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Lunch Hour Lectures - Spring 2008 - Audio

Updated 11 days ago

Health & Fitness
Medicine
Science
Astronomy
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Spring 2008 - UCL's Lunch Hour Lecture Series is an opportunity for anyone to sample the exceptional research work taking place at the university, in bite-size chunks. Speakers are drawn from across UCL and lectures frequently showcase new research and recent academic publications. Lunch Hour Lectures require no pre-booking, are free to attend and are open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Spring 2008 - UCL's Lunch Hour Lecture Series is an opportunity for anyone to sample the exceptional research work taking place at the university, in bite-size chunks. Speakers are drawn from across UCL and lectures frequently showcase new research and recent academic publications. Lunch Hour Lectures require no pre-booking, are free to attend and are open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Average Ratings
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Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Lunch Hour Lectures - Spring 2008 - Audio

Lunch Hour Lectures - Spring 2008 - Audio

Latest release on Feb 04, 2011

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 11 days ago

Rank #1: The Return of Syphilis - Audio

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Between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, syphilis had essentially been eradicated in the UK. There is now an outbreak of syphilis with more diagnoses each year than at any time since the 1940s. This lecture will outline the nature of syphilis and its importance. Why is syphilis still so common worldwide when it is easy to diagnose and cure? How was syphilis eradicated in the UK? Why did it return and what does this say about the sexual health of the UK?

Feb 04 2011

42mins

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Rank #2: The Pleasures of Driving - Audio

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Nowadays we are all very aware of some the considerable disadvantages, danger and damage caused by automobile driving. Yet people continue to drive, even when suitable alternatives exists. This talk examines some of the historical reasons as to why people like to drive, looking in particular at some of the city driving of the 1960s and 1970s, and using films like ‘The Italian Job’, ‘Duel’, ‘Vanishing Point’ and ‘C’était un Rendezvous’ to explore notions of liberation, adventure, self-awareness and risk-taking. Given this history, should we be trying to restrict driving to purely essential journeys? Conversely, could it not be that driving should be reserved purely for occasions of personal pleasure?

Feb 04 2011

38mins

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Rank #3: The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Agreement: Law, Science and Globalising Markets - Audio

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The SPS Agreement is one of the most innovative and controversial aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This agreement uses science as a benchmark for assessing the legality of Member State regulation and has, in high profile cases such as EC Hormones and EC Biotech, been used to condemn regulatory measures as unlawful. The agreement, and the institutions which develop and apply it, walk a precarious middle line between trade and public health/environmental protection. This lecture will examine and evaluate the operation of this agreement, both before the WTO ‘courts’ and in the more co-operative setting of the SPS Committee.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #4: The Making of Stars and Planets - Audio

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Stars are formed from the interstellar medium and yet throughout their lifetime they feed material back into it. The interaction and exchange between the stars and the interstellar medium is therefore vital to a proper understanding of the mechanisms that drive our universe. Most stars are mainly hydrogen and are very hot. The interstellar medium on the other hand is usually cold, dusty and made up of hundreds of different atomic and molecular species. A complex chemical and physical evolution must take place in the stellar environments. Astrochemistry is the subject that studies this evolution. This lecture aims at giving an overview of this relatively new subject by reviewing recent advances in astrochemistry and its relevance to other fields such as cosmology and astrobiology.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #5: Living Without a Language Instinct: Language, the Brain and Children With Specific Language Impairment - Audio

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Language is a highly complex, specialised cognitive ability that is unique to humans. Nevertheless, most three-year-olds can talk using simple sentences. However, seven per cent of otherwise normally developing children have ‘specific language impairment’ (SLI), and many of these children have dyslexia too. SLI has a strong genetic component and for many individuals it is a life-long impairment. The long-term costs are socially, culturally, and economically high. I will present some research findings, using traditional and brain imaging techniques to explain these children’s language problems. SLI provides a unique window into the brain, how specialised systems develop, and how our findings can help children.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #6: Intelligent Colour - Audio

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Not all colours in nature originate from pigments. Colour can also emerge if the microstructure of a material is fashioned into an optical diffraction grating. In nanotechnology, this capability of ‘structural colour’ is now within our grasp, and it is easy to imagine how it can be intelligently integrated into jewellery and artwork, vehicles and buildings. Beyond ‘static’ structural colour is a ‘dynamic’ form that could enable a full colour display where one material provides an infinite range of colours, security devices for identification and authentification, and military vehicles with active camouflage. Opportunities for intelligent colour are truly boundless.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #7: Hepatitis B, a Neat Little Virus - Audio

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Amongst all human pathogens, the hepatitis B virus is one of the smallest known. The virus particle itself was first described in this Medical School nearly 40 years ago, although its existence had been surmised for much longer. Not only is the virus small in physical size, its genetic information is tiny, one thousandth of that in an average bacterium. It has a fascinatingly complex lifestyle that continues to yield insights into host parasite relationships and the way in which persistent infections by some viruses have evolved to confuse the immune system. This poses problems for vaccines and for antiviral drug therapy, a conundrum now far more intricate than ever imagined.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #8: The Yin and Yang of Cellular Communication - Audio

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The lecture looks at how cells in emerging multicellular organisms have evolved ways of communicating with each other. The basic ‘yes’ and ‘no’ signalling was probably mediated by release into the extracellular space of substances which were available in abundance inside the cells – purine nucleotide ATP (molecule charged with energy – excitatory Yang) and its breakdown product adenosine (molecule devoid of energy – inhibitory Yin). The lecture will use examples from current research demonstrating how this dual system of conveying information from one cell to another has been preserved during evolution. Both substances are important modulators of cellular functions still playing often opposing roles in the peripheral tissues as well as in the central nervous system.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #9: What can Venus, Mars and Titan tell us about Earth? - Audio

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Several space missions of planetary exploration are currently underway, including Venus Express and Mars Express to our planetary neighbours and Cassini-Huygens to Saturn. In this talk, we will look at some of the results from these missions. Remarkably, these distant bodies can also tell us more about our own planet. Will the greenhouse effect run away here as it has at Venus, or might severe climate change happen as at Mars? Does Titan really show us what prebiotic Earth was like? We will also look at possible future space missions to these bodies.

Feb 04 2011

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Rank #10: Toad meets T-Rex: The Evolution and Diversification of Frogs - Audio

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Love them or loathe them, frogs have a place in popular culture, from ‘Kermit’ to ‘Toad of Toad Hall’. The short, tailless body, large head, and long legs give a profile that is vaguely humanoid, but frogs are optimised for leaping rather than walking, a locomotor strategy that has been highly successful. Amongst amphibians, their body plan is unique, prompting questions as to its origin and evolutionary history. Some of the answers may be found in the fossil record of frogs, dating back 250 million years to the very beginning of the ‘Age of Dinosaurs’.

Feb 04 2011

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