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Humanity Will Continue to Live an Inferior Life Than What is Possible Until the Two Halves: All Individuals in Them: That Make It are Absolutely Fundamentally and Jubilantly Equal at Liberty


Year Gamma: London: Friday: February 02: 2018
First Published: September 24: 2015

Change: Either Happens or Is Made: When It is Not Made It Happens Regardless in Which We Become Mere Logs and Get Washed Away in and by Utterly Mechanical Forces of Dehumanisation: When Made Change is Created by Our Conscious Choices, Efforts, Initiatives and Works: In the Former We Let Go Off Our Humanity So That Dehumanisation Determines and Dictates the Existence of Our Sheer Physiologies: But in the Later We Claim, Mark and Create Our Humanity as to the Change We Choose to Make and Create It Onto Reality: To Nurture, Foster, Support, Sustain, Maintain, Enhance, Expand, Empower and Enrich the Very Humanity That We Are:  As Individuals, As Families, As Communities and As Societies All of Which Now Exist in the Fabrics of Time-Space of What is Called Civic Society: One That Exists by Natural Justice and Functions by the Rule of Law: Ensuring Liberty and Equality, Along with Purpose and Meaning of Existence, Exist in Each and Every Soul Equally at All Times: The Humanion






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The Most Urgent Need for promoting gender equality is to seek, in the developed world, to increase education 'investment':spending: the best possible investment that any nation can make: 'investment' to as high a level and degree as possible, and particularly, in further and higher education and most importantly, to seek to promote education as a 'necessity and meaning of existence'. And in the developing and LDC countries, we ought to do everything in our power to expand universal education across the globe so that every child, every girl, every boy, has a right to get educated to up to 'college' level. And this Universal Education Programme Must Be supported by the UN Mechanism so that it simply is not just declarations and meetings. Societies cannot be 'dictated' to change nor can they be changed because people are being abusive and demanding it on their so called, social media 'graveyards'. Societies change because the people that make it are educated by an education that offers them what the world has come to call 'enlightenment', consequence of which is their minds, their very persons, their way of thinking and looking at things become different than otherwise they would have been like and that brings the 'revolution'. The fact that they are now better able to 'see' everything with the light of that 'enlightenment' including their own contributions and achievements in society as they take part fully, being active, positive and engaged in political, economic, social, artistic and cultural and every other sphere of life, makes them better human beings as well. Politics, Political Philosophy and the Political Parties and all agencies involved in promoting common human good that are in the public domain, must seek to take this forward with commitment that is paramount to be made and to be sustained vigorously. That would translate into the economic, business and commerce spheres of life, which would show how society changes with the changes in the 'infrastructures' of all that we do: Philosophy> Political Economics> Society> Arts> Culture, of life. The quality of a nation or people is directly determined by the quality of education their 'infrastructures' can provide them with. The Humanion




Professor Dame Anne Glover: The New President of Royal Society of Edinburgh


Image: University of Aberdeen


|| September 01: 2017: University of Aberdeen News || ά.

Professor Dame Anne Glover has been elected as the next President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Following an extensive consultation of the RSE Fellowship, Dame Glover’s appointment will be confirmed at the Society's Annual Meeting in October. She will serve for three years from April 2018. Professor Dame Anne Glover, who became an RSE Fellow in 2005, joined the University of Aberdeen in 1983 and pursued a distinguished career in microbiology, including, the launch of a spin-out company based on her research.

While on secondment from the University, Professor Glover was appointed the first Chief Scientific Adviser to Scotland, 2006-2011 and then the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, 2012-2014. In March 2015 Professor Glover was appointed to the board of Scottish Enterprise, the economic development agency, that provides enterprise, investment and innovation support within the context of the Scottish Government Economic Strategy. Professor Glover rejoined the University in June 2015 to take up her Vice-Principal role, following a period of sabbatical at the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Berlin.

Professor Glover said, “It is an honour to be elected President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and to be taking over from Dame Jocelyn, who has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the RSE, academia and Scottish society. The RSE has an important role to play in Scotland, the UK and internationally and it will be a privilege to be leading these activities for the next three years.”

She will succeed Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, whose period in office saw the delivery of the European Referendum series of policy advice papers and public debate forums, the RSE’s response to the Scottish Government's stance on GM crops, a Royal visit from Her Majesty the Queen, who presented the RSE’s 2017 Royal Medals and the continued development of relations with China, supported by the President’s delegation visit to Beijing this month to meet with the RSE’s four partner academies in China: NSFC, CAS, CASS and CAE.

Commenting on the election, Professor Dame Jocelyn, said, “I am delighted to be handing over the Presidency of the Royal Society of Edinburgh to Professor Dame Anne Glover. Anne’s experience as Chief Scientific Adviser to both the Scottish Government and the Europe Commission will be invaluable to the RSE, as will her commitment to academia and innovation.'' ω.


Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Associate Professor Ivy Liu and Her Work in Categorical Data Analysis


Image: Victoria University of Wellington


|| August 21: 2017: Victoria University of Wellington News || ά. Associate Professor Ivy, I-Ming Liu researches an area of mathematics and statistics, that crosses into almost all areas of life: making tests and surveys fairer, more accurate and less likely to contain bias and identifying groups of people with similar patterns. Deputy Head of Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, Associate Professor Liu specialises in categorical data analysis. Often used in mathematical and scientific data collection, categorical data analysis is about analysing information, that has been organised into groups.

Associate Professor Liu chose the subject, initially, because she hoped it would enable her to collaborate professionally with her husband, who was planning to study sociology. “After I chose my topic, my husband decided not to continue with sociology. We’ve never been able to work together, but it was still the right choice.” she says. “When I gained my PhD, there was a high demand for people, who worked in categorical data analysis, which made it easy for me to get a job.” Associate Professor Liu grew up in Taiwan, gaining her PhD at the University of Florida in the United States. She came to New Zealand on a casual visit and decided it would be a great place to live and work.

Her multidisciplinary research falls into three main areas differential item functioning:DIF, dimension reduction for mixed type multivariate data and multiple response data. DIF analysis is about ensuring educational tests are fair to everyone taking the test, regardless of gender, ethnicity or any other factor. If a test were to be taken by both domestic and international students, for example, it would be necessary to look at each student’s ability to determine whether the test was fair. If 80 percent of top domestic students and 80 percent of top international students get a question right, it suggests there is no bias in the test.

DIF analysis was originally used to discover whether a question was answered correctly or not, but the statistical method Associate Professor Liu developed with a colleague enables researchers to find out how well it was answered: perfectly, not so well or very badly. The methodology is not only useful for detecting biases in tests; it can, also, be applied in a clinical trial to find drug effects.

Associate Professor Liu has just finished a project on the ‘cluster’ element of categorical data, which provides researchers with information on how to cluster data into groups to reduce the number of questions in a test or survey. In 2016, Associate Professor Liu was awarded a $550,000 Marsden Fund grant from Government funding managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand to carry out a further three years of research into clustering to reduce dimension of data. She says that the research can, potentially, be applied to many fields, from categorising the risk of self-harm among groups of patients at a doctor’s surgery to classifying shoppers according to their buying patterns.

Associate Professor Liu’s work on multiple response data, her third research interest, involves looking at the best ways to analyse data derived from surveys, that ask respondents to tick as many responses as they want to. For example, people might be given a list of movie genres, from drama to romance and asked to tick all the genres they like.

“All my research interests are linked and we use our existing work to solve new problems.” she says. “Multiple response data links to the work we’ve done on DIF analysis. For DIF analysis, rather than focusing on one question in a test, you are interested in several questions simultaneously. Multiple response data, also, looks at several questions at the same time.”

Associate Professor Liu’s research contributes to Victoria’s ‘Improving health and wellbeing in our communities’ area of academic distinctiveness. She says that she often discusses her research projects with students. She has taught her DIF research to her second-year applied statistics students, many of whom are studying psychology or biology and can see how useful the work could be to their disciplines.

“I really like the combination of teaching and research. You feel excited when you are able to talk to students about the area you’re researching.” she says. Ms Liu says that she’s glad she decided to join Victoria’s School of Mathematics and Statistics and feels fortunate to be in an academic environment, that gives its staff so much support to tap into sources of research funding.

“We’re, also, encouraged to attend international conferences and to invite international scholars in our field to visit us.” she says. “I’ve found that international scholars are always happy to visit us here because the research coming from our group at Victoria is so strong.”

Further on her research. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Elaine-Ability Phillips: Don’t Let Any Disability Deter You From Study: And Don't Let Anyone Tell You You Can Not Achieve First Class


|| July 15: 2017: University of South Wales News || ά. Inspirational student Ms Elaine Phillips graduated this week from the University of South Wales with top marks, despite being diagnosed with dyslexia and a life-changing brain condition. Ms Phillips, 53, from Whitchurch, Cardiff, has succeeded in gaining a first class honours in BSc Hons in Health and Social Care Management, even though, she suffered from debilitating symptoms for the majority of her studies.

Ms Phillips worked in a care home for 28 years, but after she was made redundant when she was 46, made the decision to go back into education. “When I left school at 16, I couldn’t read or write. Whilst I worked at the care home I taught myself, with some help from colleagues and worked my way up to Care Officer.” she said. “When the home closed, I studied a ‘Return to Learn’ course at Coleg Glan Afan, now, Cardiff and Vale College, then a level-two applied science course, followed by a two-year Access course. I was there for four years. Whilst at college I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which was re-assessed when I came to university.

I owe a lot to Kerry Roberts, who worked at Cardiff and Vale College. She first diagnosed me with dyslexia and coached me through my time at college. Kerry knew that I could and would achieve my goals and we are still friends to this day. University was daunting at first. I didn’t believe I should be there. I don’t think I would have progressed as well as I did, without the support from the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Service, the faculty and my tutors.”

During the second year of her degree, she started to suffer unbearable headaches, nausea and dizziness. When these dramatically worsened, she was sent for an emergency brain scan and finally diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, a condition where the lower part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal. Since then, Ms Phillips has suffered with slurred speech, severe pain, difficulty walking and a complete lack of energy.

“While this was going on, I had two modules to finish but I was determined not to defer my studies, I wanted to graduate this year. It meant that I was able to work for one day, then I would have to rest for three days.” she said. She feels passionately that no-one should be deterred from further education because of a disability or learning difficulty.

“Young people should not be ashamed of being dyslexic. You are not stupid and you can’t help having the condition.” she said. “We want to learn and better ourselves. Do not let anything deter you from study. I wish I had done it when I was younger but I didn’t have the confidence.”

Ms Madhulata Patel, Course Leader and Senior Lecturer at the University, said, “Elaine is a truly inspirational student because she had so many challenges, but she dealt with them with a gritted determination to achieve both academically and professionally.

She is a great role model for other students, who think they will not succeed. She is absolute proof that, if you want something badly enough, you can get there.”

Image: University of South Wales

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Women in STEM: Stereotype-Tearing Energy Mind-Set: Ho Ghimm Wei: An Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Image: National University of Singapore



|| July 13: 2017: National University of Singapore News || ά. Associate Professor Ho Ghim Wei from NUS Electrical and Computer Engineering knows that she chose a career in a male-dominated field but it has never held her back. “I was once told not to waste my time in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics:STEM industry. That just spurred me to work harder than my male colleagues to prove my competence.” she said. Her foray into the field began with her father, a Structural Engineer. “My dad would bring me to construction sites and talk to me about his projects. His enthusiasm for science and engineering made me love it, too.” said Associate Professor Ho.

After some encouragement from her supervisor Professor Andrew Wee, NUS Vice President, University and Global Relations, the gutsy scientist went onto graduating from Cambridge University in 2006 with a PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, before returning to her alma mater as one of the pioneer faculty associates of the Engineering Science Programme at NUS. “Besides being a renowned institution with a good reputation for conducting groundbreaking research, NUS has always been where I belonged.” she said. Beginning her academic career fresh out of completing her PhD, she had to learn how to write research proposals to secure grants, set up and manage her own research lab and team, supervise students, publish scientific papers and give lectures and tutorials, by no means an easy feat.

Somehow she managed, and today she leads the Ho Research Group at NUS, which aims to create new nanostructured solar conversion devices for energy and environmental sustainability with two main research thrusts: photocatalysis for pollutant degradation and hydrogen generation, which tap on concepts from electrical engineering, chemical engineering, materials science and physics. It is important work as the world begins to see greater legislation demanding the resolution of energy and water issues without greenhouse gas emissions.

Ultimately, she hopes her research will bring about affordable and viable solutions to remote regions and satisfy the increasing demand for integrated sustainable technologies that meet human needs without disrupting the integrity of the natural ecosystem. Assoc Prof Ho’s numerous accolades are testament to her ability and desire to break barriers and pave the way for other women in science.

Among others, she was a Great Women of Our Time Science and Technology winner in 2016, Honoree Winner in JCI’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award, Scientific and:or Technological Development category, in 2015 and she received the L’OREAL UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship in 2014.

In spite of her successful career, she says without hesitation that her proudest achievement is giving birth to her two sons, whom she loves spending time with during her down time, in addition to a spot of gardening. While she stills feels the pressure to work doubly hard to achieve recognition in a male-dominated profession, Associate Professor Ho believes that women have made great strides in science today.

“People have started to realise that, when it comes to a job in science, it is talent that matters, not gender. Furthermore, a diversity of views in science is necessary to solve complex and multidisciplinary problems.” she said.

She hopes to bring about greater recognition of women in engineering through her work. “To women in STEM I say, don’t set limits for yourself and you can reach heights greater than you could ever imagine.”

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Bringing It Home: A Hannah Martin

Image: Victoria University of Wellington


|| July 10: 2017: Victoria University of Wellington News || ά. An indigenous scholar from Canada says that the work she is doing at Victoria University of Wellington will help her benefit indigenous communities in her home country. Ms Hannah Martin, who is of Mi’kmaq descent, is spending the Canadian summer at the Faculty of Law, where she is completing an internship with the Māori Law Review. She is a student at McMaster University, Ontario. She says that the ultimate goal of her studies is to use her knowledge to help Canada’s indigenous communities and the research she is carrying out here will help her achieve her aim.

“Working at the Māori Law Review has given me a chance to examine the different cases, that are going through the Waitangi Tribunal and study the processes through, which Māori communities have been able to reclaim their rights. My work here is helping me understand how these processes work around the world and how we can change our own processes in Canada. There’s a lot to learn here. A lot of indigenous people in Canada look up to Kiwi reconciliation and the resilience and strength Māori people have displayed.”

Ms Martin's visit to New Zealand was made possible by a Loran Scholarship, a prestigious award given to 30 graduating Canadian students each year. The undergraduate scholarship, which is worth CA$100,000, includes, funding for summer internships around the world. The aim of the scholarship is to help recipients become part of the next generation of leaders and for Ms Martin, her focus was always going to be social justice.

She says that he fight for indigenous rights became her primary motivator after she delved deeper into her own community’s history and traditions. “I grew up off reservations, outside of the community to which I belong. I didn’t have a lot of direct exposure to my culture or traditions. I definitely still had ways to connect, but I never had a full immersion of my culture or language.

I think that lack of exposure built up inside me, so when I reached my late teen years I had this sudden passion to dive deeper into my roots and find out more about who I am and where I come from.” Ms Martin is, also, working on a research project on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She says that her work at the Māori Law Review is providing her with a holistic experience.

“My supervisors are providing a lot of opportunities to meet people, who are quite influential and to have experiences, that are going to help me achieve my goals. It’s not just about the work itself; they really want to provide me with opportunities to network and meet people working in indigenous law here. During my first two weeks in New Zealand, I spent time on marae with different iwi and had a lot of good discussions about sovereignty and nationhood. They’ve made so much progress, but there’s still a lot to be done.”

Ms Martin will complete her Honours degree in Indigenous Studies at McMaster next year. She says that her ultimate goal is to take everything she’s learnt throughout her studies back to her community. “My current goal would be to do work with the Canadian Aboriginal law, that’s going to benefit my tribe. I definitely want to bring it back home and use the skills I’ve collected to help my people.

My biggest interest right now is treaty settlements and land claims and finding out how our people can become more self-determining. I’d love to see a future, where all indigenous groups in Canada can govern themselves, according to traditional forms of law and where they’re classified as their own sovereign nations.

And, of course, learning my language will be very important. I think being a professional, who can, also, speak in our native tongue is something that’s very important for our people, in terms of representation.” Ms Martin credits her family with giving her the foundation to pursue her goals. “They’re the ones, who taught me the importance of education and that’s where I became passionate about social justice and the rights of my people. They taught me a lot growing up about the kind of person I want to be.” Ms Hannah Martin is at the Law School until August.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Professor Xiaoke Yi: One of the Most Innovative Engineers of Australia

Image: University of Sydney


|| July 04: 2017: University of Sydney News || ά. Engineers Australia has named Professor Xiaoke Yi from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies as one of Australia’s most innovative engineers in the Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers 2017 awards. Professor Yi from the faculty’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering was one of three Australian engineers recognised in the ‘Manufacturing and Automation’ category for her new pain-free, low-cost method to help people with diabetes monitor their ketone levels. Professor Xiaoke Yi’s research into nanophotonics and integrated microwave photonics, that promises to lead to many breakthroughs.

These breakthroughs will meet our ever-increasing demand for information and communication systems, that can process high-frequency and wideband signals at lightning speed. “Microwave photonics is a multidisciplinary field, that brings together the worlds of microwave engineering and optoelectronics, for applications in areas, such as, communications, radars, sensors and instrumentation. These applications require ever-increasing speed, bandwidth, sensitivity, functionality and dynamic range. They also need devices that are small and lightweight and have low power consumption, strong immunity to electromagnetic interference and high mobility.'' says Professor Yi.

Currently digital electronic circuits are the most widely used approaches for these applications; however, the sampling speed of digital electronic is normally less than several gigahertz. The unique capabilities of photonics for processing ultrawide bandwidth, where high-frequency microwave signals are only a tiny fraction of the carrier’s optical frequency, make it a promising solution to meet our ever-increasing demand for expanding the capacity of information and communication systems and networks.

My vision is to deliver major breakthroughs in signal processing and sensing that will bring about disruptive changes in fields such as communications, defence and healthcare delivery. For example, I am currently working on a non-invasive sensing technique for glucose monitoring in people with diabetes that is highly accurate, fast, real-time, low-cost, pain-free and risk-free. This represents a major breakthrough in the development of non-invasive blood glucose measurement devices that can provide stable and reliable results, conveniently and economically.

I first encountered fibre optics during my PhD, when I started to explore using light for signal processing. Since joining the University of Sydney more than 10 years ago I’ve continued to pursue my passion in photonic signal processing, and have driven this field from concepts to discrete components to integration circuits and functional subsystems.

Here, I am surrounded by amazing colleagues, who are passionate about their research and about new technologies, and my research benefits from this supportive and collaborative environment. The University’s recent $150 million investment in establishing the world-leading Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology also shows its commitment to a major research focus on nanoscale science and its applications.”

Professor Yi will continue to develop this project as one of the first cohort of fellows of the University’s new Sydney Research Accelerator:SOAR programme. “I feel greatly honoured to join this list of Australia’s most innovative leading engineers.” said Professor Yi. As well as making society healthier through her biomedical research, Professor Yi is working to make Australia a safer place to live through innovative engineering work with the Department of Defence.

She is, also, championing a multidisciplinary approach to research and innovation in nanotechnology through her work as ‘Computing, Communication and Security’ theme leader in the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. “I believe that innovation can bridge the gaps between research, industry and end-users. My vision is to deliver major breakthroughs that will bring about positive changes in fields such as healthcare and defence, and help build a healthier, safer and better society.” Professor Yi said.

Engineers Australia National President Mr John McIntosh congratulated Professor Yi and all the winners. ''Australian engineers are respected worldwide both for our ingenuity and persistence in making our solutions work." he said. "We are the home, after all, of world famous inventions such as WiFi and the black box flight recorder."

Mr McIntosh said that he was pleased that a quarter of the finalists were female. "Increasing the gender diversity of the engineering profession is crucial to our long-term sustainability." he said. "I hope the women on this list inspire young women to be as creative and ingenious as them."

The annual Australia's Most Innovative Engineers awards are open to all engineers working in Australia and are designed to recognise outstanding individuals, who have made noteworthy contributions to the community, the industry and the profession. This year, the list comprised 30 Australian engineers. As part of her award, Professor Yi was profiled in the July issue of create magazine, the flagship publication of Engineers Australia. The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies was a sponsor of the Australia's Most Innovative Engineers 2017 awards.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dr Sharon Wong: One That Makes Herself as She Aspires to Do

|| July 04: 2017 || ά. If you spoke with Dr Sharon Wong, she will tell you that hair is not about the colour, that many people dye them with nor is it abut fashion, that countless companies are spending billions to 'implant' in people's minds; but rather it is science, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and even nutrition. She will tell you that it is about health and about well being. If you spoke with her you will hear an intelligent, sophisticated and thoughtful learner and seeker; a woman, yes, but not something or someone with a particular 'hair colour', that the market and male-dominated marketeers have been seeking for centuries to do, to impose on women that women are their 'dyed' hair colour!

The most repugnant thing that has ever been concocted by the market and male-dominated brewery-culture is this that seeks to 'strait-jacket women' into hair-colour' without realising that hair-colour does not and cannot signify human intelligence nor human ingenuity simply for the fact that one can simply dye one's hair colour into another to prove those, who think like this are nothing but 'morons of the most moronic kind'. And that intelligence, that determination, that ingenuity, that love of learning and seeking has made Dr Sharon Wong what she has become. One that will rise to raise herself to be that what she aspires to be. Is it hard work: who says becoming is easy? Life grows and growing is kind of a pain because something that grows outstrips itself, and it does, therefore, have its 'joyful aching of growth'. Hard work is learning but the rewards are much greater than the hard works that went into ensuring the achievements. And here she is: Dr Sharon Wong.

Dr Wong is a GMC registered and UK trained consultant dermatologist, specialising in hair and scalp disorders and providing medical and surgical treatments for a comprehensive range of general skin and hair conditions including eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, rosacea, acne, cellulitis, hair loss, alopecia and folliculitis. Dr Sharon Wong achieved first class honours in both medicine and an intercalated BSc degree in Clinical Genetics at St George’s Hospital in London.

She completed higher specialty training in Dermatology in some of London’s most prestigious hospitals including Barts Health NHS Trust and The Royal Free Hospital. She is now one of few London-based dermatologists specialising in hair and scalp disorders, providing groundbreaking treatments such as platelet-rich plasma:PRP injections to treat hair loss from her London clinics. In 2012 she was appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Homerton University Hospital, where she has set up a dedicated NHS hair clinic.

Dr Wong's other accolades include being a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Hair and Nail Society. She is, also, a spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation and is a medical advisor for the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation.

Dr Sharon Wong seeks to raise the awareness and knowledge of potentially detrimental skin, hair and scalp conditions, that many, may be, too afraid or too embarrassed to talk openly about. I am passionate about helping others achieve a sustainable way to not only improve their condition, but to improve their overall feeling of self-worth and confidence and ultimately live a happier, healthier life. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Susan McDonald: One of Her Own Making or Rather Engineering: So Can You If You Look Into and See the Power You Hold Within Yourself

Image: University of Strathclyde

|| June 25: 2017: University of Strathclyde News || ά. Ms Susan McDonald, a Senior Consultant in infrastructure and capital projects with Deloitte Consulting, was included in the Daily Telegraph Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2017 supplement, published in partnership with the Women’s Engineering Society and sponsors Scottish Power, Bechtel and BAE Systems. The supplement noted that Ms McDonald, who graduated from Strathclyde with a Masters in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in 2010, is 'committed to changing perceptions of engineering and has been recognised for her leadership and technical contribution to the energy industry'.

It goes on to say, “She’s won awards for her role in encouraging diversity and won the EY and Energy UK Young Energy Professional Award. She’s spoken alongside leaders at Energy UK’s national conference and at other leading energy events. She’s also volunteered with climate change charity Earthwatch and other sustainability initiatives. Previously a regulatory manager at National Grid, she now works within change programmes across the power and utility sector.” The Top 50 Women in Engineering campaign was launched in 2016 to coincide with National Women in Engineering Day.

It aims to celebrate the achievements of women in the industry to support greater representation at boardroom level and provide role models for young girls and women interested in a career in engineering. Ms McDonald said, "It is such an honour to be chosen as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering in 2017 on International Women in Engineering Day. I hope to use this as a platform to help promote the exciting, global opportunities that engineering offers to both talented young women, as well as to men.

The Top 50 Women in Engineering list is really important as it helps celebrate female engineers across different industries and sectors and shows how successful and rewarding a career in engineering can be. This is particularly important because of the skills shortage facing our industry and the discrepancy between the number of women versus men in the profession. For example, an IET report published in 2016 highlighted that only 9% of the engineering workforce in the UK is female.

On a personal note, engineering has allowed me the opportunity to work with fantastic colleagues and work on large-scale, challenging and interesting projects that have put me at the heart of making a positive impact on society and economic growth.

I hope the individual stories behind the list help to inspire other young women to consider a career in engineering. I will work hard to use this recognition to become a more effective role model and to support the next generation of engineering professionals.

Furthermore, given the University of Strathclyde's commitment to professional excellence, this recognition will also help profile the University for talent development and technological skills as it provided me with a fantastic platform for my engineering career." ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Professor Jane Nixon

Image: University of Leeds


|| June 25: 2017: University of Leeds News || ά. Professor Jane Nixon, an academic at the University of Leeds has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for ground-breaking research into pressure sores. Professor Jane Nixon is the Deputy Director of the Leeds Clinical Trials Research Unit, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire:MBE. Professor Nixon has spent much of her career looking at ways of reducing the risk of patients developing bed sores. Patients with limited mobility, who spend long periods sitting or lying in one position are at risk of getting pressure sores, which are painful, can cause severe disability and in extreme cases, can prove fatal.

Professor Nixon said, “I am honoured that this work is being recognised in such a prestigious way. But it is important to say that the results stem from the commitment of NHS patients, nursing teams, doctors and a high calibre clinical trials team, led by Professor Julia Brown. High quality clinical research is a team enterprise; without the team there would be no findings, on which, we can build better care.” Professor Nixon’s research has challenged conventional thinking to improve the wellbeing of patients.

She started her career as a nurse in Hartlepool. As a ward sister working with older patients she noticed some patients, who went to the operating theatre returned to the ward with painful skin ulcers. In 1994, she sought and received research funding to investigate whether the use of a pressure-reducing mattress on the operating table would reduce the risk of the sores forming.

At the time, pressure reducing mattresses were not widely used. But her research project involving more than 400 patients demonstrated they did play a key role in protecting patients and now they are found in all operating theatres. The research project was conducted in partnership with the University of Leeds Clinical Trials Research Unit, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

''It showed that a carefully organised research study can produce evidence, on which improved care can be built.” Professor Nixon said. After a 20 year NHS career, Professor Nixon joined the University of Leeds Clinical Trials Research Unit in 2002 as Deputy Director. She has led a National Institute for Health Research funded research programme investigating ways of identifying the early signs, that a patient is at risk of developing pressure sores, alongside work into the types of mattresses, that offer the most effective protection.

Tackling pressure sores still remains a challenge for the NHS. A national audit in 2015 estimated around 07% of adult hospital in-patients in England suffered pressure sores.

Sir Alan Langlands, the University of Leeds’ Vice-Chancellor, said, “I congratulate Jane on her honour. Her research has been pivotal in helping to shape better and more effective care for patients and it is fitting it comes as the Clinical Trials Research Unit celebrates its 25th anniversary. Jane’s research portfolio is in keeping with the University’s aim of playing a leading role in tackling the issues that challenge society.” ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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How Did You Come Up with a Thesis Dr Märit Halmin: Well I was On the Grid with Infinite Number of Variables and I Knew Only a Handful of Them: Yet Those Variables Unknown to Me  Changed Their Positions and Thus Changed the Ecology of My Local-Grid-Point So Much So That I Ended up Riding on a Different Route Altogether

Dr Märit Halmin. Image: Mattias Ahlm


|| April 14 2017: Karolinska Institutet News: Anders Nilsson Writing || ά. ''A blood transfusion is a common treatment for a range of conditions. Over 112 million blood transfusions are administered each year worldwide and many patients are, thereby, exposed to the possible risks, associated with the procedure. In this thesis, we focus on the critically ill patient, who is both, to a great extent, exposed to blood transfusion, and by his:her underlying illness, also, susceptible to its adverse effects. We aimed to describe the population of the massively transfused patients and study possible negative effects, associated with certain parts of the transfusion therapies. Additionally, we investigated the possibility to identify, through national health registers, the rare but serious condition transfusion related acute lung injury:TRALI, which today is considered the leading cause of transfusion-related mortality. In the first study we characterised the population of massively transfused patients in Sweden and Denmark during the last decades. We found a non-negligible incidence of massive transfusion with the dominating indication being major surgery.

The overall mortality among massively transfused patients was high, both expressed as 30-day-and five-year-mortality. The standardised mortality ratio:SMR was 26.2 during the first six months after transfusion and decreased gradually with time but was still elevated as long as 10 years after the transfusion event. In the second study, we studied the effect of plasma to red blood cell ratio among bleeding trauma patients. With a time dependent model and in contrast to previous observational data, we found no difference in outcome between high and low plasma ratio. We suggest that previous research suffered from severe bias and conclude that no strong evidence for using high plasma ratio in trauma patients exists today.'' This is from the abstract of Dr Märit Halmin's Thesis, that the headline was referring to, titled, Transfusion in Critically Ill Patients: Short and Longer Term Outcomes. Yet, she was not doing research nor was she planning to follow a research pathway. How did Dr Hamlin come up with this research? This story shows how astonishing life is and how and why life is life: unpredictable and beyond the mastery of plans, predictions and forecasts, and thus, it is something that can only be described as 'it is that what it is' and this is the way it is at its most beautiful.

Dr Märit Halmin works as an Anaesthesiologist at Stockholm South General, Söder, Hospital and a Researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Her other ventures include working for Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan 2015, in Yemen 2016, Läkaruppropet, a petition for better healthcare, the Ronden podcast. Being in plaster after a road accident and unable to return to work in the hospital, Dr Märit Halmin decided to turn her hand to research. In March, she presented her thesis on blood transfusions in intensive care.

“There was no room on the street, but the lorry still tried to get through. It bumped into my bike and I fell off. As I saw the big double wheels I thought 'this is it, I’m going to get crushed' but only my left arm get caught. In the ambulance I wondered what kind of doctor’s job I could get with an amputated arm. As it turned out, my injury wasn’t that bad and I’m now pretty much back to normal.

To put it a little melodramatically: getting run over by a lorry the day before Christmas Eve was my doorway into research. I couldn’t go to work in the hospital with my whole arm in plaster, and the idea of taking sick leave for the entire spring was unbearable; I’m a restless soul. So I decided to embark on a research project instead.

As a prospective anaesthetist I had long been musing over a serious complication of blood transfusion and this was my opportunity to find out more about it. The main thing was to keep myself occupied, but I soon discovered that I loved it!

My work in intensive care is really exacting and stimulating in many ways, but rarely analytical like this. Cardiac arrest you don’t analyse, you just get on with it and follow procedures without delay.

I’m presenting my thesis on blood transfusions in March. It concerns the correct distribution of plasma and red blood cells for major transfusions and if the blood quality deteriorates in any way during storage. My study is based on a million transfusions and shows that storage time has no effect on patient survivability. Eventually I hope to be able to combine my clinical work and research. I find doing both so rewarding.” ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Blessed are the Peace Makers: Malala Yousafzai Designated Youngest-Ever UN Messenger of Peace

Image: UN Photo:Eskinder Debebe

|| April 10: 2017 || ά.  United Nations Secretary-General Mr António Guterres today designated children’s rights activist and Nobel Laureate Ms Malala Yousafzai as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on girls’ education. “You have been to the most difficult places...visited several refugee camps. Your foundation has schools in Lebanon, in the Beka’a Valley.” said Mr. Guterres at a ceremony in the Trusteeship Council chamber at UN Headquarters, in New York. ''You are a symbol of, perhaps, the most important thing in the world, education for all.” he said. Ms. Yousafzai, who was shot in 2012 by the Taliban for attending classes, is the youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace and the first one to be designated by Secretary-General Guterres since he assumed office in January this year.

Accepting the accolade, Ms. Yousafzai underscored the importance of education, especially education of girls, for advancing communities and societies. ''Bringing change starts with us and it should start now. If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now and not wait for anyone else.” UN Messengers of Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, science, entertainment, sports or other fields of public life, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the global Organisation. Backed by the highest honour bestowed by the Secretary-General on a global citizen, these prominent personalities volunteer their time, talent and passion to raise awareness of the UN’s efforts to improve the lives of billions of people everywhere.

Following the official presentation, Secretary-General Mr Guterres and Ms. Yousafzai conversed with youth representatives from around the world on the theme of girls’ education. Taking a question from a young speaker in the audience, Ms. Yousafzai said that the most difficult time she faced had been from 2007 to 2009 in the Swat Valley. “Because we were at a point of making a decision about whether to speak out or remain silent. And I realised that if you remain silent, you are still going to be terrorised. So speaking out, you can help people.”

While recovering from the Taliban attack, she realised, ''Extremists tried everything to stop me and the fact that they didn’t, is clear evidence that no one can stop me. I have second life for the purpose of education and I’ll continue working on this issue.

Ms. Yousafazi went on to say that brothers and fathers must, also, support women and girls in the global effort to ensure education for all and more importantly, “Be who they want to be.” Indeed, she has said that her father always told people not to ask him what he did for Malala, ‘but as what I didn’t do, I didn’t clip her wings.’

Summing up the conversation, Mr. Guterrers called Ms. Yousafzai’s life 'a remarkable example of solidarity'. Yet, he said that Pakistan was, also, such an example. “We live in a world where so many borders closed; so many doors are closed but Pakistan has received seven million refugees with open borders, open doors and hearts, open a symbol of generosity.” He hoped this spirit could serve as an example that it is not by closing doors that we will all be able to move forward. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Melissa Guay: They Tried to Teach Her to Be a Clinician with a Heart: Well, We All Have a Heart But Not All Find Their Calling Echoing in Their Heart: the Lucky Ones Do: Melissa Guay Did Because She Found Out That It's Never About the Drill and Fill But Always About To Do To Change to Make Better: It is About Being, Connecting and Serving Humanity


|| April 03: 2017: National University of Singapore News || ά. Melissa Guay is a National University of Singapore’s:NUS alumna, whose dream is to bring dental care to patients with special needs, right to their doorstep. This dream may be unorthodox to most but Melissa is not your average dentist. Armed with a Masters in Special Care Dentistry, Melissa’s forte is treating patients with multiple or complex medical conditions, as well as those with physical or learning disabilities. Motivated by the belief that quality dental care should be available to everyone, the 28-year-old graduate of NUS Dentistry explained, “They may have a lot of barriers, that stop them from coming to us: financial, medical or even physical. As you journey with these special needs patients, every little moment, as they warm up to you, is significant. It is a step towards treating them and helping them feel better. It is these instances when they start responding to you that makes my job meaningful and reaffirms my choice to pursue special care dentistry.”

 Beyond work, Melissa reaches out to the less fortunate abroad, looking to provide relief, tooth by tooth. She went on a mission trip to Nepal in 2012 and after witnessing families, who travelled for days to get dental treatment, it struck her that there was a need for dental treatment in developing countries. “Our seemingly small contributions can actually make a difference to the lives of these individuals, who otherwise have no access to dental care.” In May 2016, she travelled to the urban slums in the Philippines for a week, where she, together with another dentist, conducted free dental extractions for close to a hundred patients daily. With eight such trips under her belt, Melissa is just beginning her mission of changing the world one tooth at a time.

Treating medically-complex patients requires dentists to possess extensive knowledge on medical conditions and their impact on dental treatment. Melissa explained that patients with disabilities required additional time in the dental chair. On top of that, she emphasises preventive treatment due to their greater susceptibility to tooth decay. Melissa’s affinity with Special Care Dentistry started during her time at NUS. First exposed to the specialisation during a course module, she was taught not only to be a clinician but also to be a 'clinician with heart'. Well, we all have a heart but not all find their calling echoing in their heart: the lucky ones do. They hear the call and they cannot but respond and they enrich and they get enriched much more in turn.

Melissa, second row, third from left, with her peers during her exchange programme at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 2009.

Learning that there was more to dentistry than just drilling and filling teeth, Melissa realised that she could lend her clinical skills to those with limited access to dental care or use her experience to change policies that impact the wider community. She reflected, “It was an eye-opening experience. I realised that dentistry can make a difference to the community.”

While surviving dental school was not without its challenges, students had to manage their own patients while juggling laboratory work in the latter half of the course, Melissa is relieved that she had gone through the rigours that prepared her for her career today. With the onset of an ageing population in a technologically-advanced world, Melissa advocates the need for specialised dental care. As the elderly are keeping more of their teeth than before, treatment modifications are often necessary, especially since medical conditions or medications may complicate treatment.

“With the expected silver tsunami in Singapore, I believe it is crucial that all dentists are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to manage the oral health of the geriatric and special needs population.” Melissa’s fiery passion for special needs patients grew during her two years in the primary care setting after graduation. Exposed to patients from all walks of life at the polyclinics, her experience made her realise that dentistry could really make a difference to people’s lives.

“When I treated these patients, I realised that they had only been receiving piecemeal dentistry. It struck me then that there was a need for specialised, holistic care and I felt that I really wanted my career to mean something more than the usual drill and fill.” said Melissa. That is when she became determined to better equip herself in managing such patients. Granted a scholarship to pursue Master of Science in Special Care Dentistry by National Healthcare Group Polyclinics:NHGP, she spent a year at University College London’s Eastman Dental Institute.

Since returning home, she has been helming NHGP’s Woodlands Polyclinic Dental Services as Dental Surgeon in-charge. From mentoring young dental officers to providing assistance to difficult or medically-complex patients, Melissa’s typical work day encompasses a myriad of clinical and administrative undertakings.

Asked about memorable patient encounters, she cheerily recounted an experience with a patient with autism, who refused to even sit in the dental chair during her first session two years ago. “I remember how she was very averse to touch initially and did not let anyone go near her. But after a few sessions with her, she actually came up to me and gave me a hug at the end of the session.” ω.     

Images: National University of Singapore

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Three Words and an Image: Professor Emily Holmes

Image: Martin Stenmark

|| March 13: 2017: Karolinska Institutet Sweden News: Cecilia Odlind and The Humanion Writing || ά. Three Words and an Image: the three words are Professor Emily Holmes and the image, the reader can see. Who is Emily Holmes? Well, she is a Professor at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, at the Karolinska Institutet, from where she runs the Emily Holmes Research Group, seeking to find some light to advance Clinical Neuroscience. She was one of the first female professors to be appointed in the field of psychiatry at the University of Oxford. So far, Professor Holmes has gathered 45 years in the age-clock, that, if she would like to, can magnify and look closely as to how that time is organised, according to the recent research by the Tampere University of Technology, in which they describe of the mechanism that allows time to be magnified. But, to the point, because, in the architecture of that time, lives the 'ecology' of the human mind, from which, its weather can be understood and a sense of its climate can be 'guessed at' but never, predicted or pre-empted. But Professor Holmes has much more to do than to seek to magnify time but that, what can be magnified, can as well be micro and nanofied, whichever way we look a the human psyche, it is an infinitely fascinating subject, before which, even if Alexander the Conqueror stands, he will have to utter, as he did reaching India: What a strange land this is, Seleucus!

And if you speak with Professor Emily, she would no doubt say, forty five years is definitely not enough a time to fathom it all, the all of what this human psyche is and is about, for it keeps on throwing challenges, where landscapes turn and twirl, expand and shrink and strive and sing in both joys and sorrows, triumphs and despairs, love and lost love, in creation and destruction, in the darkness making their own light that light up the dark universe of the human soul, where there are lights that flicker and shimmer and shine and dim and brighten, yet, that light is such that it does work as the light with photon does.  And Professor Holmes' job is to seek to grasp it as best as she can so to be able to offer support, to those who need it, and the system we live in this world, is such that, as if its soul aim is to destroy, break, devastate as many human souls as much and as best as it could so that a whole range of humanity is broken and seeking for ways to mend themselves, to mend themselves. She, has a partner and an eight year old daughter. She relaxes by painting, hiking, spending time with friends and family. According to Professor Holmes' the best quality for research is curiosity. Colleagues describe her as driven, warm-hearted and equipped with an ability to think in new ways. And curiosity is the beginning of that ability to think in new ways for if one asks, why the cattle does not work without electricity or why can it not make its own electricity to support its workings, one has already shown the new way of thinking? Combining insight with inexhaustible curiosity, Professor Emily Holmes is trying to understand more about how our internal mental images are connected to our psyche.

And she has, so far, discovered, most unexpectedly, that it is possible to predict intrusive memories in individuals by studying their brains in real-time during an experimental traumatic experience. Her objective is to develop new psychological treatments, that can reach sufferers of trauma including newly-arrived immigrants, without needless delay. A picture is worth a thousand words. This old adage is one of Emily Holmes’ favourites and her research shows that a picture really can have a considerably stronger influence on our feelings than words, that describe the equivalent situation. Without thinking about it, we regularly experience mental images, this could, for example, be a visual memory of something we’ve recently experienced, such as a disagreement with a colleague or a kiss from a new love.

“These mental images can have a powerful effect on our emotional state by throwing us backwards and forwards in time. The fact that they have such a strong emotional effect on us makes them particularly interesting to study, not least among people who suffer from various types of psychological problems.” says Emily Holmes, Psychologist and newly-appointed Professor at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet and previously of the Medical Research Council at Cambridge and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Her interest in mental images and their connection to mental health began when, as a newly-qualified clinical psychologist, she started treating refugees suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder:PTSD. PTSD is a form of psychological disorder that can arise following a traumatic experience. It can occur a result of events where an individual has experienced a life-threatening situation. Anybody who is involved in a traumatic event, such as a serious car accident or a traumatic child birth, for example, can potentially be affected. People with PTSD often experience intrusive memories from the traumatic event, colloquially known as ‘flashbacks’), where images or sequences of images present themselves involuntarily, unbidden.

“What is typical for these intrusive memories is that they are image-based, they appear suddenly, and they are difficult to avert. Many people after trauma experience intrusive memories s initially and they can be important in helping us to avoid ending up in similar situations in the future. But when these intrusive memories impair functioning in our daily lives and become more permanent, then help is needed.” says Emily Holmes.

For people with fully-developed PTSD, effective treatments are now available in the form of trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy and EMDR, eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy. Such evidence-based treatments are both relatively time-consuming and resource-intensive. There is still a lack of effective preventative treatments which could be used directly after a trauma has been experienced. “If we can find ways of reducing the magnitude of the problem at an early stage and preventing the build-up of symptoms, we would be in a much better position.” the Professor.

There has also been a lack of basic knowledge about why certain traumatic experiences result in intrusive memories and why some people, but not all, are affected. Neither gender, genetics nor age seem to have notably large effects on the risk. But one thing is apparent: if other people are involved in the trauma, there is a significant increase in the risk of developing PTSD. “Of the people that have been caught up in natural catastrophes, such as an earthquake, relatively few go on to develop PTSD, whilst the risk is considerably greater following experiences such as rape, assault and torture.”says Professor Holmes.

In order to understand more about intrusive memories, she and her colleagues have studied the phenomenon in the laboratory using films featuring traumatic events, for example, a public safety film warning about the effects of drink-driving. “This is an established method to create temporary intrusive memories that we will can then investigate to help understand and develop treatments.” says Professor Emily Holmes. For many years, this method has enabled them to study the phenomenon of intrusive memories.

Among other things, the researchers are able to register the participant’s brain activity before, while and after they watch the film. Some of the results have surprised Emily Holmes; for example, by observing the changes in the flow of blood to the brain, it is possible to predict which scene in the film will later appear in the form of an intrusive memories This can be predicted from data even before the person has actually experienced a flashback.

“It is becoming possible to identify which images in the film,  so-called hot spots, will later become for the particular person being studied. I find this incredibly fascinating.” Professor Holmes. Her research group has also shown that it is possible to reduce the occurrence of intrusive memories by making the participant in a study perform a certain types of task shortly after they have watched the film. In order to achieve the desired effect, the task needs to involve using mental imagery, such as the computer game Tetris, for example.

“We are exploiting the fact that the brain is not able to hold in mind two images simultaneously.” Their studies show that, even some time after the experimental trauma, it is possible that, by making the participant play Tetris at the same time as they relive, in controlled conditions, their memories of the event, the occurrence of intrusive memories can be reduced. “It is not so much a question of deleting the memories, but is more about making the memories less intrusive.” The research group has taken this further and tested the hypothesis in real-life situations, including with trauma patients at a hospital emergency-care clinic and, in a smaller study, with newly-arrived refugees.

“In recent years, many refugees have arrived in Sweden and a significant proportion of them have intrusive memories of traumatic events, which means that they can find it difficult to maintain concentration. At the same time, they are trying to learn a new language and are expected to make adjustments so that they can integrate into their new country. In coping with these challenges, many would benefit from advances in evidence-based psychological treatments.” says Emily Holmes.

She does not hesitate to meet the people that she ultimately hopes to help. When the flow of refugees to Stockholm was at its height in 2015, Emily and her colleagues were at the central station to recruit participants for their study. According to Emily Holmes, there was great interest among the refugees they encountered in taking part in the study. She believes that many of the younger people would be interested in participating in forms of treatment that involve mobile phones and computer games than only in conversational therapy.

“There is an extensive need for simple and accessible forms of treatment. This is where we hope to make a research contribution.” she says. But Emily Holmes’ research is not only concerned with PTSD, it also includes other psychological conditions. Interestingly enough, our general capacity to conjure up mental images also applies to potential future events, in the form of her group has called ‘flashforwards’. Research shows imagining future events in the form of a picture, a flashforward, can increase the subjective probability of the event occurring and drive behaviour. In this way, flashforwards can serve to support us in the practical implementation of the plans that we have considered. But they can also cause problems.

“A person with bipolar disorder who is experiencing a manic period might see clear images of the future in his/her mind. This could, for example, be a picture of the person in a new sports car. If the person is in a depressed state, however, the image could be of their own suicide. The pictures are recurring and have a powerful emotionally impact and may even influence behaviour.” She believes that we underestimate the strength and effect of these internal pictures, and has long incorporated mental imagery into her cognitive behavioural therapy with patients as a complement to verbal therapy.

One example is her work with depressed patients, where the objective is to get the patient to imagine positive pictures of future events. But it is not simply a matter of ‘thinking positively’. “Thinking of positive statements in word form can actually have the opposite effect. But by using pictorial thinking, a more positive effects on emotion can be achieved.” she says. According to Emily Holmes, a great deal of knowledge is still lacking from the overall research field of mental health. Worldwide, one in four individuals suffers from mental health problems and this figure looks set to increase. But, considering the scope of the problem, she believes that research in this field is scandalously underfunded.

“With increased resources, we would be able to both develop better and more accessible treatments and learn more about how the brain works. We are all at risk of experiencing trauma or suffering from mental illness, so we could all benefit from such investment – everybody from someone having a motor bike accident to a refugee who has fled a war.” says Professor Emily Holmes.

Professor Emily Holmes's Take of Some Import Things of Life

On a Role-Model
The chemist Dorothy Hodgkin was the first and, so far, only, British woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize. She mapped the crystal structure for, amongst other things, insulin and penicillin. Her strong interest in images and basic science resulted in practically useful knowledge.

On a Good Quote
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” This is attributed to the French scientist Marie Curie, two times winner of the Nobel Prize and the first female winner.

On the Importance of Collaboration
I am passionate about increasing the dialogue between clinical and laboratory researchers, between psychologists and neuroscientists and between people in general. I myself have worked together with various disciplines from mathematicians and philosophers to voluntary organisations and artists.

On Being an Academic Citizen
A researcher should not only involve themselves with their own narrow field of interest. Research must be able to be used if it is to resolve important problems in society. In turn, this demands that researchers must communicate, inspire and become engaged beyond their own immediate sphere of interest.

The Humanion hopes that, these two words and one image: Emily Holmes, will inspire many other women across the world, particularly, the younger generations to follow the large set of foot-prints that she has been making and that long may she continue to follow that path of further lights and landscapes of ever-widening learning for she has got the lamp: the ability and determination to keep on seeking to think anew, the quality, that never lets one to become 'brickened' up by the 'complacency' of 'we have learnt it all and we know it all'. For humanity has just barely began and it is just a crawling baby....millions of years to grow and go before humanity reaches the full youthfulness and therefore, all branches of knowledge must keep a guard against this ever-destructive arrogance of complacency. ω.     

Emily Holmes' Research Group

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Maria Afonso: On a Life in Research in the Field of Infection and Global Health

Maria Alfonso: Image: University of Liverpool

|| March 10: 2017: University of Liverpool News: Maria Afonso Writing || ά. I have always been interested in science and research. By the third year of my veterinary degree I was helping one of my lecturers with his research projects and knew, there and then, that I wanted to do a PhD once I graduated. I moved to Liverpool from Portugal in 2013 to begin a four-year PhD project, funded by MSD Animal Health, looking at respiratory infections in dogs and cats. Even though I am still not a fan of the British weather, it is hard when you are Portuguese, adapting to the UK wasn’t hard. There have been ups and downs, like with all PhDs but I enjoy being a part of the University of Liverpool community and have made many friends for life.

I have now been a PhD student for almost four years and am months away from submitting my thesis. During my doctoral studies, under the main supervision of Dr Alan Radford and Dr Gina Pinchbeck, I have been trying to understand which bacteria and viruses more commonly cause respiratory disease in cats and dogs, and which factors, may be involved in increasing or decreasing the likelihood of an animal getting ill. Understanding this will help scientists and vets use the best possible strategies for disease prevention. This is especially important in cases where animals are housed in groups like rescue shelters or breeding catteries where disease epidemics can develop and spread very quickly.

One of the viruses that I have focused on is called Feline calicivirus. Curiously, this bug is somewhat like one of the main viruses that causes gastroenteritis in humans, norovirus and, in the past, has been used as a model to study this disease as it can be easily grown in a lab, whereas Human norovirus does not grow in vitro. Feline calicivirus or FCV is one of the main causes of cat flu. Its symptoms can range from mild like sneezing and mouth ulcers to very severe disease affecting several organs.

One of the reasons this happens is because the virus is genetically, highly diverse and, for us scientists, that makes it very interesting to study. For over one year, I and the team I work with at the Leahurst campus, collected and analysed over 1500 mouth swabs taken from healthy and sick cats all around Europe and found that around 09% of cats going into veterinary practices are infected with FCV.

We have also studied the diversity of this virus across six European countries, UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Sweden and how they react with certain vaccine antibodies. We have found that, in laboratory conditions, the virus still cross-reacts with antibodies, gets 'killed' stimulated by using a vaccine virus that has existed for over three decades. This is curious because feline calicivirus evolves very quickly which makes us think that this evolution may be somewhat special and different to other viruses, something that we would like to study in the future.

During my time as a postgraduate student in Liverpool, I have had the chance to present at several international conferences and workshops (in places like Montpellier, in France and Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean) and was an invited speaker in key opinion leader meeting in the UK and Scandinavia. I have also been very lucky that my supervisors offered me the amazing opportunity to be a co-author in book chapters of technical veterinary manuals like the 8th edition of the Textbook of Internal Veterinary Medicine, something that, as a vet student, I regarded as the 'Bible' of internal medicine, which has just been published. Other activities I have been involved in include some teaching of undergraduate students and, last year, I was part of a winning team at the entrepreneurship competition Biotechnology YES which taught me a lot about running businesses and knowledge transfer between academia and industry.

More recently, for about three months in late 2016, I worked for the Institute of Infection and Global Health as their Science Communication and Public Engagement Officer. This was an amazing experience of working in a fast-paced environment and it gave me a renewed appreciation for the effort put in by all the members of the professional services team at the Institute.

It also led me to apply for a public engagement grant from the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences which I will be using, in coming months, to develop a science-art project that aims to explain infectious diseases and microbiology to people from non-scientific backgrounds by using zines, self-made magazines. The most important thing about science is that it can only serve its purpose if it’s properly communicated to everyone and that is one of the greatest lessons I have learnt as a PhD student. ω.     

Maria Afonso is a final year PhD student at the Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dr Najwa Khuri-Bulos: A Professor Working in  Infectious Disease and Vaccine Development

Image: University of Jordan

|| March 07: 2017: University of Jordan News || ά. Dr. Najwa Khuri-Bulos is Emeritus Professor and Founding Director of Infectious Disease and Vaccine Centre at the University of Jordan. She earned a B.Sc. degree with High Distinction from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and an M.D. with Distinction, also, from the American University of Beirut in 1968. Following graduation, Dr. Khuri-Bulos acquired her residency training in Pathology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 1969 and in Pediatrics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 1970, and Yale university, New Haven CT in 1971.

In 1971, Dr. Khuri-Bulos won a fellowship in paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Colorado Medical Centre, Denver, Colorado, which ended in 1973. She holds the American Board of Paediatrics and the subspecialty Sub Board of Paediatric Infectious Disease and the Certification Board of Infection Control. Upon joining University of Jordan, Dr. Khuri-Bulos served as a founding member of the Department of Paediatrics and was instrumental in laying the foundation for postgraduate training, residency, in paediatrics at the university and later in her capacity as Chair of the paediatric team of the Jordan Medical Institute, where she also served as Chairwoman of the Jordan Board Committee in Paediatrics.

In addition to that, throughout her career, Professor Khuri-Bulos held several academic and administrative positions at the University and other institutions, including, Chairwoman of the Department of Paediatrics, three times, Founding Head Division of Infectious Disease, Chairwoman of the Division of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at King Hussein Cancer Centre, Founding Chairwoman of the Infection Control Unit at the Jordan University Hospital, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dean of Research at the University.

Dr. Khuri-Bulos has been serving as a technical advisor to the Jordan Ministry of Health from early nineteen eighties till the present time. She helped develop, implement, evaluate and upgrade the Jordan EPI programme and also served as the Chairwoman of the Jordan Medical Board committees in Paediatrics and Chairwoman of the Board Committee on Infectious Disease. She is the Chairwoman of the National Certification Committee for Polio eradication and is the Chairwoman of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group.

Dr. Khuri-Bulos served also as a member of many international committees including the Standing Committee of the International Paediatric Association and Decade of Vaccines and the Immunisation Practices Advisory Committee with the WHO. She also served as a consultant for the WHO on several occasions including Vaccine adverse events and influenza preparedness committee.

Dr. Khuri-Bulos has been publishing on the subject of infectious disease since her early years at the University till the present time. Her research collaboration with Vanderbilt University has earned her Adjunct Professorship at that University, where she also serves as advisor for student exchange at the time being.

Dr. Khuri’s extensive work was honoured with many awards and prizes, including the Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America:FIDSA, Queen Noor Award for Women in the Sciences 1984, Abdul Hamid Shoman Prize for Young Arab Scientists 1985, the University of Jordan Award for Women in Academia 2008, the Jordan Medical Association Award for outstanding Physicians 2009, the University of Jordan Merit Award on the 50th Anniversary 2012, and Distinguished Professor 2014.

Dr. Khuri-Bulos is a highly published scholar with more than 60 articles in peer reviewed journals and publications. She has also participated in numerous scientific conferences and meetings in the Arab world and abroad. She has, also, been an invited speaker on many issues related to infectious diseases and paediatrics both nationally and internationally. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Why is a Hospice in Your Heart, Anna-Gene O'Neal: Because of of This 13-Month-Old Child Who Came to Alive’s Nashville Residence After Having Spent Her Entire Life in Hospitals: One of the Nurses Decided the Child Would Never Touch a Bedsheet Again and the Nurses Took Shifts Holding the Child in Their Arms for Three Days Until Her Passing

Anna-Gene O’Neal talks with Knox Ownby at Alive Hospice Residence Nashville.
Image: Daniel Dubois:Vanderbilt University

|| February 26: 2017: Vanderbilt University: USA News: Tom Wilemon || ά. Frequently busy with meetings, planning sessions and administrative responsibilities, Alive Hospice President and CEO Anna-Gene O’Neal welcomes the chance to slip out of her office and spend time with residents and staff in Alive’s residence near downtown Nashville. On this particular rainy morning, she sits by resident Knox Ownby’s bed and listens as he tells her about his family. O’Neal, who has BSN, MSN and MBA degrees from Vanderbilt University, oversees care for Alive Hospice’s daily census of 430-plus patients in a 12-county area of Middle Tennessee.

She manages an annual budget of more than $29 million, running the non-profit organisation from an office next door to the agency’s Nashville residential unit, where every room has a scenic view with greenery and natural light and the central courtyard includes a koi pond with foot-long fish. “We are not about being here for dying patients.” she said. “We are about being here for living persons.” O’Neal took the helm of Alive Hospice in 2012 after a successful period as an executive with for-profit hospital systems, where she specialised in quality control. The Alive Hospice job gives this Nashville native, who decided to become a nurse in college, a closer connection with patients.

“Nursing has such an intimate relationship with patients.” she said. “You get to spend more time with them. You get to know them better as people, not just by the diseases they have.” After obtaining her undergraduate degree in nursing, O’Neal worked as a nurse in Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care step-down unit but had not yet decided on a specialty. Her supervisor, Diane Deslauriers, suggested a stint in the emergency department.

“You will see everything.” Deslauriers told her. “Then you can pick and choose your greatest interest.” O’Neal liked that idea. She looked forward to the adrenaline rush of springing into action to save lives and the professional satisfaction of dealing with diverse medical cases. She discovered that, while she could handle most cases coming into the emergency department, she had a different reaction to patients in cardiac distress. Something about the fragility of a human heart sent her into self-doubt.

“I was terrified of taking care of patients in the ER cardiac room.” O’Neal said. “I was great with kids. I was great with trauma. I was great with general medical cases. When I was assigned to the cardiac room, I was terrified. Then it hit me. I was terrified because I just didn’t know as much as I should have.” O’Neal confronted her fear and gained certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support:ACLS, then furthered her training to become an ACLS instructor. In that first year on the job, she was named 1989 Staff Nurse of the Year at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre.

She soon moved into leadership positions, first, as a project manager and then, as department manager. During her second and third years in the department, she became the inaugural student to enrol in Vanderbilt’s joint MSN:MBA programme for nurses, working weekends and attending classes on weekdays. “Attending a full-time graduate programme and working full time on the weekends, by the second semester of the first year, it was stressful.” O’Neal said.

She had married Scott O’Neal in 1988 after they had completed their undergraduate degrees at Vanderbilt. He and other family members helped her put her life in perspective. She realised that any pressure she had felt was only pressure she put on herself. She didn’t have to complete graduate school in two years. “Sometimes, the stressors we have are self-induced.” O’Neal said. “I ended up finishing the programme on time but I needed to have somebody remind me that it was my personal choice to do this. Nobody was making me do it.”

Beginning in 1996, O’Neal took a four-year break from nursing to be a full-time mother while helping out with her husband’s family-owned floral business. She kept in contact with the nurses she had worked with, including Susan Batt, one of her closest friends. Batt, the nurse, who had been with her when she delivered her first child, the running buddy she hung out with on weekends and the woman she swapped stories of motherhood with, was fighting a losing battle with breast cancer. During O’Neal’s last visits with her friend in 2002, she witnessed the work of hospice nurses.

Five years later, Wendy Kanter, another friend, died of breast cancer in a hospice facility. Kanter was the wife of Ken Kanter, the Founding Rabbi of Congregation Micah, the Synagogue O’Neal attends. Wendy Kanter was a massage therapist, who had comforted Batt during her illness. O’Neal travelled to Cincinnati, where the Kanters had moved, to be with her before she died.

“I miss them, Batt and Kanter, every day.” O’Neal said. “With those experiences, hospice meant something different to me.” In autumn 2011, a colleague who was on the Alive Hospice Board of Directors asked O’Neal to serve alongside her. She joined the board in December just as it was finishing its search for a Chief Executive Officer. But in January, the Chair of the Board sent an email, stating that the job would not be offered to the round of candidates, who had been interviewed and that the process would start anew with a national search. O’Neal was having lunch with her husband when she received the email.

“I looked at him and said, ‘I want that job.’” she said. He replied, “Why are you telling me?” And encouraged her to apply. O’Neal asked to be considered, and resigned from the board. On the 10th anniversary of Susan Batt’s death, dining with Batt’s husband and children, she received a telephone call with the job offer.

“That really felt a little bit more than a coincidence for me.” she said. O’Neal reported to work wearing gold earrings that had belonged to Wendy Kanter and given to O’Neal by Wendy’s husband. She still wears them.

Since she took the helm, Alive Hospice has experienced a financial turnaround. Working with her staff, including Deslauriers, her first boss who is once again a colleague, she has reduced expenses, increased cash on hand and overseen a surge in patient census, while improving quality, as measured by a Joint Commission review and employee engagement, according to staff surveys. This August, Alive Hospice broke ground for a second residential facility scheduled to open in 2017 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

''But the mission of Alive Hospice isn’t measured in buildings or finances.'' O’Neal said. She recalls, how a 13-month-old child came to Alive’s Nashville Residence after having spent her entire life in hospitals. One of the nurses decided the child would never touch a bedsheet again and nurses took shifts holding the child in their arms for three days until her passing.

“Never be afraid to be a patient advocate.” O’Neal said. “With that, trust your gut. When they are most fragile, patients don’t have the ability to be advocates for themselves. They depend on nurses and other clinical professionals to be able to look beyond and to be their advocate. Never shy from that and never back down if you feel like something is not right.

“You have to do it professionally and you have to have appropriate communicatio, but never back down.”

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Arizza Ann S. Nocum: Now Go and Engineer the Future of the Philippines

Image: Arizza Ann S. Nocum

|| February 23: 2017: University of the Philippines Diliman News || ά. Arizza Ann S. Nocum, a University of the Philippines Diliman College of Engineering magna cum laude graduate has joined the elite group of ten students who have been awarded the title the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines 2016. The TOSP is a prestigious award for young role models of the country which is given annually by the RFM Foundation, Inc. in co-operation with the Commission on Higher Education.

The TOSP is given to outstanding students in the Philippines who have excelled academically, exemplified in leadership, have good moral values and made a difference in their respective communities, organisations and fields of interest through service. Nocum earned her BS Industrial Engineering degree in 2016. She was a member of the University's Industrial Engineering Club and the overall Head of KRIS Library, a non-profit organisation, working in the fields of peace and education.

Arizza was part of the team, who won the championship at the Industrial Engineering Competition held at the Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia on January 17, 2016.

She was also among the recipients of the 2016 Gawad Tsanselor Award, the highest recognition bestowed by the University for excellence and outstanding accomplishment and the Garrick Yao Memorial Award for Service.

Nocum was selected from the 30 national finalists from different universities in the country. The awarding ceremony was held at the Heroes’ of Malacañang Palace on February 09.

And here she is, poised to go on with life translating all that she has achieved and learnt into engineering a future of her country, people, community and for her herself and her family. Make your mark Arizza and carry on inspiring others, particularly, the younger generation of women and girls into science, into STEM in particular, but towards and into education. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Professor Zoe Trodd: A Professor Looking for Justicia in a World That is Under the Stumping Boots of Marching Bigotry, Prejudice, Xenophobia, Hatred and Propaganda: Unless Minds Like These Keep on Looking and Challenging There Won't Be Any Light Left in This World

Image: University of Nottingham

|| January 31: 2016: University of Nottingham News || ά. Professor Zoe Trodd works at the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham, Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights, and Co-Director of the university's research priority area in Rights and Justice. Her focus is the history, literature and visual culture of protest movements, especially historic and contemporary antislavery. She has a PhD and MA from Harvard University's History of American Civilisation department and a BA from the University of Cambridge, Newnham College, in English Literature.

Between 2001 and 2003 she was a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University. In 2008-09 she was an ACLS:Mellon Fellow and in 2009-10 she was a research fellow in the Centre for the Study of the American South at UNC Chapel Hill. From 2010 to 2012, she taught at Columbia University in the English Department and the Institute for Research in African American Studies. She is a University of Nottingham Research Leader; a member of the AHRC Peer Review College; a member of the board of Historians Against Slavery; a Newnham College Associate, University of Cambridge.

She is an editorial board member at the journals Slavery Today, the Journal for the Study of Radicalism, and Americana; an advisory board member at the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights Programme, Harvard University; an affiliate to the Antislavery Literature Project; and the American and Canadian Studies department's director of Impact and Knowledge Exchange.

She edits a book series for Cambridge University Press called Slaveries Since Emancipation and welcomes enquiries and book proposals. In 2016 she is teaching a massive open online course called Ending Slavery. Professor Trodd hosts a postgraduate reading group on Race and Rights and welcomes applications from prospective PhD or MRes students interested in slavery and abolitionism; race, rights, and social justice; protest literature, history and visual culture; photography and visual culture; African American history and literature; and historical memory.

Professor Trodd has published books about historic and contemporary slavery, the abolitionists Frederick Douglass and John Brown, American protest literature, and the civil rights era. She has published books about historic and contemporary slavery, the abolitionists Frederick Douglass and John Brown, American protest literature, and the civil rights era. She is working on several new projects, including a book about the memory of 19th-century abolitionism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

She currently holds an AHRC grant, £01.84 million, called The Antislavery Usable Past, 2014-19. This project is unearthing, theorising and applying a usable past of antislavery examples and methods as a tool for policy makers and civil society in the movement to end contemporary global slavery. The grant is one of three awards announced by the AHRC under their 'Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past' theme, which aims to generate new understandings of the relationship between the past and the future. The five year project brings together a team of four professors, three PhD students and two postdoctoral fellows, as well as a number of international partner organisations.

She also holds an ESRC grant, £100,000, called Modern Slavery: Meaning and Measurement, 2016-18. This is a study and analysis of how contemporary slavery is defined. It brings the perspective of the antislavery usable past by asking how formerly enslaved people who became antislavery leaders during past abolitionist movements, 18th, 19th and 20th century, understood and used definitions, and measurements, of slavery in their autobiographies, speeches, editorials and other antislavery advocacy. The project brings the perspective and participation of contemporary survivors of slavery into the study through collecting new narratives first hand.

For 2016-19 she holds Research Priority Area Development Funding, £299,000, for a project called The Freedom Blueprint. This designs innovative new strategies for the contemporary antislavery movement. There are 56 million people enslaved around the world today. The eradication of slavery by 2030 now appears in the Sustainable Development Goals. But the contemporary antislavery movement lacks robust, evidence-based strategies for abolition. Our multi-part platform of projects and techniques underpins this movement with an advanced and multi-disciplinary research agenda for the first time. Believing that advanced, applied research is key to ending slavery by 2030, our Freedom Blueprint offers interventions that can be replicated and scaled.

In 2016 she curated an exhibition about Frederick Douglass - the largest ever held about this figure - at the Boston African American Museum. It is on view until July 2017. For her scholarship she has won the Helen Choate Bell Dissertation Prize; the Louis Owens Essay Prize; the William Harris Arnold and Gertrude Weld Arnold Prize, twice; the Boston Ruskin Prize; the Helen Choate Bell Essay Prize (twice); the Agnes Cann Prize; and the Anne Jemima Clough Prize. She was a finalist for the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize and the Lincoln Prize.

In 2016 she held an AHRC Connected Communities Grant for a project called 'Draw for the Future', £15,000. This brought together the university's Centre for Research in Race and Rights, the New Art Exchange and Nottingham Black Archive, to create Nottingham's first black history mural. The four-month project transformed an old wall in the heart of Hyson Green into a vibrant and inspiring piece of public art. It depicts the diverse histories and potential futures of Nottingham's Global Quarter, and explores utopia and community activism.

Previously she has held a British Academy Rising Star Engagement grant, 2015-16, on 'Race and Rights' that created a base for Race and Rights research and activities, with early career researchers and knowledge exchange partners at its centre. The funded activities included public dialogues between academics and activists on social justice topics at the New Art Exchange and a conference on the Black Lives Matter movement at Nottingham Contemporary.

She also has held a University of Nottingham Discipline Bridging Award, 2015-16, for a project called 'The Slavery Lens: Interdisciplinary Strategies for Contemporary Abolition'. This brought together staff members from multiple departments for a research collaboration to develop an interdisciplinary slavery lens. The year's work included regional network workshops, impact training, student collaboration, roadshow presentations, a conference and NGO, industry and policy seminars. It established an interdisciplinary team, the value of a slavery lens for multiple actors and disciplines, and innovative strategies for the contemporary antislavery movement.

She recently completed a British Academy-funded project called 'Picturing Frederick Douglass', 2013-15, which created a collection of all known Frederick Douglass photographs, for publication as a book by W.W. Norton. Neither Custer nor Twain, nor even Abraham Lincoln, was the most photographed American of the calamitous nineteenth century.

It was Frederick Douglass, the ex-slave turned leading abolitionist, eloquent orator, and seminal writer whose fiery speeches transformed him into one of the most renowned and popular agitators of his age. This project reclaims Douglass as a leading pioneer in photography, both as a stately subject and as a prescient theorist who believed in the explosive social power of what was then just an emerging art form. Five years of research uncovered 160 separate photographs of Douglass-many of which have never been publicly seen and were long lost to history.

Other past awards and projects include an AHRC Grant for Exhibition Curating; an AHRC bursary for 'Policy Impact Skills for Historians'; a British Academy Landmark Conference grant; the Gilder Lehrman Centre's Slavery, Abolition and Resistance Research Fellowship, Yale University; the Beinecke Library's John D. and Rose H. Jackson Visiting Fellowship, Yale University; the Andrew W. Mellon:American Council of Learned Societies Faculty Fellowship; the Modern Languages Association, North-East, Summer Fellowship; the Research School of Humanities Visiting Fellowship, Australian National University; the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Research Fellowship; a Historical Society of Southern California Research Grant; a Charles Warren Centre for Studies in American History Research Grant, Harvard University; and the Kennedy Memorial Scholarship.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Hannu Riikonen: A Professor Who Went Following the Light of the Question: How Does It End: Well, You Go Back to the Beginning

 Kuva: Susanna Kekkonen

|| December 23: 2016: University of Helsinki News: Reetta Vairimaa Writing || ά. H.K. Riikonen, Professor of comparative literature, retired this autumn and praises the University of Helsinki for tolerating eccentric people. Such as himself. Sometime in the mid 1950s, somebody read an excerpt from the Finnish children's book Ollin oppivuodet by Anni Swan over the PA system at the primary school in Meilahti. The young Hannu Riikonen liked the story very much. He wanted to know how it ended, so after school, he went to the Töölö library and borrowed his first book. This marked the beginning of a lifelong love of reading.

This year, H. K. Riikonen, Professor of Comparative Literature, retired after 46 years of service. In the speeches at the retirement ceremony, his friends and colleagues praised his exceptionally broad and profound education. Riikonen’s research and interests range from Antiquity to the present day, from classic literature to comics. “I’ve never wanted to specialise in a narrow field.” Riikonen explains. His extensive interests have led to co-operation across disciplines. And Riikonen has never been too busy to help students of other disciplines, who also turn to him. “I feel like a professor of the University, not just of my discipline. It’s a lot of work, certainly, but it’s work for Finnish research and its promotion.”

Many generations of students have memories of Riikonen. The students compiled anecdotes of him into two volumes as a retirement present. On the cover of the booklet collected by doctoral students, Riikonen is depicted as his favourite childhood comic book hero, Tex Willer, with guns blazing at the National Library. “I’ve tried to uphold the tradition of eccentric professors.” Riikonen says. His lectures have helped, peppered as they are with anecdotes from his personal life and the University’s history. According to Riikonen, his lectures couldn’t be further from academic orthodoxy. His main pedagogic tool is the blackboard.

Early in his career, Riikonen was a strict teacher. One student even called him a concentration camp warden. “That’s mainly in the past for me. I’ve become softer, perhaps, too, soft.” Riikonen has noticed that students' knowledge of classic literature is decreasing. Instead, they know more and more about things of which Riikonen is fully ignorant. This is why he feels working with young people keeps him alert. Thanks to his students, the teacher can enjoy an eternal spring.

When the 23-year-old Riikonen was appointed an assistant in Roman literature, he received no guidance or teacher training. As a teacher, he tried to follow the models he had seen in his own teachers. At the University, Riikonen studied Latin, Greek, history and aesthetics as well as contemporary literature. He had received a solid foundation in classical languages during his secondary education at the Helsinki Normal Lyceum. A lover of books and music, Riikonen also made many friends at the Lyceum, the most important of whom was Eero Tarasti, who is currently professor emeritus of musicology.

Riikonen and Tarasti were classmates throughout their school years. They later became professors at the same department of the University of Helsinki. This autumn, they retired almost simultaneously.

At age 12, Riikonen and Tarasti began a lasting correspondence. Both boys had families with a background in the civil service and an active interest in culture and they spent their summers in the country, Riikonen in Enonkoski in Eastern Finland and Tarasti in nearby Mikkeli. During the summers they would write one another long letters, comparing their reading and musical experiences as well as unfortunate encounters with a variety of insects. The boys also planned to co-author an opera, but this never came to fruition.

Riikonen also writes letters to his other colleagues and friends. For some, the letters have turned into long emails, but most of them are still transmitted via traditional post. Riikonen himself points to his extensive correspondence as his literary magnus opus, above his scholarly publications. “Writing letters has become a form of creative work for me. Due to both its breadth and this creative element, my correspondence has been highly important to me.”

The first 15 years of correspondence between Tarasti and Riikonen was published with the title Eero ja Hannu in 1999. Decades worth of unpublished letters still remain in the archives. Publication of those has also been mentioned. “But I don’t know, if that’s possible, as we’re quite frank about what we really think about the goings on at the University.” says Riikonen.

Life at the University has not been without its comical and grotesque turns. Riikonen says that he has experienced everything it is possible to experience in the academic world, both good and bad. Good experiences have been the ability to follow his research interests and the co-operation with students and colleagues.

On the negative side, Riikonen lists the continuous degree reforms, which he has never found to be of any significant use. The ongoing education reform even threatens Riikonen’s former position. It is currently unknown whether a new appointee will take over the professorship vacated by Riikonen. In the early 2000s, Riikonen considered leaving the University. That’s when the University adopted the new salary system, in which part of the salary is based on personal performance. Riikonen was furious at the personal evaluations and the unrealistic work hour plans.

“For me, it was tantamount to bullying from the institution itself. That professors would have to have development discussions and have a supervisor” The positive aspects of the University were more significant in the end, and Riikonen decided to stay. “Fortunately, the impossible systems were gradually adapted to be more sensible. I was no longer asked to evaluate the performance of my colleagues. I also noticed that I could enter whatever numbers I wanted into the work hour plan, because it is obvious that nobody reads them."

Riikonen emphasises that his quarrel is with bureaucracy, not administration. He has done his share of administrative duties, serving as the head of department and even as vice-dean. The latter position also led to a membership on the information management committee, which the employees at his department found hilarious, knowing as they did Riikonen's scant knowledge of information technology.

In the late 1990s, Riikonen participated in a competition collecting anecdotes about the University, and won. Due to the delicate subject matter, however, this collection was never published. “Friendship, love and hate are all here. Passions flare and gossip circulates.” states Riikonen. Riikonen even found his wife-to-be, Marjatta, at the University. They both studied Latin and attended the same lectures. The couldn’t marry until 11.5 years after their first meeting, however, as H. K. Riikonen wanted to follow scholar Valentin Kiparsky’s advice to not marry until his dissertation was complete.

Marjatta Riikonen made her career as a librarian at the Faculty of Arts library. She has been retired for years. The Riikonen’s two children have followed in their parents’ footsteps. One of them holds a Master's degree in Swedish, and the other in Spanish. H. K. Riikonen’s primary research topics over the years have been James Joyce, Pentti Saarikoski and Olavi Paavolainen. Of classical authors, he is closest to Horace and Virgil. However, Riikonen has never tried to guide his students to follow his interests.

“I have never tried to stop a student’s research plan, and I have not tried to make my discipline such that it would focus on a particular topic or research field. Perhaps I have by doing so prevented research from becoming focused, which could have led to the discipline becoming a centre of excellence. But restrictions are against the principle of diversity.”

Students like to propose popular literature as their Master’s thesis topics. Riikonen sees no problem with this. He believes that high literature and popular books are both indebted to one another. As a field, research into popular literature has grown tremendously. In fact, it has grown so much that Riikonen no longer feels the need to study it and can freely relegate it to a hobby.

At his jubilee seminar, Riikonen's Turku-based colleague, Jukka Sihvonen, characterised him as a bibliophile and a manic hoarder of books. Riikonen says that he has never counted the exact number of books in his home, but he estimates that his is one of Helsinki's most extensive private libraries. It features several valuable books, including a respectable collection on James Joyce. Retirement has not brought major changes to Riikonen's life. He continues to lecture and to supervise theses and dissertations. And he is continuing his research, he is currently working on a book on Emil Zilliacus, scholar and translator of classical literature.

Riikonen has also planned a book on the Aristotelian concept of temperance. He believes temperance can also be used to describe his own lifestyle. ''I’m a calm, middle-of-the-road person. I have never veered toward the extreme, in good or bad.” Every day, Riikonen walks to his office in Topelia from his home in Etu-Töölö.  “Last year, around the New Year, I lost my temper for the first time, as the electronic lock system in Topelia was broken and I couldn't get to my office during the weekend. The weekends are the best time to work, because it is very quiet.” says Riikonen.

The coming spring term will bring a change to his routine, as a pipe renovation will drive the Riikonens out of their home and to their second apartment in Turku. Riikonen takes a walk back home around noon, for a half-hour nap. He is puzzled by people who disapprove of naps as a mark of laziness. After all, it has been proven that they boost efficiency.

During his walk, Riikonen plans his speeches in his head. He is often asked to speak at a variety of events, such as parties held after doctoral defences. Comparative literature is one of the heirs of the historical discipline of rhetoric, and Riikonen is happy to uphold its traditions. Due to his extensive walks, Riikonen does not consider himself in need of any other exercise or sports.

“Jogging or a gym workout would not befit a professor such as myself.” Neither is Riikonen a winter person. Even though his traditional Christmas letter to the staff of the discipline features an encouragement to enjoy the joys of winter, he himself heads to Tenerife as soon as Christmas is over. That’s when he takes his summer vacation. During the summer, Riikonen is naturally most often found in Topelia, working.

And The Humanion ends this piece with this addition, directed to Professor Riikonen that it is time he takes up on that opera. Let that boy, in him, that went to the library, looking to borrow that book to find out what happens at the end of the story. Let that story be the fire-fly guiding the boy towards that forest where resides the enigma of the story, call that enigma, life and bring it to life. Let that be the theme of your opera. It is never late, as you know, for you can always, always, always go for a walk and find a butterfly that you have never seen your entire life. Thus, go and write that opera Professor. And let us know how you get on. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dr Paula Eerola: A Professor With All the Physics That One Can Deal With

Image: University of Helsinki

|| December 19: 2016: University of Helsinki News || ά. Paula Eerola, born in 1962, Programme Director at the Helsinki Institute of Physics and Professor of experimental elementary particle physics, has spent most of her career studying the bottom quark and its antiparticle, the bottom antiquark. She has participated in the massive project to develop measuring equipment for the detectors located on the ring of the Large Hadron Collider:LHC at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN ever since its inception.

After completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki, Eerola worked as a researcher at CERN from 1991 until 1997. At first, she used what was then the LEP collider to study the decay of Z0 bosons into bottom quarks and developed research methods relating to the LEP collider. It was already known that the LEP collider would be discontinued over the course of the coming years to make way for the larger and more modern LHC. Eerola joined the research into what kinds of experiment settings and measurement equipment would be best suited for studying the phenomena on the ring of the LHC, and participated in the planning for the ATLAS detector.

Between 1998 and 2008, Eerola worked at the University of Lund as a special researcher and professor. There she continued to develop the equipment and experiment plans for the ATLAS detector. In 2008, Eerola was appointed professor of elementary particle physics at the University of Helsinki and she began to co-ordinate the University's co-operation with the CMS detector located on the ring of the LHC. Bottom quarks were still the focus of her research.

The bottom quark and the bottom antiquark are studied so that we may understand the differences between particles and antiparticles. In the Standard Model for particle physics, the particle and antiparticle are considered identical but with opposite electrical charges. This is not, however, a viable explanation, as the universe could not have been formed in such complete symmetry, all particles and antiparticles would have just annihilated each other back into nothingness.

Some asymmetries have since been discovered between particles and antiparticles, but not sufficiently to explain the physical structure of the universe. Bottom quarks and antiquarks are the best way to study these asymmetries, since as heavy quarks, their decay processes are more extensive and distinct than can be observed in any other quarks. The decay products of bottom quarks are also easier to identify among other decaying quarks.

In bottom quark experiments in the LHC, two proton bunches are accelerated to near light speed and collided in the beamline. The collisions can produce many different results, but Eerola and her team focus on the collisions that generate a bottom quark and a bottom antiquark which are then hurled in different directions.

On the way, they decay into B mesons, which then decay primarily into pions, muons and electrons, which then continue to move through the detectors. They, in turn leave traces from which researchers try to piece together what the original bottom quarks and antiquarks were like and how they decayed.

Thanks to her participation in the CMS consortium, Eerola is also associated with the much-cited 2012 paper reporting the discovery of the Higgs boson. However, ever since her dissertation and later, during her work as head of her research group at the University of Helsinki, Eerola herself has focused on a different kind of Higgs particle, namely, the charged Higgs boson. The Higgs boson discovered in 2012 carried no electrical charge, but it is conceivable that charged sibling-Higgs bosons might exist.

Discovering such a particle would be a major scientific breakthrough which would require extensive updates to the theories on the Higgs boson. At the time of writing, no such sibling-Higgs has been observed. The CMS consortium has published zero-result studies conducted in Helsinki, to confirm that they hadn’t found anything.

In science in general and particle physics in particular, such zero-result studies are relevant, as these elementary particles cannot be observed in any conventional medium, and all their properties or lack thereof must be established through complicated experiments.

Throughout her international research career, Eerola has been the single parent of a single child.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dr Heather Robinson: Mummy, I Have a Tummy Ache, Can You Give Me Something: No, Silly, Mummy is Not That Kind of Doctor But She is a Gene...Gene.... Gene..Something or Other...Aren't You Mummy

Dr Heather Robinson: Image: University of Manchester

|| December 14: 2016: University of Manchester News || ά. Dr Heather Robinson did not have a PHD after her name than but she had had already the best degree in the world, in which one is addressed by one's child:ren 'Mummy'. But that did not stop her to work and study and on her way of studying, she has been able to graduate from Manchester with a PhD, thanks to the support and encouragement the University offers to female early career researchers. And this is something that, all universities of the World should universally and as a matter of course, should offer to all working women who are mothers and who want to study for being mothers should not mean women to face up with all sorts of barriers and walls to further study and learning.

Dr Heather Robinson, 30, was working for a pharmaceutical company when she received a fully-funded place on the Evolutionary Genetics masters course at Manchester. After finishing this and taking a year off, she returned to Manchester to work on ancient DNA and microbial ecology. When she fell pregnant with her second child at the end of her first year, her supervisors enabled her to take 10 months of leave, and when she returned they gave her complete flexibility in her working hours and around-the-clock access to labs and workspace. This enabled her to finish her PhD in four and a half years, as opposed to the six or seven it would have taken if she had worked part-time.

Her research involved finding magical and medicinal substances inside ancient African ritual figurines, and identifying the contents of Roman Amphoras at The Manchester Museum. Her choice to pursue her PhD at Manchester was heavily influenced by the fact that it is one of few British universities to have custom-built Ancient DNA laboratories.

She is now working as a Health Data Analyst in the University’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, where she looks at regional child height and weight measurements and BMI trajectories, and uses data to predict medical conditions. She hopes to stay at Manchester, both to research and to teach.

“The University has a strong female representation in life science roles, which makes long-term STEM careers seem more feasible to early career researchers. I am proud to be an alumnus.

It is important to me that my children see me working, even when this has been difficult, it has already changed my son’s view of women’s roles in society, and I am sure it will influence my daughter. They are both very excited that their Mummy is a Doctor!”  ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Tania Humphries-Smith: An Associate Professor, An Inspirational Woman in Technology

Image: Bournemouth University

|| October 26: 2016: Bournemouth University News || ά. Bournemouth University’s Tania Humphries-Smith has been honoured at the Dorset Venus Awards  by winning the Inspirational Woman in Technology Award. Tania Humphries-Smith, Associate Professor within the Department of Design and Engineering at Bournemouth University, received the award at the ceremony which took place at Bournemouth International Centre.

The Awards, which seek to recognise and reward local business women, take place throughout the UK and are now in their seventh year in Dorset, where there were 785 nominations across the 15 categories. On her award win, Tania said, “I was delighted to have been shortlisted, then to have got through the semi-finals, the finals, and to have won. I had absolutely no idea that I was going to win. The awards were something I was nominated for, I was interviewed on two occasions by the sponsor Atlas Elektronik UK but I had no idea who else had been nominated and technology is a wide area and I didn’t have any idea about the competition. I was really delighted to have won.”

Tania continued, “From my perspective it is something which I feel will help me to communicate technology when I do some of my outreach activities and the work that I do, to try and encourage woman and girls to consider technology, it is something that is a bit more accessible to young people when you introduce yourself, and it gives me a chance to explain why I won the award.”

As winner of the regional Inspirational Woman in Technology award, Tania has now been automatically shortlisted for the national award of the same name, which will be announced later in 2016. As well as her role as Head of Department at the University, Tania is also the Chair of the Institution of Engineering Designers and has a background in industry as a Product Design Engineer.

Among the reasons that Tania collected the prize on the night were her commitments to driving young people into engineering, both through her outreach work in schools and the engineering pathway that Tania set up five years ago with Bournemouth and Poole College. Tania explains, “It is my hope that this recognition will have internal benefits in terms of getting a wider idea about what this university does in terms of technology, not just in terms of the courses that we deliver, which are well known, but some of the other activities that we do.

“My understanding from the sponsor is that one of the reasons they were particularly keen for me to get the award is for the extra work I have done with young people; the outreach work that I do with young people and going into local schools to do hands-on activities around engineering and design work.

“The other thing which I would like to get more awareness of is a pathway we run with Bournemouth and Poole College, and have run for five years. I set this pathway up, the idea being that you can start at Bournemouth and Poole College as an apprentice at 16 with a local company and you can work through areas and qualifications, BU awards taught at Bournemouth and Poole College, before coming to the University to study engineering at a degree level. This is a relatively unique integrated pathway to get a complete set of qualifications accredited by professional bodies.

“We have about 50 companies who are engaged in this programme and I think it would be good for as many people as possible to know about this initiative because it is really good for students. “

Tania also believes that this award is a good starting point in encouraging young women to think about a career in technology locally too. She said, “Dorset has a very high number of advanced manufacturing companies, which is great, and there is actually huge opportunities in technology in this local area, with quite a lot of shortages, so I think this award, and similar initiatives, in this local form, could be used to promote to women and girls that there are a number of local opportunities in technology too.” ω.  

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Dr Claire Guest: She Who Works with Dogs to Benefit Humanity

Dr Claire Guest: Image: MDD

|| October 10: 2016 || ά. Dr Claire Guest, BSc. Hons. MSc. HonDSc. DHP BCAh: is the Co-Founder, Chief Executive and Director of Operations of a National Charity, Medical Detection Dogs:MDD that works with dogs and train them to detect human diseases by sniffing. Science cannot but work without evidence or rather, there is hardly any science left, if the evidence is taken out of it. And this new approach and the evidence that MDD has been developing and sharpening, has been found to be rather impressive where these trained dogs are shown to be able to detect human diseases in significantly higher rates than their mechanic counter parts. For example, MDD says that 'In prostate cancer detection, machines being developed to replace existing tests are only 60 per cent reliable whereas Medical Detection Dogs have achieved a reliability of 93 per cent in training trials.''

This is a new area of medicine that has been developed, and this needs to be developed further with much more and much wider research with resources to support that, as we can never be complacent and rule out help where it is possible to get that help for we have endless array of problems that currently we find no cures or means to offer any help. Anything that can be used to save and protect human lives is all the worth that we could give it. And hereby, the works that Dr Claire Guest and her colleagues and the Medical Detection Dogs have been doing is so important, so vital and so much requires and deserves all the support we could give them. Evidence speaks with the MDD and both the evidence and the MDD have a Dr Claire Guest to speak, promote and take them forward to offer that additional and, welcome means to medicine. We present Dr Claire Guest here in her own words and invite the readers to read this poem, by William Cowper about The Dog and the Water Lily, written all those centuries ago, that portrays a moving story of a dog reading the mind of its owner and seeking to respond to that mind's wish. Wonder as to how that dog understood what was on the mind of its owner and how did it work out that it needed to respond to that wish and how did it then go about getting that Lily for its master? Dogs are astonishing creatures and we do ever so much underestimate them. Here's Dr Claire Guest.

Dr Claire Guest Speaking

I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1986, followed by a MSc in Psychology by research. In 1992 became a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, and subsequently became Chair for three years. From 1987 I worked full time at the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, leaving my final post of Director of Operations and Research in May 2007.

I have been involved in the training of dogs for tasks involving scent for over twenty years; I have trained working gundogs and participated in both competitive working trials and national gundog tests and trials. Since 2002 I have been professionally involved in training dogs in the detection of human disease through scent. In 2003, I was training director of the first programme in the world to train dogs to identify cancer by odour. The findings of this study were published in the British Medical Journal in September 2004.

I have worked as a consultant for a number of programmes across the world including Samsung Assistance Dog Services and Hearing Dogs Japan. I have been an invited speaker on this topic for a number of agencies, scientific meetings, police conferences and training seminars around the world.

I am Chief Executive and Director of Operations for the charity Medical Detection Dogs an organisation that trains dogs to identify human disease by odour. We are currently working on a number of pioneering research projects involving canine olfaction, including the training of dogs to detect cancer, blood sugar changes, and Addison’s disease.

In 2011, I was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of an outstanding contribution to development of new approaches for the detection of life threatening diseases.

In 2014 my dog Daisy, who is trained to sniff out cancer, was awarded the Blue Cross Medal for her pioneering work in the field of cancer detection, where she has sniffed over 6,500 samples and detected over 550 cases of cancer.

In 2015, I was awarded the British Citizen Award for life-saving work in the management of long-term illnesses and the research into early cancer detection. In 2015 I was awarded a fellowship from the Royal Society of Medicine. In 2016 I was delighted to win the CBI National First Women award for Science and Technology.  The work that MDD does is funded solely by donations, so whatever you can give makes such a difference.

About Medical Detection Dogs: Medical Detection Dogs trains dogs to detect the odour of human disease. It is at the forefront of the research into the fight against cancer and helping people with life-threatening diseases. The charity has two arms, bio detection dogs and medical alert assistance dogs. The bio detection dogs are trained to find the odour of diseases, such as cancer, in samples such as urine, breath and swabs. The technology we are researching has the potential to transform disease detection with the creation of cheap, non-invasive and reliable tests.

The charity is currently running two major trials in co-ordination with NHS trusts, one into the detection of prostate, bladder and kidney cancer using urine samples and the second into breast cancer using breath samples. In training trials, the dogs have achieved 93 per cent reliability, which is higher than many existing cancer tests. The medical alert assistance dogs are trained to detect minute changes in an individual’s personal odour triggered by their disease, such as type one diabetes, and alert them to an impending medical event. ω.  

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Elisa Izquierdo Delgado Learning to Discover Hope for Children with Cancer at the ICR London

Image: ICR London

|| October 02: 2016: The Institute of Cancer Research London News: Gabriella Beer  Writing || ά. Elisa Izquierdo Delgado gives children with cancer hope. Born in Socuéllamos, central Spain, and having spent six years studying cell biology and genetics in Madrid, Elisa came to The Institute of Cancer Research, London, with little English but a great desire to help children with cancer. “It was so impressive!” says Elisa, describing her first impressions of the ICR in early January 2013. “I was very surprised that I was even given an interview but I liked the team’s ideas and the way they worked. The collaboration with The Royal Marsden hospital was also very important to me, as I would be able to see the outcome of our work and how the patients benefited. I was very excited.”

It took no time for Elisa to fit into life at the ICR and get to work on developing a test that could help clinicians manage paediatric cancer more effectively. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death in children over the age of one. With improvements in survival rates stubbornly unchanged in the last decade, new treatments and diagnostic tests are urgently needed. Into Next-generation sequencing, After two years working on the project with the ICR, Elisa revealed her ‘NGS paediatric multi-gene panel for children with solid tumours’. This panel sequences genes to identify key mutations in specific parts of tumour DNA. It uses an approach called targeted next-generation sequencing. Searching for genes that scientists already understand, such as those found in adult cancers, gives clinicians more information as to how a child’s disease will develop and how it should be treated.

Elisa says: “In the past, the technology hadn’t really been developed and the methodology was not quite right, but in the last years the technology has advanced. When I started we were only testing for one gene, ALK, but now, after one and a half years, we can test for 78 different genes at once.” The test has already successfully been used to sequence the tumours of 40 patients at The Royal Marsden. These children will receive treatment where possible based on the molecular profile of their tumour and it is first of a kind in the UK. This is the first time this kind of test is available for children in the UK and would not have been possible without the support of Christopher’s Smile, a paediatric cancer charity.

Elisa says: “Christopher’s Smile funded my position from the moment I stepped into the UK but I didn’t know them until a few months after I’d started. I was very excited to have a chance to meet them.” Kevin and Karen Capel founded Christopher’s Smile after losing their son Christopher to an aggressive medulloblastoma brain tumour. The charity now funds projects that accelerate research into personalised medicine for children with cancer, in the hope future children will have a better quality of life after their disease.

“When I told Kevin and Karen about the next-generation sequencing panel they were really pleased and grateful that this test could now be used to help kids," says Elisa. "But the best thing about them is that they always want more and they wonder why there aren’t there more clinical trials for children?”

This test is already being offered to children at other hospitals across the UK through a pilot study supported by a NIHR-BRC grant at the Royal Marsden, working with the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group Tissue Bank, thanks to the driving force of Christopher’s Smile and Elisa’s hard work.

Elisa says: “It’s amazing how they find the strength to do this job after everything they went through. That is what motivated me to do my job every day. I couldn’t be more grateful for their help.”

Enlighten Universana The Humanion Beacon Organisations: The Institute of Cancer Research London

The ICR's campus in Sutton: Image: ICR

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Pirjo Kirstiina Virtanen: An Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies

Image: University of Helsinki

|| September 11: 2016: University of Helsinki News: Niina Niskanen Writing || ά.  Assistant Professor Pirjo Kirstiina Virtanen believes that the role of a victim does not help indigenous people, and that everyone benefits when we understand difference. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen has only had the chance to unpack a few of her books in her new office in the Forestry Building. For now, the shelves are lined with the likes of Kuna Art and Shamanism, Saamentutkimus tänään, Time and Memory in Indigenous Amazonia, Perspectivas econômicas da Amazônia and New World of Indigenous Resistance.

The recently appointed assistant professor of indigenous studies has spent her first week handling practical matters, meeting people and going through her list of duties. The University of Helsinki is both her alma mater and the base for her many projects. After touring Ljubljana, Paris and Amazonia, Virtanen finally has a more permanent base in this office.

The assistant professorship in indigenous studies is the first of its kind in Finland, but far from unique on the international arena, as universities in Norway, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia have similar positions. In Finland, research in the area has largely focused on Sami studies, which is available with different emphases at the universities of Helsinki, Oulu and Rovaniemi.

Virtanen is a member in a network which has now reached its goal, putting a study programme in indigenous studies into the curriculum of the University of Helsinki. Our network was established in 2008, and it promotes indigenous studies while engaging in active debate in the field. The discipline is new and lacks solid self-criticism and an established status. In 2011 we arranged a more ambitious seminar, which resulted in the book Alkuperäiskansat tämän päivän maailmassa a few years later. The preparation of the new structure of Master’s studies at the Faculty of Arts happened to coincide conveniently with our goals.

The assistant professorship is part of the University's tenure track system. There are still challenges ahead. The assistant professor must reach certain goals and criteria, and her publications, external funding as well as supervision and teaching work are being monitored. Promoting the field and moving it forward are not the least of the challenges.

I must take my time before making major decisions, Virtanen states calmly. Indigenous studies is one of the three multidisciplinary minor study modules available for Master's degree students. As such it suits students of any field. The focus is not on the indigenous people alone. Instead, the issues are broader: art as an instrument of politics, the impact of environmental change, human rights law issues, the dichotomous language of medicine, the power dynamics of western science, research ethics, history, and temporality.

Virtanen believes that co-operation across disciplines is definitely a strength, and she hopes to see many students from different campuses in the programme. A multidisciplinary approach is a touchstone for indigenous studies. It helps us see things from a new perspective and to examine them critically. Concepts always have a history, and language is political. But we can unravel preconceived notions.

The minor subject can be fairly liberally compiled from courses in different disciplines. The scope is 25 credits, but it is possible for students to choose a single course in the area they find the most interesting. Courses in indigenous studies have been available for a year now, but the assistant professorship funded by a Kone Foundation grant means that practices can be established and the discipline profile defined. In addition, Sami studies has offered a multidisciplinary lecture series on indigenous peoples for years, as the Sami are the only indigenous people in Finland.

Virtanen also teaches some of the courses herself and plans on arranging reading groups and several series of lectures. Indigenous studies will also be present at the University's opening carnival.

The Brazilian Amazonia and its indigenous peoples are the focus of Virtanen’s field work. She wrote her dissertation on indigenous youth and how they enter adulthood in the intersection of traditions and new global influences. Virtanen’s research has been multidisciplinary in the most practical sense, as she has cooperated with archaeologists and linguists.

The cooperation hasn’t always been easy. Researchers from different parts of the academic community initially stood by their own perspectives and practices. Gradually, a mutual dialogue has developed, which is reflected in the research results. Input from linguistics and cultural research has helped decode the significance of archaeological discoveries.

Excavations made by an ancient civilization may first be thought to relate to fishery or turtle farming, but a cultural researcher can suggest an alternative interpretation: perhaps their real significance lies in cosmology and mythology, and symbolises drawing strength from a higher being. Many indigenous people believe that animals and plants can produce language and speech alongside humans. This is why cooperation with linguists has been important. Virtanen points to two books:

The textbook on the history and origin myths of the Manchinere people, written half in Portuguese and half in Machinere, was created with linguists in Brazil, as was the learning material on the language of the Apurinã people.

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen does not want to present herself as the representative of all indigenous peoples and does not believe that these peoples should be seen as victims. The underlying agenda of indigenous studies is a critical perspective. We will not rush to anyone’s rescue or idealise a fictional harmonious existence of indigenous people, instead, we seek close interaction.

The terms “researcher” and “anthropologist” have long been practically insults among indigenous people. It has also been difficult to attain research permits in some countries. However, research methods have developed, research ethics are given more consideration, and consequently researchers are increasingly becoming welcome visitors and important partners.

Research must also benefit the indigenous people themselves, Virtanen points out. Placing the subjects of the research in the margins without sufficient health care or solutions for land questions is a direct continuation of colonialism. Research must offer them tools to find innovative solutions.

Indigenous studies involves a great number of researchers with indigenous heritage, both in Finland and abroad. And more research is needed, as only research results can provide the foundation for the decisions indigenous peoples must make. The network of indigenous studies researchers have arranged several seminars in cooperation with indigenous researchers and activists.

Nevertheless, we can’t equate indigenous studies and indigenous activism. Researchers can’t be restricted by their background, Virtanen states. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen's to-do list is bursting with projects. All of them have to do with indigenous peoples in one way or another. Ecocriticism and issues relating to indigenous ontologies underlie most of them.

For example, I’m involved in the Mind and Other project, which studies human interaction with phenomena considered ‘otherworldly’. I’m interested in how research and the act of knowing can constitute evidence, and I use the material I collected in Amazonia. I am also interested in the kind of learning that is not based on texts and reading but on doing, narrative and multi-sensory experience.

She is also working on an article on the ways indigenous people use language: how the language they use in the political arena differs from the one they use within their community, and how they employ art as a political instrument. A few specific issues stirred the cultural researcher to stand up for indigenous people. Virtanen was touched by how clearly the critical perspective of indigenous studies highlights the dominance of men and Euro-American culture in Western science. Typically, it is white men whose voices are heard. In her course Decolonial methods and epistemic differences, Virtanen focuses specifically on the authorities and power relations in Euro-American science.

Virtanen was particularly influenced by the indigenous concepts of time she discovered in her field work. In Amazonia, the present encompasses the future and the past. People exist in relation to many other beings, human and non-human alike, and the past of these beings is also in the present.

Humans, their environment and this variety of beings form a collective, and time wraps around them in a multi-layered skein. Hierarchies unravel and humans cease to be the centre of everything. ω.

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The Africa Food Prize Goes to...... Dr Kanayo F Nwanze: And I Dedicate It to the Millions of African Women Who Toil to Feed Their Families

Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development:IFAD. Image: IFAD:Abate Damte

|| September 06: 2016 || ά.  The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development:IFAD working to eradicate rural poverty, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze has been awarded the inaugural Africa Food Prize, and dedicated it to “the millions of African women who silently toil to feed their families.” “No nation has been able to transform itself without giving women the same rights and opportunities as men. Our hope for future generations rests with African women who bear and raise our young people who will shape the African continent in the years to come,” the IFAD President said an IFAD news release on his win.

According to its website, the Africa Food Prize was launched in April this year, in Ghana, and the $100,000 accolade recognises outstanding individuals and institutions that are leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa, from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives. It aims to put a spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans. The award succeeds the Yara Prize, which was first established by Yara International ASA in 2005.

A news release on the website noted that the Africa Food Prize Committee, chaired by Olusegun Obasanjo, a former President of Nigeria, selected Dr. Nwanze for his outstanding leadership and passionate advocacy in putting Africa's smallholder farmers at the centre of the global agricultural agenda.

“Dr Nwanze is a model for how a great leader can make a difference in the lives of people on the ground," said Mr. Obasanjo in the news release. "Whether that leader is the head of a global institution, a head of state or a head of small organization, Dr. Nwanze's accomplishments on behalf of African farmers are a reminder of what's possible when you combine passion, good ideas, commitment, focus, hard work and dedication.”

Alongside his “tireless advocacy,” the news release noted that Dr. Nwanze is credited with re-orienting IFAD's work to focus more on making small-scale farming a viable business, as well as expanding IFAD's presence in developing countries to increase the organization's effectiveness.

“I know the difference it makes to see first-hand the value that one’s work is adding to someone’s life,” Dr. Nwanze said in the IFAD news release. “The idea behind opening more country offices is to bring IFAD closer to the people it serves, not only to motivate our own staff, but to more effectively work with rural communities, learning from them and adapting our investments to transform the environment in which they live and work.”

The news release flagged that the Prize recognizes Dr. Nwanze for his individual leadership, but also for the results of successful efforts at IFAD in the years he has been at the helm of the UN agency.

“IFAD… is not the same organisation today that it was in 2009, when Nwanze took office as President,” according to the news release. “Despite a major global economic downturn, he succeeded in growing the Fund's overall resources, with significant increases in commitments from member states. As a result of this overall increase in IFAD's portfolio of loans and grants, its ongoing investments in Africa more than doubled, from $01.3 billion at the start of Dr. Nwanze's tenure to $02.7 billion in 2015, benefiting more than 75 million rural people.

Recent studies by IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation show that, where country offices are present, the IFAD-funded programmes and projects are generally more efficient and effective, with stronger partnerships and policy advocacy.

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Inger Anderson: The Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Image: IUCN

|| September 01: 2016 || ά.  Inger Anderson is the Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature: IUCN. IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN has evolved into the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its 1,300 Member organisations and the input of some 16,000 experts. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. IUCN experts are organised into six commissions dedicated to species survival, environmental law, protected areas, social and economic policy, ecosystem management, and education and communication.

Inger Andersen, born in 1958 in Denmark, is the 15th Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature:IUCN, appointed in January 2015. Ms Andersen has more than 30 years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability, and policy-making, as well as in designing and implementing projects and generating on-the-ground impact. She brings a passion for conservation and sustainable development, which has been the focus of her previous leadership roles at the World Bank and United Nations.

Most recently, Ms Andersen held the position of Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, and was responsible for leading the Bank's strategy as well as policy and operational engagement in the region. In addition to overseeing the Bank’s lending portfolio, she mobilised substantial government and donor resources for fragile and conflict states and development priorities.

Prior to this, from 2010, Ms. Andersen was Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank and Head of the CGIAR Fund Council. In this position, she led the technical stream supporting the Bank’s work with developing countries to promote environmental sustainability, provide key infrastructure investments, enhance food security, develop social accountability, assist countries in disaster risk management, and deliver support for climate change mitigation and resilience.

In her professional career, Ms Andersen has played a key role in supporting riparian countries on international water management and hydro diplomacy, including work on the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, the Nile River, the Senegal River, Lake Chad and the Niger River. Previous managerial roles at the World Bank focused on water, environment, and sustainable development with a special emphasis on Africa and Middle East.
Previous to the World Bank, Ms Andersen worked at the United Nations for 15 years, starting in 1987 at the UN Sudano-Sahelian Office working on drought and desertification issues, and in 1992 was appointed UNDP’s Water and Environment Coordinator for the Arab Region, where she led on defining actions for the Global Environment Facility in the Arab Region.

In the early 1980s, Ms Andersen lived and worked in Sudan for six years, including four years with an NGO focused on drought, emergency relief and rehabilitation. Inger Andersen’s educational background includes a BA from London Metropolitan University North and an MA degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London with specialisation in development economics. Ms. Andersen serves on a number of advisory councils and boards including the UN Global Compact Board and UNEP’s Financial Inquiry Advisory Committee.

The ability to convene diverse stakeholders and provide the latest science, objective recommendations and on-the-ground expertise drives IUCN’s mission of informing and empowering conservation efforts worldwide. It provides a neutral forum in which governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples groups, faith-based organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges.

By facilitating these solutions, IUCN provides governments and institutions at all levels with the impetus to achieve universal goals, including on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development, which IUCN was instrumental in defining. Combined, our knowledge base and diverse membership make IUCN an incubator and trusted repository of best practices, conservation tools, and international guidelines and standards. As the only environmental organisation with official United Nations Observer Status, IUCN ensures that nature conservation has a voice at the highest level of international governance.

IUCN’s expertise and extensive network provide a solid foundation for a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects around the world. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being. They also produce a wealth of data and information which feeds into IUCN’s analytical capacity.

Through their affiliation with IUCN, Member organisations are part of a democratic process, voting Resolutions which drive the global conservation agenda. They meet every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to set priorities and agree on the Union’s work programme. IUCN congresses have produced several key international environmental agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity:CBD, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species:CITES, the World Heritage Convention, and the Ramsar Convention on wetlands. We continue to help these conventions strengthen and evolve so that they can respond to emerging challenges.

IUCN Member organisations are represented by the IUCN Council, the governing body. Headquartered in Switzerland, IUCN Secretariat comprises around 950 staff in more than 50 countries.

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Professor Teija Kujala: A Pioneer of Brain Plasticity


|| August 30: 2016: University of Helsinki || ά. Teija Kujala, b. 1964, professor of psychology, has conducted pioneering research on treating dyslexia as well as on the early development and plasticity of the brain in utero. Her studies have garnered a great deal of attention both in academia and in popular media around the world. In 2001 Kujala and her colleagues found that dyslexic first-graders learned to read more effectively when they did exercises on a computer involving combining strings of blocks on the screen with melodies played through the speakers.

The researchers found that the children’s capacity to discriminate between speech sounds increased both in practical tests and in the brain as established by their mismatch negativity:MMN response in an EEG. MMN, a measurement originally created by Professor Risto Näätänen at the University of Helsinki and further developed by Kujala, measures the brain’s response to changes in the stimulus environment and can be used to study the ability of sleeping babies to differentiate between sounds, for example. MMN is widely used all over the world, and Kujala is much cited for her articles on the use of the method.

Kujala’s mission is to prevent serious difficulties in learning to read. In 2012, her research group found that pre-schoolers considered at risk for dyslexia improved their reading readiness with just three hours of practice with the Graphogame programme developed by Professor Heikki Lyytinen. In 2013, Kujala’s research group shocked the world when they discovered that it was possible to begin brain training in utero.

In the test group, pregnant women played a CD recording of the nonword “tatata” to their bellies with periodical variations in the length and pitch of the vowel in the middle of the utterance. During their first weeks of life, the infants born to the test-group women were tested for their MMN response to variation in the “tatata” nonword. The response in the test-group infants proved to be greater than in infants not exposed in utero to the material in question.

In the next study, researchers repeatedly played a recording of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to fetuses in utero. At age four months, the brains of the infants in the test group responded to the melody more intensely than did infants in the control group. Thus a direct study of infant brains established for the first time in the world that the brain can learn from its environment already in the womb and that in utero experiences leave long-term memories.

In 2014, Kujala and her colleagues launched an eight-year research project which tracks the linguistic development of 200 children from birth until school age. Using extensive batteries of brain response tests, the researchers will measure the children's sound discrimination ability and their linguistic development. The goal is to determine whether music-based linguistic training during the first six months of life can improve the children’s linguistic learning and whether it could serve as a tool to prevent dyslexia.

In her dissertation article in 1995, Kujala was among the first researchers to find that the visual cortex of blind people processes auditory stimuli. Before focusing on dyslexia and infants, Kujala studied background noise extensively. She discovered that people working in noisy environments experienced long-term deterioration of their ability to discriminate between speech sounds, and that unexpected sounds were more likely to break their concentration.

In addition to leading her own research group, Kujala is co-director at the Cognitive Brain Research Unit together with Professor Mari Tervaniemi. Kujala's most cited studies involve a wide array of partners from European and American universities.

Kujala herself has near perfect pitch, but primarily uses it to listen to heavy metal. ω.

Kuva: University of Helsinki

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Dr Matshidiso Moeti: WHO Regional Director for Africa

Dr Matshidiso Moeti: Image: WHO

|| July 27: 2016 || ά. Dr Matshidiso Moeti qualified in medicine, M.B.B.S and public health, MSc in Community Health for Developing Countries at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London in 1978 and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1986, respectively.  Originally from Botswana, Dr Moeti is the first woman WHO Regional Director for Africa.

She aims to build a responsive, effective and result-driven regional secretariat that can advance efforts towards universal health coverage and accelerate progress toward global development goals, while tackling emerging threats. Strong partnerships will underpin every aspect of the Regional Office's work during her tenure.

Dr Moeti is a public health veteran, with more than 35 years of national and international experience. She joined WHO’s Africa Regional Office in 1999 and has served as Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Director of Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO Representative for Malawi, and Co-ordinator of the Inter-Country Support Team for the South and East African countries.

Prior to joining WHO, she worked with UNAIDS as a Team Leader of the Africa and Middle East Desk in Geneva, 1997-1999; with UNICEF as a Regional Health Advisor for East and Southern Africa; and with Botswana’s Ministry of Health as a Clinician and Public Health Specialist.

Notably, at the height of the HIV:AIDS epidemic, she led the WHO Regional Office for Africa's efforts on treatment scale-up in the context of the ‘3 by 5’ initiative and established a regional HIV laboratory network resulting in a significant increase in the number of HIV-positive individuals accessing antiretroviral therapy in the Region.

Dr Moeti also successfully spearheaded the development of WHO Regional Strategies for public health priority areas, including communicable and non-communicable diseases, immunization, maternal and child health, and the health systems strengthening. ω.


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Johann de Bono: the Regius Professor of Cancer Research at the Institute of Cancer Research, London

Image: The ICR London

|| July 20: 2016: The Institute of Cancer Research London News || ά.  The award is a significant mark of esteem for Professor de Bono, and recognises his outstanding and world-leading research in the clinical development of personalised cancer treatments. In June, the ICR was among a select group of 12 institutions across the UK to be awarded a highly prestigious Regius Professorship by Her Majesty the Queen to mark her 90th birthday. The new Regius Professorship is the first associated with efforts to understand and defeat cancer, and its creation recognises both the academic excellence and the real-world impact of the ICR’s work.

Professor Johann de Bono is Head of the Division of Clinical Studies and an international expert in the development of molecularly targeted cancer therapies against adult cancers. He runs one of the world’s largest phase I clinical trials units for cancer and has also led phase III trials of the prostate cancer drugs abiraterone and cabazitaxel.

Professor Johann de Bono is the Regius Professor of Cancer Research and a Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research. He is also an honorary consultant in medical oncology at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Professor de Bono leads the Prostate Cancer Team at the ICR, and specialises in developing new molecularly targeted therapies to improve treatment for prostate cancer patients. He has been involved in developing more than 100 potential new drugs over the past decade, several of which are now available to patients, and is currently evaluating more than 30 drugs in early clinical trials. He led the pivotal phase III trials for the prostate cancer drugs abiraterone and cabazitaxel, which both showed an overall survival benefit to patients with advanced, castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Professor de Bono was born and raised in Malta, and graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1989 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1992, and completed his PhD and MSc at the Beatson Institute of Cancer Research in Glasgow in 1997. He trained as a medical oncologist between 1996 and 2000, spending part of the time learning about clinical trial design in Seattle, US. This training led to three years at the Institute for Drug Development in San Antonio, Texas, which Professor de Bono says was an invaluable experience that gave him an “outstanding blueprint” for running similar programmes. Professor de Bono joined the ICR and The Royal Marsden in 2003. He took over from Professor Stan Kaye as Head of the ICR’s and The Royal Marsden’s joint Drug Development Unit in 2011, and as Head of the Division of Clinical Studies in 2014. He was awarded the Malta Order of Merit in 2010.

As well as research, Professor de Bono is involved in training and supervising PhD and MD(Res) research students.He has published more than 300 scientifically peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Nature, Nature Cancer Reviews, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer Research.

Professor de Bono has received many awards during his career including a Cancer Research Campaign PhD Clinical Research Fellowship, American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit and Young Investigator Awards, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinician Scientist Award and a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Travel Award. In July 2016, he was awarded the title of Regius Professor of Cancer Research, the first such Professorship devoted to cancer.

He holds editorial roles at peer-reviewed journals and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians:London and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He has served as the UK ESMO representative and has served on the ESMO Board of Directors as well as on the NCRI Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group.

Professor de Bono was the Scientific Programme Chair of the European Society of Medical Oncology:ESMO Annual meeting in 2014 and is the Co-Chair of the American Association of Cancer Research:AACR Annual Meeting in 2015'. He leads the ICR and Royal Marsden Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the Movember London Prostate Cancer Centre of Excellence.

Professor de Bono is married to Hazel, who is Scottish and works as a GP, and has three children. He enjoys playing football and watching Liverpool FC, jazz, blues and classical music, and cycling, hill-walking and chess.

Regius Professorships are rare awards bestowed by the Sovereign by Royal Warrant to recognise exceptionally high-quality research at an institution. Prior to these awards only 14 had been granted since the reign of Queen Victoria, including 12 to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

'Exceptional contributions'

Professor de Bono adopts the new title in honour of his exceptional contributions to cancer research and the benefits his work has had for patients. He is also Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at the ICR and an honorary consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. He is the Head of the ICR’s and The Royal Marsden’s joint Drug Development Unit, and Cancer Therapeutics theme lead for our Biomedical Research Centre.

Professor de Bono specialises in developing new molecularly targeted therapies and focuses especially on improving treatment for prostate cancer patients. He has been involved in developing more than 100 potential new drugs over the past decade, several of which are now available to patients. He led pivotal clinical trials for the prostate cancer drugs abiraterone, cabazitaxel and enzalutamide, which have benefited hundreds of thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer, and he is currently involved in more than 30 innovative, early-stage clinical trials of new cancer treatments.

A rare honour

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, said: "Professor Johann de Bono is an outstanding clinician scientist and a truly worthy recipient of the prestigious title of Regius Professor of Cancer Research. “His exceptional work to understand and treat prostate cancer has led to new drugs that are offering real benefits to patients with the disease, and which not only prolong life but also enhance quality of life.

“The Regius Professorship is a rare honour that recognises the ICR’s outstanding academic achievements in understanding cancer and the impact of our innovative research on cancer patients and society as a whole. It is a tribute to our pioneering research and the many discoveries made by ICR scientists in recent years and throughout our history, which have moved us closer towards defeating cancer.” ω.


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Atena Farghadani: This is Not a Story But a Life That Won't Be Crushed

Image: Amnesty International UK

|| July 02: 2016: Amnesty International UK || ά. Atena Farghadani was imprisoned for drawing political cartoons. But this week, after a year and a half of unjust imprisonment in Iran, 29-year-old painter and activist Atena Farghadani walked free after her sentence was dramatically reduced, and she was acquitted of some of the absurd charges levelled against her.

Atena had been serving a prison sentence of 12 years and nine months for her art, after being found guilty at an unfair trial in June last year of charges including ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings'. But last week an appeal court in Tehran revised her sentence to 18 months, most of which Atena had already served.

 The world seems to be a darker place in the space of just a couple of weeks. With the attacks in Orlando; the loss of human rights activist and our friend Jo Cox; the rise in hate crimes towards our migrant communities and now the devastating bombings in Istanbul just a few days ago, hope seems to be in short supply.

Now more than ever we must strengthen our resolve as a movement and remind ourselves of the powerful Chinese proverb: 'It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.' With that in mind I want to share with you just some of the ways you have helped keep hope alive in the last few months.Activist and painter Atena Farghadani was imprisoned for drawing cartoons. Together we have fought the absurd charges levelled against her, and now she walks free. Thank you.

It's great news that Atena's free, but she should never have been imprisoned in the first place; she hadn't committed any crime. She was a prisoner of conscience, punished for peacefully expressing her opinion.

Sentence reduced, but threat of re-imprisonment hangs over her

All the charges against Atena stemmed from her peaceful activities, including meeting with families of political prisoners and criticising the authorities on social media and through her art work, art which included a cartoon that satirised members of Iran’s parliament for considering bills that restrict access to voluntary contraception and family planning services.

Last week, the appeal court upheld the 18-month prison term imposed for the charge of 'spreading propaganda against the system', but acquitted the charge of 'gathering and colluding against national security'. It also commuted a nine-month imprisonment sentence for 'insulting members of parliament through paintings', 'insulting the President' and 'insulting prison officials' to a cash fine.

However, the court also suspended a three-year prison sentence imposed on Atena for 'insulting the Iranian Supreme Leader' for four years, meaning that during the next four years, Atena could be sent back to prison for this charge. The Iranian authorities often resort to such suspended sentences to create a climate of fear, coercing activists, journalists and others into silence or self-censorship.

Campaign to free Atena

We've been calling on Iran to free Atena since she was detained. More than 33,000 of you signed our petition to the Iranian authorities calling for Atena's release. Thank you. While Atena should never have had to endure any of this, we are overjoyed that she is free.

Atena smuggled a note out of prison last August in which she wrote that the authorities had forced her to undergo a 'virginity test' and pregnancy test in prison, for shaking her male lawyer's hand in June 2015, an innocent act that found her charged with 'illicit sexual relations falling short of adultery'. Authorities later confirmed that they had indeed subjected her to these tests.

Forced 'virginity tests' are intrusive procedures that count as torture - they are humiliating, cruel and discriminate against women. Atena says that when she was held in Tehran's Evin prison, female guards had beaten her, verbally abused her and forced her to strip naked for a body search.

Imprisoned for her art

In August 2014, 12 members of the Revolutionary Guards came to Atena’s house. They confiscated her personal belongings, blindfolded her and took her to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. She was to be punished for her peaceful acts of political defiance, including meeting the families of political prisoners and for posting on Facebook a cartoon she’d drawn that was critical of members of the Iranian parliament.

Iran is currently creating a law that will roll back women’s rights in the country by restricting access to contraception and criminalising voluntary sterilisation. Atena’s cartoon, which depicted politicians in favour of this Bill, is now being held against her – one of the charges she has been convicted of is ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’.

On June 01, 2015, Atena was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to 12 years and nine months in prison for charges including:

Gathering and colluding against national security
Spreading propaganda against the system
Insulting members of parliament through paintings
Insulting her interrogators

Hunger strike in protest at prison conditions

Atena was kept in solitary confinement for over two weeks when she was detained in Tehran’s Evin prison in 2014. During that time she was denied access to her lawyer or family. After her release from detention, she said that she’d been beaten by prison guards.

In January 2015, Atena went on hunger strike to protest that she was being held in extremely poor prison conditions, in a jail that does not have a section for political prisoners. Atena’s health suffered considerably as a result; her lawyer told us that the then 28-year-old had suffered a heart attack and briefly lost consciousness in late February as a result of her hunger strike.

Painting as protest

While in prison, Atena flattened paper cups to use them as a surface to paint on. When the prison guards realised what she had been doing, they confiscated her paintings and stopped giving her paper cups. When Atena found some cups in the bathroom, she smuggled them into her cell. Soon after, she was beaten by prison guards, when she refused to strip naked for a full body search.

Atena says that they knew about her taking the cups because they had installed cameras in the toilet and bathroom facilities – cameras detainees had been told were not operating. ω.

Other Good News Stories that happened because people supported the tireless work and campaigning of Amnesty International UK

Amnesty International UK


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Professor Karen Holford: Pro-Vice Chancellor: the Mind of an Engineer

Professor Karen Holford FREng, FLSW, CEng FIMechE: Image: Cardiff University

|| July 02: 2016 || ά. Professor Karen Holford, Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, has recently been named in the inaugural list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering. The list was compiled by the Daily Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society:WES which was published to coincides with National Women in Engineering Day.

The top 50 were selected by a distinguished panel of judges from almost 900 nominations, and represent the UK’s most influential female engineers. Professor Holford is among only eight on the list who are based in universities.

Professor Holford said: “It’s an honour to be named on the same list as some of my engineering heroines, but this award is also recognition of people who have influenced my career - from those involved in my degree apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce and Cardiff, my engineering work at AB Electronics and the hugely supportive environment at Cardiff University.

“I have always felt very much part of a team here, and I’m very grateful to all the people who have helped and supported me in my various roles.” Professor Holford’s career began at Rolls-Royce where she contributed to a range of technical projects including work on the Adour and Pegasus engines. Then at AB Electronic Products, she was responsible for developing automotive electronic products for Jaguar Rover and was soon promoted to the role of senior engineer.

Since moving into academia 25 years ago, she has helped to build the now substantial international reputation of acoustic engineering research at Cardiff, which now boasts the best equipped experimental acoustic engineering facility in Europe. Her research into acoustic emission has resulted in technology that has greatly improved the safety monitoring of bridges and other structures, and she is now applying the same techniques to detect faults in aircraft structures - with the potential to revolutionise aircraft design and result in lighter aircraft.

The Report, Talented Women for a Successful Wales, Co-Authored by Professor Holford

This year she co-authored the Welsh Government report, Talented Women for a Successful Wales, which analysed the importance of getting more women into science and engineering careers, and how this might be achieved. Julie James AM, Minister for Skills and Science, said: “Karen thoroughly deserves this honour, she is a wonderful role model for all aspiring engineers.

“The under-representation of women in science and engineering is a serious problem for Wales and for the UK as a whole, and the Welsh Government is actively working towards increasing the numbers of women in the science sector.”

Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales said: “Karen is one of those who defies the old stereotypes and has forged a hugely successful career as one of the most outstanding engineers in the UK and she has become an inspiration for young women everywhere.”

The list includes Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and now Chair of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation.

Judge Allan Cook CBE, Chairman of Atkins commented: “I was really impressed with the calibre, quality and quantity of the submissions. Reading through the entries it was incredibly exciting to see the breadth of talent we have in our engineering community.” ω.

The Idearian Echoing Eternities


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Jemma Wayne: Author of Chains of Sand Who Speaks of the Black and White and of the Grey: Being a Thinker She Seeks to Gather the Fragmented Shades, Shreds and Debris of the Truth That Pays So Much for Everyone Seems to Break It to Fit into Their Viewscape

|| June 23: 2016 || ά. Jemma Wayne graduated from Cambridge University with an academic scholarship in Social and Political Sciences, before studying Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster and becoming a journalist and writer. Her first book, After Before was nominated for both the Baileys Prize and the Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and her second novel Chains of Sand is published this summer as one of the first fictional addresses of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Growing up with a composer for a dad meant that creativity was a huge part of our upbringing. My father Jeff Wayne:The War of the Worlds: has a studio at home so music always filled the house. It was also often filled by the various artists who were recording with him, and for whom my mother never failed to make a home-made dinner, though it had to be buffet style the week that the entire ensemble of Ladysmith Black mambazo were visiting.

The first time I visited Israel I was eight years old. We saw as much as we could, the Dead Sea, Masada. My father, a Jewish atheist, was barmitzvahed together with his father at The Western Wall. The rest of the time we watched Pop play tennis in a Jewish Olympics known as the Maccabiah Games. I remember us sitting on the sidelines waving both British and Israeli flags. Around the tennis courts, and the hotel, and the city, there was construction everywhere. There was a lot of dust.

I didn’t return to Israel until I was 17. This time my family were very nervous about security there. We had cousins living just outside of Tel Aviv, and we had stayed in close touch with them during the First Intifada, and then while missiles rained down during the 1992 Gulf War. But I wanted to go. This time, I had been selected to take part in the Maccabiah Games, on the athletics track. Pop was again playing tennis. And in the end, despite the bombs, the whole family made the trip.

But it wasn’t a bomb that cast the start in tragedy. The bridge leading athletes into the opening ceremony collapsed into a river riddled with pesticides and a number of Australian athletes died. It was a shocking, awful accident that I’ll never forget. But the spirit of camaraderie grew and, as the weeks passed, the trip was filled with revelation. Israel had grown up, and so had I. I met competitors from all over the world; Jews from every far-flung corner. We swapped pins and kit and stories. There were long stretches of beach, and swimming pools, and tequila. Nothing was on time. We went to Masada again, and toured Jerusalem, and went to a kibbutz. Israeli dignitaries addressed us and I won a bronze medal. Construction was still everywhere. And amidst it all, I met my future husband.

Now, together, we visit Israel on average twice a year. There have been bombs while we have been there, our family all have shelters, and our cousins served in the army. To me, Israel is amazing, inspiring, and also deeply flawed. It is modern and innovative, and also steeped in history. There is money and there is poverty. There is a great drive for freedom and justice, and there is deep-rooted prejudice and entrenched discrimination. It is a place that challenges the spirit, and has hugely informed the writing of Chains of Sand.

The idea for Chains of Sand was first spawned back in 2006. My husband’s cousin, an IDF veteran, had recently moved from Israel to London along with a few of his friends and I was interested in why. Meanwhile the 2006 Israeli war with Lebanon had broken out and for the first time ever I found myself, as a Jew, feeling uncomfortable in London, under the miscroscope. I had always been interested in the conflict in the Middle East, even writing a university paper about it, as well as numerous articles since, but now I was thinking about the impact of that conflict on me as a British Jew and on the rest of the UK’s Jewish community. Inspired by this I began some early research and started to play with ideas.

They were interrupted however, first by my play, which ran in Hampstead in 2009, then by my first novel After Before, and by the arrival of two children! During that period I somewhat deliberately steered clear of ‘Jewish’ stories, but when the conflict with Gaza broke out in 2014 many of the feelings I had been struck by in 2006 resurfaced and I found myself consumed again by these ideas. I decided to take a look at my early research and it was interesting to see how many things had remained totally unchanged, or had repeated themselves, as well as how in other ways the political and social ground had shifted. I finally felt ready to return to what has always been an important area for me, and I began to research more heavily.

To start with, this involved a lot of reading, about the conflict, about Jewish philosophy and myth, about the history of the region. It also involved travel to Israel. But most important were the first hand interviews I carried out with people who had experienced crucial elements of the story that I had a hard time imagining alone, such as being in the army. I spoke to a number of IDF soldiers, one of whom had lost a leg in Gaza, another of whom carved crosses onto his gun each time he killed one of the enemy. I spoke with a number of Israelis who had moved to London, and some British Jews who had moved to Israel.

For me, it has been about exploring the grey. Every time there is a conflict in Israel, the world polarizes. What we read and hear is all too often black and white. But there is no one truth, there are only fragments of a whole that looks different depending on which side you are peering in from. This is what Chains of Sand is about, and what I hope the book is able to convey.

Chains of Sand is a novel about identity, family, and clashes of culture. It explores racism in Israel, anti-Semitism in Britain, deep-rooted hatred, and the struggle of four families dealing with the prospect of letting their children sacrifice everything they know for everything they want. ω.

Chains of Sand by Jemma Wayne is out now: £9.99, Legend Press

Chains of Sand: Jemma Wayne: June 01, 2016:Legend Press: Paperback Original: £9.99.


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Catriona Knox: A Woman, an Engineer: Most of All a Mind That Wants to Make Things Better

Image: WES

|| June 23: 2016 || ά. Catriona Knox speaks about how and why she has become an engineer in this piece. She says: One of my Professors at university told me that engineering is about finding the things that aren’t good enough in this world and designing a way to make them better. For me anyone can be an engineer if you have ideas and a drive to improve things you see around you.

When I was younger I loved coming up with inventions for games and projects which I made with my sisters and cousins that we will try out all summer holidays. I’m hopeless at mental arithmetic, but when maths became less about numbers and more about patterns and variables I realised I could understand it. But I wanted to study something that I could relate to the real world more easily than theoretical equations.

I was interested in the challenge of reducing global warming and of changing our energy system to something more sustainable. This link to power, energy and its impact on the earth led me to study physics and geology at Cambridge University and later a Masters in sustainable energy at Edinburgh University’s Engineering Department.

At university I became an active member of an organisation called Engineers Without Borders where I found a community of enthusiastic people who wanted to use engineering to improve lives in the developing world. I went on to co-ordinate EWB’s UK outreach programme. This involved lots of running round the country trailing plastic bottles and sacks of sand, getting lost trying to find school carparks. We ran workshops at schools and science festivals to encourage young people to think about engineering not just in terms of building cars and bridges, but as a tool for bringing access to clean water, electricity, or food for people living in poverty. This was an area of where I found many more women were inspired to get involved.

At university I was lucky enough to study with many inspiring people. One was Professor David MacKay, a great scientist and communicator, whose now famous work Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air is obligatory reading for anyone interested in this field. Around when I was finishing my masters degree Prof. MacKay was appointed to the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate as their Chief Scientific Advisor. As someone who knew nothing about politics I hadn’t considered a career in Government before, but I realised many of the influential decisions on energy systems are made from within the public sector, so I decided to try it too.

Since then I have worked in different parts of Government with short stints in industry, too, to learn what it’s like to construct and operate real projects in offshore wind, geothermal energy and anaerobic digestion, that’s turning rotting things into energy. Now I work in the UK Embassy in China, the world’s largest energy consumer and producer, where my team’s role is to support partnerships between UK and Chinese energy companies.

My advice for other women considering engineering or science is to go for it. Try to surround yourself with people who you admire and you will be most likely to enjoy whatever you do. And look broadly when you are thinking about which cause you want to choose to apply your skills. Almost every organisation needs engineering minds, not just laboratories and factories. ω.


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Professor Frances Arnold: The Mind of a Biochemical Engineer: To Create to Do Good for That is What She Has Chosen to Become


|| June 14: 2016 || ά. The Technology Academy Finland:TAF has awarded  the American innovator Frances Arnold The 2016 Millennium Technology Prize 2016 in May. The award is given for technological innovations that enhance the quality of people’s lives and Frances Arnold's life and works have been doing just that. The prize, awarded at two-year intervals, is being awarded for the seventh time since the award was first conferred in 2004 and it is worth one million euros.

Biochemical engineer Frances Arnold receives the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize in recognition of her discoveries that launched the field of ‘directed evolution’, which mimics natural evolution to create new and better proteins in the laboratory. This technology uses the power of biology and evolution to solve many important problems, often replacing less efficient and sometimes harmful technologies. Thanks to directed evolution, sustainable development and clean technology become available in many areas of industry that no longer have to rely on non-renewable raw materials.

The Millennium Technology Prize is one of the world’s most prestigious science and technology prizes. Professor Arnold is the first woman to win the award, underscoring her status as a strong role model for women working in technology. The winner, who follows in the footsteps of past winners such as World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of bright blue and white LEDs Shuji Nakamura and ethical stem cell pioneer Shinya Yamanaka, was honoured at a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland.

With directed evolution it is possible to create proteins with useful properties that would not develop without human intervention. Frances Arnold’s method generates random mutations in the DNA, just as it happens in nature. The modified genes produce proteins with new properties, from which the researcher can choose the useful ones, repeating the process until the level of performance needed by industry is achieved.

“Directed evolution allows us to circumvent our inability to explain how mutations affect protein behaviour, much less to predict beneficial ones. The most beautiful, complex, and functional objects on the planet have been made by evolution. We can now use evolution to make things that no human knows how to design. Evolution is the most powerful engineering method in the world, and we should make use of it to find new biological solutions to problems,” says Frances Arnold.

Arnold’s innovations have revolutionised the slow and costly process of protein modification, and today her methods are being used in hundreds of laboratories and companies around the world. Modified proteins are used to replace processes that are expensive or that utilize fossil raw materials in the production of fuels, paper products, pharmaceuticals, textiles and agricultural chemicals.

Receiving the Prize from Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland

Arnold developed her technology in order to engineer enzymes, proteins whose function in nature is to speed up, or catalyse, the conversion of chemical compounds. “Directed evolution can be used in industries that utilise biotechnology, because biochemical reactions are based on enzymes,” cites professor Jarl-Thure Eriksson, Chair of the International Selection Committee.

This new technology is being adopted in areas of green chemistry and renewable energy. Directed evolution is used to improve enzymes that convert cellulose or other plant sugars to biofuels and chemicals. The facilitation of a green chemical industry, based on renewable raw materials and biotechnology, has in fact been one of Arnold’s greatest goals.

“My entire career I have been concerned about the damage we are doing to the planet and each other. Science and technology can play a major role in mitigating our negative influences on the environment. Changing behaviour is even more important, however; I feel that is easier when there are good, economically viable alternatives to harmful habits,” says Arnold.

“Awarding Frances Arnold’s innovation is indeed very timely, as a number of countries, including Finland, are aiming at clean technology and green growth”, says professor Marja Makarow, the Chair of TAF.

Arnold’s innovation has been used widely also to create enzyme catalysts to manufacture pharmaceuticals. The method has already resulted in more efficient processes for making numerous medicines, including a treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Frances Arnold is Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at Caltech:California Institute of Technology. Arnold has from the start of her career been a pioneer in a previously male-dominated field. For instance, she was the first woman to be elected to all three US National Academies.

“I certainly hope that young women can see themselves in my position someday. I hope that my getting this prize will highlight the fact that yes, women can do this, they can do it well, and that they can make a contribution to the world and be recognised for it,” says Arnold.

About the Millennium Technology Prize: The Millennium Technology Prize is a Finnish prize awarded in recognition of innovators of technologies that promote sustainable development and a better quality of life. The Prize is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious science and technology prizes and it is presented every other year by the independent Technology Academy Finland:TAF. The winning innovation is selected by the Board of the academy at the recommendation of the International Selection Committee.

Enquiries: Juha Ylä-Jääski, CEO, Technology Academy Finland:, +358 40 903 0606

Media enquiries: Laura Manas, Communications Officer, Technology Academy Finland:, +358 500 989 286: ω.

Images: The Technology Academy Finland


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Professor Kaisa Miettinen: Seeing the World Through New Eyes

|| June 12: 2016 || ά.  Seeing the World Through New Eyes, says Professor Kaisa Miettinen. And this is why she is being presented here today. Because when one sees the world through new eyes each time one looks at the World one is generally described as being in Love with Life and that one shall continue to be astounded by that life. Now, to keep that pair of eyes 'new' in every breathe, in every hour and day and night and month and year and that is year after year after year is the hardest of tasks for otherwise one would have a 'dead' pair of eyes which can see 'nothing' nor can it find anything. And that dead pair of eyes belong to the 'cynic'. The cynics would never come to discover Gravitational Waves nor can they ever discover Solar Sail. Kaisa is nowhere there but at her own place: she has found the 'magic' of life: to have and hold and keep alive the pair of eyes 'forever new'. Here we present Professor Kaisa Miettinen of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland: being presented by Eveliina Salomaa.

Kaisa Miettinen has helped doctors with radiotherapy and the paper industry to design machinery. This multiobjective optimisation professional helps decision-makers to find optional solutions through a combination of mathematics and IT. Through the enormous windows of the University of Jyväskylä's Agora building, you can just make out a frozen mass of water, Lake Jyväsjärvi. Although the ground floor is open and spacious, the building becomes more and more of a labyrinth the higher up you go. Its fourth floor is home to Kaisa Miettinen's corner office. Dozens of nametags hang in the corner where the windows meet: souvenirs of the hundreds of conferences and meetings that Kaisa has attended during her career.

Multiobjective optimisation combines IT and mathematics: two fields that Kaisa loves. "Optimisation is making the best decisions within the given limits." It can lend itself to almost any field, such as forest management, or designing an optimal form or process. Multiobjective optimisation involves finding the best compromise between contradictory goals.

"For example, you can't live in a detached house in the city centre with all your windows facing south: you have to compromise on something." In multiobjective optimisation, the issue is converted first into a mathematical problem and then into a computational model. This model is then used to write an optimisation-based computer programme. Decision-makers can then use these programmes to make considered and well-informed decisions.

"This supports decision-makers who need to consider contradictory goals whilst also dealing with large volumes of data, uncertainty factors, and complex interdependencies." Although multiobjective optimisation has been applied in a variety of fields, there's still a great deal of unploughed earth.

The Pioneer

Difficulty with decision-making was the reason that Kaisa ended up studying mathematics. "I was interested in so many subjects at school that I couldn't choose which university entrance exams to study for. There were no entrance exams for mathematics. So that's what I chose."

Over the years, this experienced professional has found her own circle of fellow multiobjective optimisers from all around the world, but in the beginning, she was alone. Writing her thesis was a very rocky road indeed. The professor supervising Kaisa's thesis told her that someone in the department should know something about multiobjective optimisation. The subject was left to Kaisa to study.

"There was no one at the university who could answer my questions on the subject. At one point I felt as if nothing would ever come of this, as writing my thesis was so difficult." The same thing happened all over again with her doctoral thesis.

"The University of Jyväskylä still didn't have anyone who was knowledgeable enough about multiobjective optimisation to answer my questions." The Internet wasn't an option back then, so Kaisa loaned books from around Finland and abroad, and spent quality time with journals and a photocopier so she could read hundreds of articles on the topic. She eventually joined forces with an older colleague whose research field bordered on hers. A little help was better than none at all and she learnt the value of cooperation. However, the deadline for her doctoral thesis was looming. "At that point, the only thing I wanted to do was graduate – it was the be-all and end-all."

A cold chill went through Kaisa when she sent her doctoral thesis for pre-examination. No one in the field had looked at the text. "One of the pre-examiners was impressed with my thesis and urged me to write a book." So she began writing. Once again, Kaisa had a fixed goal to aim for.

From Laxenburg to Jyväskylä

The late 1990s were kind to Kaisa; she had enough work and competition for funding wasn't as tough as it is now. Nokia was booming, and a colleague tried to entice her to work for the firm. But Kaisa wanted to study the things she was interested in and, at Nokia, someone else would have had determined her path. "As a researcher, I have both academic freedom and responsibility for my own research. I can delve into the things that excite me."

The chance to delve into multiobjective optimisation led Kaisa to Austria, to the International Institute of Applied System Analysis in Laxenburg, near Vienna. Kaisa had been invited by the pre-examiner who had encouraged her to write a book. "I spent five months in a castle that had once been owned by the emperor's family. After the Second World War, Austria offered the estate as a neutral ground where researchers from East and West could meet. "

It was when she was in Laxenburg that Kaisa received the first edition of her book. She had mixed feelings about it. She was relieved to have reached her first milestone, but still nervous about a career that was only just getting off the ground. Beneath the beautiful ceiling paintings in Laxenburg, Kaisa worked as the secretary for the International Society of Multiple Criteria Decision-making and was able to promote her field on a broader spectrum. At the same time, she forged contacts that she could only have dreamed of before.

When she returned to Finland, Kaisa became a full-time researcher after being hired by the Academy of Finland; even though she only had temporary funding. Then a professorship in mathematical economics opened up at the Helsinki School of Business and Economics. One of Kaisa's doctoral thesis pre-examiners was working there, and urged her to apply for the professorship. "In my opinion, mathematical economics wasn't really my strong point. But at that time, I could have been declared competent for the position, even if I didn't get it. This would have been a good addition to my CV, so I decided to apply, even though I didn't think I'd be selected. It was the first professorship I applied for."

In the end, Kaisa ended up adding a four-year professorship in mathematical economics to her CV. After four years in Helsinki, she received her current professorship in industrial optimisation at the University of Jyväskylä. But before taking up a permanent position in Jyväskylä, there was also a transitional phase during which she worked part-time at both universities and then continued doing two jobs, sailing between the University of Jyväskylä and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Optimised Solutions

In practice, multiobjective optimisation uses mathematical modelling in which the problem at hand is converted into machine language – first into a mathematical problem and then into a computational model. Kaisa and her research team then link these models to an appropriate optimisation method. A variety of simulators and computer programmes can be used to insert the required values into optimisation software that helps decision-makers find solutions that best suit their preferences.

"We've developed highly interactive systems in which decision-makers don't need to handle too much information at once. Making decisions takes enough cognitive capacity in itself. The important thing is for decision-makers to learn about the various interdependencies and their own preferences, in order to see what kinds of solutions are achievable and how they may need to alter their preferences."

All Kinds of Fields Offer Opportunities for Optimisation.

"For example, we've optimised radiotherapy dosage, that is, how much radiation you can give without destroying the healthy tissue surrounding a tumour." Kaisa's team has also optimised the design and functionality of a paper machine; forest management planning; wastewater treatment operations; companies' inventory management; groundwater denitrification; and the design and functionality of a wide range of equipment in general.

"It's our job to spread the word about optimisation. There's an ever-increasing need for optimisation these days, as better decisions are required in the face of tougher competition – not to mention our need to use resources wisely." Optimisation software enables decision-makers to create a balance between different goals and make considered, well-informed decisions. "For example, when planning forest management, you can take wood sales, forest produce, biodiversity, endangered species and carbon dioxide reserves into balanced consideration."

Seeing the world through new eyes

One beautiful day four years ago, the soon-to-be rector of the University of Jyväskylä phoned Kaisa. "He called and asked whether he could speak to me confidentially. I wondered what I'd done wrong now."

The rector asked Kaisa to be vice rector. She faced a difficult decision. "I still had an employment contract in Stockholm. Being vice rector would tie me completely to Jyväskylä. But the chance to see the world through new eyes was very tempting." Kaisa made a considered decision to take up the position of vice rector at the University of Jyväskylä. She would spend 60 per cent of her time as vice rector and 40 per cent as a professor. Being vice rector involves all sorts of meetings to promote research, secure research opportunities, and develop infrastructures and doctoral training.

As a professor, Kaisa has to prepare for projects, that is, obtain external funding for her research team. She also supervises PhD students, helps researchers, and does as much of her own research as she can with Finnish and, in particular, foreign colleagues. Kaisa still has just over a year of her five-year term as vice rector left – and she hasn't stopped for a moment during the last few years.

You can hear the passion in her voice when Kaisa talks about her research topics. Unlike when she was writing her doctoral thesis, Kaisa now has an international support network and, of course, her own research team around her at the University of Jyväskylä. "I spent four years as the chair of the International Society of Multiple Criteria Decision-making, which has 2,200 members from about 100 countries. They come from a great variety of backgrounds – engineers, economists, mathematicians, and a broad range of professionals in different application areas."

Kaisa has personally trained the members of her team. "I don't have time to do a lot of research these days, but I still have a feel for the research field. This helps me as vice rector, as I have day-to-day experience of how major plans are reflected in practice." Doing two jobs at once requires rapid decision-making. Luckily, Kaisa can optimise the alternatives almost instinctively. "Occasionally, my partner makes decisions that I think are completely unoptimised. I find myself rolling my eyes, wondering how he could have reached such a conclusion. But people make decisions based on experience, feelings, and their own values."

We wish Professor Kaisa Miettinen all the best. May she continue to keep her pair of eyes forever new so that she will continue to find 'magic' in life and on this Universe which is what not only Finland but also the entire humanion and the world so desperately needs. ω.

Images: Vapa Media:University of Jyväskylä 


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Professor Dr Alice Roberts: A Mind at Liberty in the Hall of Eternal Learning Whom No One Could Box in

|| June 05: 2016 || ά. She is many a thing and many a talent combined: no one can box her in for she has set out the course of her being's map, outlining all that she wants to be: she wants to keep on learning and gathering the candles that she is able to get lit up with what she has learnt and take them and set them out in the dark so that wherever she is reaching there are left a lot of candles burning and illuminating the darkness. For lights keep on going and cannot help but illumine the darkness. We are are speaking of Professor Dr Alice Roberts.

She is one and the only one  and no other like her exists. She is no one's average physician, nor is she a predictable average professor nor is she just an author or this 'logist' or that 'tian'. She is that what a human mind sees itself capable of being, doing, creating, learning and becoming and she has been becoming all that what she had envisioned her as becoming and she continues to become and she becomes more in more and in much.

And when one reads her books one would see she speaks with a voice that is as clear as the transparent water flowing in a spring over pebbles in a sunny day. She speaks and she illumines without pretence or showing off. She speaks not to 'promote' a point of view but what is being presented to and she presents it with a view to inspire and encourage the reader being able to take her view-point, perspective so that the reader could be as astounded, as fascinated, as interested and as much joy-strung about the subject matter that she is presenting as she herself is. This quality comes from that sense of being at Liberty for there is no end of learning and none whatever in getting wonder-wounded at all times. Once one as Professor Alice Roberts, decides to walk on the paths and passages of learning and do only that one realises that one has found that eternal spring of joy from where one can only take as much and as long as one wants and gives it out to as many and as long as one continues to be on that path and one keeps of getting enriched and keeps on enriching us.

Dr Roberts could get a job simply doing nothing but drawing for a publication. A drawing by Alice Roberts from her book The Incredible Human Journey

And on this path one finds out with great joy that just because one gets to know how something works does not take away the 'magic' of how things work, the joy of seeing all. And that, one keeps alive by all means, that what constitutes the 'eternal child' in all of us that simply never ages and always gets fascinated by it. And that joy and that state of mind of being an eternal child is the most beautiful state a human being can reach.

To illustrate this point we will use the following images

Look at this rose and do you not feel astounded by its majestic beauty that has been produced from almost invisible pollen in which it has more invisible components in the form of its genome from the plant that converted through all the biochemistry and molecular biology and physiological, genetical, chemico-electrical processes that are involved from, the earth all that different materials and elements and from the air, the sun absolutely in the right manner and in absolute precision in the right proportions and made everything possible so that it could produce this astounding exposition, called a rose! Just because we know, and yet, we must keep our arrogance buried deep inside the depth of the earth, we know very little, does not mean we cannot and we should cease to get astounded and inspired by looking at this 'magic'! Look at the DNA strands invisible and from there came the 'prospect' of this magnificent rose.

And this is the state of mind that one finds residing in this mind of Professor Dr Alice. There are millions of us out there who are phd-holders of cynicism and a great deal of them you would meet and find in the so called world of the 'learned' who are full of themselves and do everything in their power to portray a sense absolute but desert like, brick like arrogance who would say, well, it is just a rose, it is just a DNA picture but there are not many Professor Alice Robertses and in our judgment there is only and the only one that she is. None there is like her. And she does keep that state of mind and because of that richness of that mind she enriches all of us by her infinite enthusiasm, passionate belief in keeping on learning and keeping on burning more candles and spread the lights and joys of that wonders of sciences and branches of knowledge.

Those who have heard of her, and many, many around the country and around the world of learning in the world have and they have fallen in love with her giant exposition of a mind and its beautiful array of interests, its joys in learning and its fascination, its wonderment and its thrill in getting into new territories and frontiers of knowledge and finding things out. What is astonishing is her love and passion for both learning and in the fact that she is determined to take that sense of wonder, sense of learning and loving emerging into the aura of lights that learning light up outside of campuses and classrooms and into the wider world, to the public.

Her passion is beautiful, her style is catchy and her enthusiasm is engaging and natural. When she speaks she speaks like one who is just walking off the Elysium and is filled with the sense of joy as to what she has heard and learnt inside that sanctum of learning. A mind that is at Liberty at the gate of learning and a mind that simply can never be boxed in. She is a this, she is a that and she is this or that other and she is much and more: but she simply cannot be boxed in. She follows the tradition that the world and humanity have moved away from to their own absolute harm, the tradition of minds like Laura Bassi, like Avicenna, Pierre Curie, Maria Sklodowska Curie what is known as being polymaths. When a human mind realises its infinite 'power' in the 'miniscule' of its 'insignificant'  being in the wonder-filled universe is nothing but its capacity to learn more and do more and create more and love more. For in only these the mind is infinite in its expressions of becoming. And that mind simply cannot be boxed.

And that is the mind that Professor Alice Roberts has chosen to seek to fathom, form and become and she is continually going forward and further and she will carry on delving into wider and deeper branches of knowledge and creativity. She will find time to draw more, she will find time to research and write books about music and the physicians, sciences, medicine and art, she will venture into other branches of sciences sciences for she will continue to need to gather soul-food that will drive her onwards on the path of other fields of learning and she will get involved in painting and making music and she will continue to astound herself and us as she continues to enrich us.

May be, she will spend some time studying Geology and see the 'physiology' of the earth and compare it with human physiology and find similarities between earth's seismological functions and the human heart's. May be, she will bring in wonders as to whether, as it does to the ocean, the moon affects the human heart? She might wonder whether like the ocean it does or it does not.  May be, she will get a look at an atom, a human cell, a neuron, a photon, a second, a note, a millimetre, a square millimetre, a seed, a grain of sand, a grain of wheat, a grain of rice, a droplet of water, a microbe, a virus, a bacterium and  and look at them not as how she has done or learnt and thought about them but with an eye like Schopenhauer or Socrates or Avicenna or Hannah Arendt and she might find the universe is compressed in them that keeps on unfolding wonders which is like the lock and the key for it is the same lock and the same key yet no two locks can be opened with the same key: except our locks and keys do not have infinite possibilities of combinations but the Universe does. And in the process she might find another branch of new science. Who knows but the mind that she is she will continue to become for she will need to go on this path of learning to acquire 'soul-food' and along the way Professor Dr Alice Roberts will continue to enrich all of us by her endeavours.

Dr Roberts is such a mind. And therefore, you find she is a doctor of medicine and a professor of branches of the discipline and yet she writes non-fiction books with the precision, presentation and style as good as any other worthy authors and she makes television programmes and takes 'learning' on walk and she reaches people in ways that no university could ever do.

The culture of specialism is counter productive and in effect, in our opinion, it harms human growth and the quality of life, living, creating, doing, being, giving, receiving and contributing to the betterment of humanity on this earth by human minds and consequently human mind suffers a great deal for this 'state of poverty'. A mind that keeps on learning is a living tree and it keeps on growing and responding to the earth and keep on producing flowers and fruits and joins in the turning of nature's seasonal march past and take part in the symphony of that invisible world and contributes to it as much as it receives from it. When a human mind stops learning it's like the tree has decided not to live anymore because it simply would die out if it stops feeding itself from the outer world or that a piece of earth decides to freeze into a brick. Like the tree the only way to know whether it is living or not is to check whether it is growing. A learning mind grows like a living tree and nothing is more alive that it is. And Professor Alice Robert is such a human mind of a tree.

Professor Alice Roberts is such a mind that has chosen not become a dead tree, not to become a brick and the result is: astonishing and in that who is the happiest of being:this happiness has nothing to do with what people would call happiness which is nothing but comfort: It is Alice Roberts, the mind who lives within her physiognomy. And who benefits most from her being all that she has become and is becoming through her constant and continual learning: not Professor Alice Roberts as much as us, the wider society and all the branches of knowledge she is contributing to.

Professor Dr Alice Roberts is an anatomist, anthropologist and Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. She is also a broadcaster and has presented several landmark BBC series including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us, Ice Age Giants and The Celts. She has also presented several Horizon programmes, and occasionally presents Costing The Earth on Radio 4. She has written seven popular science and archaeology books. Her book about embryology and evolution, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize in 2015.

Professor Alice Roberts says about teaching "One of the best things about teaching is that you are constantly coming across new points of view, teaching people who are pushing you to examine your own ideas"

She is the University's Professor of Public Engagement in Science. Alice, who regularly appears as a science presenter on TV programmes including Coast, Time Team and Horizon, as well as The Incredible Human Journey, Don’t Die Young, Origins of Us and Prehistoric Autopsy, joined the University on 1 February, 2012.


Alice carries out a range of academic duties which include teaching first year medical students, second year Biosciences and intercalating medics along with supervising PHD students. As part of Alice’s role as Professor of Public Engagement she helps to promote the University’s academics and their research to the general public, and inspiring people about science.

Professor Alice Roberts says, "Science is so important to our economy, to politics and education, but perhaps more than anything, I'm keen to promote science as an integral part of our culture."

Our wish for her to become a University of Her own University, not private but funded by all the UK Universities and funding bodies including all governments of the UK and leave the academia and take her University to the world. To schools and colleges and university students outside the classrooms, the youth centres, the community centres, the arts centres, the art galleries, the tenants halls, the forums and seminars and symposia and any other place where people gather and festivals and fetes and conferences and enthuse people into seeking to change the culture and make learning something as sought after as anything there ever was so sought after. Inspire young people to go for higher education, inspire younger generations, particularly, young girls and women to get into all branches of sciences and mathematics and create an upheaval in the country and the world. There are many who can do what she is doing at the Universities but no one can do what she does and can do to seek and do and achieve all that we have written in our wish list.

Professor Dr Alice Robert who is not just a credit to this wonderful country, she is a great credit and contribution of this country to the entire humankind and the world and she is a shining light to the women of the world and to all human beings. She is a clarion call to all human beings: to keep on learning so that without being 'religious' you have the power to simply say: Let there be light and there shall be light. ω.

Images of Professor Dr Alice Roberts belongs to her. The DNA image: The University of Southampton. All others: The Humanion

Readmore at the University of Birmingham


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A Momentary Mindfulness

Harris Georgiades, Minister of Finance of Cyprus and Jutta Pauliina Urpilainen, Minister for Finance of Finland: a Momentary Mindfulness. Brussels: 09.07.2013

Image: The European Union

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The Profile

Aowen Jin: An Artist Whose Art Arises Out of Her Thoughts as the Light She Works with Arises Out of the Darkness

|| May 29: 2016 || ά. Aowen Jin is a Chinese-born British artist and social commentator. She was named by The Times as “one of tomorrow's great artists”. Her exhibitions frequently attract critical acclaim in the media, and her artworks have been collected by Her Majesty the Queen, the Horniman Museum, and many other high profile organisations and individuals. She works between China and Britain.

Aowen was eighteen when she left China for Britain, and as the obedient ‘only child’ she initially studied Law and Economics at Durham University. Student life encouraged her to express her individuality and creativity, and it did not take long for her to rediscover her childhood passion for art.

Aowen being part of her art

While studying fine art degree at Goldsmith's College, Aowen was offered a number of important commissions. Her work was selected for Her Majesty's Eightieth Birthday and now resides in The Queen's private collection. During her studies she also became the youngest and first foreign art teacher at Holloway Prison, the largest female prison in Europe.

After graduating in 2006, instead of jumping straight into art practice, Aowen chose to take time to contemplate her artistic direction and travelled extensively. She slowly shaped her art career around being both an outsider and an insider in Chinese society. Her unique position offers fresh perspectives on the country's rapidly evolving culture.

Her exhibitions are frequently covered in the press, including BBC Radio 4, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Chinese Central Television:CCTV. With a unique understanding of both Chinese and Western culture, Aowen is regularly an insightful social commentator for current affairs organisations such as the BBC, CCTV and Al Jazeera. She also acts as an investment consultant for banks and corporations, helping them to maximise their cultural potential in China. This has lead her to co-found the creative tech startup Chicmi - an multilingual app which helps shoppers to discover London's best fashion offers.

Helping more people to achieve their dreams, Aowen frequently gives talks and mentoring sessions both in universities such as Oxford University and within organisations such as the South Bank Centre.

Aowen on Her Art

Midlight Birmingham City Centre byAowen Jin: Image: Paul Painter

I call my art “Microsocial Art”. By telling ordinary people's stories in my artworks, I create new insights into the contemporary society we inhabit. For me, art is a tool for social studies. It provides me with the perfect means to explore and witness other lives, and the ideal medium to communicate my critical thinking, which challenges a variety of social issues.

I am fascinated by the question of ‘why people live the way they do?’. I often spend years living within a community or embracing a subculture, along with conducting surveys, reading, and debating with academics. This is a vital part of my thought process – it provides me with both the knowledge and the time to develop strong critical thinking.

The critical thinking behind each project is the most important part of my art. It requires me to experiment with all artistic disciplines in order to best represent my ideas. Therefore, I practise a wide range of art forms such as painting, film, installation, performance art etc.

My art is always changing. I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and reinventing my methodology constantly. I am not interested in creating perfect works, but instead, I delight in producing more vigilant, youthful and stimulating ones. ω.

Read the Feature about Aowen Jin in The Humanion, posted on December 08, 2015 With Aowen Jin's Midlight Birmingham City Centre Lights Up for Christmas

Aowen Jin at the Museums at Night

Images: Unless otherwise stated, they belong to Aowen Jin


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The Profile: Dr Ramya Mohan: Where the Mind is Without Fear
















|| May 12: 2016 || Dr Ramya Mohan is many an expression of a mind: of a human being, of a woman, of a mother, of a psychiatrist, of singer, of an artist who is seeking to become, seeking to create, seeking to make sense and heal as well as to locate and sing the light that feeds the wonders of this life on this Universe which feels so much easily 'fathomable' yet it keeps on escaping all our efforts and initiatives while it keeps us absolutely spell-bound to its majesty, mystery and magnificence. One simply cannot put up a jacket and just say to oneself, well, let me make it a 'snail-life-shell-for-life'. We have used a line from one of Rabindranath Tagore's poems: where the mind is without fear in the title of this Profile.

Once a human mind reaches that light and realises its infinite potential that is continually fed by the 'particles' and 'mini-particles' of lights of wisdom that one keeps on gathering because one keeps on asking and seeking that mind reaches the shore of liberty where it is, for the first time, at absolutely liberty: fear does not exist for that mind anymore for that mind has found itself at home in the Universe. And that mind is the one that a great mind seeks to become and from that they offer their luminous light to the world. Dr Ramya Mohan is on the track of that journey of becoming such a mind.

Lord Ganesh: Dr Ramya Mohan

And The Humanion presents her with this hope, with this faith and with this conviction that she will continue on that path, on that journey with carrying both the earth of her sciences and the skies of her arts and combine them onto the 'sphere' that she makes of with her imagination, with her ingenuity, with her creativity, with her rationality, with her arts and with her humanity and let the world and humanity become richer for her, for her works, for her sciences, for her arts and for her being an artist.

Let there be nothing but that which speaks the truth, that which sings beauty and which does nothing to harm but seeks all to heal, enlighten and support. May she continue to 'sing' and continue to be the person that she is: a mind without fear. 

Dr Ramya Mohan (1976) is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist with the NHS, where she has been since 2008. Ramya is mother to two daughters, Sanskriti and Mrinaalini who keep her extremely busy. Married to Dr Hosahalli Mohan, a Consultant Nuclear Medicine Physician, Ramya’s expertise extend beyond that you’d expect from a Psychiatrist.

Ramya’s expertise in mental health is unquestionable. Trained in both India and the UK at world-renowned tertiary centres of excellence, Dr Mohan specialises in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is an expert within Neurodevelopmental disorders, Developmental Neuropsychiatry and Psychopharmacology.

Women of the World: Dr Ramya Mohan

Additionally, Dr Mohan is a highly trained musician and artist and heads up a number of projects that aim to bring the arts together with the mind, to help benefit people’s mental health. One of which is iMANAS London. iMANAS is an organisation dedicated to harnessing the mind’s potential by integrating medicine, the arts and neuroscience. iMANAS supports the logical power of neuroscience using up-to-date evidence-based research, as well as therapeutic creativity and artistic expression.

Where the Mind is Without Fear: Rabindranath Tagore

The title of The Profile refers to this poem

Dr Mohan travels the world as an invited guest speaker to discuss her work, as the founder and director of iMANAS, as well as a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist. Dr Mohan is a regular leading expert contributor with health, medical and parenting publications discussing child psychology and psychiatry. She has been published in well-regarded peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences on mental health. Her topic ‘the role of music and non-musical techniques in self-guided emotional regulation’ was commended as ‘innovative, original, ground-breaking and much needed’ at a recent international Psychiatric Congress.

Dr Mohan’s artwork has been displayed in exhibitions in both the UK and India, with her most recent exhibition being hosted at the MP Birla Millennium Art Gallery in West London. Dr Mohan’s art draws upon her Eastern roots, whilst integrating her working life in the West. The art is inspired by Dr Mohan’s everyday life, situations and people she meets and her traditional Indian art collection has received special commendation at the Liverpool Centre of Arts for young artists.

A formally trained musician in Carnatic and Hindustani classical music, the two different forms of Indian classical music, Dr Mohan firmly believes in the healing and therapeutic power of music and incorporates this approach into her medical practice, in order to promote recovery from illness and aid personality development in children and young people.

Dr Mohan has performed her music to accolades at various prestigious venues across the UK and India, including the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Milapfest. In May 2016, Dr Mohan will release her innovative, self-guided therapeutic technique ‘CAPE: Creative Arts for the Processing of Emotions’. This novel technique has a basis in her Neuroscience research on music, emotions and the brain and brings together the best of Eastern and Western music and well-evidenced therapeutic techniques, like mindfulness, to support self-guided emotional processing and regulation. Dr Mohan has composed the vocals and lent her voice to this project; a collaborative effort with well-known musicians and linguists. Dr Mohan has also turned music composer, lyricist and singer for a contemporary music project in progress, looking at the most oft quoted, powerful and complex emotion ‘love' and the mind’s take on the various facets to it.

Following the success of her work in the art, music and Neuroscience arenas, Dr Mohan has been invited by the cultural wing of the Indian High Commission, Ministry of external affairs (The Nehru Centre, Mayfair), to talk about 'Science, Art and Creativity: A mosaic of the human mind ' on the 19th of May 2016, 6 pm onwards. At this event, she will be launching her innovative Medicine meets Music project (CAPE). Her solo art exhibition will run in parallel all week (16-20 May). On the 7th May 2016, Ramya released her debut single ‘Maaya by Molten Waves’ which she has written, performed and produced.

The single is accompanied with a music video, entitled ‘Molten Waves’, watch here.

Dr Ramya Mohan's Solo Exhibition May 16-20 at the Nehru Centre

The Elleesium: ‽: 240416 Dr Ramya Mohan's Solo Exhibition May 16-20 at the Nehru Centre


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The Profile: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: A Life Seeking to Gather Us Around the Candle of Love

Image: Tony Isbitt/The Templeton Prize

|| May 08: 2016: The Templeton Prize || Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth who has spent decades bringing spiritual insight to the public conversation through mass media, popular lectures and more than two dozen books, has been awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize. Rabbi Sacks, 67, first gained attention by leading what many consider the revitalization of Britain's Jewish community during his service as Chief Rabbi from 1991 to 2013, a feat he accomplished in the face of dwindling congregations and growing secularization across Europe.

During his tenure he catalysed a network of organizations that introduced a Jewish focus in areas including business, women's issues and education, and urged British Jewry to turn outward to share the ethics of their faith with the broader community. Central to his message is appreciation and respect of all faiths, with an emphasis that recognising the values of each is the only path to effectively combat the global rise of violence and terrorism. In his most recent book, Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence, Rabbi Sacks writes: "Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practiced cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.

When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamor of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What he says at such times is: 'Not in My Name.'" He also boldly defends the compatibility of religion and science, a response to those who consider them necessarily separate and distinct. "Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean," he wrote in his book, The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning.

The Templeton Prize, valued at £1.1 million (about $1.5 million or €1.4 million), is one of the world's largest annual awards given to an individual and honors a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. The announcement was made at a news conference today at the British Academy in London by the John Templeton Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The Prize anchors the Foundation's international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to human purpose and ultimate reality.

That catalyst includes presenting each year's Prize Laureate with a series of what the foundation calls Big Questions, a tradition that echoes the legacy of founder Sir John Templeton, the legendary investor and philanthropist who sought to foster and recognize spiritual progress. In videos on the Prize website, Rabbi Sacks tackles many issues, including the recent spread of religious violence which he argues has been sparked by the export of Western secularization.

Unfortunately, he says, that secularization has failed to provide guidance on core issues of human identity, creating a vacuum being filled by religious fundamentalism that often stokes hatred. The parallel rise of social media has engulfed an ever larger swath of the population, especially youth.

The solution, he contends, is to match the violence with "a message of love as powerful as the message being delivered by the preachers of hate," adding, "it really has to speak to young people and we have to use the same social networking, the same technology as the extremists and we've got to do it as well and better than they do."

In remarks prepared for today's press conference, Rabbi Sacks says: "Religion, or more precisely, religions, should have a voice in the public conversation within the societies of the West, as to how to live, how to construct a social order, how to enhance human dignity, honour human life, and indeed protect life as a whole …. Each religion, and each strand within each religion, will have to undertake this work, because if religion is not part of the solution it will assuredly be a large part of the problem as voices become ever more strident, and religious extremists ever more violent."

Jennifer Simpson, Chair of the John Templeton Foundation Board of Trustees, notes that Rabbi Sacks epitomizes future-mindedness, a characteristic revered by her grandfather, Sir John Templeton and father, the late Foundation president and chairman Dr. Jack Templeton. "After 9/11, Rabbi Sacks saw the need for a response to the challenge posed by radicalization and extremism and he did so with dignity and grace," she notes. "He saw the need for the strengthening of ethics in the marketplace long before the financial crisis."

She adds, "He has always been ahead of his time and, thanks to his leadership, the world can look to the future with hope, something we are very much in need of right now."

Image: Blake Ezra /The Templeton Prize

In nominating Rabbi Sacks for the Prize, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey wrote: "There are public intellectuals and religious leaders, but few who are both at the same time. There are academic scholars and popular communicators, but he is both, reaching out far beyond his own constituency through the spoken, written and broadcast word."

Rabbi Sacks joins a distinguished group of 45 former recipients, including Mother Teresa, who received the inaugural Prize award in 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1983), and philosopher Charles Taylor (2007). Last year's Prize winner was Canadian theologian Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers. The 2014 Laureate was Czech priest and philosopher Tomáš Halík, following Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, in 2013 and the Dalai Lama in 2012.

Rabbi Sacks was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 and awarded a Life Peerage in the British House of Lords in 2009. He has been married to the former Elaine Taylor since 1970. They have three children and eight grandchildren.

He will be formally awarded the Templeton Prize at a public ceremony in London on May 26.

Jonathan Sacks was born on March 08, 1948 in London, the eldest of four children of Louis, a businessman who sold cloth in London's East End, and Louisa "Libby" Frumkin, who worked in her family's wine business. His parents instilled in him devotion to education, Judaism and wider society, a blend of secularism and religion that would become the template of his lifelong pursuits.

He attended Saint Mary's Primary School in the Finchley area of North London, and, from 1959 to 1966, Christ's College School in Finchley. Although a Christian institution, half of the students were Jewish yet none of the school's teachers were, so he helped organize and lead assemblies for the Jewish students. He later credited this role as instrumental in preparing for a life of outreach. The teachers' respect for his faith also proved influential in his understanding that difference does not have to mean division.

Sacks entered Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, in 1966 and studied for a philosophy degree focused on Moral Science, a discipline that applies scientific methodology to the understanding of morality.

A visit to the U.S. in 1968 led to life-changing encounters with Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik at Yeshiva University in New York, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who urged him to seek rabbinic ordination. Soloveitchik enlightened him to the ability of Judaism to not only withstand the challenges of modern thought but to thrive within that environment. He was influenced by Schneerson's emphasis on sharing the lessons and values of Jewish faith not just with Jews but with all of humanity. He later summed up these encounters as: "The Rebbe challenged me to lead. Rabbi Soloveitchik challenged me to think."

Sacks was awarded 1st Class Honours Degree in Moral Science (Philosophy) from Gonville & Caius in 1969 and was awarded a Rhonda Research Fellowship in Moral Philosophy, studying under Prof. Bernard Williams.

In 1970 he married Elaine Taylor, a radiographer (no longer practising). They have three children: Joshua (b. 1975), Dina (b. 1977), and Gila (b. 1982).

Sacks earned a masters in Moral Philosophy from New College in 1972. He was appointed Lecturer in Jewish philosophy at Jews' College, London, in 1973, and received rabbinic ordination from Jews' College and Yeshiva Etz Chaim, London, in 1976.

He was appointed Rabbi of Golders Green Synagogue in North West London in 1978, and, in 1983, Rabbi of Marble Arch Synagogue in Central London. He received a Ph.D. in Collective Responsibility from the philosophy and theology department of King's College London in 1981, and became Principal of Jews' College in 1984, serving until 1990.

In 1990, Sacks delivered the BBC Reith Lectures on "The Persistence of Faith," challenging the view that religious faith in Europe was in a state of terminal decline.

In 1991, Sacks was named Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, the sixth since the role was formalized in 1845, and the tenth since the office was created in 1704. He followed in the footsteps of Lord (Immanuel) Jakobovits, who had won the Templeton Prize earlier that year.

He called for a "Decade of Renewal" aimed at revitalizing "British Jewry's great powers of creativity." During the next ten years, he established a set of initiatives to foster this renewal, including the Jewish Association for Business Ethics, Women's Review, which tackled issues such as the role of women in prayer, and Jewish Continuity, a foundation focused on maintaining Jewish identity.

In 2001, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Hon. Rev. George Carey, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at Lambeth Palace, only the second time such an honor was bestowed upon a Jewish leader. He began his second decade as Chief Rabbi by calling for "Jewish responsibility," a renewed commitment to the ethical dimension of Judaism.

One of Sacks' most notable books, The Dignity of Difference, was published in 2002, one year after the 9/11 bombings. It was awarded the Grawemeyer Prize for Religion (USA) in 2004. The Jonathan Sacks Haggada, a fresh take on the text for the Passover Seder, was published in 2003. In 2004 he began a weekly commentary on Torah readings in the publication, Covenant and Conversation.

Sacks was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours "for services to the Community and to Inter-faith Relations." The Authorised Daily Prayer Book was published in 2006 and became the leading prayer book for Jewish communities in the UK.

He addressed a plenary session of the Lambeth Conference in 2008, the first rabbi so honored. In 2009, he was awarded a Life Peerage in the House of Lords where he sits on the cross benches as Baron Sacks of Aldgate in the City of London.

Covenant and Conversation: Genesis, the first in a series of books from his weekly Torah commentaries, received a National Jewish Book Award (USA) in 2009. The Koren Sacks Siddur, also published in 2009, has become a leading prayer book for Jewish communities worldwide.

In 2010, Sacks delivered the keynote welcome address on the occasion of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain.

The Koren Sacks Rosh Hashana Mahzor was published in 2011 and The Koren Sacks Yom Kippur Mahzor followed in 2012. For the UK, this represented the first time in a century that a new set of Mahzorim (festival prayer books) had been published.

Image: The Templeton Prize

In June 2013, at a gala dinner in advance of the completion of his time as Chief Rabbi, Sacks was honored by the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales as guest of honor, together with video messages from UK Prime Minister Rt Hon David Cameron MP and the three previous prime ministers (Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major), The Most Reverend and Rt Hon Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the two previous Archbishops of Canterbury (Lord Williams, Lord Carey), and The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster. At the dinner, HRH The Prince of Wales said: "As a valued adviser, your guidance on any given issue has never failed to be of practical value and deeply grounded in the kind of wisdom that is increasingly hard to come by…. Your counsel reminds me of that of Solomon. 'Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love.'"

Sacks stepped down as Chief Rabbi on September 1, 2013, and was succeeded by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. That fall he was appointed Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University; Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University, New York; and Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King's College, London.

Sacks' most recent book, Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence became a top-ten Sunday Times bestseller in 2015. A whiteboard animation video on Jewish identity, "Why I Am a Jew," also created in 2015, has logged more than one million views online.

The Templeton Prize: The Templeton Prize each year honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Established in 1972 by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the Prize is a cornerstone of the John Templeton Foundation’s international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The monetary value of the Prize is set always to exceed the Nobel Prizes to underscore Templeton's belief that benefits from discoveries that illuminate spiritual questions can be quantifiably more vast than those from other worthy human endeavours.

Everyone is a potential nominator for the Templeton Prize. Visit  for nomination details.

For further information on Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, visit his website


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The Profile

Professor Christopher Walker : The Life in Astronomy

Ballooning Expectations: New Approach for Astronomy

Innovative thinker, Christopher Walker, Professor of Astronomy and also an Associate
Professor of Optical Sciences and Electrical Engineering at the University of Arizona
in Tucson. Credits: Christopher Walker/NIAC

|| May 04: 2016 || Decades ago when he was in grade school, Christopher Walker stepped outside with his father to see the NASA all-aluminized Echo balloon cross the nighttime sky in Earth’s orbit. That early space spectacle stuck with him, he explains, and unknowingly, was a reflection on his future.

Fast forward several decades. Today, Walker is a professor of Astronomy and an associate professor of Optical Sciences and Electrical Engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Walker’s winning NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) Phase II proposal in 2014 investigated the prospect for a 33-foot - suborbital large balloon reflector, or LBR for short.

Scanning the universe

Looking up from a height of some 120,000 feet above the Earth, the sensor-laden LBR can serve as a telescope. Walker’s telescope would consist of an inflatable, half-aluminized spherical reflector deployed within a much larger, carrier stratospheric balloon, about the size of a football field. The outer balloon would double as a protective structure or radome once it is positioned.

Looking down and out, the LBR’s mission could involve Earth remote sensing by carrying out precision looks at the outer edge – or limb – of our planet and studying the atmosphere and greenhouse gases, Walker says. LBR has the capacity to become a hub to support telecommunication activities too, he adds.

But the looking up can clearly provide an astronomical plus. That is, by combining suborbital balloon and telescope technologies, this 33-foot class telescope would be free of roughly 99 percent of the Earth’s atmospheric absorption – perfect for scanning the universe in the far-infrared.

A preliminary illustration of a 20-30 meter telescope, the space-based Large Balloon Reflector called the TeraHertz Space Telescope (TST)
for probing the evolution of the universe through cosmic time. Credits: Christopher Walker

Addressing key unknowns

Walker is a supporter of NIAC and its mission to nurture visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions with the creation of breakthroughs—radically better or entirely new aerospace concepts—while engaging America’s innovators and entrepreneurs as partners.

“There was no place other than NIAC within NASA to get this off the ground,” Walker admits. “To be honest, at first I was afraid to share the idea with colleagues because it may have sounded so crazy. You need a program within NASA that will actually look at the insane stuff…and NIAC is it.”

Walker’s early NIAC work centered on bringing the LBR concept to a technology readiness level of at least 2 or 3 in maturity, as well as addressing key unknowns, assumptions, risks, and paths forward.

Walker is now hard at work parlaying his NIAC Phase II research into development of a “space-based” version of LBR.

This space-based adaptation is dubbed the TeraHertz Space Telescope (TST). If deployed, the TST would be a telescope for probing the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time.


TST would operate at wavelengths longer than the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), but due to its size, will have the same or better angular resolution and sensitivity.

The orbital version would shed the outer balloon, just leaving an inflated sphere. “You’re not fighting gravity to make it spherical. It makes it structurally easier to achieve very high tolerance of ‘sphere-isity,’” Walker adds. “In space the sphere can be radiatively cooled to very low temperatures, allowing a better view of the distant universe.”

While buoyed by the TST idea and other possible applications, Walker is quick to add that technology readiness levels remain to be grappled with. Furthermore, he’s fully aware that dollar resources are precious.

“This concept is different from the more traditional, costly approaches of building a telescope for space. It’s a tough road ahead, but we’ll keep pushing forward,” Walker says. “I’m hopeful I can get people motivated and excited about the concept…to think outside the box,” he explains.

( Editor: Loura Hall: NASA)


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Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim: To Speak for the Mother Earth at the UN Climate Change Agreement Signing Ceremony

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an Indigenous woman from the Mbororo pastoralist community
of Chad, is the speaker selected to represent civil society at the April  22 signing ceremony of
the historic climate agreement that was reached in Paris last December. Image: UN

||April 21, 2016 || Hindou Oumarou is an Indigenous Mbororo woman who is to speak at Paris Agreement signing ceremony on April 22. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is from the Mbororo pastoralist community of Chad, is the speaker selected to represent civil society at the 22 April signing ceremony of the historic climate agreement that was reached in Paris last December. A record number of countries are expected to sign the agreement at a ceremony hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters on April 22, which is also International Mother Earth Day.

“For all Indigenous Peoples, from any corner of the world, livelihoods are linked to natural resources, for our food and medicine, for everything, so if there are floods or droughts, the impact is greater for us,” said Ms. Ibrahim, who is Coordinator of the Association des Femmes Peules Autochtones du Tchad:AFPAT, a community-based organization working for the rights and environmental protection of the indigenous Peule women and people of Chad. “Climate change threatens our basic rights, our cultural values, and the very survival of these communities.” she added.

32 years old, Ms. Ibrahim belongs to the Peule Mbororo people, a group of an estimated 250,000 nomads engaged in subsistence farming in the Sahel region. Having grown up in a pastoralist community, she knows the challenges that climate change poses to indigenous Peoples, but also the contributions that traditional and indigenous knowledge can make to mitigation and adaptation. “Traditional knowledge and climate science are both critically important for building resilience of rural communities to cope with climate change, and Indigenous Peoples are ready to share their knowledge to help to mitigate and adapt,” she explained.

Ms. Ibrahim co-developed a project in Chad on participation of indigenous herders in the national adaptation platforms and other national processes to ensure peace, livelihoods and biological conservation in the face of worsening climate instability.

“We developed 3D mapping as tools to manage the environment sustainably and give voice to Indigenous Peoples and local communities,” she highlighted. “This project helps to highlight women’s voices and knowledge on climate adaptation and mitigation. It also helps to solve conflict connected to resource use, as tensions increase when resources disappear.”

For the past ten years, Ms. Ibrahim has been a regular participant at meetings of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and a Co-Chair of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC).

“You cannot talk about climate change without talking about the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” she emphasized. “The Paris Agreement gives hope to all of those who are fighting for these rights, but now it’s time to transform hope into concrete change.”

For the speaking role at the opening session of the April 22 ceremony, the Secretary-General sought applications from individuals in developing countries who could share a compelling story of an innovation or solution that is delivering tangible results on climate change mitigation or adaptation.

The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) facilitated a transparent process for civil society representatives to apply for a speaking role. The Selection Committee reviewed more than 200 applications.

Ms. Ibrahim speaks French, English and Arabic.


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The Profile: Zaina Erhaim: She Who Fights the Guns with Her Pen
















|| April 18, 2016 || Zaina Erhaim was one of the recipient of the Index Magazine's Freedom of Expression Awards 2016 which was announced last week in London. The Awards were presented in four categories: arts, journalism, digital activism and campaigning.  She has been awarded for her work in journalism in the war-torn Syria. While journalists and citizens fled, Erhaim returned to her war-ravaged country and the city of Aleppo in 2013 to ensure those remaining were not forgotten. She is now one of the few female journalists braving the twin threat of violence from both Daesh and the president, Bashar al-Assad.

Erhaim has trained hundreds of journalists, many of them women, and set up independent media outlets to deliver news from one of the world’s most dangerous places. In 2015 Erhaim filmed a groundbreaking documentary, Syria’s Rebellious Women, to tell the stories of women who are helping her country survive its darkest hour. Pianist, and awards judge, James Rhodes said: “Not only is she reporting from Syria, she’s also training hundreds of other journalists to do the same. That, for me, is an immensely brave and courageous thing to be doing.”
















Erhaim said in her acceptance speech: “This award is for the journalists and citizen journalists still taking this dangerous, difficult path, sacrificing everything, playing hide and seek with death to get the stories of the Syrian people out. So, please, keep your eyes on our news, pictures and videos, because great heroes are dying to get them to you.”

Zaina Erhaim Said

While journalists and citizens fled, Syrian-native Zaina Erhaim returned to her war-ravaged country and the city of Aleppo in 2013 to ensure those remaining were not forgotten. She is now one of the few female journalists braving the twin threat of violence from both ISIS and the president, Bashar al-Assad.

Index Announces 2016 Freedom of Expression Awards Winners

















In her acceptance speech Zaina Erhaim said

I am honoured to receive this award here today. I believe this is not for Zaina as a person, but to the Syrian journalists and citizen journalists who refused to be turned into propagandists to the Assad regime, instead they chose to report the truth and the facts despite the very high price of that.

That’s why here I should be mentioning my great friends and colleagues who are greatly missed, Obaida Battal who has been kidnapped by ISIL in Aleppo for more than three years, Ossama Hassan also abducted by ISIL in Raqqa for more than 2 years. We don’t know whether they are alive or dead.

Baseel Safadi, who won this award and is still being detained in the regime’s prisons for his activism.

Hasan Azhari, who was killed by Assad forces under torture in Latakia; Basel Shehad, killed in an Assadi air strike in Homs; Wasim Al Idel, killed by a Russian strike; and sadly the list is too long to be cited. Different means of killing and killers all for one cause, and one crime: Journalism, freedom of expression, echoing the silenced voices of Syrians demanding their freedom.

Those are the ones who I believe deserve all the honouring awards in the world.

I want to give this award to the Syrians who are being terrorised by one of the worst tyrants, ISIL, international jihadists and strikes, and above all those trying to flee and are being treated as potential terrorists themselves, and are being discriminated against for demanding justice, peace and a respected life in a free, democratic country.

This award is for the journalists and citizen journalists still taking this dangerous, difficult path, sacrificing everything, playing hide and seek with death to get the stories of the Syrian people out. So please keep your eyes on our news, pictures and videos, because great heroes are dying to get them to you. Readmore

Zaina Erhaim Trains Syrian Women to Report on the War

















A Syrian-native who was studying journalism in London when war broke out in Syria in 2013, Zaina Erhaim decided to return permanently to report and train citizen journalists in the war-ravaged country. Between the violence and deadly misogyny of IS and the bombing raids of Russian allies of Assad the danger of living in the region as a female reporter is immense. However, Erhaim has trained hundreds of journalists, including many women.

After the revolution in 2011, many Syrians became citizen journalists to report the regime’s crackdown on the demonstrations. Without any background in journalism or reporting, hundreds of activists became the main source of news and information for the rest of the world. I felt a responsibility to pass the knowledge and skills I had in journalism to them, and this is the first training I did in the suburbs of Edlib. Two of the trainees passed these skills to 40 other activists, some of whom are now publishing features and reports for the Syrian media.

here were only a couple of female citizen journalists living in the rebel-held areas in the northern Syria, so I decided to offer the training to those interested in learning (unlike the men who, who were mostly already citizen journalists). I was surprised how many women were actually interested. Some are now making a living from writing for our website Damascus Bureau and other websites, which turned their conservative, closed-minded husbands from opposing to supporting their work.

Writing was the easier choice for the women interested in being citizen journalists as it could be done anonymously with no need to grab attention holding a camera in the street, but some wanted to learn.

The woman in this picture – a schoolteacher – told me: “I want to report myself for the school instead of asking for a male citizen journalist to come whenever we have an activity, and I know the women teachers would speak to me much more comfortably in an interview.”

Besides journalism, through the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, we’ve established women-only internet cafes where women can come and learn how to use social media, surf the internet and use the computer. All means of communication have been cut by the regime for years, and the satellite internet cafes existed are male dominated. This means women are disconnected, so providing these centres is like giving them a window into the world.

Some might consider me biased because I stand with the freedom revolution in my home. On my blog, my slogan is: “I am biased to humanity and I am proud to be so.” I don’t think any journalist can be impartial when reporting about IS or Kim Jong-un’s crimes, so why with Assad? I was interrogated by his military security forces in 2008 because of an article I wrote and because I was active in a civil society organisation. I am forbidden from going home to Damascus, because I am a journalist and not a propagandist.

To document the human side of our war I started filming people, streets, life behind the frontline, death and horror. I chose to document the heroines who are facing extra difficulties because they are women, so I made five short films and named them Syria’s Rebellious Women.

“You pass the Kalaase massacre mark then turn right you will find me waiting for you there… .” Somehow destroyed buildings and massacres become part of the daily view and even marks to guide people to places. At this particular spot, I got engaged. Someone wrote “Heaven” on the wreckage with an arrow directed to the sky. There we exchanged our vows to keep loving life and to not forget the sacrifices of those who have gone in order for us to live free in a democratic country.

Visit Zaina's

In The Guardian

Peter Mackler Award

Reporter Without Borders

Index Magazine


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The Profile: Professor Doreen Cantrell: Dean, Chair and Research Fellow

Professor Doreen Cantrell: Image: University of Dundee

||April 17, 2016|| Professor Doreen Cantrell is Principal Research Fellow at the Wellcome Trust  and Dean of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. She has recently been declared to be awarded one of the UK’s most prestigious honours in biochemistry, the Novartis Medal and Prize.

Professor Cantrell has been chosen to receive the 2017 Novartis Medal and Prize by the Awards Committee of the Biochemical Society. The prize is awarded annually in recognition of contributions to the development of any branch of biochemistry and is open to candidates of any nationality working in the UK and Ireland.

Professor Cantrell holds a Chair in Cellular Immunology at Dundee. She is internationally renowned in the field of immunology as one of the world’s leading authorities on the biochemical regulation of T lymphocytes, the white blood cells which control the immune system and which are a factor in many diseases.

“I am deeply honoured to be chosen for the Novartis Medal and Prize,” said Professor Cantrell.

“I have been extremely fortunate to work with fantastic people throughout my career, not least here at the University of Dundee, in one of the strongest institutions for life sciences anywhere in the world. I would not be receiving this prize without the contributions they have made. I am also deeply grateful to the support I have had from the Wellcome Trust who have funded my work.”

Professor Anne Dell, Chair of the Awards Committee, said, “The Biochemical Society's Awards allow the excellent work of high calibre scientists at all stages of their careers to be recognised and rewarded. The 2017 Award lecture series will showcase the outstanding contributions to molecular bioscience that the winners have made during their careers”.

Professor Cantrell was awarded a CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours list. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.

Professor Cantrell joins a number of other Novartis Medal and Prize winners in the School of Life Sciences including Professor Grahame Hardie, Angus Lamond and Ron Hay – who were consecutive winners from 2010 to 2012 – and Professor Sir Philip Cohen.

Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University and a past Chair of the Biochemical Society, said, “This is a richly deserved award for Doreen and adds to the significant roll of honour for Life Sciences at the University of Dundee.”

Life Sciences at the University of Dundee has grown significantly both in size and stature over the last few years. The £50million Discovery Centre was added to the School’s facilities early last year, at around the same time Dundee was named the top-ranked university in the UK for Biological sciences in the Research Excellence Framework, the major assessment of research quality in the UK. The University of Dundee is now the central hub for a multi-million pound biotechnology sector in the east of Scotland, which accounts for 16% of the local economy.

The Biochemical Society works to promote the molecular biosciences; facilitating the sharing of expertise, supporting the advancement of biochemistry and molecular biology and raising awareness of their importance in addressing societal grand challenges.


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The Profile: On the Solar E-Sail with Dr. Pekka Janhunen

The True Ilmarinen of the Finnish Epic Kalevala, Dr Pekka Janhunen Who Invented the Solar Sail for the Kalevalan Sampo to Sail Away Into the Universe, into the Future and Sing: The Magic of the Word/Idea/Imagination/Human Ingenuity as Väinämöinen Does in the Epic.














The electric sail might lower the cost of all space activities and thereby, for example, help making large solar power satellites a viable option for clean electricity production. Solar power satellites orbiting in the permanent sunshine of space could transmit electric power to Earth by microwaves without interruptions. Continuous power would be a major benefit compared to, e.g. ground-based solar power where storing the energy over night, cloudy weather and winter are tricky issues especially here in the far North: Dr. Pekka Janhunen.

The Solar E-Sail: Quality Innovation of the Year

A note for the English-speaking readers about Finnish Names: Suomi or Finnish is very unlike English as it is not related to Latin. So, a note, as to how the name of Dr Pekka Janjunen would be pronounced: In Finnish all the letters are pronounced as written so that double consonants are fully pronounced as are all the vowels. So, a cat is Kissa, pronounced as kis:sa, and a dog is Koira, pronounced as koi-ra. So Pekka as Pek: ka and j as ya (but with a short a: as in the a in yap but not as yah, yah!) so that Janhunen as Yan hoo-nen or i-an-hoo-nen where i- would be pronounced as ee (not as ai and would be as short as in the 'i' in inch  but and not at all like the 'i' in the English name Ian. And we use oo simply to ensure that it is pronounced as oo as in hool but not as long oo as normally it is in English. However, the the u in the hunen is short as in the 'u' in put. Nen is a difficult suffix for the English language: it is pronounced as n-eh-n or nay-n or ne as in ne-ver or Netherfield and add an n at the end of it! We cannot be any more helpful than that! So now, we have made it clear: Dr Pekka Janhunen. And for that a Suomalainen ( which is what Dr Pekka Janhunen is), that's a Finnish, would say: Kiitos paljon! And in return you would say: ei se mitaan! Thank you very much! You are welcome!

|April 12, 2016 ||The electric solar wind sail, or electric sail for short, is a propulsion invention made in 2006 at the Kumpula Space Centre by Pekka Janhunen. For E-sail related news, please see the electric sail blog (it is in Finnish, but carries a Translate button to your language). See also the continuously updated list of scientific papers and the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

The Solar Sail
















The electric sail is a new space propulsion concept which uses the solar wind momentum for producing thrust (Janhunen, P., Electric sail for spacecraft propulsion, AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, 20, 4, 763-764, 2004, Janhunen, P. and A. Sandroos, Simulation study of solar wind push on a charged wire: solar wind electric sail propulsion, Ann. Geophys., 25, 755-767, 2007). The electric sail is somewhat similar to the more well-known solar radiation pressure sail which is often called simply the solar sail.

A full-scale electric sail consists of a number (50-100) of long (e.g., 20 km), thin (e.g., 25 microns) conducting tethers (wires). The spacecraft contains a solar-powered electron gun (typical power a few hundred watts) which is used to keep the spacecraft and the wires in a high (typically 20 kV) positive potential. The electric field of the wires extends a few tens of metres into the surrounding solar wind plasma. Therefore the solar wind ions "see" the wires as rather thick, about 100 m wide obstacles. A technical concept exists for deploying (opening) the wires in a relatively simple way and guiding or "flying" the resulting spacecraft electrically.

The solar wind dynamic pressure varies but is on average about 2 nPa at Earth distance from the Sun. This is about 5000 times weaker than the solar radiation pressure. Due to the very large effective area and very low weight per unit length of a thin metal wire, the electric sail is still efficient, however. A 20-km long electric sail wire weighs only a few hundred grams and fits in a small reel, but when opened in space and connected to the spacecraft's electron gun, it can produce several square kilometre effective solar wind sail area which is capable of extracting about 10 millinewton force from the solar wind. For example, by equipping a 1000 kg spacecraft with 100 such wires, one may produce acceleration of about 1 mm/s^2. After acting for one year, this acceleration would produce a significant final speed of 30 km/s. Smaller payloads could be moved quite fast in space using the electric sail, a Pluto flyby could occur in less than five years, for example. Alternatively, one might choose to move medium size payloads at ordinary 5-10 km/s speed, but with lowered propulsion costs because the mass that has to launched from Earth is small in the electric sail.

The main limitation of the electric sail is that since it uses the solar wind, it cannot produce much thrust inside a magnetosphere where there is no solar wind. Although the direction of the thrust is basically away from the Sun, the direction can be varied within some limits by inclining the sail. Tacking towards the Sun is therefore also possible.

The electric sail won the 2010 Finnish Quality Innovation Prize among Potential innovations. The prize was handed out by the President of Finland Tarja Halonen on November 11, 2010.

Dr Pekka Janhunen at the Ceremony of The Quality Innovation of the Year 2010 with the than Finnish President Tarja Turunen 














In April 2008

Electric sail invention approaches implementation

15.04.2008: The electric solar wind sail developed at the Finnish Meteorological Institute has moved rapidly from invention towards implementation. Electric sail propulsion might have a large impact on space research and moving in space in general.

The electric solar wind sail developed by Dr. Pekka Janhunen at the Finnish Meteorological Institute might revolutionise travelling in deep space. The electric sail is a Finnish invention which uses the solar wind as its thrust source and therefore needs no fuel or propellant. The solar wind is a continuous plasma stream emanating from the Sun. Changes in the properties of the solar wind cause auroral brightening and magnetic storms, among other things.

Progress without problems

Over its two-year history, the electric sail has developed rapidly from invention towards implementation and has aroused much international interest. The main components of the device are long metallic tethers and a solar-powered electron gun which keeps the tethers positively charged. The solar wind exerts a small but continuous thrust on the tethers and the spacecraft. The electric sail and its applications have been developed mainly at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, but component work is also carried out at the University of Helsinki and in Germany, Sweden, Russia and Italy.

"We haven't encountered major problems in any of the technical fields thus far. This has already enabled us to start planning the first test mission," says Dr. Pekka Janhunen. An important subgoal was reached when the Electronics Research Laboratory of the University of Helsinki managed to develop a method for constructing a multiline micrometeoroid-resistant tether out of very thin metal wires using ultrasonic welding. The newly developed technique allows the bonding together of thin metal wires in any geometry; thus, the method might also have spinoff applications outside the electric sail.

Potential important applications of the electric sail

If and when realised, the electric sail could enable faster and cheaper Solar System science and exploration. It might also enable economic utilisation of asteroid resources for, e.g. producing rocket fuel in orbit.

"The electric sail might lower the cost of all space activities and thereby, for example, help making large solar power satellites a viable option for clean electricity production. Solar power satellites orbiting in the permanent sunshine of space could transmit electric power to Earth by microwaves without interruptions. Continuous power would be a major benefit compared to, e.g. ground-based solar power where storing the energy over night, cloudy weather and winter are tricky issues especially here in the far North", says Dr. Pekka Janhunen.

The electric sail was invented as a by-product of basic research done at the Finnish Meteorological Institute on the interaction of the solar wind with planets and their atmospheres. Work on the electric sail in Finland is currently funded by the Academy of Finland and private foundations.

More information

Dr. Pekka Janhunen, Academy Research Fellow, +358 9 1929 4635,

Read more about electric sail

The first international electric sail meeting will be arranged at ESA ESTEC in Noordwijk, The Netherlands on May 19, 2008.
More information about ESTEC-meeting 19.5.2008


The Idearian Echoing Eternities Sail Away: NASA Begins Testing of Revolutionary E-Sail Technology

Dr Janhunen's invention has now gone here to go further into Universe and the future














In this concept, long, very thin, bare wires construct the large, circular E-Sail that would electrostatically repel the fast moving solar protons. The momentum exchange produced as the protons are repelled by the positively charged wires would create the spacecraft’s thrust. Credits: NASA/MSFC Readmore


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Photo-Speak Nancy Johnston, the Founder of Tengri Who Pioneered a 'Fairshare’ Business Model, Works with Mongolian Yak Herding Communities
















Nomadic Herding in Mongolia: Nomadic herders in Mongolia still maintain the traditional lifestyle of their ancestors. They move 4-8 times between four (spring, summer, autumn and winter) seasonal rangelands searching for good pastures for their livestock. This way of mobile livestock keeping is in symbiosis with the fragile ecological environment of grasslands in the Central Asian Plateau. Having collective organisation enables herders to establish land use agreement with local government and protect their traditional user rights. With increasing mining industry and urbanisation in Mongolia, there is an increasing threat to the customary rights of nomadic herders on the rangelands they have inherited from their ancestors. About 1,200 Pasture User Groups involving 40,000 herder households (men, women and children) exist in Mongolia. Tengri is working to bring noble yak fibres to the forefront of the fashion and textile industries, helping to preserve natural landscapes, protect wildlife and support the nomadic herders’ way of life. Founded by former charity worker Nancy Johnston, Tengri has established and pioneered a ‘fairshare’ business model with co-operatives supporting over 1,500 nomadic herder families in Mongolia, who are working with the brand to supply its hand-combed fibres from the indigenous and semi-wild Khangai yak species. Tengri is set to double this positive impact in 2016 by working to establish a total of 2,500 herder households, providing sustainable income through co-operative trading in Mongolia. With the next round of investments the British brand is set to buy 10 tonnes of fibre from the nomadic herder communities, further developing the properties of yak yarn for the luxury fashion market. Introducing a ‘New Heritage’, Tengri will continue to draw together the skills and trade of its Mongolian herder co-operatives, combined with highly skilled British craftsman from heritage woollen mills in Yorkshire and Scotland for production. The British brand will also invest in the development of its ‘green tech’, working with some of the UK’s most influential textile researchers and innovative textile technologists for yarn development. In this image Nancy Johnston, the founder of Tengri is seen working in Mongolia with the Yak Herding Communities with whom her company works

Read in Political Economics: April 06, 2016: Tengri Drives to Widen the Market for Khangai Noble Yarns as It Plans to Support Greater Number of Mongolian Yak Herder Communities


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The Profile: Dava Newman: NASA Deputy Administrator

















|| April 10, 2016|| Dr. Dava Newman was nominated in January 2015 by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2015 to serve as the Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She was sworn in on May 15 and began her duties with the agency on May 18. Along with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Newman is responsible for providing overall leadership, planning and policy direction for NASA.

Dr Newman performs the duties and exercises the powers delegated by the administrator, assists the administrator in making final agency decisions and acts for the administrator in his absence by performing all necessary functions to govern NASA operations and exercises the powers vested in the agency by law. Dr Newman, also, is responsible for articulating the agency's vision and representing NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of federal and other appropriate government agencies, international organisations and external organisations and communities.

Prior to her tenure with NASA, Newman was the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:MIT in Cambridge. Her expertise is in multidisciplinary research that encompasses aerospace biomedical engineering.

Newman's research studies were carried out through space flight experiments, ground-based simulations, and mathematical modeling. Her latest research efforts included: advanced space suit design, dynamics and control of astronaut motion, mission analysis, and engineering systems design and policy analysis. She also had ongoing efforts in assistive technologies to augment human locomotion here on Earth.

Newman is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, an introductory engineering textbook published by McGraw-Hill, Inc. in 2002. She also has published more than 250 papers in journals and refereed conferences.

As a student at MIT, Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering in 1992 and Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy in 1989. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1986.

:Editor: Brian Dunbar: NASA:

“One Giant Leaf for Humankind”: Planting Out of This World Veggies With the First Lady: Dava Newman: P:110416

Love – Act – Discover – Innovate: Celebrating Women in STEM: Dava Newman Posted: P: 170316


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Simonetta Agnello Hornby: The Lawyer, The Novelist, The Woman, The Human: The PrimiDieci UK 2016























April 05, 2016:  A Lawyer and Novelist Simonetta Agnello Hornby (Lawyer and Novelist) has just been awarded with the PrimiDieci Award 2016 for her contributions to society and culture.

The PrimiDieci Society is an Elite Club representing the Most Distinguished Italians Worldwide and championing their contributions. The organisation launches in the UK with their inaugural PrimiDieci UK 2016 Awards Gala Dinner on 3rd May 2016 at BAFTA, London. The black-tie gala event will celebrate ‘the ten most successful Italians in the UK today’ across fields from culture to science, design to business, and will see in attendance a plethora of renowned names from the spheres of business and industry, public service, the media, the arts and entertainment.

Simonetta Agnello Hornby, is an Italian lawyer and writer born in Palermo in 1945, who later acquired British citizenship. She left Sicily at the age of 21 to study English at the University of Cambridge before returning to her native Sicily to complete a law degree.

Armed with a Fullbright grant, she moved to America for a year to further her studies at the University of Kansas. She returned to the UK to begin a legal career and to marry the Englishman she had met in Cambridge with whom she had two children.

Her husband is Martin Hornby and her children are George Hornby and Nicolas Hornby. She has been living in London since 1972, and is the President of the Special Education Needs and Disabilities Court.

She published her first novel ‘La Mennulara’ in 2002. A bestseller, this has been translated in a dozen languages, and received several Italian literary awards. Her fifth novel ‘The Nun’ won the 2011 Italian Pen Prize. The books include: • 2002 - La Mennulara • 2004 - La zia Marchesa • 2007 - Boccamurata • 2009 - Vento Scomposto • 2010 - Camera Obscura • 2010 - La Monaca • 2011 - Un filo d’olio • 2012- La cucina del buon gusto • 2012 - La pecora di Pasqua • 2013 - Il veleno dell'oleandro • 2013 - Il male che si deve raccontare. Per cancellare la violenza domestica • 2013 - Via XX Settembre • 2014 - La mia Londra • 2014 - Il pranzo di Mosè

PrimiDieci UK 2016: The Italians Celebrate in London: May 03

To read more Humanion Profile, please, visit The Humanion Profile Arkive


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The Lake Eden Eye





The Window of the Heavens Always Open and Calling: All We Have to Do Is: To Choose to Be Open, Listen and Respond




Imagine a Rose-Boat

Imagine a rose floating like a tiny little boat on this ocean of infinity
And raise your soul-sail on this wee-little boat and go seeking out
All along feed on nothing but the light that you gather only light
Fear shall never fathom you nor greed can tempt nor illusion divert
For Love you are by name by deeds you are love's working-map



Only in the transparent pool of knowledge, chiselled out by the sharp incision of wisdom, is seen the true face of what truth is: That what  beauty paints, that what music sings, that what love makes into a magic. And it is life: a momentary magnificence, a-bloom like a bubble's miniscule exposition, against the spread of this awe-inspiring composition of the the Universe. Only through the path of seeking, learning, asking and developing, only through the vehicles and vesicles of knowledge, only through listening to the endless springs flowing beneath, outside, around and beyond our reach, of wisdom, we find the infinite ocean of love which is boundless, eternal, and being infinite, it makes us, shapes us and frees us onto the miracle of infinite liberty: without border, limitation or end. There is nothing better, larger or deeper that humanity can ever be than to simply be and do love. The Humanion


Poets' Letter Magazine Archive Poetry Pearl

About The Humanion The Humanion Team Home Contact Submission Guidelines
The Humanion Online Daily from the United Kingdom for the World: To Inspire Souls to Seek

At Home in the Universe : One Without Frontier. Editor: Munayem Mayenin

All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom: Contact Address: editor at thehumanion dot com

First Published: September 24: 2015