Science & Society lecture: Harnessing the power of ten billion suns

Andrew Harrison

In the next lecture of the Science and Society series, Professor Andrew Harrison, who heads the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, will discuss how materials chemistry contributes to the economic health of the nation.

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s synchrotron. The machine speeds up electrons to near light speeds so that they give off a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. These bright beams are then directed off into laboratories known as ‘beamlines’ that scientists can use to study a vast range of subject matter, from new medicines and treatments for disease to innovative engineering and cutting-edge technology.

Professor Harrison has been the CEO of Diamond Light Source since 2013 and oversees the facility in Oxfordshire, which is used by over 5000 visiting scientists every year. Prior to this, he was the Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) neutron source in Grenoble, France.

He grew up in Keele and graduated from Oxford University with a degree and DPhil in Chemistry. After working as a Royal Society University Research Fellow, he joined Edinburgh University in 1992, becoming Professor of Solid State Chemistry in 2000, and was Founding Director of the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions in 2001 before joining ILL in 2006 as Science Director.

Information and booking

The lecture ‘Material chemistry research and the economic health of the nation’ takes place at the Leggate Theatre, Victoria Gallery & Museum on Tuesday 4 July at 5.30pm. It is free to attend and open to the public. Register at the events website:



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