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Přednášky XXI. zasedání Učené společnosti ČR

Na valném shromáždění vystoupí tři přední světoví vědci, významní představitelé britské Royal Society Prof. Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, Kt, OM, FRS, University of Cambridge, Prof. Geoffrey Boulton OBE, FRS, FRSE University of Edinburgh a Prof. Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS University of Cambridge.


13:30-14:15 M. Rees: From Mars to Multiverse
14:15-15:00 G. Boulton: Earth: the workings of a water planet
15:00-15:45 B. Heap: Can genetically modified crops help to feed the world?

Moderuje Jiří Bičák.

Na stránkách učené společnosti je záznam přednášek.

Abstrakty přednášek

M. Rees: From Mars to Multiverse

Astronomers have made astonishing progress in probing our cosmic environment. We can trace cosmic history from some mysterious 'beginning' nearly 14 billion years ago, and understand in outline the emergence of atoms, galaxies, stars and planets.
Unmanned spacecraft have visited the other planets of our Solar System (and some of their moons), beaming back pictures of varied and distinctive worlds. An exciting development in the last decade has been the realisation that many other stars are orbited by retinues of planets -- some resembling our Earth.
Looking further afield, we are understanding galaxies and their nuclei in fuller detail, and can check models of their evolution by detecting objects all the way back to an epoch only a billion years after the 'big bang'. Indeed we can trace pre-galactic history with some confidence back to a nanosecond after the 'big bang'.
But the key parameters of our expanding universe -- the expansion rate, the geometry and the content -- were established far earlier still, when the physics is still conjectural but has been constrained by experimental data, especially from ESA's Planck Spacecraft. These advances pose new questions: What does the long-range future hold? Should we be surprised that the physical laws permitted the emergence of complexity? Were there many 'big bangs' and not just one? This illustrated lecture will attempt to address such issues.

G. Boulton: Earth: the workings of a water planet

We live on a water planet in which 72% of the surface is ocean. It contains 97% of the planet’s water and is fundamental to its working. The ocean is the principal part of the heat engine that re-distributes solar heat over the planetary surface and the source of precipitation on the continents. Its micro-organisms are fundamental natural controls on the planet’s atmospheric gas composition. Without these micro-organisms, Earth would be a dead planet. The origin of the 1,335 million km3 of ocean water remains a source of debate: does it have an extra-terrestrial origin or is it a consequence of deep Earth processes? Changes in Earth surface climate through long periods of geological time are largely a consequence of changes in the form and distribution of ocean basins created by plate tectonics. On shorter timescales, climate changes driven by cyclical variations of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun are amplified by oceanic control of atmospheric gas composition to create great transfers of mass between the oceans and ice sheets, that in turn produce dramatic changes in sea level. At present and in the recent past, human burning of fossil fuel has increased the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The resultant warming has largely occurred in the oceans with dramatic knock-on impacts on ice sheets, sea ice and biota. The increased absorption of those gases by ocean waters has increased the acidity of the oceans to levels not known for 30 million years. This and many other damaging impacts makes it timely for humanity to take the oceans seriously.

B. Heap: Can genetically modified crops help to feed the world?

The reasons why food security has become such a key issue in the international agenda are numerous - demand exceeding supply, land use degradation, and sporadic price increases leading to social unrest. Currently the world has more than enough food, but some 1 billion people still go hungry. Food redistribution is only part of the solution. Appropriate and intermediate technologies all have their place, and conventional plant breeding remains as great an influence as it has for hundreds of years.
The advent of molecular plant breeding throws up core questions about what it is that scientists seek to do when building new genetic traits into seeds. Even though they can improve yield and disease resistance, and provide health promoting properties, solutions have provoked both hopes and fears. Do they result in a fundamentally altered relationship of humankind to nature?

At the end of the afternoon session there will be a discussion on the role of Learned Societies

G. Boulton wrote a short abstract on “The policy contributions of a small national academy”

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland’s national academy and seeks ways of using the expertise of its fellows in contributing to policy in Scotland. Seven years ago it developed a new series of policy documents relevant to contemporary policy issues in Scotland. They comprise short advice papers on matters of current concern, briefing papers prior to parliamentary debates that involve highly technical issues, and major studies designed to draw attention to issues that deserve to be matters of public and political concern. In these matters, the Society benefits from a full range of expert fellows from the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, the law etc.

Životopisy přednášejících

Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, Kt, OM, FRS, HonFREng FMedSci is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich since 1995 and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 2004 to 2012 and President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010.
He studied for the Mathematics tripos at Trinity College, Cambridge. He then undertook post-graduate research at Cambridge and completed a PhD in 1967. After holding post-doctoral research positions in the United Kingdom and the United States, he taught at Sussex University and the University of Cambridge, where he was the Plumian Professor until 1991, and the director of the Institute of Astronomy. From 1992 to 2003, he was Royal Society Research Professor, and from 2003 Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics. He was Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London, in 1975 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1979. He holds Visiting Professorships at Imperial College London and at the University of Leicester and is an Honorary Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge.
Lord Rees has received honorary degrees from a number of universities including Sussex, Uppsala, Toronto, Durham, Oxford, Yale, Melbourne and Sydney. He belongs to several foreign academies, including the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society (1992–94) and the British Association (1995–96), and was a Member of Council of the Royal Institution of Great Britain until 2010. Rees is the author of more than 500 research papers, and he has made important contributions to the origin of cosmic microwave background radiation, as well as to galaxy clustering and formation. His studies of the distribution of quasars led to final disproof of Steady State theory. He was one of the first to propose that enormous black holes power quasars. In recent years, Lord Rees has worked on gamma-ray bursts, and on how the “cosmic dark ages” ended when the first stars formed. In a more speculative vein, he has, since the 1970s, been interested in anthropic reasoning, and the possibility that our visible universe is part of a vaster “multiverse”.
Lord Rees is an author of books on astronomy and science intended for the lay public and gives many public lectures and broadcasts. In 2010 he was chosen to deliver the Reith Lectures for the BBC, now published as From Here to Infinity: Scientific Horizons.
In 2005, Rees was elevated to a life peerage, sitting as a crossbencher in the House of Lords as Baron Rees of Ludlow, of Ludlow in the County of Shropshire. In 2005, he was awarded the Crafoord Prize. In 2011, he was awarded the Templeton Prize.
Rees has written and spoken extensively about the problems and challenges of the 21st century, and the interfaces between science, ethics and politics. He is a member of the Board of the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, the IPPR, the Oxford Martin School and the Gates Cambridge Trust. He is a co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute. He has formerly been a Trustee of the British Museum and the Science Museum. He is a foreign member of Science Academy of Turkey and of the Learned Society of Czech Republic.

Professor Geoffrey Boulton OBE, FRS, FRSE, General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Regius Professor Emeritus and former Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, UK’s top-level science and technology advisory body. He chairs the Advisory Board of the University of Heidelberg, and is a member of the Strategic Council of the University of Geneva. Until recently he chaired the Research Committee of the League of European Universities and the Royal Society’s Nuclear Energy Work Group. He has been a member of the Councils of the Natural Environment Research Council and the Royal Society, a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the Scottish Science Advisory Committee, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and chairman of its Research Committee. He was formerly Head of the Department of Geology and Geophysics and Provost of Science and Engineering in the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Boulton’s research is in the field of glaciology, glacial geology, Quaternary science and energy. Honours for his scientific achievement include the Seligman Crystal of the International Glaciological Society, the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society, the Kirk Bryan Award of the Geological Society of America and the Science Medal of the Institute of Contemporary Scotland. He has been honoured by the Order of the British Empire, as Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (France) and has received honorary degrees from the Universities of Chalmers (Sweden), Birmingham, Keele and Heidelberg. He has been the UK representative to the International Union of Geosciences and to the International Union of Quaternary, President of the Quaternary Research Association, chair of the UK Earth Science and Technology Committee and the UK Polar Science Committee and is a member of the Milankovitch Medal Committee of the European Geophysical Union. He currently has research projects in Antarctica and Iceland.

Professor Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS is Research Associate, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge, Honorary Professor University of Nottingham, and former Master of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, and President of the European Academies Science Advisory Council. As a biological scientist with doctorates from Nottingham and Cambridge, he published extensively on endocrine physiology, reproductive biology and biotechnology, and was Director of Research at the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research (Babraham, Cambridge and Roslin, Edinburgh) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, he held posts as Foreign Secretary, Vice-President, and editor of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. He was President of the Institute of Biology, and President of the International Society for Science and Religion.   He is Honorary Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and Green Templeton College, Oxford, and served as UK Representative at the European Science Foundation at Strasbourg and the NATO Science Committee at Brussels.  With the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Department of Health's Expert Group on Cloning, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology, and the European President's Advisory Group on Biotechnology he has been engaged in public issues of biotechnology, population growth, sustainability and science policy working with the World Health Organisation, the UK-China Forum and the European Commission.  Sir Brian was cientific consultant for several international pharmaceutical companies and is Special Scientific Adviser for ZyGEM Co Ltd, New Zealand.  He was knighted in 2001 for services to science internationally.

Místo konání: 
Karolinum, Modrá posluchárna, Univerzita Karlova, Praha. vchod z Celetné ulice. Přednášky budou přenášeny i do Zelené posluchárny tamtéž..
Datum konání: 
18. Květen 2015 - 13:30
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