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Public lectures – University of Reading

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Public lectures

 The University of Reading's Public Lecture Series is a showcase of research highlights from across the University.

Established over 45 years ago, these popular lectures are given by Reading academics eminent in their field and cover a wide range of topics.

Spring 2018 programme


 Wednesday 16 October 2019

G10 Palmer Building,


We all know that climate change is damaging our planet - but what about us? Our hearts, lungs and other vital organs are damaged by air pollution from the burning
of fossil fuels, and climate change worsens this effect. Vulnerable people, including the elderly, are at risk from extreme heatwaves like the one we saw in 2017 - and climate science predicts that these events will happen more often in future as the world warms.

In this lecture, Environmental Economist Elizabeth Robinson brings together stories and observations with hard data to show the impact of climate change on human health over time.  Building on her involvement in The Lancet Countdown, which tracks the positive health benefits of the world's efforts to reduce climate change, she makes a powerful argument for keeping climate change in check - not just for the planet's sake, but for the sake of our health.

Elizabeth Robinson is Professor of Environmental Economics at the School of Agriculture, Policy, and Development, at the University of Reading.

 Register to attend




November 2019

G10 Palmer Building


Business delivers things societies want or need, from goods and services through to wealth creation and employment. But businesses also enjoy a range of benefits from society: access to an educated workforce;
reliable transport links; and the protections of the legal system.

In her lecture, Professor Emma Borg will explore the nature of this complex relationship between business and society from the perspective of what is called 'social contract theory' in philosophy.

Using evidence from her own research she will ask what a 'social purpose' is, and whether companies should specify and fulfil such a purpose in order to earn their place in society. Professor Borg will also explain
how ethical business behaviour can result in happier, healthier and more productive employees, greater loyalty from customers and suppliers and ultimately boost a company's bottom line.

Emma Borg leads the University of Reading's Centre for Cognition Research and she is a Professor in the department of Philosophy.

She specialises in the philosophy of language and mind, and the study of the relationship between business and society. Since 2018, she has been working with the local not-for-profit organisation
Ethical Reading to investigate how ethical standards in business can be raised across the Reading area. This partnership led to the launch earlier this year of a Code of Ethics which sets out some core
ethical values for businesses to follow, together with suggestions about how to implement these values in the workplace:






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