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Alexander Fleming

conference for Alexander Fleming kilmarnock

The only school in Scotland to have nurtured two Nobel prizewinners is celebrating its unique achievement with a free one-day conference in September and the programme has just been revealed.

But if you want to book a place at Kilmarnock Academys big day which includes buffet lunch you will need to be quick.

The conference, which is open to all, is to honour the achievements and increase local awareness of Sir Alexander Fleming and Lord John Boyd Orr and to look at the role of the school itself in producing a steady stream of notable scientists.

Fleming won his Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945 for discovering penicillin. His fellow Academy old boy, Boyd Orr, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949 for his work in human nutrition.

The two great men were born just a year apart and would have attended the school at the same time, but they never knew each other.

The conference will be led by renowned scientist Hugh Pennington, Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen. Invited speakers will cover the lives and works of Fleming and Boyd Orr and the importance of their local upbringing to their later achievements.

Keynote speakers include:
Professor John Stewart on Science and Medicine in Scotland in the First Half of the Twentieth Century;
Professor Catriona MacDonald on Scottish Education at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
; and
Professor Elaine McFarland on John Boyd Orr: The Making of a Global Citizen. All three are history professors at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Their colleague, Professor Robert Pyper, Head of the Social Sciences Department, will speak about John Boyd Orr: Idealism, Pragmatism, and Social Justice.

Putting Fleming in his historical context is Kevin Brown, Curator of the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in London.

Dr Neil Dickson, Chairman of the Ayrshire Federation of Historical Societies (AFHS) as well as being a former English teacher at the school will speak about Kilmarnock Academy in the 19th century, "a most interesting stage in its development".

Stuart Wilson, president of Kilmarnock and District History Group, said: "This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the lives of two of Ayrshires most distinguished sons and the fact Kilmarnock Academy is one of only two schools in Britain and the only one in Scotland, to have generated more than one Nobel Laureate."

Councillor Jim Roberts, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning, said: "Kilmarnock Academy has produced many notable former pupils and Sir Alexander Fleming and Lord Boyd Orr are famous all over the world for their important discoveries.
Only one other school in the UK has produced two Nobel prizewinners and that is Eton College, the private school in Windsor, attended by Prime Minister David Cameron. I would recommend this conference to anyone who has an interest in local history or science. It promises to be a remarkable day".

The conference will take place in the Assembly Hall of Kilmarnock Academy in Elmbank Drive, Kilmarnock, on Saturday, 24 September 2011. An accompanying exhibition will be displayed in the Memorial Hall, an attractive feature of the school's late 19th century main building.
Registration at the Academy is between 9.30 to 10pm and the conference wil close around 3.30 to 4pm. Programmes will be available on the day.

The event is part of Glasgow Caledonians outreach programme, connecting the university with local communities.

This joint venture between the University and the AFHS, with the active co-operation of East Ayrshire Council, is financially supported by the Wellcome Trust through the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare, Glasgow.

If you'd like to attend, don't just turn up on the day.
Please register, by Email or Post:

Register by Email

By Post, to:

Rhona Blincow,
Centre for Social History of Health and Heathcare,
Glasgow Caledonian University,
Cowcaddens Road,
Glasgow G4 0BA.