- New Careers Podcast: Louis Stupple Harris.
- "quite simply the best"
- Responsible Innovation Article
- STS Summer Internships
- STS Research behind EPSRC Statement
- New book: Presocratics and the Supernatural
- Sleepwalking in Middle Ages
- UK citizen views on carbon capture and storage: new study
- PlosOne for Stilgoe: new paper
- MSc prize winner
- STS Alumnus Publishes Policy Report
- Prize winning dissertation
- Material Histories of Chemistry
- Light and Dark
- Emotions, Transformations, Restorations
- New paper: Helmholtz Club, Neuroscience and Francis Crick
- New scholarship for PhD studies
- STS PHD students shine
- Notes for brewing genius
- STS Goes Dutch
- Vacancy: Project Co-ordinator
- New Careers Podcasts
- Why should we promote public engagement with science?
- New Paper: The Science of Destruction:
- UCL Donors help fund a forgotten treatment for TB
- PhD Studentship: Making the Oceans Visible
- STS Prof in award-winning book
- Vacancy: Lecturer in Science Communication
- STS Prof Hits 4 Million
- Vacancy: Lecturer in Science & Technology Studies
- PhD Conference Review. September - January.
- 8th London Ancient Science Conference
- STS explores science on a pagan planet
- Wonderments of the Cosmos
- STS Trip! War Rooms & Banquetting House
- Emotions, Transformations, Restorations
- New paper: Harvey, Aristotle, Astrology
- Students notice excellence
- STS Research Day 2014
- The Closed Loop
- Awe Fear and Fireworks
- Undergraduate Prizes 2014
- Two STS staff promoted
- Farewell Jo Pearson
- Prof Agar on Science and WW1
- Brian Balmer speaks at UN
- NSS2014 - STS scores 100 percent (again)
- STS takes on Latin America (part 1)
- European funding success
- Upcoming Event: Perspectives On Neglected Tropical Diseases
- STS PhD students shine in South America
- Honorary degree for STS leader
The Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.
At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.
Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.
Staff books include:
The Closed Loop
6 June 2014
STS Teaching Fellow Stephanie Eichberg reflects on an Innovative play staged by UCL Biosciences students.
This innovative play, staged at Camden People's Theatre by UCL Bioscience student Yichao Yu, took its audience on a wild trip into the future of biotechnology: It is the 23rd century and life on earth has undergone two genetically engineered 'Green Revolutions', producing humans and animals with the ability to photosynthesise. Photosynthesis is the oldest and the most successful way of generating life and energy, and if you think that this tale is a harebrained construction of the Biopunk-Scifi genre, think twice: at present researchers at the Harvard Medical School and elsewhere are about to push that concept into reality. The focus is on cyanobacteria, a microbe responsible for almost 50 percent of the earth’s photosynthetic ability; harnessing the organism's photosynthetic powers to generate fuel and other valuable chemicals, cyanobacteria have been injected into zebra fish embryos with astonishing results.... http://www.technologyreview.com/view/418802/photosynthetic-fish-and-other-oddities/
The closed loop, however, is also a tale of caution, raising important ethical questions about the interplay of science and society: what does it mean to be human? Should we be allowed to create a new species? Is society ready and willing to embrace and live with a scientifically created new breed of people?
In the play, the first stage of the Green Revolution saw the birth of genetically modified people sprouting green wings (enhancing the body's surface for photosynthesising); in the second stage, the ability to photosynthesise spread over the whole body producing a new type of humans: the Green People who now live in the forests of Southern China. Although the Green People are able to generate life and energy outside technology and without worry about resources or hunger ("ancient life minus the ancient struggle"), the losers of these biotechnological experiments are the first-stage winged people - not fully human, not fully green - who are rejected by society. Even as many of them opt for the surgical removal of their wings to be able to live inconspicuously among ordinary humans ('dewinged existence'), their offspring would inevitably carry the 'wing genes' into the next generation.
The main message for me while watching the play was this: while biotechnology might come up with solutions to alleviate world hunger and the shortage of resources once and for all, an argument brought forward in the play to justify the Green Revolution, projecting our hopes of the future onto science without considering the consequences can be a dangerous thing indeed.
To find out more about the play visit the Facebook page that Yichao Yu has put up: https://www.facebook.com/the.closed.loop
Page last modified on 06 jun 14 12:00 by Jo E Pearson
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