Add Writing to the Warwick story.

Robyn Williams and the ABC’s Radio National  Science Show are at the University of Warwick near Coventry for the British Festival of the British Science Association [BSA]. He is exploring the range of scientific work at Warwick Go to these links.

UK’s Warwick University – collaborative projects and filling skills gaps

Robyn takes us to its gene banks, preserving specific vegetable seeds for future diversity. He rides in an automated ‘pod’ able to avoid anything coming ahead. That ‘pod’ takes blind people to the beach at Brighton. There is reference to the collaboration with Monash. There is reference to the Flinders University’s Tonsley site in Adelaide where an automated vehicle is being developed. There is confirmation through a machine seeing inside, beyond the X ray capacity, of the discovery of cultural material of the First Nations in the Northern Territory and the fact that it is 65,000 years old. We learn how babies are encouraged to speak. Wake them to the world around them.

President of the British Science Festival, Professor Alice Roberts, in charge of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham, considers the future.

Alice Roberts – how to approach humanity’s huge challenges

But add this to your understanding of the work of the University of Warwick.

The University of Warwick has had, for a long time, commitment to writing.

They quote this poet, called the ‘Mozart of Poetry . . but with something of the fury of Beethoven’ by those who awarded her the Nobel Prize for Literature.

See the  the Szymborska Foundation.

“Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from

a continuous “I don’t know.”

Wislawa Szymborska

The Warwick Writing  Program was established by Professor David Morley. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as ‘A National Teaching Fellow, Professor Morley teaches on Warwick’s Writing Programme, and is a recent winner of The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for his collection The Invisible Gift, and The Cholmondeley Award for achievement in poetry from The Society of Authors.

‘This Warwick University module is an option solely for Year Two students taking English Literature and Creative Writing. The module offers a practical, imaginative and robust progression to the Year 3 Personal Writing Project in which you work one-to-one with a tutor. It is vital that applicants have read and written poetry and possess experience of writing workshops. Workshops are two hours long. Former students of this module have gone on to establish significant reputations as poets, performers, film-makers, spoken word artists, editors, conceptual artists, and publishers.’ The capacity to connect with sciences needs the humanities.

Where’s the third ‘f’? We have flora and fauna. How about fungi!

Thank you. Australia’s national public broadcaster, through ABC RN’s Science Show, Saturday September 14th 2019 is bringing us the information we need to develop the knowledge we must have to make connections for the future.

A panel of mycologists, experts in the study of fungi, were in Adelaide at WOMADelaide in 2019, in our stunning Botanic Park that has celebrated the best of the World of Music, the Arts and Dance for decades. Here we had the vital connections in STEAM, not the, divisive STEM separated from HASS. With it came recognition of Aboriginal science. See my blog ‘Deadly Science and Dark Emu’*

I listened to Alison Pouliot of the ANU, author of The Allure of Fungi, published by the CSIRO. She posed the question that has become the title of this blog. The panellists are scientists sharing their knowledge with all at WOMADelaide. Here’s its title. You, too, can listen to their informative, engaging story now on  The Science Show.

Image: Is it time to look a little more closely at fungi for solutions to some of the world’s problems? (Pixabay: adege) Link to the larger image.

Magic Mushrooms: Can their mycelia give us safer plastic replacements? “Flora, fauna… and fungi! Our expert panellists, from Australia, USA and the UK, made clear at WOMADelaide they believe it is time for more attention to be paid to that third ‘F’, especially given fungi is a kingdom of species just like plants and animals. Fungi’s uses are staggering, from life-saving drugs to new building materials, greener plastics to helping grow new ears or organs.” Many farmers, we heard, are interested. They want to move away from industrialized agriculture.

In Tasmania, mycelia are being connected with architecture. Bio- bricks! Mycelia are the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments. (hyphae). [The role of fungi in trees is in Judi Dench’s documentary.]

Interconnections are needed all the time. Why are we so slow in making changes? Many corporations make billions from fossil fuels. How many keep their profits in tax havens? They lobby governments. They keep us in the dark. America’s President has just provided $100 million to the Brazilian government. The US Secretary of State says it’s to fund private approaches in their Amazon Forest.

Trees need fungi: fungi need trees. We need the bio diversity they foster.

The Many Ways of Diversity: the Same and Not the Same, is the title of the address given by Nobel Laureate Professor Roald Hoffmann when he received the Inaugural Primo Levi Prize in Germany for his work connecting the sciences, particularly chemistry, with the humanities in 2017. See my first blog. Thank you Roald Hoffmann* Roald Hoffmann contributed poetry and prose to Challenging the Divide: Approaches to Science and Poetry, launched by Robyn Williams at the South Australian State Library in 2010.

This soaring story.

Excitement at the World Science Festival in Brisbane – Australia in Space.

This important story about the past, present and the future is brought to listeners across this continent by our wonderful public ABC Radio National Science Show.

First comes the history from Kerrie Dougherty, author of Australia in Space: A History of a Nation’s Involvement, published by ATF Press, August 2017. “The exploration of space was seen as the greatest adventure of the Twentieth Century, while in the Twenty First Century space-based services have become an integral part of our daily lives. Although it is not often recognised, Australia has had its part to play in setting the world on the road to the stars and was one of the earliest nations to launch its own satellite. Today, the country is one of the largest users of space-based services.”

Is it Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency, with its headquarters in Adelaide, who recognises the 65,000 years of the study of the stars by the first astronomers? That recognition is a sign of how far Australia has come. He does not name Dark Sparklers, by Hugh Cairns and Bill Yidumduma Harney published by Hugh Cairns, reprinted 2004. However, the story of the First Songline of the Wardaman clan, west of Katherine, for example in its New Year connection with ‘the brightest and loveliest star blaze from the northerly horizon’, brings to us the significance of the galaxy in their calendar. See their sky maps [pp 78-95].

Design and presentation Tiffany Meek and Hugh Cairns.

In Brisbane the panel of our astronomers and space scientists, interviewed by Robyn Williams, moves beyond the military and defence roles of space and satellites. Some see us able to deal with the debris in space, recycling space material. Others see us being able to show from space where the flooding waters are flowing to help those below to respond more effectively as they face the movement and speed of the water. They see its role for a continent of this size in dealing with the impact of climate change. Others see all the commercial possibilities. I listen with awe. Not an ounce of short-term thinking here.

They bring in the work of Professor Veena Sahajwallah of UNSW. In my previous blog ‘Imagination has no boundaries’* her innovative work is described. They value her ‘micro lab’ and ‘micro factory’ for what she is doing with waste material. Possibilities for young astronauts appear in the story of eager young Sophie.

Professor Christine Charles, Head of the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion Laboratory at the Australian National University in Canberra, ACT, wants us to remember we must have a planet on which to build our propulsion systems to send our probes into outer space, or our plans to put people on the Moon and have more than the current six living in space – or wherever else our imagination can take us.

At the same time, she wants us to have the guts to take risks.

The Federal government has set up the Australian Space Agency in Adelaide which has all its history of connections through Woomera, including the WRESAT launch in 1967. Now with this Agency, Australia joins all the other national space agencies.

Once more, thank you to our public Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Image: Is Australia ready to play a significant role in the emerging global space industry, or will it fall behind? (Pixabay:PIRO4D)

Australia in Space: Our Story in the Stars – World Science Festival Brisbane