Mondays @ the Mills
Mondays @ the Mills’ is a programme of talks by Highgate teachers and external speakers on a wide range of subjects, but with a bias towards scientific topics. Details of future lectures and follow up resources for previous events can be found below.
Talks are normally held in the AV Room in the Mills Centre starting at 7 pm, with refreshments, including wine, available from 6.30 pm and afterwards.
There’s a Pheasant on the Roof: Kyffin at Highgate
David Smith, Highgate School
Sir Kyffin Williams RA, one of Wales’s most cherished artists, taught at Highgate School from 1944-73 before retiring to paint full-time on Anglesey, where he was born. This talk will describe some aspects of his ‘London years’ in preparation for a pair of parallel exhibitions to mark Kyffin’s centenary in the Highgate School Museum and at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution.
Aiming High: school expeditions and life beyond the classroom
Will Blackshaw, Highgate School
Will has been on and led expeditions all over the world, mostly with students and groups. He has undertaken seven large scale expeditions as well as several other personal trips, trekking and climbing in most of the world’s major mountain ranges. This talk will showcase a few highlights of his experiences over the last ten years, from trekking to Mt Everest base camp to climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, and will hopefully inspire you with the same thirst for adventure that he has!
The Transformation of St Pancras Station
St Pancras was a 14-year-old Christian boy who was martyred in Rome in AD 304 by the Emperor Diocletian – but in Britain he is better known as a railway station. The mark the 150th anniversary of the terminus on Euston Road this talk will describe how the fantastic mid-Victorian Gothic railway cathedral came to be built, and how the long-neglected building underwent a breath-taking transformation.
Faraday and Electromagnetism
David Smith, Highgate School
Michael Faraday: a Very Short Introduction by Frank James gives a succinct overview of many aspects of his life.
The Royal Institution website has some good links to various pages about Faraday: http://www.rigb.org/our-history/people/f/michael-faraday
The film Prelude to Power: the story of Faraday and the induction ring can be viewed here: http://www.rigb.org/our-history/bragg-film-archive/ri-history/prelude-to-power
Votes for Women: a brief history
Elizabeth Crawford’s website is a mine of information on this topic: https://womanandhersphere.com/
Help, the Gamer Has Left the Basement!
An example of the game-based learning that Manuel talked about can be found here.
Forensic Science – DNA Evidence
Dr Georgina Meakin, University College London
Georgina works at the UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/forensic-sciences
which is part of the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/jill-dando-institute
The 10th Annual Kyffin Williams Lecture: Conservation Challenges
Jenny Williamson, Easel Painting Conservator
Jenny is a Trustee of The Institute of Conservation: https://icon.org.uk/
She works for both the National Library of Wales: https://www.llgc.org.uk/and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/glynnvivian
From Windsor to Highgate via the QE2
John Plews, Artistic Director Upstairs at the Gatehouse
The Crossrail Project
Emily Tibbitts, Crossrail Site Manager, Bechtel Corporation
As well as the Crossrail website itself: http://www.crossrail.co.uk/
Emily recommends these two sites for women in engineering:
and science and engineering in general:
Equador & the Galápagos
Dr Scott Crawford
The following books are recommended:
Harry Thompson, This Thing of Darkness
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle
Adrian Forsyth, Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America
And a YouTube video produced by pupil Andrea Guariglia can be found here.
Women and revolution from the bluestockings to Virginia Woolf
Dr Benjamin Dabby
As well as his own book of course: Women as Public Moralists in Britain: From the Bluestockings to Virginia Woolf, Ben also recommends the following for further reading:
Linda H. Peterson, Becoming a Woman of Letters: Myths of Authorship and Facts of the Victorian Market
Phyllis Rose, Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages
3rd July 2017
The geography of wine
Phil Harrison, Highgate School
It is often remarked that wine is ‘geography in a bottle’ – that it is a fundamental reflection of the place in which it is grown. This discussion will examine some of the factors that influence global viticulture, concentrating on the great wine regions of France and Spain as well as those in the New World. There will be consideration of soils, climate and topography, as well as that quintessentially French concept of terroir.
22nd May 2017
Man of iron: Thomas Telford and the building of Britain
Julian Glover OC
This lecture unfortunately had to be cancelled, but the following links to Thomas Telford might be useful:
20th March 2017
A history of climate change: why planet Earth is habitable
Dr Philip Pogge Von Strandmann, London Geochemistry and Isotope Centre, University College London
A summary of part of the talk can be found here
This site is recommended to find out more about the importance of weathering: https://www.skepticalscience.com/weathering.html
A good book is How to Build a Habitable Planet: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9691.html - the second author, Wally Broecker, is the scientist who coined the phrase ‘global warming’.
27th February 2017
Highgate modern homes
Professor David Porter and Elspeth Clements
A short biography of Elspeth, who ‘bookended’ David’s talk, can be found here. She mentioned that she is responsible for Planning and Development at the Highgate Society. The best biography of David that I could find is this. Here is a review of the exhibition that they staged in the School Museum in October 2016 and a few more images can be viewed here.
6th February 2017
The ninth annual Kyffin Williams Lecture
Vincent Van Gogh and Anthony Green
Martin has written two books about van Gogh:
The Sunflowers are Mine and, most recently, Studio of the South.
He has also edited two volumes about Anthony Green:
A Green Part of the World and, most recently, Anthony Green: a Painting Life.
These are the exhibitions about Anthony that were on at the time of the lecture:
Chris Beetles Gallery and The Royal Academy.
16th January 2017
The new Junior School and Fibonacci
David Smith, former Head of Physics
Here are a few websites relating to the new Junior School:
This is a comprehensive site about all things Fibonacci:
And here is the video that was shown at the end of the talk:
28th November 2016
The Francis Crick Institute
Clare Davy and Professor Julian Downward, FRS
More information about all aspects of the Crick Institute can be found here: https://www.crick.ac.uk/ In particular news of exhibitions can be seen here: https://www.crick.ac.uk/engagement/public-exhibitions/ Note that the current show can only be visited on Wednesdays to Saturdays.
This will tell you more about Francis Crick himself: https://www.crick.ac.uk/about-us/francis-crick/, and here is a biography of the speaker, Julian Downward: https://www.crick.ac.uk/research/a-z-researchers/researchers-d-h/julian-downward/biography/
7th November 2016
The hidden wildlife of Provence
Will Atkins, Highgate School
Will has kindly supplied the following information about his talk:
My reference book was: The Naturalist's Riviera (out of print but easy to come by) by A N Brangham, published by John Baker (1965)
There is no wildlife guide which deals specifically with the fauna of the south of France, but I recommend the following specialist titles:
• Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe (Dijkstra and Lewington, British Wildlife Publishing 2006)
• Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Britain and Europe (Speybroeck, Beukema, Bok, Van der Voort and Velikov, Bloomsbury 2016)
• Complete Mediterranean Wildlife (Sterry, Collins 2000)
The best time of year to visit is March to early June; it is much harder to find animals in the hot and dry months!
My camera is a Nikon D7100 with Sigma 105mm macro lens, using an 18-300mm AFS Nikkor tele-zoom for the wild boar shots
The link to my Flickr stream Provence photos is: //www.flickr.com/photos/100121190@N06/27843284945/in/datetaken-public/" data-mce-href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/100121190@N06/27843284945/in/datetaken-public/">https://www.flickr.com/photos/100121190@N06/27843284945/in/datetaken-public/>//www.flickr.com/photos/100121190@N06/27843284945/in/datetaken-public/" data-mce-href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/100121190@N06/27843284945/in/datetaken-public/">
10th October 2016
Are we alone in the Universe: the strange case of KIC 8462852
Dr William Whyatt, Highgate School
Dr Whyatt has recommended the following links if you wish to know more about Boyajian's Star:
The original discovery paper for KIC 8462852: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v2.pdf
The latest thoughts on plausible solutions to the mystery: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1609.03505v1.pdf
With a more assessable version located here: http://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/tabbys-star-posts/
19th September 2016
The great mansions of Highgate and the visionaries who lived in them: Glory-Decline-Revival
Professor Richard Webber
The pdf of the panels in the exhibition that accompanied this talk can be downloaded here and Richard recommends the following books and websites for further reading on:
Leisure and distinction: Conspicuous Consumption (Penguin Great Ideas) by Thorstein Veblen
Henrietta Barnett: Henrietta Barnett, Social Worker and Community Planner by Micky Watkins
The John Lewis Partnership: John Spedan Lewis by Lewis, Peter & Macpherson, Hugh & et al
Angela Burdett-Coutts: Lady Unknown The Life of Angela Burdett-Coutts by Edna Healey
Levels of inequality: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty and Arthur Goldhammer
Lord Leverhulme: Lord of the Isles: Lord Leverhulme in the Hebrides by Nigel Nicolson
The impact of the global rich in Highgate: http://usj.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/10/29/0042098015612983.abstract
4th July 2016
Bodyline post-mortem: Why did a cricket series cause an international crisis?
James Newton, Head of History
The following books are recommended for further reading:
Duncan Hamilton, Harold Larwood (Riverrun Publishing, 2010)
Christopher Douglas, Douglas Jardine: Spartan Cricketer (Methuen Publishing, 2003)
Michael Arnold, The Bodyline Hypocrisy: Conversations with Harold Larwood (Pitch Publishing, 2013)
The following link contains some of the Bodyline footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rybPvBa3Oc
13th June 2016
From Jules Verne to geostationary satellites, and the search for MH370
Emanuele Guariglia, Director, Earth Stations Engineering, Inmarsat and Highgate parent
The speaker has kindly made his presentation available, but with the following proviso: 'This presentation has been provided to Highgate School for informative purposes only, in the context of the 'Mondays at the Mills' programme of talks. Parents and pupils and other attendees should only read it and use for personal reasons. This presentation (or parts thereof) shall not be copied, redistributed or disclosed to any third party without Inmarsat's express permission.' It can be downloaded here.
25th April 2016
David Smith, former Head of Physics
For further information about LIGO and the discovery of gravitational waves (and simultaneously of a two black holes merging), the CalTech LIGO website is worth a look: https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/
In particular the Gallery: https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/gallery contains many of the images and video clips that I used in my presentation.
Another LIGO website that is also useful is: http://www.ligo.org/, especially Issue 8 of the Magazine. On the homepage of the same site the two videos 'LIGO: a Passion for Understanding' and 'LIGO Generations' might be of interest, as will the forthcoming film 'LIGO, the Path to Detection.'
The discovery paper that was published in Physics Review Letters is at least partly understandable:
14th March 2016
Dyne House: Highgate’s contribution to New Brutalism
Dr Judith Jammers, Head of History of Art
For further reading the following books are recommended:
-Alexander Clement, Brutalism: Post-War British Architecture, Crowood Press 2011
-John Grindrod, Cocretopia:A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, Old Street Publishing 2014
-Elain Harwood, Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-1975, Yale University Press 2015
-Christopher Beanland and Jonathan Meades, Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings Around the World, Frances Lincoln 2016
-Barnabas Calder, Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism, William Heinemann 2016
And these links describe a short-lived Brutalist experience:
OC Andrew Pegram produced a special print of Dyne House for the talk. His work can be viewed (and ordered) here:
22nd February 2016
The King Under the Car Park: The Search for Richard III
Dr Richard Buckley, OBE
In 2012, I learnt about the science behind the Richard III story at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2015. It is an annual event which is well worth going to: https://royalsociety.org/events/2016/07/summer-science/
Richard Buckley recommended these pages on the University of Leicester website, as do I: https://www.le.ac.uk/richardiii/
1st February 2016
The 8th annual Kyffin Williams Lecture - Kyffin Williams the Writer
Andrew Green, former Librarian of the National Library of Wales
The text of Andrew Green’s lecture and the illustrations that he used can be viewed here: http://gwallter.com/art/kyffin-williams-the-writer.html
The first of Kyffin’s two volumes of autobiography, Across the Straits, can be obtained here: http://www.gomer.co.uk/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?q=kyffin+williams
The second, A Wider Sky, seems to be a little more difficult to get hold of, but AbeBooks appears to have a few copies: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/
Encounter with Pluto
David Smith, former Head of Physics
To find out more about the New Horizons mission to Pluto the Johns Hopkins University site is probably the best starting point: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/
But there is also a NASA site that does a similar job: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html
This video gives an interesting overview of the mission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJxwWpaGoJs
14th December 2015
To find out more about the Welsh settlement in Patagonia this site is very comprehensive: http://www.glaniad.com/.
This is listed on the Wikipedia page for Y Wladfa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_Wladfa along with other interesting
links – e.g. to Clare Dudman’s very readable book A Place of Meadows and Tall Trees.
Here is a link to find out a bit more about Jon Gower and his publications: http://www.literaturewales.org/writers-of-wales/i/133914/.
23rd November 2015
Above and beyond your DNA – the world of epigenetics
Dr Scott Crawford, Head of Biology and Acting Head of Science; and Dr Ben Weston, Assistant Head Teacher with responsibility for Teaching & Learning
The two books that Ben recommended as further reading are:
The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our
Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance by Nessa Carey
The Developing Genome: An Introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics by David S. Moore
This lecture might also be of interest: The Royal Society: Gene regulation and the epigenome
2nd November 2015
David Smith, former Head of Physics
This site provides a good overview of the topic here. Symmetry, the particle
physics magazine published by Fermilab near Chicago, has some interesting articles here.
The videos that were shown in the presentation were as follows:
Tracking Stars Orbiting the Milky Way’s Central Black Hole
Cosmos: a Space Time Odyssey; Episode 13: Unafraid of the Dark
A Virtual Universe
Deep Exploits: the Search for Dark Matter.
This is the recent Horizon programme that was mentioned.
And here is an older one.
Finally, many apologies that this was left out of the talk!
12th October 2015
Known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns
David Vaccaro, Head of Mathematics