Dr Paul Riley

      Speciality:  Astronomy (from a perspective of chemistry & geology), the history of everyday products that we                    often take for granted: tea, coffee, sugar, perfumes, make up & the history of time and its measurement.


                         LECTURED AT SEA WITH

   Celebrity, Princess, Thomson, Fred Olsen and CMV

Dr Paul Ian Riley B.Sc. (1st class Hons.), M.Sc., PhD. Science Council Research Fellow

Paul was born in the industrial West Midlands and studied chemistry (and geology) at Manchester University where he graduated with BSc (1st Class Hons.), MSc & PhD. For the next 2 years he worked as a Science Council Research Fellow at the University of Sussex before leaving the academic world and taking up a position with Unilever in London working on next generation personal care products (deodorants, antiperspirants and oral care products) in their R&D facility. Later Paul moved into the supply chain where he worked alongside buyers as a technical expert on raw materials. This gave Paul the opportunity to travel extensively around the world particularly in India, South America and the Far East. He retired from Unilever after helping to develop the concept and practicality of the ethical supply chain and is now a freelance consultant which still entails a significant amount of long-haul travel.


Paul has established himself as an expert in the area of cosmetic science and the history of everyday products and has published and lectured extensively on these topics from schools through to Universities.

                                                        Dr. Paul Riley



SECTOR                        Hong Kong to Chennai   


LECTURE 1   For All The Tea In China   

This talk explores the early history of tea from its roots in China with the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma and later the ‘god of tea’ Lu Yu who wrote the first book on tea through to its arrival in Britain – by Catherine Of Braganza the wife of Charles II. Later the taking of Afternoon Tea was introduced by Anna Maria Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford in the 1840s. Tea gradually became available to the working classes and innovations made tea making much simpler – e.g. the tea bag which was developed by the American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan.


LECTURE 2    Opium Wars, Indian Tea, and Clipper Ships        

This talk traces the events that led to the Opium Wars when England traded Indian opium for Chinese tea and the high taxation of tea that led to the Boston Tea Party. With growing problems in China, Britain looked for other tea growing regions and the East Indian Company identified India as a potential country where later Assam and Darjeeling became major tea producing areas. The second part of the talk covers the famous Clipper ships that raced each other from China to London with the season’s first tea.



LECTURE 3   Full Of Beans! A Decaffeinated Skinny Latté to Go          

The amusing story of how we got our daily cup of coffee. From the goat herder who ‘discovered’ coffee, via the women who tried to ban it, to today’s iconic brands such as Maxwell House which took its name from the hotel where it was first served. Coffee rapidly spread out of Africa and into the Middle East from here it found its way to Europe and to America where it became the country’s national drink.


LECTURE  4     Sugar & Spice & All things Nice – the History of Sugar & its Legacy    This talk covers the early history of sugar cane which originated in tropical South East Asia before spreading through the Islamic world and India to finally its cultivation and production in the West Indies and the tropical regions of the Americas beginning in the 16th century. The problem with sugar production was that growing and processing were highly labour-intensive resulting in the growth of a slave trade. The talk concludes with short reviews of some of the current problems associated with the high consumption of sugar rich foods & drinks and the rise of the so-called artificial sweeteners.   


  LECTURE 5  The Big Bang – or How to Build a Universe

This talk covers the history and development of the Big Bang the current theory of the birth of the universe. It was the Belgian priest & astronomer Georges Lemaître who in 1927 proposed the ‘birth’ of the Universe – A day without a yesterday. The term Big Bang was a sort of flippant comment made by Fred Hoyle during a BBC radio program in 1949. The key to the theory is the life and death of stars which is responsible for the formation of the 92 elements that make up, not only us but everything around us and ultimately the formation of planets and solar systems like our own.


LECTURE 6   Our Place in the Universe

In ET Phone Home what address for planet earth did he give for the space ship to return and rescue him? This talk discusses how the early astronomers, together with the invention of the telescope and the discovery of the other planets, began to understand where planet Earth was located in the solar system, the Milky Way and the wider universe. 


SECTOR      Chennai to

  LECTURE 1  Make-Up To Die For  - Cosmetics from early Egyptian times.
This talks charts the history and development of what we now call ‘make-up’ and begins in early Egyptian times where, in particular, Khol eye make-up contained lead, antinomy and mercury - substances we would now consider extremely harmful. Make-up continued to flourish during Roman times where many of the harmful ingredients were still used. Elizabeth I popularized pale complexions using lead-based powders and creams which contributed to her death. Later the Church and Queen Victoria denounced the use of make-up and the 18th century saw two society ladies Maria Gunning and Kitty Fisher become the first recorded deaths from ‘make-up’


LECTURE 2      Looking Good –Smelling Even Better -the history and development of perfumes from their first use in religious ceremonies in Egypt

This talk charts the history and development of perfumes from their first use in religious ceremonies in Egypt and how, much later, the Black Death and the leather industry helped their development. The second part of the talk looks at the history of and how some of the more famous perfume brand got their names – Chanel No 5, Avon, 4711, Crown Perfumery and Old Spice.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

LECTURE 3        The Solar System

A grand visual tour of our Solar System using superb images & video clips from NASA, the International Space Station and the numerous missions that have been launched to photograph and map the planets and our Solar System.


LECTURE  4   Keeping Us Safe - How Earth Evolved To Support Life 

This talk discuss how Earth is just in the right place to nurture life – the Goldilocks Zone – not too hot, not too cold so water can be in its liquid form and Jupiter is close and big enough to deflect asteroids away from us. Earth’s magnetic field keeps us safe from the Solar Wind and Geomagnetic Storms (but in so doing also gives us the beautiful Northern & Southern Lights) and its atmosphere protects us from the Solar Radiation which would otherwise damage the DNA found in all living cells.


LECTURE 5 The  Moon – I feel we are drifting apart!

This talk charts the history and the origin of the moon and how it had, and still has, a profound effect upon the earth being responsible for, amongst other things, the tides and seasons. Today we know that the moon is drifting away from us at 3.8cm a year causing the spin of the Earth to slow down and the days to get longer!  At some point the moon will drift far enough away that no longer will there be a total eclipse of the sun. Finally we take a short look at some the more iconic moon missions of the Apollo program – The Eagle has landed.


LECTURE 6     If we only had time

This talk charts how the concept of time evolved from the early sand and water clocks through to the modern atomic clock. Why 24 hours in a day, 60 seconds in a minute, 7 days in a week & 365 days in a year? As we make our way to Greenwich the talk will cover the development of how John Harrison solved the ‘Longitude problem’ which radically increased the precision of nautical navigation and finally how Greenwich became the chosen point for the Prime Meridian of the World; longitude 000° 00’ 00”.


LECTURE - reserve     Tea Shops and Tea Brands  
This talk charts the rise of tea shops in England first developed by Lyons Tea and the ABC Company. In these tea shops smart waitresses nipped between seated customers serving tea and sandwiches – not too surprisingly they were nick named ‘Nippies’. The second part of the talk charts the formation and rise of some of the more popular tea brands; Lipton’s (a rag-to-riches story), Brooke Bond (Mr. Brooke was real but Mr. Bond was not), Ty-Phoo (taken from the Chinese for ‘doctor’ and Tetley (the original Tetley brothers sold salt).