Making the Future 2016

Our first Making the Future event took place on Thursday 17 March 2016 in the newly refurbished Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on campus.

This research-focused day was a pilot for the new format of our Professorial Lectures. In a style similar to that of the acclaimed TED Talks, our professors presented their research in a shorter format.

These presentations are an opportunity for us to share the world-class teaching and research that we undertake here at the University of Sussex with you – our friends, colleagues, alumni, supporters and community – as well as a chance for you to learn more about a topic that interests you and get a taste of academic life. During the course of this day, over 220 people enjoyed a variety of talks given by Sussex academics across the Sciences and Social Sciences.

The Photographs of the day are available to view on our Flickr page, you can also watch all six presenations in full below.

Making the Future session 1 - 12.00-3.00pm

Anil Seth, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience 

Consciousness: What in the world is it?

Consciousness is one of the last great scientific mysteries. How does the experience of being ‘you’ depend on the billions of neurons locked inside your skull? Professor Anil Seth will present some of the work that he and his colleagues are conducting at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science that is helping shape a new ‘consciousness science’, with implications both for basic biology and many clinical conditions involving disturbances of consciousness.

Jamie Ward, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Hearing colours and tasting words: The kaleidoscopic world of synaesthesia

People with synaesthesia experience the ordinary world in extraordinary ways. This reflects underlying biological differences in genetics and neural wiring that create habitual 'illusory' sensations. These differences do not necessarily reflect pathology and synaesthetes themselves show unusual abilities. They have better memory and, perhaps remarkably, having these illusory visual experiences appears to be linked to enhanced visual abilities. This talk will reveal what we learn about the typical and atypical mind and brain through studying synaesthesia.

Wendy Brown, Professor of Physical Chemistry

Complex organic molecules in interstellar space

Recent astronomical observations have shown that complex organic molecules (COMs) can be found in deep space, planetary atmospheres and within comets. The molecules freeze out on the surface of dust grains in these cold environments (263˚C), undergoing diverse chemistry that leads to the formation of other species. This talk will describe experiments investigating the surface chemistry of COMs on dust grains.

 Making the Future session 2 - 3.30-6.00pm

Alison Sinclair, Professor of Molecular Virology

Invasion and insurrection: A virus in action

Viruses infect every species on earth and they are as varied as the species that they infect. Professor Alison Sinclair will explore with you how vital information is stored within viruses, the intimate relationship between viruses and the cells that they infect, and the threats and opportunities that the viruses that sleep in our bodies provide.

John Forker, Emeritus Professor of Business and Management

Institutions: Female leadership in community governed financial organisations and financial management

Institutions frame organisational governance and economic performance. Improving financial inclusion for women contributes to poverty reduction (World Bank, 2014), and in socially deprived communities, consistent with the ‘glass cliff’ phenomenon, female leadership of community-governed financial organisations is highest. Evidence that voluntary selection of female leadership improves financial management has important implications for regulatory design.

Dan Hough, Professor of Politics

Corruption and anti-corruption: The challenge of our time?

In recent years there has been ever more discussion about the impact of corruption on contemporary society, but there is still surprisingly little consensus on what should be done to meet the public policy challenge that it poses. This talk aims to analyse not only why that is, but also the options available to policymakers moving forwards.

Disclaimer: The University reserves the right to amend the programme of speakers or timing of the event and cancel the event should the need arise.