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Rock Star Charts History of Addiction

Professor Iain Stewart, the President of RSGS, has become a regular face on our television screens, inspiring Scottish audiences with programmes on world geography and geology, including the critically-acclaimed BBC series Planet Oil: A History of Addiction.

And now this famous face will be rocking up to speak in Ayr to transport his audience on a journey through the making of this series and our long-held love affair with ‘black gold’.

With behind-the-scenes material from the programme, Iain, a Professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University, will trace the geological and technological tipping points that transformed oil from an unwanted waste product into a substance on which our modern world completely relies.


Using case studies from around the world – including Scotland – he will then explore the past, present and future story of our petroleum usage, and question if we really are coming to the end of the Hydrocarbon Age.


Commenting on the upcoming talk, Iain said:

“From the moment we first drilled for oil, we opened a Pandora's box that changed the world forever. It transformed the way we lived our lives, spawned foreign wars and turned a simple natural resource into the most powerful political weapon in the world.

“But the story of hydrocarbons is far from over. In the UK, for instance, issues such as fracking, North Sea drilling and our future energy mix are important political footballs – the implications of which are wide-ranging for us all.

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“As President of RSGS, I’m delighted to be back home in Scotland to deliver this talk. There’s nothing more rewarding than sharing your ideas and research with interested citizens, and inspiring them to think more closely about some of the most pressing geographical issues of our time – of which energy is surely one!”

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSGS, added:


“Iain is a wonderful communicator whose enthusiasm is infectious. We’re delighted that such a high-profile speaker is travelling to Ayr to speak on this critical issue.”

Iain Stewart, President of RSGS and Professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University, is best known for his work as a presenter with the BBC, including Rise of the Continents and  Earth: The Power of the Planet, Earth: The Climate Wars, How Earth Made Us, How To Grow A Planet and more recently, Volcano Live.


In addition Iain regularly publishes academic papers as well as books for the general public, the most recent of which was Plate Tectonics, a richly illustrated Ladybird Expert Book.


Tickets to see Iain are available via Eventbrite or on the door. They are £10 for visitors, £8 for Tiso Outdoor Experience Cardholders, and FREE for RSGS Members, Students and U18s.


Iain will be speaking in Ayr on Wednesday 27th March at 7.30pm at the Ayr Town Hall, New Bridge Street, Ayr, KA7 1JX.

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