Sep
3
Tue
Track and Sign – the naturalist’s forgotten skill – Bob Cowley @ St Margaret's Institute 30 Polstead Road, Oxford
Sep 3 @ 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm
Track and Sign - the naturalist's forgotten skill - Bob Cowley @ St Margaret's Institute 30 Polstead Road, Oxford

The ability to accurately identify and interpret Track and Sign rests on a body of traditional knowledge that previous generations of naturalists would have regarded as fundamental. Sadly, now it is largely unknown and untaught, but with the upsurge of Citizen Science, it is perhaps more relevant than ever.

Sep
5
Thu
“Clouds and climate” with Prof Tapio Schneider @ Oxford Martin School
Sep 5 @ 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Crocodiles once roamed the Arctic, during the Eocene about 50 million years ago. Polar regions were lush and warm. Greenhouse gas concentrations were higher than today, but at most about 4 times higher – not enough, according to current climate models, to have warmed the Arctic sufficiently. Something appears to be missing in current models to account for the warmth of the past.

The likely culprits are clouds, especially the low clouds that cover vast areas of tropical oceans. These clouds cool Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space. It is possible that the cloud cooling may have been absent or strongly diminished in past greenhouse climates, raising questions about our climate future. To predict our climate future more accurately, breakthroughs in the modeling of clouds and in the accuracy of climate predictions are needed. They are now within reach, thanks to advances in computing and Earth observations from space and our ability to fuse models with massive amounts of data.

Oct
1
Tue
From Slime to Society – Professor Mark Fricker @ St Margaret's Institute
Oct 1 @ 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm
From Slime to Society - Professor Mark Fricker @ St Margaret's Institute

Slime moulds thrive in damp woodlands and normally spread over rotting logs eating bacteria and fungi. They are also unusual in being single giant cells that show remarkably sophisticated behaviour considering their humble form. This talk presents a little vignette of the science behind these curious beasts and how it has led to better understanding of other networked systems, and even the origins of civilisation.