The Week of Monday 24th April

Banning the ivory trade, malaria, living below sea level and autism – some of the topics covered in Mr Salmon’s selection of talks taking place over the next week. Begin the Summer Term by stretching your parameters and explore some of the issues highlighted below!  For more information on any of the talks please ask Mr Salmon.

Monday 24th April

The continuing evolution of human reproductive behaviour: The first hominin skull to hold a brain larger than the brain of a chimpanzee has been dated to 1.8 million years ago. Isler and van Schaik have argued that provisioning offspring with a brain larger than that of a chimpanzee (adjusted for body size) would be impossible for a mother on her own and so conclude that alloparenting must have begun by this point in human evolutionary history. 17.30, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Free.

Tuesday 25th April

Malaria drug resistance in Africa and Asia: Recent evidence of the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum strains showing reduced susceptibility to the front line artemisinin combination therapies (ACT) in Africa has highlighted the growing problem of antimalarial drug resistance. 17.00, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Free.

Wednesday 26th April

Living below sea level: As we become more aware of the engineering challenges that climate change might bring to the UK, we look at the geographical and historical experience of living at low level with water from a Dutch perspective. We will hear about some of the new challenges as well as major water engineering projects of recent years. Vincent Laracker, 18.30, Cowcross Gallery.

Prof Glenn Gibson – Friends in Low Places: Getting to the Guts of Microbiology: It is now well-known that certain bacteria in the human gut have a positive impact on health and there is an entire industry devoted to foods and supplements that are believed to exert a functional effect on human gut microbiota, promoting better health. However, it is a complex and often controversial topic with both probiotics and prebiotics being advocated.  18.30, SCI. Free. Need to register.

Photovoltaic solar energy: from the photoelectric effect to global power generation and beyond: For the last 60 years scientists and engineers have been striving to make electronic devices which convert sunlight directly into usable electricity. These photovoltaic cells are now so efficient that over the last 10 years the cost of producing electricity from sunlight is now cheaper in some places in the world than the production of electricity from coal fired power stations.  Royal Society, 18.30. Free.

Thursday 27th April

Banning the Ivory Trade: The announcement by China of its intention to close its domestic ivory markets by the end of 2017, following the lead of the majority of African governments, India and the US, is a potential game-changer in global efforts to ensure elephant survival. With over 20,000 African elephants slaughtered for their tusks since 2008 – a rate unsustainable for the survival of the species – the need for bold action is imperative.  LSE, 18.15, free.

Friday 28th April

Autism: An estimated 700,000 people in Britain are affected by autism. In this Discourse, Dame Stephanie Shirley will share her hands-on experience of the disorder – providing a virtual reality demonstration of how the world appears to someone on the spectrum; and introducing the robot which teaches at Prior’s Court, her specialist autism school.  Stephanie Shirley.  Royal Institution, 19.20 Cheap.