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    UCL Events blog

    By Nick Dawe, on 6 May 2011

    Reviews of UCL public lectures, debates, exhibitions, shows, and more…

    UCL Annual Scholarship and Bursaries Reception 2016

    By Thomas Hughes, on 5 February 2016

    Written by Bronwen Butler, Geography (International programme) BA.

    To kick off philanthropy month on February 1st UCL held its annual Scholarship and Bursaries Reception. The event has gone from strength to strength each year; from a tiny affair which Provost Michael Arthur jokingly said “could have been held in a broom cupboard” to a vibrant event to which over 500 people are invited to celebrate UCL, the generosity of its donors and the importance of philanthropy.

    (small) RWD16_UCL Scholarship Event_127

    Image: (left – right): Geraint Rees, Provost Michael Arthur, Naimeh Masumy, Janie Gammans, Maureen Amar, Richard Jenkins

    President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur opened the event with a warm welcome to all the donors, staff and recipients in attendance. He discussed the importance of the UCL philanthropic Campaign and the university’s achievement as one of the top universities at fundraising in the UK this year. He briefly looked to UCL’s future developments before introducing the first student speaker Naimeh Masumy.

    Naimeh Masumy is a full time LLM Law Student at UCL, originally from Iran. She is an ambitious young woman who has clearly battled against the odds to be here. Naimeh is a student with a bright future in the energy law sector but she is one of many people who simply could not think about life at UCL without a scholarship:

     “I have to say I would not be here without the Ardalan Family Scholarship. In my whole life, I have come to realize that education is the most transcendent gift one can be given, and the Ardalan Scholarship gave me that gift, it allowed me to have a foot in the door of the future, a future I was once unable to envision”.

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    Lunch Hour Lecture: The state, science and Humphry Davy

    By Thomas Hughes, on 4 February 2016

    “Science, gentlemen, is of infinitely more importance to a state than may at first sight appear possible”. While few scientists would disagree with this today, it was the 19th-century chemist Humphry Davy who made the observation. In a recent Lunch Hour Lecture Professor Frank James (UCL Science & Technology Studies) took us on a whistle stop tour of Davy’s colourful life, his science and his relationship with the state. Humphry Davy. From: Sarah K. Bolton: Famous Men of Science. (New York, 1889)

    A poet of Penzance

    Born in Penzance on December 17, 1778, Davy initially showed a passion for poetry. This was largely descriptive poetry, such as this extract about St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall: “Beat by the storms of ages, stands unmov’d, Amidst the wreck of things—the change of time.”

    However after his schooling, his godfather apprenticed him to a surgeon and it was in the apothecary there where he discovered what would become a life-long interest in chemistry.

    While living in Penzance he met distinguished natural philosophers including the engineer Davies Giddy who encouraged Davy and offered him the use of his library.

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    Lunch Hour Lectures: Why glaciers don’t like the smell of frying bacon

    By Thomas Hughes, on 1 February 2016

    This Lunch Hour Lecture by Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global Prosperity) looked at humans’ ability to give things in nature; plants, animals, even mountains and rivers, a consciousness and assign intentions to them. Can this help us to build a better relationship with nature and build a prosperous future?

    English Wikipedia, original upload 14 January 2005 by Ben W Bell

    The Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefield

    Professor Moore opened by talking about a modern art project that was just a neon sign of a telephone number. When the number was called and it connected, the caller could hear the live sounds from a glacier.

    So we can hear the glacier, but can it hear us? Many people in the past have certainly believed so. Tribes living on glaciers in Canada believed that the glaciers were social spaces and would react to being disrespected, and that the glaciers particularly disliked the smell of frying bacon. People interpreted the will of the glacier though its “surges” where the glacier would expand or shrink.

    During the Little Ice Age, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, the glaciers moved so far into France that the local people assumed that they had angered it. They ran to it with swords to drive it away and brought a bishop to bless it.

    Many societies around the world continue to venerate forests, rivers and mountains and believe that nature must be compensated if angered or damaged. Ecuador and Bolivia have enshrined these rights in their constitutions. Can this help us form a moral framework to protect nature?

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    Lunch Hour Lectures: The handmaiden’s emissions – international shipping in changing climates

    By Thomas Hughes, on 28 January 2016

    “This lecture on the handmaiden’s emissions is not actually about the flatulence of household servants,” Dr Tristan Smith (UCL Energy Institute) joked at the Lunch Hour Lecture on 26 January. The “handmaiden” is in fact the affectionate nickname used for the world’s shipping – so called because it is globalisation’s servant, without which we wouldn’t have the same food, commodities or fuel.

    Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the first Triple-E, passing Port Said in the Suez Canal on its maiden voyage.

    Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, credit: Maersk Line.

    However, it has a huge environmental cost in CO2 emissions that has continued to grow as GDP and demand has risen. Dr Smith has been working with the team in the UCL Energy Institute to help find solutions to cut emissions, while keeping costs low.

    An average container ship has around 1,500 containers on it, with each container the size to be pulled by a single lorry. There are thousands of these ships, which in total account for about 2-3% of global emissions.

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