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Talk: Keynote and Q&A with Prof Lewis Dartnell

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Keynote and Q&A with Prof Lewis Dartnell

Originally screened as part of EFFA Presents: Out of this World (29 Oct - 8 Nov 2020)

Living in the modern world, we have become disconnected from the basic processes that support our lives, as well as the beautiful fundamentals of science that enable us to relearn things for ourselves. This keynote, inspired by Prof Lewis Dartnell’s book The Knowledge, is a grand thought experiment on the behind-the-scenes systems of how our world works and what drove the progression of the world as we know it over the centuries.

We are used to thinking of 'technology' as meaning machines and gadgets, but in this replay of our Opening Night Keynote, Dartnell emphasises illuminatingly how much of modern civilisation is built on technologies of chemistry, the 'processes' that enable us to synthesise indispensable chemicals in bulk.

Be inspired and entertained as Dartnell digs deep into the world in which we live.

Followed by a live Q&A with Science Comedian Alanta Colley.


Prof Lewis Dartnell | Prof Lewis Dartnell wears many hats. He is a TEDx speaker and an author of four books, including The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. He has also appeared on radio and TV shows in his efforts “to get science out of the lab and onto people’s breakfast tables”, as he puts it. His ‘day job’ is that of a researcher and an academic: he is Professor of Science Communication at University of Westminster.

Dartnell is a research scientist at the University of Westminster. After a first class degree in biology at the University of Oxford he completed a PhD (UCL) in the field of astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth. His work focuses on how microbial life, and signs of its existence, might survive the cosmic radiation in the dry dusty surface of Mars and what are the best ways to detect it.

He now holds the Professorship in Science Communication at the University of Westminster. His research is in the field of astrobiology and the search for microbial life on Mars. He has also held a STFC Science in Society Fellowship and is very active in delivering live events at schools and science festivals, working as a scientific consultant for the media, and has appeared in numerous TV documentaries and radio shows. He has won several awards for his science writing and outreach work and regularly freelance for newspapers and magazine articles. Alongside his research, Lewis writes regularly about science and technology for New Scientist, BBC Focus, Cosmos, and national newspapers, has a monthly column in BBC Sky at Night magazine and has won several awards for his science writing. Lewis also presents frequent live events, including at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Institution, literary and science festivals around the world, and even music festivals and a cruise ship touring the Mediterranean. Lewis has also appeared on TV shows including BBC Horizon, Wonders of the Universe, live international news shows, and documentaries on Discovery, History, and NOVA channels.

Alanta Colley | Alanta Colley is a comedian, science communicator and story teller from Melbourne. With a background in International public health, her first solo science comedy show 'Parasites Lost' sold out its entire run at Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2017 and has been enjoyed by audiences in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and for the Gates Foundation in Seattle. Her second solo show 'Days of our Hives' about bee keeping and bee losing attracted more bee keepers than any other show at comedy festival. She's toured nationally with her science comedy debate series 'Sci Fight', was a recipient of the 'Inspiring Australia' Science Arts Grant in 2019, and is a regular guest on ABC radio. She's appeared on ABC TV News and in Frankie Magazine. She also moderates for the Transitions Film Festival. Alanta is available as an MC, panelist, moderator, or general fool. She loves talking all things bees, parasites, poo and the state of the planet.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    66 (Keynote plus Q&A)