Archive for August, 2022

Dante’s journey through popular culture

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

2021 was the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, yet his influence on contemporary artists, designers and film-makers still holds strong.

Is it because Dante had such a deep understanding of the human condition, and verbalised it so imaginatively?  He is most famous for his epic poem, ‘La Commedia’, a testament to his spiritual journey from a place of turmoil to one of safety.  Why have his graphic and painterly descriptions of Inferno influenced so many?

In this richly illustrated talk, Emma Marigliano examines Dante’s wide influence through exploring the work of early film-makers and modern artists, including some rather unexpected examples from the world of advertising.

Change your diet: the easiest way to help reduce your climate impact

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Food production causes about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.  And this is rising as the world’s population increases and becomes more affluent. This talk explores our potential for change.

Professor Sarah Bridle has been studying dark matter and dark energy for the last 20 years. But when her children started school she began to think about our own planet in the next 20 years and beyond.  Sarah learned about climate change in depth, for the first time. How it threatens worldwide food production, and how food causes about a quarter of all global warming.  She wanted to know how much each of her food choices was contributing, and why.

Sarah delved into the academic research literature and summarised the results in simple charts.  The charts make it easy for the non-specialist to see the impacts of different meal options. They show that some easy food switches can reduce food greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent.

Most of us make many food choices every day. By changing these we can significantly reduce climate change caused by food, and free up land that can be used to help reduce climate change overall.

Reading your DNA: what can it tell us?

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramian discusses the origin, development and impact of new technology to sequence DNA.

DNA is a linear molecule made up of four building blocks, often abbreviated to the letters G, C, T and A.  The sequence of these four letters forms a code that comprises 3.2 billion letters in a copy of the human genome.  The International Human Genome Project used an approach developed by Fred Sanger to generate the first human genome reference. This global collaboration spanned a decade.

Over 20 years ago, during the course of some basic scientific experiments, a collaboration with David Klenerman and Shankar Balasubramanian’s co-workers unexpectedly led them to conceive and then pursue a different way of sequencing DNA.

The initial experiments ultimately led to a rapid, low-cost sequencing approach, which was developed and commercialised through a company they co-founded, called Solexa.

Today the technique is able to sequence human, and other, genomes at a cost and speed that shows over a million-fold improvement compared to when the project began in 1997.

Sir Shankar reports on the impact of the technology on life sciences, medicine and society, and share a vision of what the future holds.

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