Late Night Conference
Given the current global situation, we feel there is a need for a ‘conference’ for a broad audience. Working during the pandemic has shown us that broadcasting science over the internet is cheap and easy to run, and a great method of communication with a broad audience.
In this spirit, we are inviting top scientists as guests for our Late Night Conference to give short presentations on their research followed by a lively discussion, fed by questions and comments from the audience.
Our target audience are natural sciences undergraduates/PhD students. The level of presentation should be gauged accordingly (i.e. chemists, physicists, geologists etc. should be able to understand enough of the presentation and discussion). The student audience is likely to be interested in such a format as a light introduction to new science, as well as an inspiration for their careers via professional insights from the guest.
The Late Night Conference is a series of live-streamed themed lectures and interactive discussions for students of science and those with an interest in science in general. We have tested the technology and are now ready for Season 1!
Do you have any questions, suggestions, comments or feedback? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Late Night Conference is back in 2022! Previously, we brought lectures and discussions right to your computer screen. This time, we’re bringing it to you LIVE from Nijmegen with a studio audience. As always, you will also be able to get involved at home with our trademark, Wilhelm Huck-hosted, live streaming action. Now, we’re exploring ‘Artificial Life’. We’ve got this covered from every angle. Synthetic cells, artificial intelligence and responsive robots. We’re so excited about the speakers we have lined up for you!
Season 2 speakers:
2 June 2022: What is life?
Professor and Director of CU Boulder’s Center of Study of Origins
- Personal website
- Carol Cleland is the author of The Quest for a Universal Theory of Life: Searching for life as we don’t know it (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and co-author (with Mark Bedau) of The Nature of Life: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives from Philosophy and Science (Cambridge University Press, 2010; reprinted in paperback 2018)
Saving the best until last! Join us for a mind-blowing philosophical discussion with Carol Cleland, on what is life? Carol is Professor and Director of CU Boulder’s Center of Study of Origins and will take us through how we define what is alive. Bring your thinking caps and get ready to participate in the discussion! Join us at Theatrezaal C for this exciting final event of the season and to meet Carol on the big screen!
6 May 2022: Building artificial cells
Professor of Genetics at University of Minnesota
- Co-founder of Synlife
- Founder and steering group member of Build-a-Cell initiative http://www.protobiology.org/indexd.php
Kate Adamala wants to make life from scratch! As Professor at University of Minnesota working on the origins of life and building a synthetic cell, Kate’s work touches on astrobiology, synthetic cell engineering, and biocomputing. Kate and her team create tiny bioreactors. These have applications in synthetic biology, drug development and biosensing. Join us at Theatrezaal C while we interview Kate on the big screen & get your questions ready for the live Q&A!
14 April 2022: Artificial Intelligence
Assistant Professor at Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Pablo Lanillos will be joining us IN PERSON at Theatrezaal C! Imagine a future where robots can perceive and act with their bodies, just as humans do… Pablo will guide us through his fascinating research that aims to bring this to life! Combining artificial intelligence and machine learning, Pablo is inspired by neuroscience to unravel the mysteries of our own self-perception. So why wait? Get your free tickets now to join in our live discussion that will undoubtedly enrich your perceptions too!
17 March 2022: Xenobots
Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont
Director of the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Laboratory
- Prestigious Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellow 2007
- 2007 MIT Technology Review’s top 35 young innovators under 35
- 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from Barack Obama
- Wrote a book called “How the Body Shapes the Way We Think: A New View of Intelligence” (with Rolf Pfeifer).
What would life look like on other worlds? Harnessing ideas from evolutionary biology, Josh Bongard and his team have evolved virtual creatures on the computer to not only study this curious question, but also to engineer better and more adaptive robots in real life. By creating multiple virtual worlds each with their own forms of artificial life, unique phylogenetic trees emerge to give us a glimpse into the wonders of evolution! Taking this concept further, Josh and his collaborators have engineered soft robots using frog cells (Xenobots) whose 3D structure was inspired by virtual robots. Amazingly, these Xenobots can move and assemble new versions of themselves!
10 February 2022: Synthetic Biology
Professor of Synthetic Biology, J. Craig Venter Institute
As professor and leader of the JCVI Synthetic Biology Group, John Glass pushes the boundaries of synthetic biology. Dr. Glass was part of the team responsible for creating the famous synthetic bacterial cell, Synthia. With an expertise at the intersection of molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, RNA virology and microbial genomics, he has led numerous society-changing projects over the course of his career. Some of which include the development of a synthetic influenza, as well as creating cells and organelles with redesigned genomes to engineer microbes to make useful products. This lecture is not to be missed!
6 January 2022: Regenerative Medicine
Professor of Molecular Genetics, Utrecht University
- Spinoza prize, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), 2001
- Heineken prize for Medicine, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW), 2012
- Breakthrough prize in Life Sciences, 2013
Hans Clevers’ research origins began in studying the stem-cells of the intestines. These cells are especially relevant for the development of diseases, such as cancer. Clevers’ and his team identified the intestinal stem-cells involved in the renewal of the outermost layer of the organ, called epithelium, and with this, managed to grow these cells into artificial mini-intestines, so called organoids. These organoids are useful research tools for studying a variety of phenomena – from basic developmental and cell biology to toxicology, as well as hereditary diseases, and cancer.
We will explore one of the greatest unanswered questions of modern science: the origin of life. We will look at chemistry between the stars and on distant planets, and bring into focus the challenges of studying life’s prebiotic origins.
In laboratories all over the World, scientists study how collections of molecules can come together into something that bears fundamental traits of Life. These innovators are challenging our understanding of what Life is and how it may be found beyond our Solar System.
Over 6 episodes, this season will take you on a journey from test tubes to distant planets, with physics and chemistry as your guide!
Maike Hansen (www.thehansenlab.com) began as an assistant professor here at Radboud University in the group of Biophysics this January. Her interdisciplinary research combines computational modelling, cell-free biochemistry and single-cell biology to answer the question: how does robustness emerge from cellular complexity?
Livestream details: Thursday, 26th November, 8.00 PM.
Season 1 speakers:
7 January 2021: Life in the Universe
EWINE F. VAN DISHOECK
Professor of Molecular Astrophysics, University of Leiden
- James Craig Watson Medal, US National Academy of Sciences, 2018
- Kavli prize winner in Astrophysics, 2018
- Spinoza prize, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), 2000
Ewine van Dishoeck has helped develop the most powerful telescopes in the World to peer into the thin, ice-cold clouds of gas found between stars. These clouds are the nurseries from which new stars and planets are born. Van Dishoeck looks at how these celestial bodies are formed, and how the clouds’ chemical composition imprints upon the new planets.
4 February 2021: Astrobiology
SARA IMARI WALKER
Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, Arizona State University
Sara Walker is an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist. She seeks to explain what life is, how it emerged and how to find it on other worlds using new physical theories. Walker is also an advocate for science communication to the public, and has discussed her work in many interviews, panels and lectures.
4 March 2021: The RNA World
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
- The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2009, “for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.”
Jack Szostak studies the chemical and physical processes that gave rise to biological evolution on the early Earth. His laboratory is trying to build a synthetic protocell that undergoes Darwinian evolution, potentially leading to the spontaneous emergence of genomically encoded catalysts and structural molecules. Szostak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009 for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.
1 April 2021: Inorganic Life
LEROY (LEE) CRONIN
Regius Professor of Chemistry, University of Glasgow
- RSC Tilden prize, 2015
- RISE Award (1 of the UK’s top 10 Inspiring Sciences and Engineers), 2014
Lee Cronin’s broad range of research interests includes the development of ‘inorganic biology’, artificial lifeforms, discovering alien life and constructing chemical computers. His multidisciplinary research group is one of the largest in the World. Cronin has presented TED talks, a recent series of lockdown lectures, and boldly challenges our understanding of chemistry.
6 May 2021: The Metabolic Origins of life
Professor, University of Strasbourg
- C&EN Talented 12, 2018
Joseph Moran is a synthetic organic chemist interested in catalysis in complex systems and the origin of biological metabolism. His research applies concepts from systems and supramolecular chemistry to catalysis and the chemical origins of life. His work has shed light on how metabolism may have arisen in prebiotic waters before the onset of Darwinian evolution.
3 June 2021: Exoplanets
Professor at Cavendish Lab, Cambridge University, UK (main) Professor, Astronomy department, Geneva University, Switzerland (part time)
- Nobel prize in Physics 2019 “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”
- Wolf physics prize 2017
Didier Queloz discovered the first extrasolar planet orbiting the Sun-like star 51 Pegasi, sharing the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery. Having kick-started the field of exoplanet research, Queloz now leads research in furthering the understanding of exoplanet formation, structure, and habitability, as well as to promoting and sharing the excitement of his work through documentaries, movies, articles, TV and radio interviews.