a national competition aimed at engaging youngsters in the subject. The contest, Top of the Bench, was established more than twenty years ago, with the aim of sparking interest and excitement in chemistry amongst 13 to 16 year olds across the UK.

All aboard

geobusOne year on from the launch of the GeoBus, it has been hailed a 'tremendous success'. Almost 10,000 pupils have now participated in practical hands-on Earth science on board the bus. To date, the GeoBus has visited 88 secondary schools across Scotland, including those in remote and disadvantaged regions.

A question of trust

trustUniversity scientists have been awarded £2.6m to probe fundamental questions about human nature and its evolutionary origins. The new project will be led by world-leading experts in the evolution of culture, Professors Andrew Whiten and Kevin Laland.

60 hour film blitz

filmblitzThe 60 Hour Film Blitz is back. The event challenges St Andrews film-makers – both professional and amateur – to work together and create a 3 minute short film in just 60 hours.

This year, the Film Blitz will take place from 12.00pm Thursday, 28 February until 11:59pm on Saturday, 2 March. Films will be screened on Friday, 8 March in the Buchanan Lecture Theatre.

Housing the future

housingResearch by University academics and a group of international practitioners says radical thinking is needed to shape a new, entrepreneurial and thriving rental housing sector. The new research, led by Professor Duncan Maclennan and Sharon Chisholm for the University’s Centre for Housing Research (CHR), calls for a more enterprising and innovative approach in housing alongside a continuing focus on supporting communities.

Getting connected

wifiThe University has joined forces with BT to take the first step towards providing greater Wi-Fi access within the town. Visitors to the University are now able to access BT Wi-Fi across the St Andrews campus. The new service makes St Andrews the first university in Scotland to offer university-wide Wi-Fi to all visitors.

Research recognition

lalandA University biologist is among 25 top researchers from the UK to be honoured by the leading national academy of science. Kevin Laland, Professor of Behavioural and Evolutionary Biology, has been granted the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

History retold

shipwreckA long-lost chapter of South Africa’s history has recently been uncovered. Dr David Culpin, a Reader in the University’s French Department, discovered an extremely rare book which contains an early record of interaction between Europeans and the indigenous Xhosa. The book tells the incredible tale of a shipwreck and how its survivors managed to trek almost 200 km across the bush to safety.

Further details of the book and accompanying events are available here.

Happy Birthday St Mary’s

st marysAs the University celebrates its 600th Anniversary, St Mary’s College, home to the study of Divinity at St Andrews, is marking 475 years since its foundation.

Alumni News, Clubs and Services

Ever to Excel

evertoexcelGraduate and honorary graduate Murray Grigor (BSc 1962, DLitt 2012) will this month present his cinematic account of the history of the University to fellow alumni and friends in Edinburgh and London. Ever to Excel was directed by Murray Grigor OBE and sees the return to the silver screen of Sir Sean Connery.

It is not too late to book your tickets for the screenings of Ever to Excel in Edinburgh on 21 February and London on 28 February. Tickets can be purchased here.

The evening includes a drinks reception.

Proceeds from the ticket sales for the Edinburgh screening will support the 600th Anniversary Scholarship Fund and those for the London screening will support The London Scholarship fund.

The film is also being shown at the Glasgow Film Festival at 3.00pm on Saturday 16 February. Further details available from the Festival website.

Discount available at new University web store

storeA 10% discount is available to readers of St Andrews in the News at The University's new Online Payment Services, which sells high-quality official University branded merchandise. Discount is only available online and is valid across the entire shop, excluding shipping charges. All purchases made on our online store help to directly support teaching and research at the University of St Andrews.

To get your 10% discount add the discount voucher code – SPARC600 – when prompted to do so. The address for the retail store is

Alumni Reunion Weekend 2013: Friday 28 - Sunday 30 June

reunionA weekend of reunion activities in St Andrews, including a black tie dinner and ball on Saturday, 29 June 2013. If you graduated in a year ending ‘3’ or ‘8’, and are therefore celebrating a special anniversary of your graduation year this year, you will automatically receive an invitation in early March. Otherwise please contact to be added to the mailing list. Alternatively further information is available here now and booking details will be added in March.

Geology Reunion: 16 – 18 August 2013, St Andrews

A weekend of reunion activities for those who studied Geology/Environmental Geosciences/Geosciences. For further details, including how to book your place, visit here.

Vanessa and Virginia

vanessaThe novel Vanessa and Virginia by St Andrews Professor of English, Susan Sellers, which is based on the lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, has been adapted for the stage by St Andrews alumna Dr Elizabeth Wright. The play, which has toured the UK (including St Andrews!), and has been to France, Germany and Poland is about to start a Spring run at the Riverside Studios in London. Image courtesy James Glossop of The Times.

Further information about the production can be found on Professor Sellers’ post on the Development blog.

Star caller returns

gooseThe 2013 UK Phone Campaign has launched with 48 student callers from the US, UK and EU. The team is led by 2012 St Andrews graduate Philip Goose, who was hired by the leading UK phone campaign consultancy Rux Burton and Associates following an excellent performance as a student caller in the 2012 phone campaign (during which he was voted Most Valuable Caller). In the next five weeks the team hopes to raise £250k for undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and the Students’ Association Building renovation. Meet the team.

Dance record attempt

danceThe University and town of St Andrews are hoping to break the largest Scottish country dance record by 'stripping the willow.' The record is 1,914 people, set in Edinburgh on 30 December 2000.

Further information is available on the Saints Sport website.

University Hall Reunion: 7-9 June

uhstagaFormer residents of University Hall and University Hall St Andrews Graduates' Association (UHStAGA) members are invited to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the extensions to Hall Old Wing and the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Lumsden Wing by making a return visit to Hall for a special residential weekend with a variety of celebratory events. Full details, including a booking form, can be found here.


Gallery Night Fever: Abstraction of the (He)art

feverDance down to the Gateway Galleries for a night of swing, ballroom and ceilidh madness. Enjoy late-night entry to our exhibition 'Mathematical Beauty: the Science & Art of Form'. Get crafty with our activities and munch on some tasty treats from local suppliers. Cosy up to our model skeleton for some photo fun and get woozy on our loved-up Valentine’s themed cocktail. Tickets £10. Includes all of the above and a complimentary cocktail on entry, cash bar thereafter.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Friday, 15 February, 7.30pm – 10.30pm

Artist's Talk: 'After Growth and Form: Artists and Art Schools in the wake of D'Arcy Thompson'

Come along to the Gateway Galleries to hear Roger Wilson, Head of Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art and one of our featured artists, talk about the exhibition. Free but booking is essential.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Saturday 16 February. 3.00pm – 4.00pm

For details of all MUSA events this season, please visit our website.

Cinema St Andrews screening: The Blue Lamp (1950)

The best-attended film in the UK in 1950, The Blue Lamp was co-written by a lifelong resident and University graduate of St Andrews, Jan Read.

As well as showing this Ealing police drama, the screening will introduce rare footage by Jan Read and other celebrated St Andrews filmmakers.

St Leonards School, St Andrews
Tuesday 19 February, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

For details of all this season’s Centre for Film Studies events, please visit our website.

Friends of the Library Spring Lecture

“Dirty Books: How to Spot a Medieval Bestseller."
 Dr Kate Rudy (School of Art History)

The Psychology Old Library, St Mary’s Quadrangle , St Andrews
Wednesday 20 February, 5.15pm – 6.15pm. Followed by tea and coffee.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Piotr Anderszewski (piano/director), Alexander Janiczek (violin/director)
Schubert, Mozart & Beethoven

Younger Hall, St Andrews
Wednesday 20 February, 7.30pm

University of St Andrews Alumni Club of New York: Burns Night

Join the University of St Andrews Alumni Club of New York for a Burns Night to remember! You will enjoy traditional haggis and an open bar at The Stag’s Head tavern in Midtown Manhattan. Bring friends, a poetic spirit, and expect a night of laughter and entertainment. Space is limited; buy your tickets ($50) now to avoid disappointment. Bring printed tickets.

The Stag's Head, 252 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022
Friday, 22 February, 6.30pm – 9.30pm

Curator's Talk: 'A Sketch of the Universe - D'Arcy Thompson and his influence in Art'

Join Matthew Jarron, Curator of the University of Dundee Museum Services, to learn about the influence of D'Arcy Thompson and about purchasing many of the art works you can see displayed in the exhibition. Held at the Gateway Galleries. Free but booking is essential.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Tuesday 26 February, 5.30pm – 6.30pm

Fairtrade talk - Just Trading Scotland

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, John Riches of Just Trading Scotland will be visiting the University to give a talk about Fairtrade and Just Trading's links with schools in Malawi.

School III, St Salvator’s Quadrangle, St Andrews
Thursday 28 February, 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Philip Lightfoot

'Atoms, bonds and crystals: an ABC of solid state chemistry'
Professor Philip Lightfoot, School of Chemistry

School III, St Savator’s Quadrangle, St Andrews
Wednesday 6 March. 5.15pm – 6.30pm

60 Hour Film Blitz Screening

Don't miss this chance to see the films produced during the 60 Hour Film Blitz.

Films will be screened on Friday, 8 March, in the Buchanan Lecture Theatre.


StAnza 2013 will bring together more than 70 poets in over 100 events, along with artists, writers, musicians and actors in what promises to be one of the most innovative festivals ever. This year’s theme of Legacy and Place was chosen to celebrate the University’s 600th Anniversary and University students, staff and graduates are well represented in the programme. Highlights include opening day music from the University’s Buchanan Scholarship Quartet and lively late night poetry from Inklight, the University’s students’ creative writing society. In association with the School of English, Professors Robert Crawford and Don Paterson, two of today’s legendary St Andrews poets, will recreate the The Flying of Dunbar and Kennedy, two St Andrews legendary poets from the past.

StAnza’s Digital Map of St Andrews project, which will be officially launched at this year’s festival, is a collaboration with the School of Computer Science and current Dean of Science, Professor Alan Dearle and his colleagues, with whom StAnza are working on the creation of a digital poetry map of the town featuring audio recordings of poems by poets past and present who have lived, worked or studied in the town.

Tickets are now on sale. For programme and booking details visit the website.

Various venues, St Andrews
Wednesday 6 – Sunday 10 March

General Council of the University of St Andrews

gcThe next meeting of the General Council will take place in St Andrews at 10.30am, Saturday 29 June 2013 in Parliament Hall.

For further General Council news, please visit our website.


Mathematical Beauty: the Science & Art of Form

mathsDive into an exploration of the artistic legacy of noted biologist D'Arcy Thompson. Discover how science inspires art and influences artistic study of form. Be mesmerised by cutting-edge digital artist Daniel Brown's latest installation and revel in pieces by internationally renowned artists Henry Moore, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Will Maclean.

There will be two related art exhibitions in the Tower Foyer & Lamb Galleries at the University of Dundee, along with further special events. Visit here for more information.

Further information about the St Andrews exhibition is available here.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Continues to Saturday 2 March


Sustainable Projections: Concepts in Film Festival Management

fischerDr Alex Fischer

Price £17.99 from St Andrews Film Studies

Further information about the book is available here.

On Glasgow and Edinburgh

glas-edinProfessor Robert Crawford, School of English

Price £20.00 from Harvard University Press

Alumni Authors

Engineering Animals: How Life Works

animalsDr Alan MacFadzean, PhD 1985, and Mark Denny

Price £25.95 from Harvard University Press

Write Short Stories and Get Them Published

storiesZoë Fairbairns, MA 1972

Price £7.59 from Amazon via Zoë’s website

Making a Gift

Social Networking

Our 600th Anniversary campaign was launched in 2011 by our campaign Patron and alumnus, 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.

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


Follow our 600th Anniversary celebrations on Facebook.

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

Network professionally through the alumni-run University of St Andrews Alumni LinkedIn group.

Questions: Please email

Development, University of St Andrews, Crawford Building, 91 North Street, St Andrews KY16 9AJ, Scotland
Tel: +44 (0)1334 462113

The University of St Andrews is not responsible for the content of external websites accessed via links in this e-newsletter.

The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013532.

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