Science to Business Day

Photo credit: Paul Worpole Photography for ESOF 2016

Day 3 at ESOF 2016 was the focal day of the Science to Business programme, placing a strong emphasis on the importance of relationships. Industry experts gave talks and held discussions on key topics such as doping in sports, innovation in the developing world and global scientific collaboration.

The morning began with concurrent talks by Nobel Laureate in Physics, Brian Schmidt and serial entrepreneur and Angel investor, Sherry Coutu. Schmidt spoke about traditional collaborations no longer being sufficient to create ‘big science’, and encouraged a truly global approach to research that unites countries such as the US and South Africa, and Switzerland and Brazil. Meanwhile Coutu spoke from a business point of view and stressed crucial need for businesses to work together in order to expand.

A highlight of the day was the conversation between comedian and producer John Lloyd (QI, Blackadder) and father of graphene, Sir Andre Geim. Lloyd quipped that physics is poorly taught in schools, “physicists hate kids, they don’t obey any laws, just run around in Brownian Motion”. Geim joked that he was positively bored of graphene and talked about his latest research into layering composites of 2D materials. The future of 2D materials in industry was discussed in a session with Geim’s co-creater of graphene, Sir Kostya Novoselov and leader in graphene innovation, Professor Frank Koppens.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade from The Institution Of Environmental Sciences gave an incredibly eloquent keynote on a range of issues affecting the developing world, from climate change and polluted water to toxic crops and sustainability. McGlade’s session was truly thought provoking as she shared that her life with the Maasai tribe of Kenya, who embody sustainable living. She stated that "the western science model still hasn't accepted indigenous knowledge, and we'll need people like the Massai, to move forward".

Among the closing sessions was a topical discourse on doping in elite sports. From the discussion it became clear that both althetes and the governance of sport are under threat from gene doping due to advances in gene and cell therapy and gene editing.

All in all the day was filled with a multitude of intriguing discussions and topical talks, which were throughly enjoyed and provoked much thought and further discussion.

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