Some of Britain’s leading Earth scientists will be sharing their amazing research as part of the Yorkshire Fossil Festival in Scarborough in September.

Professor Chris Jackson

Award-winning Earth scientist Professor Chris Jackson will give the Sue and Pete Rawson Lecture at Scarborough Spa on Saturday 17 September at 11am. The star of BBC2’s Expedition Volcano and co-presenter of the 2020 Royal Institution Chrismtas lectures, Chris is one of the leading geologists of his generation. He is a geoscientist with the engineering consultancy Jacobs, and Visiting Professor in Basin Analysis at Imperial College.

Chris is actively engaged in efforts to improve equality, diversity and inclusivity in Earth Science in particular, and higher education generally. His lecture, Can Geology Save the World?, will discuss the role rocks, fossils and minerals play in our everyday lives and explore why Earth Science is crucial in tackling some of our greatest challenges.

Dr Katie Strang (@palaeokatie)

The William Smith lecture will be given by palaeontologist Dr Katie Strang at 1pm on Saturday 17 September at Scarborough Spa. Better known on social media as @palaeokatie, Katie works in conservation, fossil research and is Director of the Scottish Geology Festival for the Scottish Geology Trust.

Katie’s William Smith Lecture, Jaws and Jobbies in the Age of Coal, will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the naming of the Carboniferous period, exploring this incredible time in Earth’s history over 300 million years ago. From predatory fish and giant ‘sea scorpions’ to coral reefs and coal swamps (not to mention fossilized poop), the Age of Coal had it all!

Dr Barry Lomax

On Sunday 18 September at 10.30am at Scarborough Spa, environmental scientist Dr Barry Lomax from the University of Nottingham will explain how he uses fossil plants to understand climate change climate change over geological time.The Extinction of Plants, will examine some of the Earth’s biggest mass extinctions, how fossil leaves and pollen grains can be used to unravel the patterns of climate change through these deadly events.

Sarah Caldwell Steele

Gemmologist Sarah Caldwell Steele is known to her social media followers as Jetrock Girl and is widely considered to be the world’s leading expert in black gemstone identification. First inspired by finding a piece of jet on Whitby beach when she was seven, she will describe Vampires, Mummies and Super Volcanoes: The Legacy of Whitby’s Jet at Scarborough Spa at 3pm on Sunday 18 September.

“We are thrilled to have such a wonderful quartet of speakers coming to this year’s Yorkshire Fossil Festival,” says festival director Dr Liam Herringshaw.

“Chris Jackson’s lecture of how geology can save the world will be inspiring and thought-provoking, while Katie Strang’s passion for, and promotion of, palaeontology is second to none.

“Barry Lomax will show how fossil plants have plenty of scientific secrets, and Sarah Caldwell Steele’s eye-opening research will ensure you’ll never think about Whitby jet the same way again.”

The Yorkshire Fossil Festival, based around Scarborough’s Spa, will also feature displays and activities from local and national museums, universities and businesses, including The Palaeontological Association; the Oxford University Museum of Natural History; the Dinosaur Isle Museum, Isle of Wight; Whitby Museum; the Geologists’ Association, Natural Wonders, Whitby; and Scarborough’s Hidden Horizons and The Fossil Shop.

Fossil experts from across the UK will be on hand to show their amazing discoveries and are inviting festival-goers to bring along their own fossils for identification.

The festival will also see award-winning scientist and entertainer Steve ‘The Rock Showman’ Cousins take on the role of Festival Ringmaster at Scarborough Spa. Steve will bring fossils to life with his team of palaeo-performers, both inside and outside the Spa.

The Festival has once more teamed up with the cinema at the Stephen Joseph Theatre to screen a day of fossil- and dinosaur-themed films.

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