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Public Engagement at Manchester

From the War of Nature Exhibition talks at Manchester Museum

From the War of Nature is the latest temporary exhibition at the Manchester Museum.

Check out this film for a preview of the exhibition – www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/fromthewar/

Join us for a series of talks, led by Scientists from Manchester University, that explore the recent scientific discoveries and relationships between living things, exploring the place of war in nature and the idea of a ‘struggle for existence’.

  • Friday 16 May, 1-2pm: Dr Sheena Cruickshank will be investigating the hygiene hypothesis and whether there is a link between parasites and allergies.
  • Friday 23 May, 1-2pm: Marco Smolla will look into the world of social insects and the value of co-operation
  • Friday 30 May, 1-2pm: Dr Jenny Rowntree shares her interest in parasitic plants and how they affect their environment
  • Friday 6 June, 1-2pm: Dr Andrew Dean delves under the surface of the pond to look at predation and conflict at a microscopic level

There is no need to book and all the talks take place in the Kanaris Theatre on the 2nd floor of the Museum.

Posted by Anna Bunney, Curator of Public Programmes, Manchester Museum

Open science and ethics debate

Two University of Manchester professors will host a public meeting where they will ponder the question: Will science save the world?

Lucio Piccirillo, Professor of Radio Astronomy, and John Harris, Lord Alliance Professor of Bioethics, will discuss various themes relating to the direction of science, and to the hopes and fears surrounding it.

They will discuss themes such as the Large Hadron Collider, the case of the H1N5 virus, the risk of bioterrorism, and various other hot themes raised by contemporary science.

The pair will talk about the ethical implications of scientific freedom and will engage with members of the audience for any questions arising.

The free event takes place at the Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester, on 24 May from 5pm to 7pm.

Debate on bioenergy asks: should the UK government increase its support?

Monday, 20 May 2013 (4pm to 6pm) in University Place Lecture Theatre A (3.102). Everyone is welcome at a debate on bioenergy.

The question for panellists is: “The UK government should increase support for bioenergy. Discuss …”

Bioenergy is set to play a major role in meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets. It can deliver greenhouse gas reductions in the power, heat and transport sectors and biomass can also be used as a feedstock for renewable chemical production. Uptake is being encouraged by a range of government policy initiatives, but progress in deployment to deliver much-needed greenhouse gas reductions has been slow and the sustainability of many feedstocks has come under intense scrutiny.

This debate brings together panellists from academia, business and other stakeholders to discuss whether or not the UK should increase its support for bioenergy. There is an urgent need to increase renewable energy deployment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and many mature bioenergy technologies could contribute to that, but there has been only limited commercial success to date. So is increased policy support needed?

Unsustainable biomass production could increase greenhouse gas emissions rather than reduce them, so perhaps support should be limited or more targeted.

In addition concerns have been raised about the wider environmental, social and economic impacts of biomass production, so is UK policy exacerbating these?

There is also only a finite amount of biomass available and incentivizing one use risks there being insufficient left for other key areas. Perhaps biomass should be reserved for aviation or chemical production, where there are few alternative; perhaps it is more important to get substantial near term greenhouse gas reductions by increasing the UK’s biomass power generation capacity; or perhaps we should be focusing efforts on the longer term “prize” of negative emissions from biomass electricity with carbon capture and storage.

A range of speakers will give their perspective and there will be opportunity for questions, discussion and debate. Please come along for what promises to be a fascinating and wide ranging discussion.

The panellists will be:

  • Kevin Anderson and Patricia Thornley from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research;
  • Gerry Newton-Cross from the Energy Technologies Institute;
  • Kenneth Richter from Friends of the Earth;
  • Paul Willson from PB Power.

The debate will round off a series of events funded under the EPSRC ‘Biobridges’ project at the University, which is led by Professor Kevin Anderson.

Ancient Worlds talks at the Manchester Museum: Boyd Dawkins and Life at Kahun

The Manchester Museum is hosting two public talks this week as part of the Ancient World Exhibition.

Boyd Dawkins: Ancient worlds cave hunter –  2 November 2012, 1-2pm
Join historian Leucha Veneer in this talk to find out more about William Boyd Dawkins, the Manchester Museum’s first curator. He hunted, found and recorded tools from Neolithic and Bronze Age man in the caves of Cresswell Crags, a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves. Using his knowledge of geology from building tunnels in Manchester, William Boyd Dawkins brought science to the fore in the understanding of archaeology – and the age of the earth.

More information here. Book on 0161 275 2648, free, adults. Part of Manchester Science Festival.

“Senwosret is Satisfied”: Life at Kahun – 7 November 2012, 6-8pm.
Uncover the lives of the women who lived, worked and died in the ancient Egyptian town of Kahun, built to house priests and workers who serviced the nearby pyramid of King Senwosret II. With Dr Joyce Tyldesley, The University of Manchester.

More information here. Book on 0161 275 2648, free, adults