Future Talks

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Our YouTube Channel has recordings of past talks.

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We will open the Zoom meeting shortly after 7.15pm to give people ample time to get connected, settled in and chat. Please arrive by 7.25pm.

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 A recording will be available after the event on our YouTube channel. If you prefer, you can watch live on YouTube, but with less participation


Mon 7th February 2021 7.30pm “The Cultured Chimpanzee” Dr Mimi Arandjelovic

The evolutionary-ecological drivers that have generated the behavioral diversity in chimpanzee populations are still largely unknown. Progress towards a better understanding of these diversification processes is currently constrained by the small number of field sites at which chimpanzees are studied. Potential explanatory variables, related to resource availability, historic landscape effects, predation and disease pressure or population inherent dynamics influencing trait invention and loss, by far exceed the number of chimpanzee communities studied.

The Pan African Programme (PanAf) ‘The Cultured Chimpanzee’ aims to overcome some of these limitations by studying a large number of populations with a cross-sectional sampling approach. It will quantify a broad spectrum of the ecological parameters that possibly contribute to generating behavioural diversity in chimpanzees and will thus also evaluate potential evolutionary scenarios to decipher central questions of human cultural evolution.

I am a biologist whose research has primarily focused on primate genetics, molecular ecology and conservation biology. My current role as co-director of the Pan African Programme : The Cultured Chimpanzee (PanAf) is focused on studying chimpanzee ecology and evolution from all four Pan troglodytes subspecies from over 40 temporary research sites across Africa. 

My doctoral and post-doctoral research focused on developing precise and accurate methods of monitoring great apes. As most primates tend to live in low visibility environments, are cryptic and are generally sparsely distributed it has been very difficult to obtain population estimates for almost all great ape subspecies.

My current research focus is on developing cheaper and more efficient means of using non-invasive samples for genetic amplification to use in biomonitoring activities and assess the potential of using conservation genomics from fecal samples to better understand the evolutionary trajectories of great apes.

Mon 7th March 2021 7.30pm “Research into battery storage technology” Prof Peter Slater

Lithium ion batteries are ubiquitous in our society and their uptake was initially driven by the portable electronic revolution. Future uses of such batteries will dramatically increase with the transition to electric vehicles, as well as the need for large scale energy storage for domestic and commercial applications. In this talk, I will outline how Li ion batteries work, and discuss some of the challenges researchers are facing. In particular, the dramatic increase in their usage will have an impact on the supply of the elements needed, and so I will outline strategies to mitigate this. In this respect recycling will be crucial for recovering and then reusing the valuable metals from these batteries at the end of their usable life. Of additional importance will be to replace some of the metals used, in particular cobalt, by cheaper metals so as to bring down costs and reduce supply chain challenges. Finally I will discuss what future generation batteries might look like, outlining what is being investigated to increase the amount of energy that can be stored in these batteries, and alternative Sodium ion batteries which offer lower cost particularly for stationary power applications.

Professor Peter R. Slater is Professor in Materials Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage. He has more than 30 years research experience in the area of solid state/materials chemistry, ranging from battery materials to solid oxide fuel cells. In these areas he has published more than 250 papers in scientific journals, and has written more than 20 review articles. His present research is focusing mainly on the development of ionic and mixed conductors for energy storage and conversion applications (e.g. Li/Na ion batteries and solid oxide fuel cells), as well as strategies for recycling such materials. 

He is also active in promoting research into new energy technologies in schools, and to general non-scientific audiences.