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Year 13 science trip to the University of Warsaw

As part of the Warsaw Festival of Science, seven Year 13 Biology and Physics pupils visited the University of Warsaw to attend a series of lectures on topics such as: ‘Smart Cities – still an utopia?’ , 'Planet Research: Are we alone in the universe?' , 'Homo Deus – convergence of man and machine' and ‘Genetic selection – genetic discrimination?’ 

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Year 13 pupil Dominika Sipos had this to say "My favorite lecture was about using technology to read the mind. It was a combination of physics and psychology.

Prof. Piotr J. Durka spoke about the use of a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) to allow communication with people who are in a coma or have a disability meaning that they are not be able to speak. The BCI provides a new communication channel between the human brain and the computer. Current devices for achieving input into the computer mainly require physical or more precisely mechanical operation by the user, e.g. mouse and keyboard. The BCI uses brain activity to control devices so users do not need to have any physical mobility to communicate.

Pupils also tried to disentangle some of the most common arguments used in public debates on genetic engineering brought about by recent advances in gene editing technology. This technology has been welcomed by many people with immense enthusiasm and boosted hopes for possible future medical interventions.

At the same time many voices have been raised to alert the public to the possible risks we face. In particular, some philosophers and bioethicists have been warning that the new discoveries might one day be used to engineer humans and lead to genetic selection and genetic discrimination. 

These lectures provided our pupils with an insight into cutting edge research presented by leading scientists in their field of learning and certainly gave us a glimpse into the future.

 

Alice Robinson
Head of Science and Biology