Week in Science: 30/04/17

Cherwell Science & Tech guides you through this week's events

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s not easy keeping up with all the events going around the University. With Week in Science, the Cherwell Science and Tech editors bring to your attention interesting talks around the city, all of which they attend religiously.

The concept of time in biology, and the unity of life 

Source: Oxford Martin School

Presented by Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests 

Date and Time: 8th May, 17:30 to 18:30pm

Location: Oxford Martin School, 34 Broad Street, OX1 3BD

Speaker: Professor Brian J. Enquist

Description: One of our biggest technological innovations is that of time keeping. From the atomic to the astronomical scales, our technology has enabled us to precisely measure time. Our timekeeping uses clocks that all tick along the same time scale – a time scale that is also relative to how we perceive the passage of time.

For biology, the passage of time, however, is not only different but reveals deep truths about life. Across the diversity of life, the passage of time from bacteria to humans to giant Redwood trees is perceived differently. Instead of a constant ticking of a clock – the pace of life is reflected in scaling laws that characterise the variation in the cycles of heartbeats, metabolism, growth and reproduction.

In this lecture Professor Brian J. Enquist, Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow, will introduce a second concept of time – physiological time. Physiological time enables us to better understand why we age, the emergence of disease and cancer, the functioning of ecosystems, and the diversity of life. Physiological time is one of the most significant characteristics of life and helps unite the study of biology. A deeper question is what ultimately sets the pace of life.

As will be discussed, the search for a universal biological clock that unites life’s cycles is the most intriguing Holy Grail of biology.

Entry: Free, register early to avoid disappointment.

Puzzle Competition

Presented by The Oxford Invariants Society

Date and Time: 2nd May, 20:00pm.

Location: Maths Institute Café, Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG.

Description: This week we’re having a puzzle competition!

It starts at 8pm on Tuesday (2nd May) in the Maths Institute Café. Bring your friends or form a team of up to 4 people on the spot and solve some fun maths puzzles! Of course, there will also be snacks and drinks for everyone and some great prizes for the winners.

Entry: The event is free for members and £3 for non-members. Memberships is also available for £15, for life.

Lorna Casselton Memorial Lecture: The International Search for Life Beyond Earth – From Mars to Extrasolar Planets

Presented by St Cross College

Date and Time: 3rd May, 17:00 to 18:00pm.

Location: Main Lecture Theatre L1, Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG.

Speaker: Dr Ellen Stofan, NASA Chief Scientist.

Description: The 3rd Lorna Casselton Memorial Lecture, given by Dr Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, and entitled “The International Search for Life Beyond Earth – From Mars to Extrasolar Planets” will be at 5 pm on Wednesday 3rd May 2017 in the main lecture theatre, L1, at the Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford.

Entry: Free, register early to avoid disappointment.