February 2014

February 2014

24 February 2014: Lecture: Great Ideas of Biology

Speaker: Sir Paul Nurse Kt HonFRSE, President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London. Chaired by Sir John Arbuthnott, President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Read summary report of Sir Paul's lecture on Great Ideas of Biology

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 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 organisation 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 organisation.

17 February 2014: Michael Shea Memorial Lecture - The Possible Scot: Realising Scotland's Potential for Wellbeing and Recovery

Read summary report of Katherine Gottlieb's lecture on The Possible Scot: Realising Scotland's Potential for Wellbeing and Recovery

Southcentral Foundation, Alaska, has for twenty years been pioneering a new approach to enabling the health and wellbeing of the Alaskan Native population by drawing on the inner resources of its people and its culture.  The healthcare system they have developed on these principles is now attracting international attention (including a growing following in Scotland). 

Don Berwick, a former health adviser to President Obama and head of Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent taskforce on improving the quality of care in the NHS, has observed:  "This is probably the leading example of healthcare redesign in the world.  The quality of care is the highest I have seen anywhere in the world, and the costs are highly sustainable.  It's extraordinary." 

Yet the healthcare system itself is only a small, if the most visible, part of an even more remarkable story.  It is actually their Family Wellness Warriors Initiative, for example, which addresses violence and abuse at community level, that brought Katherine Gottlieb to Scotland on this occasion.  Katherine took this opportunity to share the larger story of Southcentral Foundation’s work to enable people to flourish in the place they call home – work from which Scotland too can draw strength and inspiration.

This was the third Michael Shea Memorial Lecture held in partnership with International Futures Forum.

13 February 2014: Franco-Scottish Computer Science Seminar

Read summary report from the Franco-Scottish Computer Science Seminar

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) and the French Embassy in London are collaborating in a three-year programme of science events designed to explore and publicly present areas of science where both Scotland and France have a powerful presence. On 13 February 2014, the Royal Society of Edinburgh hosted one of these Franco-Scottish seminars which focused on the area of Computer Science. The workshop brought together academics and practitioners to exchange ideas and experiences on Computer Science in Scotland and France.

Four themes were selected for initiating new collaborations between Scotland and France to expand alongside ongoing strong research such as Formal Methods and Semantics Quantum Information. These themes were Algorithms and Complexity, Security, Modelling and Learning.

10 February 2014: SCRR Peter Wilson Lecture: Running out of Land - a new Global Challenge

Read summary report of Alan Belward's lecture: Running out of Land - a new Global Challenge

Speaker: Alan Belward, Head of Land Resource Management at the European Commission's Institue for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy

Land is not often considered a non-renewable resource, but it should be. The land meets most food, fuel and fibre needs of our rapidly growing human population and shapes Earth's climate too....competition for this finite resource is fierce. Satellites provide a unique vantage point from which to determine how, when and where land resources change. This talk introduced some of the policies that impact global land-use and highlighted the role of Earth-imaging satellites in responding to these.

 

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