Old Library
-A +A

Talks IV: Old Library

Watching the Brain Change

Heidi Johansen-Berg (SCR)

Read more >The brain changes when we learn, get older, or recover from damage such as stroke.  Our research uses brain imaging techniques such as MRI, to assess changes in brain activity or brain structure. We then try to use this information to design new interventions to improve healthy ageing or boost recovery from stroke.

Climate Change and the fall of the Pyramid Age of Egypt

Michael Dee (SCR)

Read more >Recent palaeoenvironmental evidence suggests that northeast Africa and southwest Asia were struck by an intense 'mega-drought' around the year 2200 BC. The event has already been blamed for the collapse of complex societies in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. I am trying to radiocarbon date both the drought event, at the headwaters of the Nile, and the collapse of the Pyramid Age of Egypt. Ultimately, I am hoping to determine whether Climate Change may have been responsible for the downfall of the state.

Earth’s earliest super predators

Allison Daley (SCR)

Read More >
The Cambrian Explosion was a major biodiversification event that saw the rise of nearly all animal phyla in a rapid burst 500 million years ago. The anomalocaridids are iconic members of these primitive animal ecosystems, owing to their huge size, bizarre morphology and complicated history of desription. In this talk, I will discuss their ecology, and particularly the view that the anomalocardidids were highly specialised apex predators attacking trilobites. My reserach has shown that these animals were actually highly diverse and employed a wider range of feeding strategies than previously assumed, including generalised predation and even suspension feeding.

The ethics of rail travel; or, what George Eliot can teach us about HS2

Philip Chadwick (MCR)

Read more >Whilst no-one would question the economic advantages of a high-speed rail network connecting major cities in the UK, there is still little agreement about the feasibility of the government’s £50 billion HS2 project. My talk will apply an analysis of George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1874) to this issue, asking how the writer’s critique of railroads might inform an ethically sensitive approach to HS2. Are the benefits only felt by city dwellers? Can the wealth railways generate be equitably distributed? Are they socially divisive? These questions pertain as much to HS2 as they did to rail travel in England in the nineteenth century.