Public event: New Scientist Live

22 September 2016

Location: Excel London

22-25 September

The Crick will have a stand on the exhibition floor at the inaugural New Scientist Live, a four day extravaganza of talks, demos and hands-on activities at the ExCeL Centre in London's Docklands on 22-25 September.

Rooted in the biggest, best and most provocative science, New Scientist Live will touch on all areas of human life. The show will feature four immersive zones covering Brain & Body, Technology, Earth and Cosmos.

Paul Nurse - Five Great Ideas of Biology

Main Stage, Sunday 25 September, 11:00

How do we understand life; what are the concepts that are shared by all living things? These are the questions to be addressed by Paul Nurse, Nobel-prizewinning geneticist and director of London's Francis Crick Institute. He will take you on a journey from genes and cells to the tree of life. In the process you will visit the French revolution, Darwin's house and Pasteur's laboratory. With a little help from history, Paul charts the development of five grand biological ideas that, together, will leave you with a fresh perspective on all things living.

Three of the great ideas of biology are the gene theory, the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the proposal that the cell is the fundamental unit of all life. When considering the question of what is life these ideas come together, because the special way cells reproduce provides the conditions by which natural selection takes place allowing living organisms to evolve. A fourth idea is that the organization of chemistry within the cell provides explanations for life's phenomena. A new idea is the central role that information management plays in generating biological organization. These ideas are also relevant for what it is to be human.

Robin Lovell-Badge - Gene Editing: Brave New World

Brain & Body Stage, Saturday 24 September, 11:30

Humans who see in the infrared or who generate energy via photosynthesis are just two of the outlandish ideas suggested following the arrival of a new way to edit genes. The technique, CRISPR/Cas9, has made gene editing accurate and efficient enough for hundreds of labs around the world to try their luck with it. It's being used to change our food plants and other crops, and to make animals disease resistant. In humans, experiments have started on early embryos, and on correcting mutations that cause disease in adults; perhaps even "germline mutations" that are passed on to future generations.  Join biologist Robin Lovell-Badge to hear about the explosion of interest in gene editing, its promise and the fears that surround it.

Jim Smith - How To Make A Human Being

Brain & Body Stage, Friday 23 September, 15:30

There are 37 trillion cells in a human being and 200 different types of cell. How does the developing embryo make sure that the right kind of cell forms in the right place? We have discovered a great deal about this by studying frog spawn, says biologist Jim Smith. Join him to find out how nature organises this hugely complicated building project day in, day out.

Jim Smith is deputy chief executive of the Medical Research Council, a director of research at the Francis Crick Institute and shortly to become director of science at the Wellcome Trust. His background is in molecular biology, specifically the formation of certain tissues in the early embryo. His goal is, in part, to understand the chemical signals that drive stem cells to become one type of cell or another. This knowledge could be of real value for future medical treatments

Adrian Hayday - Helping Your Immune System Beat Cancer

Brain & Body Stage, Saturday 24 September, 12:30

Imagine this: your doctor says to you: "I don't plan on treating your tumour; rather I intend to treat you, so that you can do a better job of fighting your own tumour".  It's the immune system that does the heavy lifting. There has for years been intense debate over whether your immune system recognises and tries to fight off cancers. That debate is now over, based on some convincing science experiments. But as might be predicted, it doesn't yet work for everyone. We shall discuss what's been happening, and whether we are at the beginning of a new era of harnessing of our own immune systems to kill cancer.

Adrian Hayday trained in biochemistry at Cambridge, and was awarded a PhD in virology by Imperial College London. Adrian has received numerous awards, including the William Clyde deVane Medal, Yale's highest honour for scholarship and teaching. He was elected to head the British Society of Immunology (2005-09), to the Academy of Medical Sciences (in 2000), and to the Royal Society (2016).  He currently chairs the Cancer Research UK science committee.

Andrew Steele - Superconductivity: From Flying Trains To Bottled Stars

Cosmos Stage, Saturday 24 September, 15:30

Superconductors are bizarre materials that can give us superpowers, from levitation to X-ray vision. So where do these superpowers come from? Cool a superconductor to below a certain temperature and its electrical resistance suddenly vanishes. This means an electric current can flow freely through a superconductor without ever slowing down. How is this possible, and how can we make use of it in technology? Explore the science and history behind superconductivity, with live demonstrations culminating with a maglev train set…

Andrew is a computational biologist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, and recovering physicist after a PhD at Oxford. He talks about science on TV, as a resident expert on Impossible Engineering, as well as on BBC and Discovery; created Lab, Camera, Action! on YouTube and writes for the Guardian and The Conversation. He also campaigns for more investment in science.

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