Professor Vs Professor in the James Watt Debate

Preparing for war: Julian Jones stands at the front wielding his gavel with (from left to right) Nathan Bremner, Rob Lyon, David Hopkins, Steve McLaughlin, Dan Barnes and James McGeachie

They came in search of honour and glory, but ultimately only one team could lift the trophy for the inaugural James Watt debate, organised by the Alumni Relations team, in association with Heriot-Watt's Debating Society.

The motion "This House believes that the Industrial Revolution went too far, too fast" was debated by two teams led by two of the University's most senior Professors.

Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Steve McLaughlin, supported the motion with student Dan Barnes and Heriot-Watt alumnus James McGeachie. Standing against them were Head of Life Sciences David Hopkins, student Rob Lyon, and alumnus Nathan Bremner. Moderating the debate was Professor Julian Jones, who would have to resort to loud gavel-banging in order to return order to the rowdy bunch.

Arguments were solid and insightful from both sides. One team argued that with families in Africa living on less than a Dollar a day, half of the world has left the other half behind through greed and rapid industrialisation. But we had counter arguments flying back and forth - we can't change what has happened, we can only continue to industrialise to solve the problems we are now aware of. The event was live-Tweeted on the night, and you can see more of the arguments at #HWalumni

With heckling from both sides (from people who perhaps should know better!) the final decision went down to the audience, who voted a majority win to David Hopkin's side, arguing that the revolution did not go too far, too fast.

The debate took place after the Watt Club Annual Meeting, which gave an update on alumni interactions over the past year, and how this can continue to increase and grow our networks.

You can stay up to date with The Watt Club on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@watt_club).