Top scientists in Big Ideas serie
InScience is about more than just films. In the Big Ideas series, leading scientists take you to the limits of their field.
Han Brunner – The possibilities and impossibilities of genetic technology
Scientists can analyse human DNA with technologies that are becoming more precise, more popular and more affordable. These advances make it easy to believe that we’ll soon know everything there is to know about genetic conditions, undesirable behaviour and physical characteristics. But where will this knowledge bring us? Han Brunner postulates that the scientific state of technology in the field of human genetics is more complex than often portrayed. Exposing the challenges we encounter as we progress tells us more about what it means to be human than any gene sequencing can.
Heino Falcke – The mystery of black holes
Black holes are some of the most fascinating and least understood celestial bodies. They are gravity monsters, regions of space with such a strong gravitational pull that nothing can escape them – not even light. This makes black holes impossible to see directly. They distort space-time in an unbelievably strong way, making them a popular subject of in-depth analysis and speculation in the field of fundamental physics. This year, the Event Horizon Telescope managed to capture an image of a black hole for the first time – a milestone in modern astrophysics. Professor Heino Falcke, chair of the project’s science council, will engage the audience in the mysteries of the dark corners of the universe and the extraordinary scientific process behind the recent breakthrough.
Britt Wray – Will mammoths walk the earth again?
Thanks to recent advances in science and technology, particularly in the field of genetic manipulation, people are being confronted with a question that sounds straight out of a science fiction plot: should we bring back the so-called necrofauna, or extinct animal species? Other than being a sensational plot for a blockbuster film, this question encompasses a complex network of ethical, social and scientific issues. Which extinct animals should be brought back? In what environment and with what purpose? Britt Wray, scientist, frequent guest of Canadian radio and television and writer of The Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction, one of The New Yorker’s favorite books of 2017, sheds light on this still unexplored domain of science. About the promise and dangers of the resurrection of the mammoth.