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Best of Times, Worse of Times: Hard Choices for Tomorrow's World

Lauritsen Memorial Lecture

Robert M. May, an Australian scientist who has been Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, President of the Royal Society, and a Professor at Sydney and Princeton. He now holds joint professorships at Oxford, and Imperial College London. He is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford and crossbencher in the House of Lords and an appointed member of the council of the British Science Association. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

Introduction by Tom Tombrello

In both developed and developing worlds, humans on average live longer and healthier lives, with more energy subsidies and food per person than in earlier times. All this results from our ever-increasing understanding of how the natural world works. But increasingly we are finding that our well-intentioned applications of that understanding are having unintended adverse effects.

This talk briefly surveys some of the consequent challenges that confront us. These include: still increasing human numbers, mainly in dense urban eggregates (whose slums differ in many important ways from those of the West's 19th century industrialization); the emergence of new diseases (witness HIV/AIDS); how to manage increasing demands for energy, when today's input of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are already changing the global climate in serious ways; and, looking beyond our own species, the sixth great wave of mass extinctions, which seems likely to unfold over the next few centuries.

ID: 2012-00123
May, Robert M.

Creation Feb. 28, 2012

MEDIUM: Video; FORMAT: DVCPRO (Edited master); LENGTH: 52 minutes, 27 seconds; QUANTITY: 1

Topics: Physics

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