Splicing and Dicing DNA: Genome Engineering and the CRISPR Revolution

CRISPR: It’s the powerful gene editing technology transforming biomedical research. Fast, cheap and easy to use, it allows scientists to rewrite the DNA in just about any organism—including humans—with tests on human embryos already underway. The technique’s potential to radically reshape everything from disease prevention to the future of human evolution has driven explosive progress and heated debate. Join the world’s CRISPR pioneers to learn about the enormous possibilities and ethical challenges as we stand on the threshold of a brave new world of manipulating life’s fundamental code.

Original Program Date: June 3 2016
MODERATOR: Richard Besser
PARTICIPANTS: George Church, Luke Dow, Josephine Johnston, Ben Matthews, Harry Ostrer, Noel Sauer

The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks Co-Evolved

 Dr. Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution for Science, Geophysical Laboratory:

The story of Earth is a 4.5-billion-year saga of dramatic transformations, driven by physical, chemical, and—based on a fascinating growing body of evidence—biological processes. The co-evolution of life and rocks, the new paradigm that frames this lecture, unfolds in an irreversible sequence of evolutionary stages. Each stage re-sculpted our planet’s surface, each introduced new planetary processes and phenomena, and each inexorably paved the way for the next. This grand and intertwined tale of Earth’s living and non-living spheres is only now coming into focus. Sequential changes of terrestrial planets and moons are best preserved in their rich mineralogical record. “Mineral evolution,” the study of our planet’s diversifying near-surface environment, began with a dozen different mineral species that formed in the cooling envelopes of exploding stars. Dust and gas from those stars clumped together to form our stellar nebula, the nebula formed the Sun and countless planetesimals, and alteration of planetesimals by water and heat resulted in the approximately 250 minerals found today in meteorites that fall to Earth. Following Earth’s growth and separation into the core, mantle, and crust, mineral evolution progressed by a sequence of chemical and physical processes, which led to perhaps 1500 mineral species. According to some origin-of-life scenarios, a planet must evolve through at least some of these stages of chemical processing as a prerequisite for life. Once life emerged, mineralogy and biology co-evolved, as changes in the chemistry of oceans and atmosphere dramatically increased Earth’s mineral diversity to the almost 5000 species known today.

Pranay Lal with Richard Fortey at the Zee Jaipur Lit Fest

Pranay Lal in conversation with Pradip Krishen introduced by Richard Fortey at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival.  Pranay Lal is the author of “Indica” the wonderful book on the Natural History of the Indian Sub-continent. 


The Forgotten History of India’s Maritime Past | Sanjeev Sanyal

Sanjeev Sanyal is an Indian economist, bestselling writer, environmentalist, and urban theorist. He was also the Global Strategist & Managing Director at the Deutsche Bank. He is also the author of the best selling books “The Indian Renaissance: India’s Rise after a Thousand Years of Decline (Penguin and World Scientific), “Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography”, (Penguin, 2012) and “The Incredible History of India’s Geography” published by Puffin in 2015. Sanjeev Sanyal’s talks at JNU , where he helped explore and understand India’s Maritime Past, that has been forgotten. 

The Concept of Mass with Jim Baggott

Interesting talk by Jimm Baggott on his latest book “Mass: The quest to understand matter from Greek atoms to quantum fields”. In this Royal Institution Lecture Jimm Baggott tries to answer questions like: Do elementary particles have mass? Does the Higg’s boson exist? 

Q&A: The Concept of Mass – with Jim Baggott

Conversations with Sir Ian McKellen

Career Q&A with Ian McKellen. Moderated by Dave Karger, Fandango.

Ian McKellen has been honored with over 50 international acting awards during his half-century on stage and screen. He is treasured worldwide as Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

He first worked with director Bill Condon as James Whale in Gods and Monsters (1998) receiving his first Academy Award® nomination, for Best Actor. The same year, top critics’ groups elected him Best Actor, as the Nazi-in-hiding in Bryan Singer’s Apt Pupil. For his classic performance in Richard Loncraine’s Richard III, which he produced and co-wrote, he was named 1996 European Actor of the Year.

His varied list of other renowned films include The Keep (1983); Plenty (1985); Scandal (1988);Six Degrees of Separation (1993); Restoration (1995); Bent (1997); Cold Comfort Farm (1995) andThe Da Vinci Code (2006).

On the small screen, McKellen currently stars in the wickedly successful ITV/PBS sitcom Vicious. For his extensive television work, McKellen is a five-time Emmy nominee, most recently for his matchless King Lear (2008); and his comic guest spot on Extras (2006) remembered for the viral catch-phrase: “How do I act so well?” He is most proud of his work as the mentally- handicapped Walter (1982 Royal Television Award) inAnd the Band Played On (1993 Cable Ace Award), about the origins of AIDS and a guest spot in UK’s longest-running soap Coronation Street (2005).

Born and raised in the north of England, McKellen attended Cambridge University and since 1961 has worked non-stop in the British theatre. He has been leading man and produced plays, modern and classic, for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain and in the West End of London. He has won Olivier Awards for Macbeth (1976-78); The Alchemist (1977); Bent (1979); Wild Honey (1984) and Richard III (1990): plus Evening Standard Awards for Coriolanus (1984) and Othello (1989) and for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre (2009).

In 1981, he won every available award, including a Tony for Best Actor, as Salieri in the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. He was most recently in New York in No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot after breaking all box-office records in London and on UK and world tours. Over a decade, he toured his solo entertainment Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare throughout four continents, where on DVD it is daily viewed in schools and universities. He astonished his fans as Widow Twankey in the Christmas pantomime at the Old Vic in London (2004 & 2005).

In 1991 Sir Ian was knighted, for his outstanding contribution to theatre. He is co-founder of Stonewall UK, which lobbies for legal and social equality for gay people. In 2008, the Queen personally appointed him Companion of Honour for his services to drama and to equality.

How the Tyrannosaurs Ruled the World – David Hone

This lecture is from The Royal Institution Ri. I thoroughly enjoyed it because I had also read the book by the speaker, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles: The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs

How did the Tyrannosaurus Rex and it’s kind come to dominate their prehistoric world? Palaeontologist Dr David Hone explores the evolution, ecology and behaviour of these amazing dinosaurs, and explains what Jurassic Park got wrong. David Hone is a palaeontologist and writer whose research focuses on the behaviour and ecology of the dinosaurs and their flying relatives, the pterosaurs. He writes extensively online about palaeontology and science outreach, blog for the science pages of The Guardian. 

Q&A – How the Tyrannosaurs Ruled the World – with David Hone
What did Tyrannosaurus do with its tiny arms? How do we find dinosaurs? Palaeontologist David Hone answers questions from the audience.

The Mysterious Architecture of the Universe – with J Richard Gott

This is a Royal Institution lecture by  J Richard Gott. He leads a journey through the history of our understanding of the Universe’s structure, and explains the ‘cosmic web’: the idea that our Universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies.

J Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our Universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies – a magnificent structure now called the ‘cosmic web’. In this talk he shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe and the next trillion years that lie ahead.

J Richard Gott is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and is noted for his contributions to cosmology and general relativity.

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