Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are a series of lectures on a single topic each, which have been held at the Royal Institution in London each year since 1825, missing 1939–42 because of the Second World War. The lectures present scientific subjects to a general audience, including young people, in an informative and entertaining manner. Michael Faraday initiated the first Christmas Lecture series in 1825; this came at a time. Faraday presented a total of nineteen series in all; the Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures were first held in 1825, have continued on an annual basis since except during the Second World War. They have been hosted each year at the Royal Institution itself, except in 1929 and between 2005–2006, each time due to refurbishment of the building, they were created by Michael Faraday, who hosted the lecture season on nineteen occasions. Other notable lecturers have included Desmond Morris, Sir David Attenborough, Heinz Wolff, Carl Sagan, George Porter, Richard Dawkins, Baroness Susan Greenfield, Dame Nancy Rothwell, Monica Grady, Sue Hartley, Alison Woollard, Danielle George, Saiful Islam.
The props for the lectures are designed and created by the RI's science demonstration technician, a post which Faraday held. A popular technician, with the advent of television, serving from 1948 to 1986, was Bill Coates; the technician is informed of the general subject of the lectures during spring, but the specifics aren't settled until September, with the recordings made in mid-December. By 2009, the lectures had expanded to a series of five sessions each year. However, in 2010 the Royal Institution cut back on costs; these cost cutting measures included the budget allotted to the Christmas Lectures. This resulted in a reduction from five sessions to three; the Christmas Lectures were first televised in 1936 on the BBC's fledgling Television Service. They were broadcast on BBC Two from 1966–1999 and Channel 4 from 2000–2004. In 2000 one of the lectures was broadcast live for the first time. Following the end of Channel 4's contract to broadcast the lectures, there were concerns that they might be dropped from scheduling as the channel was negotiating with the Royal Institution over potential changes to the format, while the BBC announced that "The BBC will not show the lectures again, because it feels the broadcasting environment has moved on in the last four years."
Channel Five subsequently agreed to show the lectures from 2005–2008, an announcement, met with derision from academics. The lectures were broadcast on More4 in 2009. In 2010, the lectures returned to the BBC after a ten-year absence from the broadcaster, have been shown on BBC Four each year since then; the following is a complete list of the Christmas Lectures from 1825 to 1965: The following is a list of televised Christmas Lectures from 1966 onward as of August 2018: Christmas Lectures online Royal Institution Christmas Lectures at BBC Programmes
Nicholas Barry Davies
Nicholas Barry Davies FRS is a British field naturalist and zoologist, Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Cambridge, where he is a Fellow of Pembroke College. His books with John Krebs helped to define the field of behavioural ecology, the study of how behaviour evolves in response to selection pressures from ecology and the social environment, his study of a small brown bird, the dunnock, linked detailed behavioural observations of individuals to their reproductive success, using DNA profiles to measure paternity and maternity, revealed how sexual conflicts gave rise to variable mating systems including: monogamy, polygyny and polygynandry. His studies of cuckoos and their hosts have revealed an evolutionary arms race of brood parasite adaptations and host counter-adaptations. Other studies include: territory economics in pied wagtails. Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London, 1987 Fellow of the Royal Society, 1994 University of Cambridge Teaching Prize, 1995 William Bate Hardy Prize of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1995 Medal of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, 1996 President of the International Society for Behavioural Ecology, 2000-2002 British Trust for Ornithology / British Birds "Best Book of the Year Award" in 2000 and in 2015.
Frink Medal of the Zoological Society of London, 2001 Elliott Coues Medal of the American Ornithologists' Union, 2005 Hamilton Prize Lecture of the International Society for Behavioural Ecology, 2010 Croonian Medal and Lecture of the Royal Society, 2015 Krebs, J. R. B. eds.. Behavioural Ecology - An Evolutionary Approach. Blackwell Science. Krebs, J. R. B.. An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology. Blackwell Science. Davies, N. B.. Dunnock Behaviour and Social Evolution. Oxford University Press. Davies, N. B.. Cuckoos and Other Cheats. T. & A. D. Poyser. P. 310. Davies, N. B.. R.. A.. An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell. Davies, Nick. Cuckoo - Cheating by Nature. Bloomsbury. In 2007, his research was featured as a BBC Natural World program "Cuckoo", produced by Mike Birkhead and narrated by David Attenborough. In 2011 he presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary entitled'The Cuckoo'. In 2016 he was the subject of a BBC Radio documentary in the series The Life Scientific. In 2017 he was the guest of Michael Berkeley on BBC Radio 3 Private Passions.
In 2017 he appeared in an episode of the BBC Radio 4 Natural Histories series entitled "Cuckoo"
Hans Adolf Krebs
Sir Hans Adolf Krebs was a German-born British biologist and biochemist. He was a pioneer scientist in the study of cellular respiration, a biochemical process in living cells that extracts energy from food and oxygen and makes it available to drive the processes of life, he is best known for his discoveries of two important sequences of chemical reactions that take place in the cells of humans and many other organisms, namely the citric acid cycle and the urea cycle. The former eponymously known as the "Krebs cycle", is the key sequence of metabolic reactions that provides energy in the cells of humans and other oxygen-respiring organisms. With Hans Kornberg, he discovered the glyoxylate cycle, a slight variation of the citric acid cycle found in plants, bacteria and fungi. Krebs died in 1981 in Oxford, where he had spent 13 years of his career from 1954 until his retirement in 1967 at the University of Oxford. Krebs was born in Hildesheim, Germany, to Georg Krebs, an ear and throat surgeon, Alma Krebs.
He descended from Jewish-Silesian ancestry and was the middle of three children, older sister Elisabeth and younger brother Wolfgang. Krebs attended the famous old Gymnasium Andreanum in his home town. Near the end of World War I, in September 1918, six months short of completing his secondary school education, he was conscripted into the Imperial German Army, he was allowed to take an emergency examination for his high school diploma, which he passed with such a high score that he suspected the examiners of being "unduly lenient and sympathetic". With the end of the war two months his conscription ended. Krebs decided to follow his father's profession and entered the University of Göttingen in December 1918 to study medicine. In 1919 he transferred to the University of Freiburg. In 1923 he published his first scientific paper on a tissue staining technique, he did this work under the guidance of Wilhelm von Mollendorf starting it in 1920. He completed his medical course in December 1923. To obtain a Doctor of Medicine degree, a medical license, he spent one year at the Third Medical Clinic in the University of Berlin.
By he had turned his professional goal from becoming a practising physician to becoming a medical researcher in biochemistry. In 1924 he studied at the Department of Chemistry at the Pathological Institute of the Charité Hospital, in Berlin, for training in chemistry and biochemistry, he earned his MD degree in 1925 from the University of Hamburg. In 1926 Krebs joined Otto Heinrich Warburg as a research assistant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology in Dahlem, Berlin, he was paid a modest 4800 marks per year. After four years in 1930, with 16 publications to his credit, his mentor Warburg urged him to move on and he took up the position of Assistant in the Department of Medicine at the Municipal Hospital in Altona; the next year he moved to the Medical Clinic of the University of Freiburg. At Freiburg he was in charge of about 40 patients, was at liberty to do his own research. Before a year was over at Freiburg, he, with research student Kurt Henseleit, published their discovery of the ornithine cycle of urea synthesis, the metabolic pathway for urea formation.
It is now known as the urea cycle, is sometimes referred to as the Krebs–Henseleit cycle. Together they developed a complex aqueous solution, or perfusion ex vivo, for studying blood flow in arteries, now called the Krebs–Henseleit buffer.) In 1932 he published the basic chemical reactions of urea cycle, which established his scientific reputation. Krebs's life as a respected German scientist came to an abrupt halt in 1933 because of his Jewish ancestry. With the rise of Hitler's Nazi Party to power, Germany decreed the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which decreed the removal of all non-Germans, anti-Nazis, from professional occupations. Krebs received his official dismissal from his job in April 1933, his service was terminated on 1 July 1933. An admirer, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins at the University of Cambridge came to his rescue, persuaded the university to recruit Krebs to work with him in the Department of Biochemistry. By July 1933 he was settled in Cambridge with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Although Germany restricted him to bringing only his personal belongings, he was fortunate that the government agents allowed him to take his equipment and research samples to England. They proved to be pivotal to his discoveries the manometer developed by Warburg for the measurement of oxygen consumption in thin slices of tissues, he was appointed as Demonstrator in biochemistry in 1934 and in 1935 the University of Sheffield offered him a post of Lecturer in Pharmacology, with a more spacious laboratory and double the salary. He worked there for 19 years. University of Sheffield opened a Department of Biochemistry, now Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, in 1938 and Krebs became its first Head, a Professor in 1945. Krebs took over the running of the Sorby Research Institute in 1943. In 1944, the British Medical Research Council established the MRC Unit for Cell Metabolism Research at Sheffield, Krebs was appointed the Director. With this his laboratory became so large that the locals jokingly nicknamed it "Krebs's Empire".
He moved with his MRC unit to the University of Oxford in 1954 as Whitley Professor of Biochemistry, the post he held till his retirement in 1967. The editorial board of Biochemical Journal extended their good wishes on his retiremen
Optimal foraging theory
Optimal foraging theory is a behavioral ecology model that helps predict how an animal behaves when searching for food. Although obtaining food provides the animal with energy, searching for and capturing the food require both energy and time. To maximize fitness, an animal adopts a foraging strategy that provides the most benefit for the lowest cost, maximizing the net energy gained. OFT helps predict the best strategy. OFT is an ecological application of the optimality model; this theory assumes that the most economically advantageous foraging pattern will be selected for in a species through natural selection. When using OFT to model foraging behavior, organisms are said to be maximizing a variable known as the currency, such as the most food per unit time. In addition, the constraints of the environment are other variables. Constraints are defined as factors; the optimal decision rule, or the organism's best foraging strategy, is defined as the decision that maximizes the currency under the constraints of the environment.
Identifying the optimal decision rule is the primary goal of the OFT. An optimal foraging model generates quantitative predictions of how animals maximize their fitness while they forage; the model building process involves identifying the currency and appropriate decision rule for the forager. Currency is defined as the unit, optimized by the animal, it is a hypothesis of the costs and benefits that are imposed on that animal. For example, a certain forager gains energy from food, but incurs the cost of searching for the food: the time and energy spent searching could have been used instead on other endeavors, such as finding mates or protecting young, it would be in the animal's best interest to maximize its benefits at the lowest cost. Thus, the currency in this situation could be defined as net energy gain per unit time. However, for a different forager, the time it takes to digest the food after eating could be a more significant cost than the time and energy spent looking for food. In this case, the currency could be defined as net energy gain per digestive turnover time instead of net energy gain per unit time.
Furthermore and costs can depend on a forager's community. For example, a forager living in a hive would most forage in a manner that would maximize efficiency for its colony rather than itself. By identifying the currency, one can construct a hypothesis about which benefits and costs are important to the forager in question. Constraints are hypotheses about the limitations; these limitations can be due to features of the environment or the physiology of the animal and could limit their foraging efficiency. The time that it takes for the forager to travel from the nesting site to the foraging site is an example of a constraint; the maximum number of food items a forager is able to carry back to its nesting site is another example of a constraint. There could be cognitive constraints on animals, such as limits to learning and memory; the more constraints that one is able to identify in a given system, the more predictive power the model will have. Given the hypotheses about the currency and the constraints, the optimal decision rule is the model's prediction of what the animal's best foraging strategy should be.
Possible examples of optimal decision rules could be the optimal number of food items that an animal should carry back to its nesting site or the optimal size of a food item that an animal should feed on. Figure 1, shows an example of how an optimal decision rule could be determined from a graphical model; the curve represents the energy gain per cost for adopting foraging strategy x. Energy gain per cost is the currency being optimized; the constraints of the system determine the shape of this curve. The optimal decision rule is the strategy for which the currency, energy gain per costs, is the greatest. Optimal foraging models can look different and become complex, depending on the nature of the currency and the number of constraints considered. However, the general principles of currency and optimal decision rule remain the same for all models. To test a model, one can compare the predicted strategy to the animal's actual foraging behavior. If the model fits the observed data well the hypotheses about the currency and constraints are supported.
If the model doesn't fit the data well it is possible that either the currency or a particular constraint has been incorrectly identified. Optimal foraging theory is applicable to feeding systems throughout the animal kingdom. Under the OFT, any organism of interest can be viewed as a predator. There are different classes of predators that organisms fall into and each class has distinct foraging and predation strategies. True predators attack large numbers of prey throughout their life, they kill their prey either or shortly after the attack. They may eat all or only part of their prey. True predators include tigers, whales, seed-eating birds and humans. Grazers eat only a portion of their prey, they harm the prey, but kill it. Grazers include antelope and mosquitoes. Parasites, like grazers, eat only a part of their prey, but the entire organism, they spend large portions of their life cycle living in/on a single host. This intimate relationship is typical of tapeworms, liver flukes, plant parasites, such as the potato blight.
Parasitoids are typical of wasps, some flies. Eggs are laid inside the larvae of other arthropods which hatch and consume the host from the inside, k
Wolfson College, Oxford
Wolfson College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Located in north Oxford along the River Cherwell, Wolfson is an all-graduate college with over sixty governing body fellows, in addition to both research and junior research fellows, it caters from the humanities to the social and natural sciences. Like the majority of Oxford's newer colleges, it has been coeducational since its foundation in 1965; the liberal philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin was the college's first president, was instrumental not only in its founding, but establishing its tradition of academic excellence and egalitarianism. The college houses the annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture; the current president of Wolfson College is Tim Hitchens. As of 2006, the college had a financial endowment of £33.5 million. Wolfson's first president Sir Isaiah Berlin, the influential political philosopher and historian of ideas, was instrumental in the college's founding in 1965; the college began its existence with the name Iffley College, which offered a new community for graduate students at Oxford in natural and social sciences.
Twelve other colleges of the university provided grants to make the establishment of Iffley possible. As of 1965, the college had a building. Berlin set out to change this securing support from the Wolfson Foundation and Ford Foundation in 1966 to establish a separate site for the college, which included'Cherwell', the former residence of J. S. Haldane and his family, as well as new buildings built around it. Isaac Wolfson generously contributed to the foundation of the college. In recognition of his contribution the college's name was changed to Wolfson College, but Berlin's work as the president of the college was far from over. Formally taking over the reins of the college in 1967, he envisioned Wolfson to be a centre of academic excellence but, unlike many other colleges at Oxford bound it to a strong egalitarian and democratic ethos. In Berlin's words, the college would be'new and unpyramided'. If Berlin was the inspiration and beacon for this most modern of academic institutions, its birth and early shape would not have happened without the tireless backroom work of Berlin's Vice-President, Michael Brock of Corpus Christi College.
They were a formidable team and ensured Berlin's ideals were achieved. Wolfson is the most egalitarian college at Oxford, with few barriers between students and fellows. There is no high table, only one common room for all the members of the college, gowns are worn only on special occasions. Graduate students participate in General Meetings. Berlin's reputation and presence in the early years helped shape the intellectual character of the college, attracting many distinguished fellows like Niko Tinbergen, who won a Nobel Prize for his studies in animal behaviour in 1973. Berlin's own prominence in the humanities helped attract many graduate students like Henry Hardy, interested in political philosophy and the history of ideas; the main building of the college, designed by Powell and Moya Architects and completed in 1974, is one of the most modern main buildings of all the Oxford colleges. It has three quadrangles: the central quadrangle named the Berlin Quad after Isaiah Berlin, the Tree Quad built around established trees, the River Quad into which the River Cherwell has been diverted to form a punt harbour.
The main building and footbridge across the river were grade II listed in June 2011. The college has student accommodation in the main college building, in three child-friendly courtyards surrounded by family housing, has similar accommodation in a scattering of purpose-built blocks, including the Robin Gandy Buildings, in existing houses on Linton Road, Chadlington Road and Garford Road; the college owns the adjacent house and orchard, occupied by the Bishop of Oxford. The college library, which occupies both the floors of one wing of the college's main building, is open to members of the college; the main library is on the first floor, approachable from the side of the dining hall and the lodge, two other collections, called the Floersheimer Room and the Hornik Memorial Room are on the ground floor. A mezzanine floor in the main library has books as well as carrels for individual use of graduate students of the college; the library has emerged as an extensive collection of books and journals.
The college has one common room for fellows and graduate students. The common room has two floors: the upper common room, with an attached terrace overlooking the punting harbour, which has a bar and a coffee counter, the lower common room, which has magazines and newspapers; the college's hall is one of the few in the university to have common table. The'Haldane Room', a hall adjacent to the dining hall proper, is where formal meals the convocation lunch, are held; the college owns grounds on both sides of the river, including two meadows on the opposite side, towards Marston. It has a small but well maintained garden with mature trees behind its main building, beside the river; the garden is landscaped well on the river-bank, with a flight of steps leading up to a green-house and a sundial. The college has a smaller garden beside the Robin Gandy building, which stands on the banks of the river; the college has its own squash court and croquet lawn, takes part in many university sporting events, including cricket and the yearly rowing competition.
It is one of the few in Oxford with its own punting harbour, with a fleet of punts for use by all members of the college. The Wolfson College Boat Club is on the ground floor of'C' Block. In 2008, Wolfson had 61
Natural Environment Research Council
The Natural Environment Research Council is a British Research Council that supports research and knowledge transfer activities in the environmental sciences. NERC began in 1965 when several environmental research organisations were brought under the one umbrella organisation; when most research councils were re-organised in 1994, it had new responsibilities – Earth observation and science-developed archaeology. Collaboration between research councils increased in 2002. Sir Graham Sutton Professor John Krebs, Baron Krebs 1994-1999 Sir John Lawton 1999–2005 Professor Alan Thorpe 2005–2011 Dr Steven Wilson – 2011–2012 Professor Duncan Wingham – from 1 January 2012 The council's head office is at Polaris House in Swindon, alongside the other six Research Councils. NERC's research centres provide leadership to the UK environmental science community and play significant and influential roles in international science collaborations, it supports a number of collaborative centres of excellence and subject-based designated Environmental Data Centres for the storage and distribution of environmental data.
The Natural Environment Research Council delivers independent research, survey and knowledge transfer in the environmental sciences, to advance knowledge of planet Earth as a complex, interacting system. The council's work covers the full range of atmospheric, biological and aquatic sciences, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere, from the geographical poles to the equator. NERC's mission is to gather and apply knowledge, create understanding and predict the behaviour of the natural environment and its resources, communicate all aspects of the council's work; the British Meteorological Office is not part of NERC. The NERC Airborne Research Facility collects and processes remotely sensed data for use by the scientific community. Data are collected from one of four Twin Otter research aircraft operated by British Antarctic Survey, processed by a data analysis team at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and archived at the National Earth Observation Data Centre; the NERC ARF provides radiometrically corrected hyperspectral data from the AISA Fenix and Owl instruments.
Conservation biology Conservation ethic Conservation movement David Carson Ecology Ecology movement Environmentalism Environmental movement Environmental protection Habitat conservation List of environmental organisations Natural environment Natural capital Natural resource Renewable resource Royal Research Ship Sustainable development Sustainability Official website British Antarctic Survey British Geological Survey Centre for Ecology and Hydrology National Centre for Atmospheric Science National Centre for Earth Observation NERC Centre for Population Biology National Oceanography Centre Research Councils UK ARF homepage ARSF-DAN Wiki
Clinton Richard Dawkins, is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008. Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. With his book The Extended Phenotype, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment. In 2006, he founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science. Dawkins is known as an outspoken atheist, he is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In The Blind Watchmaker, he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker, in that reproduction and selection are unguided by any designer.
In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion. Dawkins has been awarded many prestigious academic and writing awards, he makes regular television and Internet appearances, predominantly discussing his books, his atheism, his ideas and opinions as a public intellectual. Dawkins was born in Nairobi in British Kenya, on 26 March 1941, he is the son of Jean Mary Vyvyan and Clinton John Dawkins, an agricultural civil servant in the British Colonial Service in Nyasaland, of an Oxfordshire landed gentry family. His father was called up into the King's African Rifles during World War II and returned to England in 1949, when Dawkins was eight, his father had inherited a country estate, Over Norton Park in Oxfordshire, which he farmed commercially. Dawkins lives in Oxford, England. Dawkins has a younger sister. Both his parents were interested in natural sciences, they answered Dawkins's questions in scientific terms. Dawkins describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing".
He embraced Christianity until halfway through his teenage years, at which point he concluded that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life's complexity, ceased believing in a god. Dawkins states: "The main residual reason why I was religious was from being so impressed with the complexity of life and feeling that it had to have a designer, I think it was when I realised that Darwinism was a far superior explanation that pulled the rug out from under the argument of design, and that left me with nothing." From 1954 to 1959 Dawkins attended Oundle School in Northamptonshire, an English public school with a distinct Church of England flavour, where he was in Laundimer house. While at Oundle, Dawkins read, he studied zoology at Balliol College, graduating in 1962. He continued as a research student under Tinbergen's supervision, receiving his MA and Doctor of Philosophy degrees by 1966, remained a research assistant for another year. Tinbergen was a pioneer in the study of animal behaviour in the areas of instinct and choice.
From 1967 to 1969, he was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. During this period, the students and faculty at UC Berkeley were opposed to the ongoing Vietnam War, Dawkins became involved in the anti-war demonstrations and activities, he returned to the University of Oxford in 1970 as a lecturer. In 1990, he became a reader in zoology. In 1995, he was appointed Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position, endowed by Charles Simonyi with the express intention that the holder "be expected to make important contributions to the public understanding of some scientific field", that its first holder should be Richard Dawkins, he held that professorship from 1995 until 2008. Since 1970, he has been a fellow of New College, he is now an emeritus fellow, he has delivered many lectures, including the Henry Sidgwick Memorial Lecture, the first Erasmus Darwin Memorial Lecture, the Michael Faraday Lecture, the T. H. Huxley Memorial Lecture, the Irvine Memorial Lecture, the Sheldon Doyle Lecture, the Tinbergen Lecture, the Tanner Lectures.
In 1991, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children on Growing Up in the Universe. He has edited several journals, has acted as editorial advisor to the Encarta Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Evolution, he is listed as a senior editor and a columnist of the Council for Secular Humanism's Free Inquiry magazine, has been a member of the editorial board of Skeptic magazine since its foundation. Dawkins has sat on judging panels for awards as diverse as the Royal Society's Faraday Award and the British Academy Television Awards, has been president of the Biological Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2004, Balliol College, instituted the Dawkins Prize, awarded for "outstanding research into the ecology and behaviour of animals whose welfare and survival may be endangered by human activities". In September 2008, he retired from his professorship, announcing plans to "write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in'anti-scientific' fairytales."In