Future Talks

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Our YouTube Channel has recordings of past talks.

This month we are trying Zoom without registration.

You will need to install the Zoom app to your computer, tablet or Smartphone. You only need to book one place for each computer, so if you are sharing a screen with someone in your house, you only need one. 

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.

Join Zoom Call

 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

Monday 4th October 7.30pm “The role of blended hydrogen: decarbonizing heating” – Prof Zoe Robinson – Keele University

Reaching ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions requires a fundamental shift in our energy systems.  The Committee on Climate Change and Government clearly see a role for hydrogen in our transition to a low carbon economy. With ~85% of homes in the UK on the gas grid, rapid decarbonization of heating is one of our biggest challenge. One stepping stone is to blend hydrogen into our existing gas grid, allowing us to continue to use existing infrastructure and appliances, creating immediate decarbonization benefits, while also making important steps to further drive a hydrogen economy.  This talk will explore the role of blended hydrogen and the consumer response to this, in our pathway to net zero, drawing on the work of the HyDeploy project, a national project led by Cadent, funded by Ofgem, and which saw the first blending of hydrogen (since the end of Town Gas in 1976) on a live gas grid at Keele University in October 2019, and continues today on a public site in the north east of England.

Prof. Zoe Robinson is Professor of Sustainability in Higher Education and Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at Keele University. Zoe is a Sustainability Scientist with 15 years of experience around sustainability transformations, working across the natural and social sciences boundaries. Zoe’s current research includes ‘user-centric design’ of a smart local energy system, and consumer perceptions of energy transitions including smart energy and hydrogen, through involvement in the national HyDeploy project, and Keele University’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator. Zoe also has a background of working in sustainability education and community engagement funded through Defra’s Climate Challenge Fund, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Research Councils UK, Institute of Physics amongst others, and working in partnership with a wide range of community organisations, networks, and councils.

1st November 2021 7.30pm “Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World” – Prof Mike Benton

6th December 2021 Prof Oscar Campos-Dias

Mon 3rd January 2021 7.30pm “Life is simple” – Prof Johnjoe McFadden
How Occam’s Razor Set Science Free And Unlocked The Universe

His new book, Life is Simple (2 September) highlights the role of simplicity in science, and in particular its favourite tool, Occam’s razor.  We begin in the turbulent times of the medieval friar, William of Occam, who first articulated the principle that the best answer to any problem is the simplest. This theory, known as Occam’s razor, cut through the thickets of medieval metaphysics to clear a path for modern science. 

In the book, Professor McFadden follows the razor in the hands of the giants of science, from Copernicus, to Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Rubin and Higgs. Its success suggests that we live in the simplest possible habitable universe and supports the revolutionary theory that our cosmos has evolved. 

After graduating with a degree in Biochemistry from Bedford College, University of London I went to do a Phd on fungal virus genetics working with Ken Buck at Imperial College. I then went on to my first post-doc at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School with Professor Bob Williamson on human genetics.

St Mary’s was as a terrifically stimulating environment at the time where I worked with loads of very clever people but, if the truth be told, my project didn’t go well so after a couple of years I went on to another post-doc at St. George’s Hospital Medical School to study Crohn’s disease with the surgeon John Hermon-Taylor. This went a lot better and I went on to investigate the role of mycobacteria in this disease, work which took me on to the University of Surrey where I gained a lectureship in Molecular Microbiology working first on paratuberculosis in cows and humans, then tuberculosis and meningococcal meningitis in humans. My group now specializes in using systems-based approaches to study infectious disease.

I wrote the popular science book, Quantum Evolution, published in the UK by HarperCollins in 2001, in the US by Norton in 2002 and by Kyoritsu Shuppan in Japan in 2003. The book examines the role of quantum mechanics in life, evolution and consciousness. I also write articles regularly for the Guardian newspaper in the UK on topics as varied as quantum mechanics, evolution and genetically modified crops, and occasionally review books for the Guardian. The Washington Post and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung have also published my articles.