Old Dy’vorians Association Lecture at the UWTSD Dynevor Campus on 20th October at 7-00 pm …

Distinguished TV scientist to deliver annual lecture in Swansea

Distinguished scientist, award-winning author and TV presenter Professor Richard Fortey FRS FRSL, will deliver the annual Old Dy’vorians Association Lecture at the UWTSD Dynevor Campus on 20th October at 7-00 pm.  Professor Fortey1 will be speaking about his new book, The Wood for the Trees2, published earlier this year.

Professor Fortey said:

“I had dreamed of having my own piece of woodland for many years, but somehow there was never enough cash in the bank. In 2011, thanks to fronting a BBC4 television series based upon one of my books, I was suddenly solvent enough to turn that dream into reality.  We purchased a small patch of classical beech and bluebell ancient woodland in the Chiltern Hills.

“I soon realised that to understand the natural history of the woodland we had to explore its human history. Far from being “wildwood” it had been managed by the same estate for nearly a millennium. The wood became a research project, and this talk summarises some of our discoveries: everything from geology to a ghost story.

“Now I have a clearer view of what makes “nature” in our small island. I have learned to see the wood for the trees.

Professor Fortey was Keeper of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum, London and President of the Geological Society of London during its bicentenary in 2007.  In 1993, his first trade book, The Hidden Landscape, was named the Natural World Book of the Year.  He won the Lewis Thomas Prize for science writing (2003) and in 2006 won the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize for public communication of science.

His eight major popular science books also include, Life: An Unauthorised Biography (1998), shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize, and (2001), Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the UK’s most prestigious non-fiction award.  In 2005 Earth: an Intimate History was shortlisted for the Royal Society’s Aventis prize for science books. Life: an Unauthorised Biography was listed as one of ten ‘Books of the Year’ by the New York Times.  He has also written humorous books (sometimes anonymously) and comic verses about dinosaurs for children.

His many television appearances include: in 2012, the BBC 4 series Survivors: Nature’s Indestructible Creatures, which took a global look at modern-day species whose ancestors survived mass extinction events in the Earth’s history.  In 2013 he presented the BBC 4 programme The Secret Life of Rock Pools.  In 2014, he presented the BBC 4 three-part series Fossil Wonderlands: Nature’s Hidden Treasures, when he travelled to fossil sites to learn more about the distant past.  That year he also presented The Magic of Mushrooms, in which he showed that fungi (another major enthusiasm) had close but still poorly understood inter-relationships with plants and animals.  Earlier this year he presented the three-part series Nature’s Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution on BBC 2.


Lecture: ‘The Wood for the Trees’

Speaker: Professor Richard Fortey FRS FRSL

Venue: Dynevor Campus, University of Wales Trinity St David’s, De la Beche Street, Swansea.

Date: Thursday, 20th October.

Time: 6-00 pm (Complimentary refreshments in the Dynevor Cafe) for 7-00 pm (Start of Lecture in the Samuel Roberts Lecture Theatre).

Tickets:  The lecture is FREE.  No ticket required.


Mr Phill Davies (Secretary, ODA) Tel: 01792 883978   E: phillipdavies47@btinternet.com.

Dr Ted Nield (President, ODA) T: 07815 146676.  E: geoscribe@yahoo.co.uk.


  1. A print-quality photo of Professor Fortey is available on request from nield@geolsoc.org.uk or geoscribe@yahoo.co.uk.
  2. The Wood for the Trees: The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood, by Richard Fortey. Published by William Collins (2016, ISBN 978-0-00-810466-5).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me