29 May 2013

Speaking to the Public

Two recent events at the University underlined OIST’s ambition to spread scientific ideas and concepts to the population of Okinawa and all staff at the University. 

On Saturday 25 May, 350 people crowded into the OIST Auditorium to listen to a public lecture given by renowned British physicist Sir. Michael Berry.  His talk “Seven Wonders of Physics” illustrated the underlying physics behind a range of events, equipment and processes.  His seven wonders were: the Severn river bore, supernumerary rainbows, the thread that powers a car, green flash at sunset, quantum physics and the CD player, quantum twists and turns, and the mysterious color of gold. 

Each phenomenon was explained clearly, and particularly popular was the demonstration of quantum twist and turns in which Sir Michael used a discarded strip of insulation material that he found outside the auditorium.

On Monday 27 May, Prof. Camille Parmesan gave an OIST Colloquium, “Tracking Impacts of Global Warming on Biodiversity.”  Her fascinating talk illustrated how climate change is having scientifically measurable impacts on many animal and insect species.  She gave illustrations of both successful efforts to counteract the influence of climate change but also scenarios where temperature rise was threatening extinction.  Prof. Parmesan refrained from advocacy but based her conclusions and recommendations on scientific data and analysis.

By Neil Calder

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