Senior School

Lecture Series 2019 – 20

September 18th 2019  ‘’Life without Catalysis? UEA Professor Simon Lancaster, hosted by Mr Halford-Thompson

This lecture will explore the importance of organic chemistry in the 21st Century. It will exemplify recent developments and applications of modern organic chemistry using the isolation and identification of metabolites from natural sources (i.e. soil, sewage pipes, and the sea), their subsequent synthesis and modification on route to the development of new pharmaceutical agents and biologically active compounds. Examples of the types of drug classes discussed include the development of highly effective anticancer agents, the fight against MRSA and the current development / need for novel and effective classes of antibiotics.

October 9th, 2019: Evie Morgan,   “Disenchanted with democracy: why people don’t vote”.

Evie completed an EPQ focused on the disenfranchisement of young voters and considering the Corbyn Effect. Her lecture takes her research further as she weighs up other variables that affect participation, across all ages, in the democratic process. Evie also explores the consequences of the disenchantment with democracy the UK has been experiencing as the underclass develops. A very relevant lecture in this age of uncertainty for British politics. Where do we go from here?’

November 13th 2019; Dr Liddy Reeves-Croft & student ensemble

 ‘From Budapest to Beijing – travelling overland through the Russian sphere of influence (feat. the Trans-Mongolian Railway)’

Dr Reeves-Croft will be embarking on an adventure for her sabbatical this summer. She will be travelling from Eastern Europe to North East Asia, visiting countries in which the course of history has been shaped by their proximity to Russia as well as travelling across the Russian Federation on the Trans-Mongolian train. She will share this adventure with us in her lecture and talk about some of the key events of the last century, based on her experiences during her trip.

Update – You can see the slides from the academic lecture here.

December 4th 2019: Nick Rix-Perez, Homo Deus: the final stage in human evolution and the death of religion?

With religiosity appearing to decline in the modern world, what might the future hold for theism? If faith dies out, will society be able to transform itself to fill the void? Exploring many significant matters (including genetic modification, artificial intelligence and immortality) the lecture will discuss the prospect of a modernised planet on which humanity has progressed to its final stage in evolution (the Homo Deus) and whether there is either necessity or room for the God of religion in this new world. Will one witness the Fall of God and the deification of humanity? Is it possible for Man to become God?

January 22nd 2020:  Julian Chan / Bertie Titley, Antibiotics: Past, Present and Future

 Antibiotic resistance is on the rise and there appears to be very little development of new and more powerful antibiotics. Is the lethality of small infections re-emerging?  In this lecture we will discuss the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, factors that have created these deadly bacteria and what we can do to reduce the risk. We will also be addressing the chemistry of an antibiotic, how it works and why they have stopped working, we will also look at where we can find new antibiotics. Does the future of effective antibiotics look worrying? Or do we have an ace up our sleeves?

February 13th, 2020: Hannah Smith, 

 ‘ Sleep deprivation could improve your mental health, myth or reality?.’

With approximately 1 in 4 people being affected by one (or more) mental disorder(s) in their life and 1 in 3 adults not getting enough sleep, it is fair to say that mental health and sleep deprivation do not discriminate when choosing their victims. Both of these issues are extremely prominent in every county, state and country and have the potential to affect every one of us. Problems that reduce mental well-being  are increasingly placing strain on health services. In my lecture, I will be considering the connections between these issues and will discuss the interesting research, which I discovered while completing my EPQ, which studies whether or not sleep deprivation can have positive effects on your mental health.

March 18th, 2020: , Matthew Ludwig / Kevin Zhang

  “From baseball to black holes, does gravity control everything?”

Gravity is a concept that we are all familiar with and something we take the effects of for granted. However, this fundamental force controls aspects of the universe at every scale possible, from the trajectory your toast follows in the morning, to the motion of satellites around the Earth, to the ultimate fate of the universe. In this lecture, I will explore how gravity is intimately involved in all manners of physical phenomena, first by exploring the origin of gravity, then by investigating the relationship between gravity and our daily lives and finally, by exploring how gravity controls the extremes of our universe. Moreover, I hope to explain how future study may uncover the connection between gravity and the quantum realm by examining the burgeoning field of quantum gravity.

April 29th, 2020: Matt Brown, Jack Dyble, Katie Evans, Flora McIntyre,  Calum Strang  

  “A tale of two countries: The world on the edge of war” After the Second World War, the world stood divided between two very different ideologies, and with them, two very different countries. Unlike other wars, the Cold War was fought through propaganda, ideology, culture, and when necessary, open conflict. This war, which started over differences between the very ways-of life of the USA and the Soviet Union, soon resulted in humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance. We will be examining the impact of the Cold War and analysing its effectiveness.