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With a wealth of resources, planet earth holds the key to many scientific advancements. From biology to engineering, we will explore a few of the ways in which nature helps lead us forward.
How Nature Fuels Scientific Advances in the Modern World
In the past, medical scientists were known to work closely with nature. Nowadays they seem to be further removed, focussing mainly on molecular and lab-based research. White lab coats, sterile laboratory environment, neon lights and laser microscopy – working conditions for researchers seem to drift further away from ‘Nature’. Has modern research become disconnected from the natural world? In my talk, I will discuss how knowledge derived from plants, animals and bacteria continues to fuel cutting-edge research, and why preservation of the natural world is key to future scientific progress.
Challenges of Nuclear Energy as Part of Britain's Carbon Reduction Strategy.
Alexander Lockwood (PhD Researcher, University of Leeds)
The UK has 15 existing nuclear reactors, generating around 21% of its electricity, and 13 others are at various stages of the construction or planning process. However, the industry has faced instability due to the collapse of private sector support, which has created uncertainty in the future of the industry. This talk aims to discuss the history and the direction of the industry looking at issues with deployment, competitiveness against renewables and nuclear waste storage and disposal.
Microbes: Smol but Mighty!
Microbes are everywhere, from our guts, to our oceans, to our soils. They are key to recycling carbon and nutrients. Think of any natural compound and there is a microbe to degrade it – which makes them great for the degradation of our waste. Like us, most require oxygen to survive. My work focuses on those that survive in the absence of oxygen. These still carry out degradation (anaerobic digestion) and some even produce methane – a renewable form of energy! This talk explores turning our waste to energy – the microbes involved and challenges faced.