20 Episode results for "Tesha Mitchell"

Your 3D printed body

Science Friction

30:44 min | 5 months ago

Your 3D printed body

"This is an ABC podcast. Hello I'm the Tesha Mitchell and a heads up a senior here about onsides. Friction today will be visceral that just for a moment or two. Winberg is a scientist obsessed with seaweed no. It's one of the most ancient organisms argue with highly intelligence that the seaweed on working without leaving fossils older than the dead for food very even working with payer runs her own company called Venus Shell Systems on the south coast of New South Wales developing and producing nutritional and other products from say Wade and collaborating on new sites including the possibility of using seaweed extracts to repair wounds and Burns such a diversity of Molecules. That are unexplored you know. We used to talk about rainforests diversity and opportunities in medicine and health. Oh the oceans are so untapped but one day last year pairs seaweed obsession became shockingly personal I was on a roll things. Were working really well and set up and I remember this clearly saying I'm just going to the refinery machines to get some seaweed extract. That should be ready. After the overnight process it was beginning of the day. And I'm often on my own in old paper mill where we are on the south coast which is a very spooky environment but a place. We had the opportunity to build our pilots facility and often. They're lying lucky day. I wasn't but I was aligning in the refinery factory itself. Got To work and I just remember bending down with my tied back with my work kept on and safety glasses and hearing protection to take my seaweed extract out of the TAP. My memory stopped justice. I was bending down memory neutral man. Nothing it's like your brains rewound little bit to a position where life is safe and find something. Truly horrendous had just happened pay. His pony tile had got cold in a pump remember clearly being wheeled in from the helicopter. The helicopter ride with it was a bit of a blur and I remember. The surgeon clearly signed to me. We've got your scalp and although I don't remember seeing carrying MY SCALP. I was sort of not surprised by that. Okay and and we're going to do our best to attach it and he said it's been ripped off so it's going to be hard but we're going to do our best. I remembered is with clearly. Pr had been skelped. An awful awful accident one. That's kind of given her this brutal insight into Wa. The science. She's doing actually matters. She hasn't lost Saad of that in the scenes. We'll come back to pair on that day in two thousand nineteen about her story sets the scene for science friction. This addition three a printing has taken the world by storm from backyard hobbyists to designers engineers educators. It's might all sorts of people kind of mini manufacturers but is it hurtling us towards an even bigger revolution so I can see a foot a heart that's been opened up probably a little bit of Ribcage may be there. I think another heart and another heart of hearts and on the other hand bigger. Oh and what did Vertebrae? Yeah Roy of ease Ho Roe V is. Here's a big part of what we're doing at the moment Gordon Wallace by looking at baby of three days printed plastic objects both living ear so that doesn't involve by printing but also we have a parallel project with the living near project. That's the print prosthetic ears which are not living but they feel like an ear and will look log in here but we are talking printing leaving things today. That's Three D. bio printing. Could it be used to print body beats like cartilage to fix worn out knees bone to mend breaks keen to heal burns or perhaps the pet shop damaged organs like is Ohio? It's could we even three print whole new organs look at Three D. Printing that's Take which uses what we would call structural materials to build things up layer by layer so you can create unique structures using three D. PRINTING. Three D printing is a subset of that wherein we introduce living cells during the printing process arranged in three day to ensure that we get optimal performance out of the farnell structure. We don't necessarily have to reprint the whole organ. What a bad if we can just patch it and we can facilitate the regeneration of that organ using the body's own biological processes and of course. When you do that then you learn you start to learn a bad hand. The Bala Ji Interacts with this three D. printed structure. That you've made maybe. The human body for these types of processes is the best laboratory environment we can use. -lating Australian surgeons are already getting on board but so too Bioethicists with some cautions. That will hear a bad. They're all working with Gordon Wallace and his teams at the Asa Santa for excellence for electron materials science and also tross it. That's the translational research initiative the cell engineering and printing by the University of Woolen Gong. One of them is a superstar of skin. That right from the word go. What I'm doing is I'm looking. How can this person? He'll what is that capacity to heal and then looking at the wounds in the extent of the wounded surface area. How deep is at a whereabouts on the body and then at this point in time as every point of time along my career as a writer. What is out there? What is the best technology that we can bring? Tha Right here right now. Professor Fina would director of the burn service in Western Australia? She's a trailblazing. Boone specialist and plastic surgeon and theon really became a household name and Australian of the year after she led the team that traded the horrific burns of survivors of the Bali bombings. Some had burns to over ninety percent of their bodies. She's known for trail-blazing a spray on skin as well but she is not stopping there. I don't think we do well enough every time I turn around. I see scar and we need to really think. How can we eradicate that? How can we foster regeneration scheme? Ease the largest organ of our body holds us together. Protects us from infection helps control at temperatures Since the world whole lot more so repairing it after severe bins ease Motti Hod and in the depot birds we use domo scaffolds for the deep areas and they can now be the biological synthetic and then after period of usually about three weeks vascular. So it's blood. Supplies GO IS NERVE SUPPLY. Then we come back and replace the surface. And that's where the sprouts get cells. Come in because that's the more of the surface it's the waterproof layer but in associated with traditional techniques but that's intrinsically that has that to two stage process. What I'd like to see is can we bring the world close outright down so that I can put the scaffold the Matrix and the cells into the wound and facilitate tissue guided regeneration? Can I put the building blocks there so that the body heals itself as a the bio printing story gives us a level of sophistication in placement of the elements so that they can actually grow themselves? That would be enormously exciting. You know which is Wi fi on award jumping out of her skin. We excitement over the idea of three D. bio printing skin. So just to help you. Visualize right. Think of this is using a three day printer to print easing by wink of some salt will come to that to print a kind of Mesh or scaffolding that is compatible with the body and with growing healthy cells and then seeding that scaffolding with stem cells the continuing to the silver repair in a damage body part. This is how Fiona came to start collaborating with Gordon. Wallace's three day by Printing Tame and SE. Wade scientist Pei Winberg. He's was really having a cocktail event with With the professional and Wallace you know I just got to asking him. So what do you do? Actually because scientists tend to stick in this is I'm marine. Scientists do buy materials medical stuff. But we were having having drink. And that's the best way to unlock ideas. And he said you'll I print medical devices and materials all right and so what we've and he said Alginate as if that's the chemical off the show for sigma and that's how he sees it something you buy from the chemical store and I said all right. So you're a seaweed scientists because I know that alginate comes from seaweed and he's like what excites me now. It never did. Well remember as kids. We used to eat seaweed in a bag dress up with it and pretend all right. I got didn't go that far so seaweed off learned a lot of bad seaweed since I in cantered PIA and those molecules are just extraordinary in terms of their multifunctionality. And it's no accident. Of course O. All of those properties like the antibacterial affected they survive for long periods of time in in nature. Those molecules have evolved over time. And here they are sitting in a seaweed farm and we get the mad in India boiling. Let's use them. And Gordon does seem collect collaborations. He's probably got more running at the same time than any other. Australian scientists have encountered without the scientists with surgeons technologists social scientists and all over the world as well and we found a naked endemic Australian. Only spacey's a green say. Wait and that's the one. That's a really exciting profile. That mimics human skin connective tissue whereas Brown say. Wade's like alginate. Skin cells wouldn't recognize it or attached to it. There's good moisture absorbing properties around it and and protection of skin in Mechanical Way. But there's not the molecular signature there to stimulate cell attachment an so gross and Collagen production. So it's exciting to now be on part of the journey towards a pellet of bio inks that are the missing link. I feel like in many of the Three D. printing technologies and because we are in a has a skin spray. Well that's really low hanging fruit twelve. Her skin spray works. But it needs better structure. If you just pray skin cells. They land in land in a puddle. Basically so if we spray it onto our Seaweed Three D. printed scaffold. Which is the shape and I mentioned that we wanted within. Maybe the skin can have better properties when it's fully formed. We've got the printers. We've got the cells but you've got to have this functional. Matrix scaffold the closer together and support said but not just as a dumb structure. These molecules have very specific designed to do very specific things and some of them tell cells to make Collagen and some some of them tell cells to attach and grow so the future of this is is huge because we're only scratching the surface. Wouldn't it be nice if we could make it anti microbial so that we didn't get infection? Wouldn't it be nice if we could put something? That actually prevented the stimulation. So we didn't have pain. Yes so we could make this really clever so we could make the the put the cells and the for the skin elements within that and then what about subtly change in those that chemistry so that a half local can develop and then the idea is that you'd put that over the wound or implanted into a wind side so that it would integrate and then the skin replenishes regina rights and so it goes so it's an alternative to a skin graft? Yes that's right. And but that's where fearing is technology with developing skin spray harvesting. Just a few cells and then spraying them. On a wound can allow the cells to Grove. Multiply and slowly start to create new tissue. If you just by skin cells. They land in Atlanta puddle basically And the scaffold will give them structure and direction In creating new skin tissue and that could either be grown to the side and then placed on skin or could be directly printed in surgery in the future potentially. That's the sort of ideal scenario that the surgeons would like to have and that's where it's important to communicate because as scientists you can have all these ideas all yeah. They could do this in surgery but we really don't know what are the challenges and what are the things you would love to have is a surgeon to solve these problems. It's very early days. Ovo Plastic Surgeon Fiona would has just started some trials of implants in animal models. But let's come back to that moment just over a year ago where this all became terrifyingly personal for marine scientists P. A. Winberg. We lift earliest sampling though is healing extracts in his seaweed refinery that morning and a warning. This graphic for a few moments I do then recalled becoming conscious wondering why am I stuck to these machine with my hair and I couldn't see because it was tangled around the machine. I remember looking at the hands and they were covered red blood and I just thought that's odd. Just get these hair untangled. It was a bit like hair tangled around hairbrush. You know you don't know which way to untangle it. That's the very short snippet of memory have that. Apparently I would have worked pulling my scalp out of the drive shaft in which he has stock in. Shut DOWN THE PUMPS. You'd think skilled by the pump out by the punk yet. Then I apparently took my scalp and looked two hundred and fifty meters to go and get someone call an ambulance carrying my scalp. And my case I find but I have no memory of that whatsoever and even after losing two and a half ladies of lot is so lucky to survive that amount of blood loss. I guess that was lucky. That was lucky someone was there to call an ambulance and on so lucky to be here where an ambulance get their ten minutes. Four ambulances get there in ten minutes helicopter gets to twenty minutes and surgeons awaiting Sydney operate for six hours to try and save your scalp and miss case that didn't work but to put a skin graft on to save my skull in my head and they did that and it was amazing. So all I've felt is just wow nitro ma. And everybody's hoping thirty percent of peers scope had gone. After six hours of surgery. The surgeons would able to reattach her own schedule but they instead took a skin graft from his thigh and effectively stifled to her skull. Gordon Wallace remembers when he heard about what had happened when she had her accident. What went through your mind when you got that news. Do you remember the day that was pretty horrific so but you know I spoke to Pierre probably within a die of and she was on the email and With telling me that she had some new insights in the wound healing and it was just amazing. She is an amazing character and all through that experience. Which of course pays still going through. She's never said a negative word a bad it other than that so thankful she's alive and we can work together on getting solutions. That will make it better for people who are involved in those situations. It's a sort of a sweet injustice of this work that she became the patient whilst also being the scientist. Yeah Amazing Look. I don't know any other individual that would have handled it the way Pierre has handled it. Such a positive ad look and search determination to make sure that we deliver new technologies. That make a difference. There is no reason that once we get the right kind of scaffold. I mean it was my own tissue. They had to cut off to create the scaffold and our point is well. Why do you have to do that? And especially with Burns victims with eighty percent of their body. Well wow if we could create a scaffold. That's not their skin if we could three D. print and recreate that and then use the person's own skin cells to stop growing on that scaffold. And that could have. That could have been something deployed on my scully. I if that had been made available and so for me that's fine. It wasn't today. I'm amazed with the help I'm getting but it just really makes me understand what the limitations of the science are today and the surgical applications and what actually surgeons might need. Payer is still in the process of healing and having HER SCALP. Reconstructed and positively is just phenomenal. Let's go just have a look at some of the prototype bar printers in the mix that Liberia. The team are custom building. Three-day bio printers. That are practical and small enough for surgeons to use in their feet is one looks rather like a pain that could print a concoction of cells streit into a damage me so some of the applications bull multiple printing of multiple cells for example where we're looking at a printer and a printing protocol dedicated to creating more efficient structures for audit cell transplantation to treat diabetes. There were looking at printing three different types of cells all carefully arranged in a three d structure to get the best performance out of the the oil itself. Which is the donor cell? Which is used to treat the patient with diabetes? So these are the insulin producing cells in the body. That if you've got taught one diabetes. You don't have enough of those old. I don't work anymore exactly and and so one of the treatments for that is to do this. All IT cell transplantation getting ourselves from Downer printing them into a three D. SCAFFOLD. Where you've got other cells the t regulatory cells it will help fight off the immune reaction that also endothelial progenitor cells which help degenerate the bus colorization within that structure. So those cells get a blood supply. Yet islet stem cells for diabetics stem cells to rebuild college in Guinea nays or a whole year or to regenerate the cornea in the I pop them in a three day by a printed scaffolding and the possibilities look really significant now. None of this is ready for human trials yet but that might not be so far off. What sorts of risks in will the first recipient of a custom made leaving by printed implant made to be worn combat? And how will I be protected from I think that there are regulatory gaps ethicist Professor Susan Dogs Ease One of a consortium bioethicists and legal scholars working inside Gordon's team to interrogate the ethics and regulatory challenges of their work. Susan's Deputy Vice Chancellor for research and INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENT AT LATROBE UNIVERSITY. We have had a tendency to view. You take my adult cells. Stimulate them into becoming a stem cell product. Put them back inside of me that that has tended not to be well. Regulated Australia's recently refined understanding of biologics in terms of the things. You might do well. It's outside I'm body and that's where the three D. printing would mean that it does fall under the regulation of biologics but in other jurisdictions. It's possible that there continued to be gaps about exactly. At what point does something ceased to be simply removing cells from a person and putting them back inside that person and becomes something which fits within a regulatory environment at this point? We can't be confident that there's complete harmonization across jurisdictions but I think that for those researchers who wish to be able to develop something that they want to stake their career on. There's good incentives for them to try to work within the regulatory environment. Notwithstanding the fact there'll be some rogues in the world and there are rugs in the world and what's to stop some of those some shonky stem cell clinic doctors from doing three day by printing. They're using stem cells already from patients. They doing it openly. They marketing touting their ways publicly on websites and in Ed's it's very highly possible. It's possible and there certainly have been people who haven't been doing three D. Printing. Who claimed that they were doing? Three Depot Printing You may be aware of Macarena case in Europe where a highly esteemed researcher was found to have created on plastic implants implants for people who had trachea defects and put some stem cells within them presented as a three D. bio printed Therapy which then had serious risks and several people died as a result of being offered something as a therapeutic but experimental treatment Which we had not been properly tested had not gone through. The proper was but that person failed to meet the existing Regulatory Environment. They were in. They did things that fell outside a pretty well. Designed robust system The fact that it was three D. printing that they were claiming to have done. I don't think the real issue the real issue is. They shouldn't put something into people's bodies without having properly tested it in the first place. He was incredibly successful. I mean he took a massive public stage. I think even politicians probably supported. He's if it's that's true and this is where that question of both a critical public being able to Assess claims being made a slight tendency. I think within the research environment of wanting to only back we noticed And therefore not encouraging researches to talk about things that they have found don't work An extremely good media machine on that person's part and both consumers patients and And the the the wider media being very keen to run with something that seemed exciting and new. It tells us all we need to be much more careful and skeptical about the claims of great success. So what about the clinical ethics of tasting these things of tasting three day by printing? Because often this is talked about as being a very personalized approach to medicine you know. H by printed object would be custom for one particular patient so then. Hattie create trials on this stuff to make sure they're safe. And if a catious that's a real issue that everyone's grappling with at the moment that you're exactly these are customized solutions for an individual and say we need to work with the regulatory authorities for those who develop and new clinical protocols and figurehead had had do improve the efficacy of these procedures Because it's not in the same way as we do it for traditional medicine sort or even traditional implants. What could it look like? I think there will be an aspect. There has to be an aspect of customization. And that's why we're doing it to try and get the best result for that individual. I imagine that eventually it has to be the processes that are regulated and has to be that. You've got a a licensed operator to do it. That you've got licensed equipment to do it If you follow this protocol it will be a safe procedure and hopefully be a successful procedure but and of course surgeons are sort of used to that. Surgery is pretty customized in general but this has taken it to a new level. But then you've got to get these cells inside the three day printed scaffolding into a body and so far that hasn't happened in humans yet but this has been animal trials. And then head you determine and this'll be the challenge for clinical trials. Had you determine what those cells then do that they behave in a normal way? But they don't suddenly proliferate into cancerous tumors for example. There's a stem cells. I could go anyway. So that's an issue. What if they mutate or migrate to bits of the body that you don't want them to add to the scaffolding and saying CEO? I'm going on holiday in another part of the body where I don't where I'm not welcome log anything that's implanted into the body. There'd be extensive experimentation around that is to have the cells behave what the resulting tissue regeneration processes are how long they last so extensive studies to be done and some of those will be more complicated than others of course cartilage in the knees where we one of those simpler examples You know you can localize that you can study it quite easily. You can imagine the transplantation of the scaffolds with the oil. It's multiple cells. That's going to be more difficult to characterize into to verify. The the efficacy of bioethicists also writes questions about where the stem cells for. Three Day by pruning would be sourced from the source of the cells. Very often these days would just be adult stem cells so that might be come from swab the inside of someone's mouth or from blood cells or something else but initially there was some question about whether we might want to draw on the spare embryos leftover from IVF but obviously that would raise a set a set of issues about destructive use of human cells but also there may be cells that might come from other organisms And so that if we were then going to use them for implants into humans we might have questions about who sells them. I getting other another human being's or from another species and that raises questions about cameras that idea of a mixing of human and animal material or whether we might take human derived cells into a three D. printed implant and put them into another animal and therefore at possibly end up with a camera of that's based around say a rat body with a bit of human tissue inside of it most of the conversations around three by printing around using adult stem cells and people have a perception that okay so if a patient was going to have a three D. printed body part or implant and their own stem cells. Were used then. That is somehow ethically cle- AH is it? Well ethically tidier Insofar as you not asking one person to provide cells to support another and you don't have some of the concerns about that and you would avoid of the the risks of rejection that you find in some transplantation of organs for example but there are still risks associated with that because stem cell lines may lead to which develop with a higher risk perhaps of cancerous growth or of other infection or damage to the tissue as a grow. So it's not rescreen free but it may reduce the risk those infections. But because one of the points of Three D. bio printing is. You're also introducing a scaffold restructure in which those cells are implanted initially in order to be able to grow a piece of tissue which may be in simple cases things like blood or skin which is still complicated enough that there are risks associated with the structures that you're using as the basis for those cells to get a three d structure rather than just two-day structure so they have something like you know. Lego lifetime structure Within which the cells grow and work with each other and the irreversibility of these sorts of leaving implants is another concern. Clearly that ability to integrate into the body is one of the great promises. Which means that. It's going to be very difficult to extract and if we think about some of the further down the track more horizon work where we might be creating neural implants that am engaged with our nerves that we really want to be careful that we aren't doing damage to the very process. We're trying to support you know whether it's To improve some form of brain function or to be able to deliver targeted therapies directly to the brain that that integration of brain tissue seems to cause us more concerned because of our views about the brain But you know I could imagine a world in which heart muscle tissue might be developed as a patch and it seems to me highly desirable to be able to have a fully integrated patch on the heart. Assuming you do things that existing pacemakers can't rather than waiting until my heart is so damaged that I need to have a full heart so I think that there's some opportunities here but we just need to be really careful to say what would give us the evidence in order to say that we fill the person could then go out and live their lives. Having had such new. The therapeutic goods administration with consultation has slighted. A number of changes to the White three-day by printing will be regulated in Australia. My thanks to pay a Wynberg especially to Professor Gordon Wallace for showing me around his labs to professors and dogs and also to associate professor John Nielsen from the University of Tasmania's law faculty who was very helpful on all these talk to me on twitter at Tesha mutual or Emami from the science fiction website. Love to hear from you. Also check out the new daily podcast Corona cast tracking the latest developments in answering your questions on the covered. Nineteen pandemic take care in the world by saying you've been listening to an ABC podcast discover more great ABC. Podcasts live radio and exclusives on the ABC Listen Up.

Professor Gordon Wallace scientist SCALP D. Printing P. A. Winberg ABC Wade Bioethicists Australia Pierre Tesha Mitchell TAP Wa ABC Venus Shell Systems diabetes
A whole lot of POO!

Science Friction

35:56 min | 9 months ago

A whole lot of POO!

"So welcome to science friction with this week is all about and the first cartoons up and guys and the Beatles guy what is that I am not touching. This is not in my job description. I'm used to these little dry pellets. I'm not the sorry. It's not happening on that yet. We are so going there folks. We're talking the Tobu's the psychology and the science of excretion the Tesha Mitchell with children's author James Foley who is the Creator and illustrator of the Super Popular S. TINCA INC graphic novels dungs. Zillah and guest renaults starring Selley. Tinca the world's foremost inventor under the age of twelve also joining us at the quantum words Science Writing Festival in Perth is I get asked half a dozen times. Every week by patients perth-based colorectal surgeon. Michael Levitt literally as my to examine them. You have to get into this. This is such an unusual question to ask. Why you doing this for a living? I'm just about to do something. Quite grotesque to them and I always say eh that during my training. That's where the opening was. Michael comes from a family line of proctology in fact. And he's like I just book is called the happy bail a user-friendly God to bow health for the whole family but white. There's a psychologist in the house to. Freud has some very interesting ideas and he to cut a long story short. He said that when you're a toddler after you've passed out instantly you develop this fascination with your bottom the sensually and with the Growing control you. Have you stink and that this is actually an important psychological time in your development. Nick has LEM is professor of psychology in College at the University of mobile author of non books including psychology in the bathroom. So yet Freud head of Field Day with kids love it adults adults cringe about it. Doctors diagnose it and surgeons help us keep it flowing on Poo. pooing and the Palaver Arandit. Let's kick off with. Nick has lung. You know sets my life mission unlike Michael But For me it wasn't really a passion. It was more just a side project but I just became so fascinated by it. I'd been a psychologist for over thirty years before I wrote this book gone through a whole training and little about depression and all about anxiety and all about human behavior but this side of behavior about excretion simply was ignored and yet there's so much suffering associated with this so much interesting psychology associated with it such psychological terrain. Isn't it there's so much shame associated with a bomb. What comes out of it about Pu excretion and look shames emotion? which it's all about hiding and we've sort of done that science as well? We don't talk about certain things even though they're so prevalent as as problems. If you think about the other end of the August or intestinal tract we have whole journals devoted to eating and eating disorders in the like which are very very serious. Important things to study. But there's at least as much suffering attached is the other end and at least much instinct stuff to talk about. Why do we have so much? Shame around two and differentiation. You know I think it's just seen as toxic stuff and it is toxic stuff. I think they're very good evolutionary reasons why we might want to keep as much Distances possible from our F- issues to the latest figures I've seen is that about two million children die from fecally transmitted material. This is stuff that is toxic to us and this very good reasons to put it as far out of mind mind inside as possible British survey that I report about my book when asked to rate the most important inventions of humanity The British public put the flush toilet about that number nine high than the combustion engine. It sounds ridiculous but at the same time hygiene so important. Freedom from disease is so important I think shame and discuss it just ways of putting things out of mind at putting things out of mom but this relationship between the mind and our intestines is opponent one and we'll come back to that because there's lots to explore law there James Foley who is fantastic material for you as a children's author and illustrator. I don't use it as an actual illustrative medium painting. Well frankly he hasn't done that yet. The camera ready for when I yeah in terms this is just coming off the discussion about shame. It seems like some kids. Don't actually have any shame in regards to You did something really hilarious. Women are a little kid and maybe we should take it more seriously. Maybe we take take it for granted that we have flushing toilets in Western society. And that's why we don't treat it as something serious. I remember the day in you when I came to school. I was a little early. I went went onto the playground and all the boys was saying these new words that I'd never heard of that was saying bum Yang Pu and now saying fat and they were all giggling. And that's when I learnt that those it's funny. I remember that day vividly which is so weird. It's such a weird memory to have like. I remember the day got married in the data and some was born but also remember that and I think ah for children's authors illustrators we kind of maybe get past some of those stages we apart of us is still a kid. I still find these things deeply funny. Even though I have to pretend that I don't when my Sunday Sunday saying those words so funny I mean fats are one of the greatest committee devices. We have brilliant and my son can with the best of them already. Eighty eight takes accurate data. It's great so yeah. I think when when I'm when I'm writing for an audience that's got the same emotional intelligence level is that I'm going to put those sorts of fat and Poo jokes. Yeah because it's just hilarious and kids love stuff. They're not allowed to talk about the things things that we are disgusted by shine for things. Kids love to boo year. I think I love my parents embarrassed to introduce sell eighteen Kaz stinker. Yes and her little brother Joey and a best friend. Shelly is sent tastic grandmother. WHO's a former racecar driving mechanic but sellers this great little character and and Sally become a vehicle for you to explore science really? Yeah they do an end to a sci if I trump as well so the first book is called robot. And it's about robotics but really it's the story of Frankenstein. Sally decides that had baby brother is to stinky and gross and keeps breaking her invention so she is going to try and replace him with a giant robot Co. Breitbart and he's supposed to be just as a brother should be perfect until the chores. He can fix broken machines. He has a cupcake and built into his chest but then the remote control breaks and he goes completely crazy and becomes quite a threat to them. He becomes the worst brother so they have to find a way to stop him. Okay but the only poo in that is in his nappy. That's right becomes more of a deal in the other books. Deng Viollis and sell his best friend. Charlie comes into it and her name Rosie Charlie is a biologist biologist under the age of eleven and she has a pit Dung Beetle Douglas and the Dung Beetle accidentally gets zapped with grocery and turns into a giant Deng. Baitul that rolls a giant ball of Dung towards the town whopping big Godzilla sized Deng Beta xactly poo so very seriously very stuff up for the most Franklin so good what you introduce us to is. The unsung hero of the insect will Dan Beatles remains Dung beetles are amazing. Absolutely incredible the piles of Poo would be surrounding us. We'd be swamped in them. We'd be upset. Done battles exactly right. Yeah and this is actually an issue in Australia. Because there's there's dung beetles on every continent on earth except FANTASTICO and they've been there for millions of years evolving alongside the animals that are almost contents so he industry we had dung beetles that had about longside marsupials and they were used to very dry penalty little droppings. We have two species of role is in his triumph that genus is called CICIS so so they had named after the Great Guy who was rolling the rock up the hill in it but always robot damn so those two brands of two species of rolls in astride. The other one's not rollers. The dig is his and tunnel is different types of dominates. So these guys they would clean onto the side of a kangaroo on Rodney. They bottoms and so when kangaroo had a little Pooh the dung beetles could could jump off and get it while it was still moist as possible. Because it's going to dry out really quick in Australian environment so pitcher when Europeans turn up in his try and they bring cows ass horses. It's like heaven and the first cartoons upping guys and the local Dung Beetles go. What is that? I am not touching met. This is not in my job description. I'm used to these little dry pellets. I'm sorry it's not happening on over here in my trailer. Kangaroo pellets and cube. Wombat Poos and all that stuff stuff so none of the local Dung Beetles dealing with these four hundred years and it was increasing the number of flies. We had an ashtray with spreading disease. It was killing crops because it was just going onto the grass and there was less grasp with a cast eight so the irs in the sixties or the seventies reminding. They went to South Africa and France and found a whole bunch to Foreign Dung Beetles and immigrated them and family living in Australia. The most and which ones were deal with that Deng and reduce number flies huge amount so yeah say terrorism and the Dung beetles saved US saved us from sort of cap apocalypse. That's right pacalypse material for you for kids riding. And and she's such a great little. Intrepid character is constantly coming up with inventions. That go cataclysmic wrong. And then she saves the day Markle Michael Levitt coming back to the distress. That nick was talking about you. Know the psychology of pooing. You must see that every day I mean people probably take a lot of effort to get to you that I think anybody really wants to talk about the ballot by the time people come to see me. They've they've obviously got to a particular point of anxiety or distress or borrow pain. They realized that they've got to face up. Talk about it. Then they know that. Never that's GONNA lead to being examined very very private place that people don't like being examined so that's all represent challenges. There are a lot of unhappy people with a lot of unhappy bells and often having very unhappy encounters with the medical profession because there seems to be a lack of understanding reading about the variables that can affect the way our bell works. And it's all entangled with the fact that states of mind and states of body interact interact to affect our bells work to a message that average. GP in the working week probably wouldn't see many people who present with Abbad problem so that wouldn't be something that they feel particularly comfortable or at ease about and this general tendency to just deliver kind of public domain recommendations is eat more fiber drink more fluid and stuff like that which which I think is often very unhelpful. So that's not good enough for lots of the problems it isn't it. Generally is limited help to recommend those things. He's I was really struck in your book. The heavy bail. How little focus you place on Diet and fiber and what we ingest what passes through our small and large intestines? And how much it's you love a good laxative. That you love lex medications Saturday afternoons now. Houses lex afternoon. Just sit back and try something I mean different and Okay so I think that people have view of the bowel habit that it it is directly connected to what they ate so that is that if you put if anyone of US puts designated food this end we will get a designated output at the gathering but people's bows function incredibly differently one person to the next one gender to the next week difference between men and women's yeah and and so how we actually go to the toilet. What about have it looks like is only partly connected to the food that we put in and as a result Oh and people can't quite comprehend that they're having to do something let's say artificial to make their bows work that they honestly think that they should be able to resolve it by changing what they put it in the top in everybody's intestines and the motilal their intestines is different and hence the output will be different? Can I ask you a question. Some people say that drinking coffee in the morning is a laxative effect number for other people. It's not so I guess that ties with what you're saying. He's an some foods and drinks will be likes different people in some it won't be Caffeine is a laxative. Caffeine is a stimulant if you have a normally or briskly active got you will respond and welcome it. But if like a large percentage of the population you have a generally sluggish bell. You may not notice any impact with caffeine at all. It's like a black Mike Fox. You can put all things in the Pan but what's going to come out about a man will will depend on. What your black boxes like? What accounts for that variability? I mean I love the way you described a lot of men's bales. A fast and fruity and a lot of women's bales a slow and sluggish. You can make that generalization across the sex is a very famous famous professor of gastrologist from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis about thirty years ago and and a lot about him because he and I have the same name and he conducted this study with healthy volunteers men and women with eight identical dots. Absolutely the same amounts of the same foods and fluids they. We're not allowed to leave anything. They had to eat it all drink at all and measure what came out and the average man had his bowels open. More often than the average woman produced a greater weight of stool stool More water and fitted them with contraptions measured. How much wind came out and the average man produced a greater amount of wind? And when I say that a patient sitting in front of me with partner they not so you know the average guy gets up in the morning puts his feet on the ground on straight to the toilet and doesn't for one minute doubt out what's about to happen but many women will get up in the morning on the ground and ask themselves. What am I going to have to eat drink and do today to get back to work? What do we know about why there is that difference? It's so people. Ask Me that and I say well. Let's have a look at the average height of the population and is the average man. Toll shorter the same height as the average average woman. He's at his taller. Do we know why it's there are differences between genders of a physiological nature. That just exist. Come on you've got to give me more than it is certainly not got to do with Diet. As a general rule because of their propensity dislikes the average woman eats more fruit and veg than average guy. Average guy is Ebi. Over does the fruit and VEG. He becomes a social reckless stance to blow a hole in the ozone layer only way very wary about fruit and veg. It is a science fiction all about with colorectal surgeon. Michael Livid Children's author James Foley Holly and Psychology Professor Nicholas Hesam or at the State Theatre Centre off W. A. Rod in the heart of Earth. Nick has LEM. Freud had had an absolute field day. Sigmund Freud had a field day with bell function. And this kind of odd idea. That Bell Function is related alighted to personality type with all sorts of curious theories. The I know retains personality theories about bow function and child development the emerging kind of self and identity is sort of paralleled to the what are bells are doing at any point in time and capacity to control about functions. Tell us about what about why they was that fascination. What some of the ideas were? You'll think this fascination actually goes back Alana only two to fraud and of course a lot of Freud's ideas of being gene largely accepted to be rather bogus but I think at the time. There was a lot of fascination in the general medical community about the possibility that out gots were causing our New York illness so it wasn't only the CYCLORAMAS so this idea of auto intoxication this idea that the fishes passing through our intestines or in some way poisoning us. And so the idea that you had to improve approve. Mutability were was a key. Part of what psychiatrists at the time. We're trying to to do but Freud okay. Freud has very interesting ideas and he essentially thought that most most of what happens in the way of personality development occurs in the first roughly five or six years of life and that children's fascinations that have moved from different body parts and systems to cut a long story short. He said that. When you're a toddler after you've passed out of infancy You develop this fascination with your bottom essentially with the growing control you have over your speakers and that this is actually an important psychological time in your development because not just learning control over those this particular species but learning muscle control in general being your own Master Rodman just this blob that gets fed by your parents and he said that it can go wrong. You can go wrong in your Movement through this stage he said that you could develop their anal character type. If your navigation. I'm trying to avoid the word passage the leaning. Okay your passage Through the final stage was was problematic. You might be left with this residue of personnel. Where you'd have what he called? The anal character and the character was this combination of being the Dan tick Stubborn cheap cheap with money Really concerned about wasting time unable to delegate responsibilities Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera Ford was right. There is this character type actually the current. DSM anyone cares about modern. Psychiatry has disorders diagnostic. Uil Rusty Bob Psychiatric diagnosis. And it says there's this thing called obsessive compulsive personality disorder which is exactly what Freud called the anal character. The problem ause the research shows that there was absolutely no link whatsoever so ever between toilet training and enjoying or not enjoying Passing who is a child with his character types of the character types real there there is an idol catatonic just go online to do bottoms. Yeah so the. The idol aspect of the physicality isn't really an idol story at all. No and he had an our story about the idea was that he found that the patients who had this character type as adults recollected that as children they had a great deal of pleasure in holding back and sometimes releasing as well and so he could tell a story about where it came from. It just happens to be a false story. So the question of Jane Fonda two psychologists it has looked at that as well the gender differences between well all sorts of aspects of of Bowel function and toilet eating. Haven't they so dislike monocle. Michael said there's also to physiological differences all sorts of ways in which excretion sheds light on gender women. Judge much higher standard when it comes to Clinton. Is this idea ear that Women actually being excreted still controversial time precisely that is also an I think you know. There's all sorts of studies on this thing so I'll try to remember The experimenter female or male experimenter in this study excuses herself so for himself to go either to the bathroom or to go to pick up some papers and afterwards the participants in the study are asked to of their impressions of this person Whether the man is gone has left the room to go to the bathroom or to collect. Some papers makes no difference to how he's seen but the woman who confesses that she's going to the bathroom is much much more negatively. There's still a stigma into attached to the idea of women as impure beings. There's still this greater policing of women's odor cleanliness hygiene. We more Sary's of of women who don't hold to those standards and women have internalized that so I think there are also more prone to arrange of some of the the Psychological conditions is associated with these issues but also just judge the thing most of the on them. It's the final frontier. Feminism isn't it. We need a fat lead reverie revolution I think and so ladies wherever you Baylor Vaden you win blow free. I say that's one solution. Look civilized allies men. But look I think this is easy to jerk about these things build things as well so there was a great piece in the New York Times about a month. Go I think where it was documented? How many women at work will not go to the bathroom at work or we'll find all sorts of ways to go to different floors on their building in some some cases drive home? This price paid by this and it's only a minority but it's a large enough minority that we maybe should care about and so the whole idea of parody and sensitivity and norms. I think is really quite important. I'll just loop back to markel there before I come to you. James this is a real issue in the medical profession into isn't it and also male partners of women discount the differences so that you know just come on get it together. I can in Peru easily. Why can't you but it affects? Also how women are responded to by the medical profession while you've got a psychological problem dialing that's not just true of male Patna's US but e mail prescribers say if you happen to see a male doctor whether they're specialist or general practitioner with male pharmacist in the process of looking for advice. There's a tendency for men to assume that because they had good balance late everyone else is going to be a good balance late and therefore incidents they respond well to to a good dose of fiber. You're going to respond to that too. I think that that's just a complete failure to appreciate the critical importance. Ordinance of what we call colonic transit. which is the time it takes things cigarette get around the call on and the fact that is unequivocally slow in women irrespective of what they drink and so it has a really tangible impact those differences in women? I just noticed something to you. I can remember that. Sorry I'm dropping you in on national radio. The dads in general that they will be more allowed to set of freely and make a joke of it at the dinner table. Oh bullfrogs tonight. Oh you know that sort of stuff but your member the few times you ever heard you. It was like once a year maybe at the most mum. How dare you and it's so weird? Isn't it that we hold we MOMS. It does to different standards with that. It is weird I think and also sort of make a ceremony of going to the toilet. They take the newspaper and Net slicks. Maybe these days and make bank and occasion of it which is a problem for bell health. It's just that there is the double standard as James pointed out. It's also the part of masculinity is rejection of Feminine Delicacy and so this is sort of celebratory performance aspect of it sometimes as well I mean the especially among adolescents. Boys you know. Part of being gross is being non female so I think the celebration of fighting and things like that has not just a gender nature better performance gender. Tonight's debate about grossness is mile. We should have some famous experts up here to tell you just to balance out the famous off go to bail it's true. Aw It's all happening right here. James Foley guest your notes. This is a fantastic story. Selley and Charlie Charlie they climb inside a submarine. They shrink Dan and some have I end up little brother. Joey's intestine and stomach facing off hidden. Ah Yes they do so it was never intended that they would go inside buy joy they were just testing out a shrinking submarine that they could use to go on the benches his in the in the fish tank and clean the fish tank more easily but by accidentally swallows them in this vile of liquid along with a whole bunch of little buts and an invention called the smart cheap sheep which Sally was gonNA use on herself it was going to implant itself into her brain and turn his super super super smart. But now it's going to go inside. Maybe Joe everything goes wrong again. That's right and so they have to find it inside his body when they get to. The brain is not their spoiler alert and have to go through the body. Find out which organ it's actually gone to and of course it's gone to the most powerful organ baby joe which is his large intestine and so they have to end up there and turning off this massive massive invention and then have to find a way out and coming back to laxatives actives. There's a level of little solution there and then as a massive tsunami of Poo Poo nominee. If you will so that was a lot of fun to drive. I kind of here. I thought I was going over the line with this one but I think I just skated right up to it and it is a fine line it is when you leave all your characters coded in warping wapping big Pooh and joey ends up. Kind of sky rocketed sky high because of the massive yes rocket proportions sends NASA would be impressed. Yes he's a boy. He's allowed to be grossed. You say we can get away with that. So I'd be interested in this this idea of using science in graphic novels as you you do science fiction away. Zahn lively science fiction with great famous protagonists. Yes but there's also a mad scientist trope that you Camin Sally is Frankenstein. Yeah she's and she's rick from Rick and morty she's always she's a dock from back to the future she's always sort of mad scientists but it never been one. That was a little go so I thought well let's do that. Let's have a young girl who said she signed up for my schedule is hi is this. It'll go holding a spanner like an inventor so we went from there. Yeah so you should. Where did she come from? Do you think she's Abbassi older sibling. That's that's what she was in the very first book and that's me if you look at photos of me and my little brother on my I I have school. He looks just like Joe. And I'm just I'm almost like sally just missing the the Piney town. Yeah so it's basically my brother is. I think you say you're Sally Sally. Oh I'm pretty sure. Every Rauscher Surin illustrated just draws about themselves rarely administrator that but this idea of a mad scientist troy but we could it could spin either way could not could entice girls and children into the sciences or it could make them associate science with mad people. If Mary things yeah sure I understand exactly. I mean I've always been more interested in the fiction than the nonfiction writing. So if it's fiction you gotTa have some conflict. You've got to have some stuff. That goes wrong so that has to be some sort of element of danger. Durin destruction and chaos and I think being more of a retentive story. OCD SORT of personality myself. In some ways I I'm always interested in stories about ah chaos in order I think. And that's just what the basic story structure is bad. You got a character. He's got everything ordered. And then chaos is introduced. And they're gonNA find a way to live with that or to get it back to the head of the Stan. Yeah that's fiction metaphor for a bells as well function just before we come to audience for a couple of minutes markle livered. The book is called the heavy bell what he is. How would you describe a heavy bail? A heavy bell is an empty balch. That is certainly one thing that you say. I came to the to riding the book on the basis. That that if I could describe a good bowel action and and what leads to a good balance and then I could then analyze what it is that goes wrong and so there are four elements to good bad action. I think is a say in all recorded accorded human history every satisfactory bell action has been prompt to sit and start promptly and without stranding so prompting effortless brief reef to over and done within a matter of seconds and complete leaves about empty prompt effortless brief incomplete and in order to for that to be the case there I have to be two fundamental elements present one of them is an unequivocally strong urge to go so that the edge go is strong and true you get to the toilet. You know what it's about to happen. There's no doubt and the stool consistency the bow motion itself the boots of needs to be solid informed and I said like the shape appearance although not the color of an unripe banana so a strong urge and a solid stool are the building blocks of a good bound what action. MVP string a couple of those actions together. Then you've got a good bail habit and bow happy bail. And what are the three days worth so for people who have trouble getting to the toilet at the time the strong sometimes. That's because they never generate stronger because they've got generally sluggish bows but the three days is really just a simple kind of tiny little behavioral approach to people who've got trouble with the timing de number one is delay or defer which is the sign on the outside of the tour. Oh that's is if you're not busing. Heavy bells open this instant back off style. You don't go there. On a speculative mission thinking well maybe could be. Yeah I think I could but it's got to be unequivocally strong urge and don't take the newspaper in hoping that something might come. That's important that all that does is just reward. A BAD EH decision to go to the toilet bad timing number two is desist. which is the sign on the inside of the toilet? That looks at you. That says if you've been here for thirty seconds and nothing's happened get out and December three. which is the most important is distinguished? And that's really to get people to relearn the signals that that are reliably gonNA result in prompt and if it was initiation of differentiation and those signals that are just false alarms and so it's deferred desist and distinguish and the three days. And I came up with that fifteen years ago and it's still very well and all your patients by the sense to yeah. There's some fantastic case studies. I think we've got time for just a couple of questions so go for it. Hi thanks very much Thanks so much for this. WanNa hear more about fecal transplant. And how it's going going to change our relationship to pool. Yeah interesting question the idea of faecal transplants ago. So it's a fantastic concept. Isn't it that you would have somebody else's Pu injected into your colon but that is now widely accepted best practice for one very very confined indication and and that is for antibiotic resistant clustered him deficit than fiction. Nafta that doesn't make any sense to you. That's a good thing but CD facilities a nasty Asti. `Bug that that can colonize the call long. In particularly people who've been given antibiotics and can produce very very dangerous diarrhea dysentery condition addition. It generally responds to stand at any BOLIC's Metronidazole Vancomycin. It doesn't respond to those recurs. After those then fecal transplantation station is often very effective. There's a fecal China. It's emulsified and screen for all sorts of nasty infections since because there have been reported. Deaths from transplanting faces from someone who had a nasty Bergen it and killed the recipient which is clearly not a good thing. But that is the indication. For Four fecal microbial transplantation people have made some interesting observations. In the process of Figel micro transplantation the people who had certain other conditions in mental health conditions such as depression appear to have been corrected and improved. And so there's a everyone's having a step step back and saying well changing the microbiome. The bacteria in the colon might have some other significant health benefits but by by the same token it could have significant health detriments because if the darn it happens to have had other conditions that say mental health conditions or other immunologic conditions. Nations may be using their feces. Going to actually be. It'll it'll fix the seed if assume infection but of course other problems so I think that was very excited about it. I think we you need to remember that. There is only one rare indication for its use. It has shown some benefit in the treatment of acute. They're also collider's I think it's it remains to be seen so watch this space. More evidence required now the question thanks. I'm just interested in the idea. I mean I love the flushing toilet. Don't get me wrong but I also used to be field ecologist. I I used to pull in the woods behind. The bushes are in the sand. And I'm interested in this idea that we caught disconnected from our Po- these days and so we find revolting but maybe we could learn more about our own health more bit more connected to opponent. Maybe had to pull in the woods. Yeah the Germans a great at this. They love going. ooh What's in that toilet and what does it look like today. I love them for that Short. Look I think anyway which we're estranged from our bodily nature's probably doing some damage to us and I think it's worth remembering that people don't come into this world with an instinctive aversion to it so one of my psychological heroes a guy called paws and And he did this. Famous study where he put put. Fake dog made up of stinky cheese and peanut butter mixed together on a cracker offered it to children of different ages in the second the two year olds loved it. They were told hold on a biscuit. Will you eat it. And the two year olds loved it. You had is only Sony. Three and above learned version and a diversion can be unlearn and and maybe we should retain some degree version but the same some degree of curiosity. Not Saying this is not me this is me just sort it out the snacks next book at lunch. Ask a question so so you know I can remember a long time ago holiday to to Rome and we got. We went on a tour. We got the wrong tool. We didn't know where we ended up in a place called Ostia and austere. We went on a there's an excavation or and it's the old ablation block walk now. There were scores could have been one hundred seats around with little balls. We people from Austria would go. I would literally next to each other. And there was a common sort of channel underneath which we're water just flowed and excrement away and those people set next to each other. So that's only two thousand years ago. Isn't it amazing. Because the psychology of being away from your own toilet violet and not being after Pu for days and days and days when you're on holiday because he not in your bathroom bizarre. Let's learn privacy habit. You know there's nothing about human nights which requires is is to be separated in stores and we're doing but part of what's happened is that we have managed to make this very private act that adds to the shame. And that's the disgust. I think well I think this has been an illuminating session. And now you can all go home evacuate your bells. I'm really delighted to have had the opportunity to talk to James Foley. Nick has limb and Monaco Livid thank you for coming and details of their fabulous some bottoms. And what comes out of them over on the science. What's friction website? Thanks to the quantum words festival writing W. A. and Writing New South Wales teams for having us into sound engineer. David Lemay and Richard Gervin talked hoped on twitter as ever at Natasha. Mitchell look where he obey let you win blow free will we embrace and Ryan

James Foley Nick Sigmund Freud Markle Michael Levitt Camin Sally US Joey Tesha Mitchell depression Dan Beatles LEM Beatles James Joe Caffeine Poo. pooing Zillah scientist Australia
Selfish by nature? Two scientific renegades who looked for kindness and paid a price

Science Friction

30:50 min | 8 months ago

Selfish by nature? Two scientific renegades who looked for kindness and paid a price

"This is an ABC podcast. Hey welcome this. asides sides friction on the Tesha Mitchell. You know it's been a modern mantra of sorts that greed is good survival of the fittest even our biology elegy gets cast as selfish as in the selfish gene the ID obeying selfishness and competition Somehow in night in all of us in in all species that it's essential to ask survival into our evolution but you know is it really is selfishness the natural way of things so it's journalists so a cane is joining us on the show this week. hazo welcome Hey Natasha yes. I stumbled across his bizarre story of a man who developed an obsession in with altruism and how it came to exist he even came up with a mathematical equation for love but as we'll hear he ended up paying being the ultimate price. Along the way. We'll meet some pioneering. Scientists have challenged the dogma. That competition is king. The whole Western world took an individualistic swing at about the same time in the twentieth century. Certainly economics think of homework onomic because the the rational actor model the idea that everything selfish at the end of the day and that our task is to interpret varieties of selfishness. Chen says it's nice behaviors didn't exist. You still had individuals helping each other but now the way to understand that was basically it was all being manipulated by selfish genes. It's a very difficult dog but to break because it's logic seems to be pretty strong and yet increasingly we are finding and more and more evidence in nature that that's not the case and that in fact the philosophy of the Celtics gene which seemed to us like like very hard nosed science light the more reflection of the Cultural Moors of the day you know of the logic of markets translated into nature rather than just a naive description of what happens in nature. It's difficult to feel feel comfortable in nature. If that's what you feel is going on all around you if you go outside and go for a walk in the park or go on a hike do you feel like you're in hostile territory or do you feel like you're one nature I started out with the problem the problem of altruism in religion the question gets asked how can a kind God let suffering exist in biology. That question it kind of gets flipped and it becomes how can converse exist and evolve if things must compete eight to survive and this is a problem that plagued Dow when he developed his theory of evolution by natural selection so natural selection was the theory of course it explained how the world came to be boosting with such a diversity of life. It was the idea that specific traits behaviors or characteristics that help a species survive and reproduce in their environment get pasta on to the next generation and traits that denied this mission will get waited out and it seems that selfishness was considered to be one of those traits that looking after your own interests above others was pretty much a winning strategy when it comes to have Aleutian yes but there was a spanner in the works fidel on the existence of kindness and the problem he encountered was that if you imagine a pro social individual who is doing good things for others and then imagine that organisms opposite a selfish individual which is taking social the benefits but not providing them. Well who's most fit who's most fed is selfish individuals professor. Sloan Wilson of the Evolution Institute has spent most of his career investigating the origins of altruism. So if natural selection is all about individuals surviving and reproducing better than other individuals than that seems to provide I had an advantage to selfishness over altruism and Darwin was unable to explain all of the behaviors that in human terms we would associate with morality and good so this was not just a problem. This was a major problem. This problem was still unsolved. When asked story starts it's not in? I'm forty America and a young man. Raised in poverty by his mother during the Great Depression is in search of a big idea. He has a dream to leave his mark on science. George price started his career working as a chemist on the Manhattan project to build an atomic bomb processes as an eccentric a maverick staunch atheist. Were working on the project. He fell in love with Julia. A biologist who is his polar opposite conservative breath and Catholic. They got married and had two children and it looked like things were going well for the family. First daughter. Anna Maria was born in Nineteen nineteen forty eight and then a second one. Kathleen came soon after. That aren't Haman is a historian of science and author of the price of altruism but All was not well with the family and I think there's a quotation in one of the letters where George said to his wife that he would rather the daughters become and prostitutes the nuns which was a reflection of him saying to his wife. You know I've had enough with this religion. The marriage maybe doomed from the start disintegrated degraded price picked up stumps and left the family in nineteen fifty three years later he moved to. New York's East village go to jail with IBM and is doing a lot of drugs in the village. A lot of uppers downers barbituates that you. It's and sort of trying to make a name for himself. He's really unknown. kind of desperate for some kind of great scientific technological breakthrough to make his name and he was kind of maniacal you really want it to make a name for themselves. But he was so strange in offbeat and people didn't quite understand and who he was and what he wanted. George price was primed to grandiose thinking. This tendency was probably not helped when after cancer diagnosis. He have his thyroid. Removed and price wasn't great at taking medication. and which led to a radic moods and bouts of depression he was corresponding with at one point with four Nobel Prize winners our future Nobel Prize winners in different fields in neuro physiology with echoes in genetics with Hermann Muller with Shockley and Bar Dean and and Shannon Information Formation Theory and with the economists Samuelsson each on a different problem in a different field and offering to them. Some kind of magical solution. Shen to a great conundrum in the field but writing sort of you know out of nowhere. They had no idea who this person was during all this time. He's trying to make a made from self but he hasn't seen his daughters in about ten years and as his daughters grew older he started to muse on his Own Childhood during the Great Depression and obsession was growing a scientific obsession with the origins of family and he understood. That had it not been for his mother's grit his own family. No doubt would have disintegrated to and yet now he himself had abandoned his wife and his daughters and he becomes uh-huh obsessed with. Why why? Why is that? What allowed for some families to stick together while others collapsed and so this becomes a preoccupation the and the kind of obsession and he decides to leave everything behind and to get on a boat and to go to England in London he gets to wack back haunting public libraries and giving himself a crash course in evolutionary biology? He writes to his daughter. This is going to be my big paper on the evolutionary origin of humid humid family precisely after having a bad his family himself and his wife and his little little daughters and without a hint or tinge of irony tides off with love off Daddy. George Price Begins Corresponding with well-known biologist. William Hamilton Hamilton was developing an evolutionary theory. About why my family's care for each other and then like a bolt from the blue an idea comes to price in the form of a mathematical equation L. Straits have traits that promote fitness get selected for in evolution occurred across generations including the trait of being kind to one another he's equation it's solved Dow problem so price writes down the equation and he it looks at it and it seems to him something of a miracle to how did this question wack. What tries showed in his equation? was that natural selection could could work at all the different levels of the biological hierarchy simultaneously. It could work at the level of the gene. It could work at the level of the so at the level of the individual and at the level of the group this is what was new the idea that groups like a herd or village not just individuals could be acted on by the forces of evolution before this DA was dismissed by most biologists and what his equation could teach us was at what level of the biological hierarchy is natural selection. Working most strongly at any given time and if it's working most strongly at the level of the group then true selflessness true altruism can evolve what this means is when members of a group lift each other up rather than tear each other down on the whole group can flourish and reproduce and by group we might mean family or tribe or neighborhood donation or even so Poultry Breeder named William viewer wanted to select a better breed of egg-laying had. This is David Sloan Wilson and he did it in two ways in both cases the Hanley groups Actually there were housed in cases and in the first I experiment you selected the most productive head with any cage and in the second experiment. He selected the most productive cages collectively and use those to be the next generation vision of chickens socially by breeding with the most productive individuals. That is the hens that lay the most eggs. He think you'd get more eggs of roll well so this wasn't a case a few select the most productive individual in a group selection because bully and yes that's highly heritable and so after five generations you've read a nation of psychopaths and they're murdering each other plucking each other's feathers that they're not laying eggs. We music second experiment produced quite a different result instead of breeding. I'm from the individuals that live the most eggs. He read from the hens that came from the most productive cages overall in the second experiment by selecting the most productive cages ages. You were selecting the most docile and cooperative hands or did not interfere with each other and these cooperative Hans laid more eggs overall than the psychopathic ethic chickens. Dude price equation described this group dynamic very well so that is so descriptive of what also takes place is in nature and there's many many examples from the business world of people who employ strategies that are good for their own advancement but not for the good of the company under certain very specific conditions. Natural selection could see a group of people acid individual. It could look to natural selection like it's at individual tool because it's so cohesive and so cooperative it's like you know about termites or ants that come together together to create a super organism when that kind of cohesion exists in nature that a group can be almost like an individual and in that sense. The individuals within the group turned into sort of cells within the body they each have function which serves the higher good and the higher higher good is a more cooperative happier healthier population back in nineteen sixty. Ah George Price New Hughes onto something big aren Haman and so he walks off the street into the biostatistics department at University College London and he introduces himself by David George Price and have a look at this equation and off the the street. You know a complete unknown and within the hour he is given keys to his own office and visiting professorship at what was at that time one of the great centers in the world for the Study of population dynamics and it seems quite unlikely to that of all the great minds ever since Darwin Darwin. It should be him little george price who isn't even trained in the field to have cracked this very stubborn problem of where altruism comes from. But almost as quickly things started to unravel FA- George price really unraveled. And so he begins thinking about it as a kind of coincidence. It's and begins contemplating other coincidences. That had happened to him during his life. Type very strange things like he'd have girlfriends. Whose name was the last four digits? It's of his phone number work. Two three nine two hip. Bet that signified like a minute before midnight. It should be of two three five nine but it doesn't matter he was. You know who's a little bit manic and he multiplied all these coincidences and reached an astronomical number one over ten to the thirtieth miniscule tiny little chance that all all of these things should have happened to him by chance and so he read out of his apartment down little Littlefield road and into all souls Atlantic it to the Evangelical Church and fell on his knees at literally on the spot became a Christian. Having come come to the realization that God must have chosen him to tell some great truth to your vanity and that was where does skype is comfortable and there we will leave George price for a moment. It's nineteen seventy. He's on his knees before Lacrosse in a state of rapture before his world truly crumble. I don't know what to make of George Prices Story at this point Zoe. He's wild yeah it really is but now I want you to make another scientist and this scientist lack price. She believes that kindness and Lavin Alvin collaboration there really worthy of study in evolutionary biology. Like I say we're fast forwarding from the nineteen seventies. Now it's nineteen ninety-seven and professor sir. John Rough Garden is an accomplished. Biology professor at Stanford University join is in a fifties. And she's about to transition as a transgender woman and she's just arrived. I ever pride much different. Cisco these are really huge productions thing quite the mark it was obvious that there is a huge amount of diversity in gender expression and sexuality that was really being exhibited and at at the time. I don't think I even knew any gay. People at Stanford Gay folks were not well represented among the faculty and on the campus. Generally and a a curriculum didn't mention the existence of species in which there was natural same sex sexuality being expressed And not only that same sex sexuality was seen as bizarre anomaly by scientists ultimately it didn't produce babies so what. What was the point of it but going to the pride March got join rough garden thinking why was science so silent on the group of People Shay was marching with? When she started to dig she meant interesting discovery about the frequency of same sex sexual behavior in nature? It became clear that even in the primary literature there was a huge number serve cases that have been documented but just not reported the real tip off that something fishy was going on with biological study of gender sexual ahead to do with the pejorative descriptions that the biologists were using for the very phenomenon. They were observing. They were embarrassed almost to be writing about same mm sexuality in the very species they were describing. It says there was a stigma and they were afraid of catching the stigma. Professor Rough Garden thought. She'd find enough to publish published a pamphlet on animal. Same sexually in fact. She had a book's worth in two thousand and four she published evolution's Rainbow Diversity the gender and sexuality in nature and people. The book issued a challenge to her profession over what she saw as narrow minded lens among mammals. Who certainly we get a lot of same sex sexuality? There's no doubt about that and this multiple times. There's like a real social role for same sex sexuality and among in primates specifically its most developed in the primate groups with the most complex social systems. Can you tell me a little bit about that. How how that plays out and what scientic sexuality looks like and what role it might play? So it's it's quite variable. I personally photographed elephants male elephants meeting. They can find lots of pictures of the charismatic vertebrates so Pionts Tigers Giraffes this impression. Sometimes the same sex sexuality involve also a power dynamic that it's like a rape or something but it definitely isn't. It's a bonding kind of behavior. Is these two lions. Is it by Golly nozzles up next to the other and one lies down and then the other amounts and then they get up and they stay together and they're really good. Buddies Professor Rough Garden found many examples of same sex sexuality in spacey's from those male lions ends that mount each other and cut Lofta to oyster catchers shore birds who often live in Malaysia. TWAT research shows that if the threesome All have sex with each other. They're more successful at raising the chicks as a tame then if they only have heterosexual couplings within the trio and and then the other Bernarda is. You've probably heard of our hyper sexual primate cousins. Hey just love to get it on and those all the animals participate in and same sex sexuality. They're having sex all the time. It's quite remarkable and they all have a rather low level of aggression as a result so they very amusing write ups about the Novas and sex says a social mediating device but turning a a blind eye to same sex sexuality in nature join rough guns since that evolutionary biologists might be missing a trick running right off the bat. It was clear that there's a lot of these behaviors were reducing competition same sex sexuality a reduces it it's a way of building friendships way building bonds and the the fundamental challenge to same sex sexuality. It's not so much that they do it but why they do it. Why why are they not competing? Why are they not fighting with each other? Why are they building friendships? So why aren't they being selfish to heart back to the selfish gene here. We have animals definitely being friends definitely working together so the sexuality and also the gender expressions all involve of contexts in which there's cooperation taking place rather than competition and it's like their vehicles to facilitate and realize cooperation Russian in John's mind competition plays a role but signs was blind to another fundamental fuel of evolution so excited what biologists just on the notion. That competition was an evolutionary driver of success. They were a blind to collaboration. And it didn't help one of the most expensive expensive. Examples of collaboration might them blush same sex sexuality professor are in Hamad from bar. Ilan University sites science that we think of as a kind of very objective description of reality something that's driven by logic and observation and not tainted by politics or by ideology time and time again when you look at the history of science you see that that's not actually the case you ever. Since that very famous popular science book the selfish gene a kind of way of looking at nature has really captured the field in evolutionary theory. And and it really. Is this notion of stark individualism. We can explain every behavior that we encounter in nature by looking at the logic. Chick of selfishness aren't Haman describes. Join as a maverick. And he believes her work is expanding on the legacy of George Price. Who Story Story? We started earlier and I worry we haven't forgotten about price. He's still on his knees in front of that Chris fix the price equation. Showed that and we did it. We need to think about jeeves. Entirely selfish terms could be also cooperative. Jeans what Joan is doing is really expanding that in a way away trying to break through from this very dominant philosophy and to show that there might be other logics in the history of the evolution of life life on our planet logics. That are much more cooperative that have to do with helping one another with up to do with the dynamics of cohesion within a group I think the Joan you know is a maverick. She's a radical you know and she's the Mavericks is kind of in a way that is reminiscent of George. He was really an individual and knowing Joan so you sort of get the same feeling you know. She's she's her own person and she will go with her truth until the end. Notwithstanding was standing and in fact she has been attacked for many of our ideas but that doesn't matter to her because she sees a path she sees a truth and she goes after it but doing this work comes at a cost join was considered outside of the mainstream and as George. Let's return to him. I'm in one thousand nine hundred seventy. He's come up with his magnum opus. A mathematical equation that describes how traits like altruism evolve and promote the survival of groups. But not all is rosy altruism exists in the world. Yes George comes to understand. It's not driven purely by good comes to the conclusion that altruism must always be a form of selfishness because if it evolved then it evolved because it was adaptive for those who held it for those organisms who held it and therefore if it was adaptive live what that means is that it helped their fitness and therefore was selfish rather than selfless so altruistic behavior may look like it's the form of kindness but actually that saying that terrible saying scratching out to us and watch an egoistic bleed that seem to price an inescapable conclusion from the mathematics if altruism had evolved to promote survival then it must ultimately exist for selfish reasons to promote the transmission of our own genes anes into the next generation. Even when we were doing good things for people we weren't genetically related to altruism was motivated. Did selfish reasons. This profoundly depressed George Price but John Rough Garden Professor America at Stanford University doesn't integrate with Georgia's pessimism altruism can still be valuable and pure you can increase your frequency and then jean-paul through altruistic behavior fever that doesn't mean it's selfish because it was manifestly altruistic at the behavioral level. You actually did help somebody at some cost to yourself that is altruism. It doesn't it doesn't matter if there's a genetic benefit to that because Jane itself can't be consciously selfish so if it's manifesting its sense of altruism altruism remains untouched. Yeah you're still is operatives because we classify altruism based on the behavior not based on its impact to the gene pool but sadly it was all still downhill for George Price Altruism was not all well he thought it was cracked up to be. This is terrible realization for George Price. Because he's just come Christian Evangelical Christian and Christianity Hannity to him is all about love and giving and yet his science his own signs his own. Mathematics is telling him that there is no such thing as pure giving as pure or altruism and pure love and so he decides that through his own behavior he will prove that the human spirit can transcend is owned own miraculous mathematics can transcend the dictates of evolution and of nature and prove that there is in fact a genuine kindness and altruism out there and and so he goes out to the streets of London and begins helping all the DACA bonds and down and outs and homeless people that he encounters I buy. Just go buying them sandwich or giving them a tattoo and then increasingly in a more involved way by helping them in the court of law and in their scuffles with the police and he the rights to John Smith at one point down to my last fifteen p. and I can't wait to get rid of them because this was proof to him that Ubad spirit could in fact back tread said evolution. Finally he gives away everything and falls into the streets of London himself. Becoming a homeless person and living rough on the benches of the various parks sometimes taking shelter in the train station at night and all the while. He's working on his mathematical equations. His paper appears in the pages of nature which which is incredible even while he's homeless he's still doing a science but the psychological comment that has been shadowing him for years. Is it begins to take hold and George Price takes is on life at his funeral. Some weeks later they're about ten people. Two two of whom Bill Hamilton and John Maynard Smith are the great evolutionist of their age and the rest are homeless. People whom George had befriended on the streets of London London and upon whom he had descended as a kind of angel to help them. These were the handful of people who took George to his grave on a cold January morning in nineteen seventy five. What Stories Zoe? He paid the ultimate price. Didn't he his passion. Yeah he he really did and demand for that. Competition is king. It still lives on to this day. I'll say it does lives La. Ah lived on this hi four note. He though because David Sloan Wilson doing some interesting work yet he really is. He's taking notions from evolutionary biology and applying them to schools to neighborhoods to communities to try and develop communities that promote compassion altruism and kindness over competition last week. We go to David to reply. Evolutionary theory to our current aren't lives And all of the fast pace changes taking place around us in other words cultural evolution. That's something that's very new and we're only just coming to appreciate with. Darwin always suspected Darwin didn't know but he his intuition told him this theory would explain the length breadth of humanity. I often say imagine that you're a nice person who really nice but unluckily for you. You're surrounded by not so nice people so what can you do. You have four options. You can leave. Maybe you can try to convert vert those people around you turn them Nice. You could do that. You could defensively turn off your niceness or you remain nice and suffer the consequences those for options and who would counsel a person remained nice under those circumstances. But you need to do is you need. To of course create social environments that rewards awards niceness. And if you do that then you can get people to become more pro social. You don't even have to teach them. They perceive their environment and they basically they open up like personnel. Coming out of its shell very interesting. Practical work thank you so much for joining us on the show this week Zoey. Thanks for having me. It's been a blast and Zoe. Is Darren Osborne Regional Science ons. Get it this year. You can talk to me on twitter at Natasha. Mitchell and you can catch me on at Zoe UNDIS- cocaine at Cayenne. Catchy next week by you've been listening to an A._B._C.. podcast discover more great A._B._C.. podcasts live radio and exclusives on the A._B._C. Listen Up.

George price professor Zoe UNDIS Haman David Sloan Wilson scientist Sloan Wilson London John Rough Garden Stanford University Tesha Mitchell David George Price Mavericks cancer ABC Chen fidel
Tai Asks Why - the seventh grader with a cult science podcast and mind for big ideas

Science Friction

29:50 min | 1 year ago

Tai Asks Why - the seventh grader with a cult science podcast and mind for big ideas

"This is an a._b._c. podcast. Hello welcome to sides friction at culture and science with extra spice. Did you follow sixteen year old. Swedish schoolgirl gritted tubes transatlantic ginny this week any ought to new york where she'll laid a protest outside the hugh in climate summit. He small high waves. The generations are the ones who have been causing closing this problem and so. I don't think they they should be saying to us. You should just be a normal kid and do what kids stupid you should because they are the ones who have caused this and <hes>. We're just trying to clean up yeah. Honestly i. i feel like greta was just kind of like you know what these people aren't going to change. Tesha mitchell with you and another trail-blazing using tena joins me on the show this week. His name is tai and he's all bad asking why going to hand it off to us and that's why dodge words is looking at because not enough ties or yelling at them and she's like you know what i've had enough of this. I'm gonna complain. I'm gonna wind. That's what teenagers agers to best complain wine and just be generally annoying. Let's turn to let capacity into a skill in talent in order to garner an audience the planet and save the planet so efficient. This is a twelve year old scientist with a whole lot aww questions enough to take you to the moon and back it all sorts of the question. You know it's pretty much as simple as the name is. That's why the name such a great part tie. I asks why ask i'm fine. This is my podcast tasks. What there are so many questions out there the extremely wanna get in twins cooler infinity. How do we fix climate change. Should we trust our gut. What happens after we die. Why do we dream and what did log. When thai pool was eleven that was last year. He's new science. Podcast tie asks what took off really took off and now a t._v. Show is on the cards to canada's public broadcast of the c._b._c. A has just launched season. Two of taya asks why this week and i wanted to turn the tables and ask thai some questions about life about science about everything really hello. I'm so happy to be here on a scale of zero to infinity has surreal. Does it feel to have have so much wonderful recognition for this podcast of yours infinity and one. It's hard to think that you know i'm just literally just this dude and in the past past two years. I've been like this dude except on the internet. A lot of the people i interview are like big hot shot people on like well just a kid ed. Sinaga snuck past the guards put on some headphones illegally booked studio and boom. Let's talk you know but that's what makes your podcast so utterly wonderful. When thinking about you know vast an abstract concepts as you do you you've loved maths from why why back you twelve now but maths come to you. I mean almost as your first language is how you describe it. Tell us about that that that feeling that sort of a night connection for you we've with the world of numbers well math is just logic but a little little bit more complex you just have these building blocks in these things and they interact with each other in a very specific way and that's it so you gotta get this other thing and this other thing. You smooshed them together. You see how that works and it's always consistent. It's like a perfect universe. What you try to imagine a box of nothing <music>. You can't really write because a box would be containing something what it's containing something that is not containing nothing okay now. Try to imagine a box of infinity like everything and you also can't really because it just kinda goes on on on and you can't contain it if it keeps going right what's up with that. A lot of people find math hard but it always kinda clicked so we always just understood because it's just you know it's just these patterns. <hes> i love the way you described maths as both missy and elegant as well. You know it's almost as if early on in lives a lot of us don't say those patents the patents that meths helps us describe about the world. It's it these languages in it. It's kind of illiteracy <hes> and it's just a way of conveying ideas but not necessarily in the traditional sense that we think this is tony del genio and i am a scientist for nasa freaking nasa i do research on earth's climate and how the earth's climate climate is changing because of the stuff that people are putting into the atmosphere and i do research on other planets in the solar system. I've been involved in a few two nasa space missions to other planets awesome so you're in junior high school this year and i'm wandering outside of school. Now your getting to talk to two leading scientists from all over the world from nasa in all sorts of intricate detail about the work they give you their time these one on one extraordinary conversations and then you have to walk up at school and feed into the whole kind of school curriculum and whatever it requires you to learn. Is that a difficult adjustment for you. Those contrasts well. It's kinda like you know once you go like if you were to fly business class once every other time a flight flight on me. It's probably gonna feel like really small stuff. Of course i've never flown business unfortunately but it's a shock you know because i get that schools can't afford to do one on one task swipe tutoring like i did and i'm super grateful and thankful for the opportunity tunisia that i've been given but yeah it is. It is a bit of a shock. You know you think you think you're learning science and then you go out and you ask and you're like well. This is learning science science so tell us about that contrast because i fans school oppressive at times probably because i moved a lot but you know i was a curious keyed ahead gripe passion for learning and i did not feel that at school yes like let's put it this way. If you were to go in your a computer and you're like hold on magnets work and type it up. You're gonna in answer your milk while this is actually really cool. He click on the link and the next thing and suddenly you're like a p._h._d. In electromagnetism but if you just got todd in school and you're like well. I wanna wanna go dark costs. Can we leave. It's not going to be fund because the main difference is just that school. It's driven just by the fact just by the knowledge you know you're being taught this so you can know what it is and you. You can understand but just what i found from tasks why that was so much better that i was learning science but it was driven by curiosity what school does is. It doesn't cater to the fact that you're curious about something. It just gives you that information. Whether or not to what you wanna hear we don't wanna hear but would end up liking or you just don't want to hear it all. It just gives you the information and it kinda kills curiosity. It's just it's there to give you the information because that's how curriculum works but it's not there to answer your questions or do any of that new really feel that and that's kind of ties into the whole oppressive thing they reckon. That's a complete audit. What a tragedy of modern education that one statement that you make that school kills curiosity. I mean what a disastrous situation that we found ourselves in. If that's the the reality of education today unfortunately it's not great. You know we're just kind of taught in the style of the industrial age. You learn how to do something you grow up. You'd do it yad. I don't do it. Get punished. You do do it. You get to work some more and then eventually actually yad. I and that's not really but just yes school curriculum. Just it can be adjusted because it just. It's hard trying to feed to amass smart. There are ways you can approach that is less just like it feels like a factory and you're just everyone says being like putting on like a knob or screwed at a time and then you're done. You know there's different ways that you could approach it. Curriculums is supposed to teach to amass and because curiosity creates like side pass in just makes it a non universal. That's how curiosity works. You're curious about something and it's not like there's a lack of information. It's just you want to know more so what they do is they try to oppress curiosity so they can just tell everybody this stuff. You're like well this sucks but they just they can't be scared. Just let that curiosity expand like i get it. You might not be able to one on one tutor. People all the time but you just need to let that curiosity you do need to let it rise up so you you can teach them something but if they're curious they'll be happy engaged and they'll just go home and they'll just look it up after it's the spark back lots the fire. I do wonder what your relationship with your science. Teacher is like at school yeah. We're best friends. Yes i mean lots of people fantasize about getting being an award winning podcast up and running a new one by jalek an but i really love the way you call yourself an shamelessly a a scientist because so many people feel remote from science science he's scientists do. I don't wanna seem cocky. I'm not like at this high end ended intellectual the smartest but you know i like to think of myself as a scientist because i look to learn science and i discover things about the field and in my own way by asking these questions contribute by adding this new perspective i'm learning learning and using science to discover things yeah i mean there are lots of different tools that people use to ask questions about the world religion philosophy be meditation. Yoga is another way what do you think is distinct about science as a way of interpreting the world well. The thing is except for yoga. We will try to do that season three. If we get one i have used all of these different methods because you know scientist. I just great enormous. Scientists besides doesn't always have the answers and if science does have the answers. We just haven't figured it out yet. It's a pretty big universe in a lot of things to learn about so if i can't find the answer through science will look at the religion or philosophy or anything you know. I'm just curious and i'm looking for the best most suitable answer. I feel like science and religion. They're like actually very similar because they're just they're ways to answer things and they may have different connotations around them but they're both just ways where you're like welton curious. I'm looking for guidance. Help me god or alien overlord. You know i'll take the million overlord in fact you identify as an atheist and yet in a beautiful full episodes that you and you could say made after you experienced terrible grief from your grandfather dying you will prompted to who asked the question what happens after we die and you didn't think that science would necessarily provide the answers why not well science is great. You know oh and scientists how i understand the world scientists science science can only do so much and what it can do something bring in the other viewpoints points and ideas. I want to talk about death. It's a debtor. I know but it's just i've kind of been curious about it about the two years ago. My grandpa died. I miss them a lot more. Why grandmother mother tells me that in the vietnamese tradition after a person dies their soul. It's just kind of disoriented <unk>. What's going on for exactly forty nine days ace but like what happens after the forty nine days or does he go. I just feel just procedures. We have and the basic concepts of science science being like well sticks and things in the brain use zap them you see if it responds and if they're dead their brain doesn't work right so there's like spiritual actual stuff and spiritual stuff tends to collide besides science doesn't like that for some reason now when we were born climate change is already kind of a big thing and that's because our parents and just people the previous generation started building the factories in releasing these greenhouse gas into the like tick you off that they're kinda just like nick dying planet. Does that like annoy at all. I think it does these are my friends are just wanted to ask them if they're also super terrified about climate change i mean it's up to us for some reason to fix our plan in and just to fix all our ancestors have wrought upon us okay so yeah. We're on the same page it. It just feels like we're all just kind of like stuck on this sinking boat the planet's heating up with no way to stop it. Maybe we need to just like like travel to mars. Describe that feeling force that kind of burden that you and your friends leave with is it a burden or or do you see a sort of different path that you will not take to solving the problem of human induced climate change. I feel like in a way climate change for me at least is like. Let's say you're in the supermarket. Let your dad wants to go to supermarket and he puts you in the car right and you're not supposed to leave people in locked cars and that stuff. Let's just say that happens right and you know like you you. You're not like a baby so you're like and you're like well. It's slowly getting hotter right. Let's just say that you get a call from your dad and your dad's like there. Was this massive. It's like there. Was this someone like try to stole it to the stores on lockdown. It's you'd be like four hours. It's that feeling where you're like well. If we don't fix this it's going to get hotter and harder and more uncomfortable and it just it just as bad feeling that it just. It's just gonna keep getting worse than you're like. Oh my god it's going to it's harder. It's kind of really panicky capanic fateh yeah exactly the more. You're like oh my god. I'm going to melt the more you're like. Well more time has passed. I'm gonna mel faster so do you think closes in it closing and then there's the question of how much power do you have to open the window and let the hot air yeah and you know eventually eventually once you're in that car for long enough and you're like oh my god like it's like you're just really uncomfortable in annoyed. You're like well. What am i dead. Ed open a window and you know you're thinking like why did they put this. Why are they making me cook di. I didn't do anything wrong and he's squirming new thing in the seatbelt that eventually just you just melt your melt and unfortunately i like humanity. I don't want it to melt bought. What if we don't fix climate change we could melting could be a serious problem. So who do you think covers they. Whoever they that a responsible unfortunately it's us which means it's it's everybody we don't really do anything so the only people that care the people that are panic though a hold on when the generation before us dies. How are they supposed to fix what they've done to our planet and then you just kinda freak out but everyone else else's. I know what it's fine. I'm just going to the grocery store and use my car. It's a tiny bit tiny bit of mission and everyone in the world does that and it's a whole a bunch of emission and we melt yeah. We'll actually win. You was seeks. Also you came up with an idea for solving climate change the wanted to share with nasser at the time and in fact as part of tasks while your podcast you have got to share that with a nasa climate scientist what was the idea and has it evolved well. Originally i just kinda thought of it as you know. We have ways of turning heat into power right you know with. Maybe like the steam engine all that stuff but i just i just saw one of. We made these like. It's kind of like a solar panel except it's a heat panel rates. There's not necessarily exactly solar radiation but it's just gets that and it turns turns it into power and it powers these massive like cell phone tower sized a._c. Units so like well you take the heat and it makes it cold and to make sure we don't like freeze and make another ice age when it gets too cold there won't be enough heat to make any power so like will bounce a self fout and everything will be great to basically capturing the excess hate then this generated through global warming and then and converting it to energy yeah and using that energy to create the heat button reverse so the to cancel each other out. Do you think it's viable well. We figured out that episode. They've got not entirely scientifically accurate. You were six. When you came up with. I was i was six. I didn't understand how a._c. Unit worked. I didn't know oh that like if it was making cold. It was putting out hot so so eight generating hate taught into cold yeah i mean people people are coming out with all sorts of possible geo engineering solutions to climate change because it seems like we pretty useless at reducing carbon emissions as a spacey so you know people are thinking of sprang sulfate particles up into the stratosphere as a kind of planet tree umbrella or sun shade putting mirrors up in space to deflect sunlight so so it's not entirely implausible this kind of scale of engineering solution. Have you come up with other ideas since he was seeks well. I i thought a woman i was eight and it's the exact same type of thing. It's also like it was more when i understood it. More like heat. Is these little particles in their bouncing around really quickly right and heat is like making the bouts faster so if something's hot the particles are bouncing quickly so if we take that energy from the particles and they chill out and it becomes cold if we get energy from the atmosphere and we turn into like a death star and just like shoot it into space. We'd we'd be cold again would be great. I love it and the lava is that this would also be a defense against aliens right if aliens come while we have a death yeah star pugh two birds with one stone. Keep us safe exactly. Did you think though your generation will take a different approach to fixing climate change to previous generations well. That's the thing i don't mean to have any disrespect on your generation. Go for for it. The next jenner the the generation before us is really doing anything and they're all going to die. They're gonna put it in our hands by the time that's there. Were super screwing. We're like well. We have to find a solution and we can't just be like what we're gonna. Hand it off to the next generation because we'll be melted by then but what if you do just handed off awesome what's going to change. We already know what the reality is. We can't change asocial systems to accommodate it. I don't know like honestly just by the rate that it's it's expanding and it's getting worse especially with the ways that we're creating like we have more efficient ways of mass producing food. They say it's more efficient but it's more efficient because it makes more carbon dioxide kills our planet mar so honestly we might not be able to hand it off like we just we might like. It seems like it could be the we could be the last line it could be the end of the line for us if we don't fix it and then a cockroach overlords will take over from from us which might not be such a bad thing well. That's the thing we don't well. I don't know if it if it's global warming a might not be cockroaches but if its nuclear warfare because of global warming of global warming causes like very small percentages of the land to be populated and there's like these big wars over like hey our waters evaporating. Hey a us to screw you. We wanna drink it yeah and then they throw bombs at each other then that's when the crock cockroaches they rise yes so bring on the cockroaches say now your new season of tie asked why lends this week and you're looking at a whole range of fantastic fantastic topics from animal talk to deja vu y spacey's so dark when the dinosaurs died had it all the other animals survive. I level all the things but one topic that really stood out for me <hes> in the season. That's coming up. He's why do people bully <music>. Why did you want to look at that as a young scientist well unfortunately my this may not be the most original superhero back story. I was bullied bullied and honestly i don't get blamed because the person used to be my friend and he just turned on a dime and just became the total jerk and i just i didn't get it so you know i'm like well. I have this outlet to answer all this questions. I may as well ask. Why do people be jerks to each other. We're all the same. Species were on the same boat vote here. Why do people be jerks so you tend to saw for instance yup. That's my default and did it deliver well well. I'm not gonna say too much. You're gonna have to listen so. I don't think i could spoil yup. I learned a lot of insights about how bullying is like. It's not justified because it's not a good thing but like justifying the way i understand why it's there in an evolutionary perspective. I wonder how you'll peas at school. Ooh your friends have responded to the fact that you've got this c._b._c. Podcast that's going out to the world now. Do they give you reviews what they do. Is they elect just they don't listen to it and you know. I love people listening to it but you know it's just it's not good to makes personal business and personal you know now. It's not good to me. They think i'm like this like nine to five tired office worker. I'm not kidding well i do. You have to wonder how you feel in any school because not only that big news. I think this past month is that tie asks wise now also being developed into a t._v. Show so i'm wondering whether you're going to have to clone yourself of always always wanted to clone myself so it's not necessarily a half do. I think it's more of a want to yeah. What would you relationship to your clone. Be like of wondered about that well. I can't tell you where because then people would steal it through the years. I've made this very long letter to myself and it's in my room and is in case you are cloned too and i have to separate for the original and the clone on how to deal with each other and it's a way to reset your mindset so the two of you can work in harmony you know because there's always that count and hobb's comic where they get pretty chaotic so i've made sure i made some ground rules for myself and besides you know like if you don't do it right having clone wouldn't be help would be the opposite oh yeah because imagine if you hated your clone all my god mentioned that that would be off for whole or it always be like well. It's your turn to do the dishes. It's like well. It's your turn turn but and that's why i try to make some ground rules. We'd have to figure out a system and all that stuff yeah it. Would it would kind of sock. If you heated yourself. That's rosh josh. He stayed into your own eyes and said. I think you are evil. I mean the sort of the conundrum that we face with the future of artificial intelligence isn't it so if we create artificial intelligences that rival our intelligence even though they are of our own making how will we relate to them. They could rise up and they would take over. They'd be they'd be too smart. They'd have an advantage that humans don't have but also new thorough holy it off ruin this house for the one of us thrive outwith you flesh and blood you adjust but a biology action that imagine if it's like you know you know how there's like like print your face in a mug or something in matching just like print your face in a robot yeah wacky yeah. I don't know how curious though ahead of feeling i prefer the cockroach overlords to the artificial intelligence overload somehow that'd be cool and it also be kind of funny because imagine like imagine if these cockroaches like a low quality motel and they just see like a little babies kilograms like oh. We're we're doomed. No way not we are not doomed so what what comes after all these the world is an interesting place right now and a number of world leaders seem to be turning away from science and scientific evidence to inform their policies that climate change about public health olf all sorts of stuff and i wonder if you have a message for them. Politics is different than sites but you know what god listen to science you. Gotta look at the evidence. Okay there is evidence of things and you may not be popular. You may not be popular by the the same generation as you but the generation after you really needs to step up the check climate change game because we can't fix it. If it's just handed off to us you may be unpopular. I like picasso was but then you'll be appreciated for your true works of arts about how you save the planet otherwise they're we're going to be like you know. People are going to hate on. You and people are going to hate on you and then we're all gonna die and you won't be hated. That's that's granted but that's because we're dead. I'm sorry politicians just got you. Gotta just shape out the game. You got just gonna look at the evidence so do i hear presidential visit intial tone the tiny. Can you imagine a future in politics yeah but i would be that kind. That's like i'll be like really progressive and how these like really good viewpoints and the no one votes for me and then like twelve years people are like hey they should voted for him. It's like yes cockroach dear thai paul. Thank you so much for joining me onsides friction this week. It's been wonderful having you as a guest. You're very welcome. I'm super glad had to be here and honestly. I think i should be thinking you. I thank you for listening to science friction. I'm pool and make sure to check out my podcast tasks. Why get anywhere you get podcast fast and it's just about a kid asking questions. It's more exciting. It sounds so keep asking why guys and thank you so much and tell all your friends to subscribe to the science fiction podcast while you're there to talk to me on twitter at natasha mitchell a thanks to the a._b._c. enter selwyn cousins and i'll catch knicks tweak unless they <hes> cockroach overlords. Get us first unwinding the cookies. You've been listening into an a._b._c. Podcast discover more great a._b._c. Podcasts live radio and exclusives on the a._b._c. Listen app.

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Are scientists scared of politics? Science Friction Election Special

Science Friction

28:34 min | 1 year ago

Are scientists scared of politics? Science Friction Election Special

"This is an ABC podcast on the Tesha Mitchell. Welcome to science friction. We are getting political this week's. You might call it a mugs guy. How much your car costs more than twenty ideas and backs? Times in the mode about what I wanna do spin on my. These seend federal election campaign in the strategy. You could be given for saying another fall ready. There will be twenty twenty targets, and we will see when we when we set a target leap woman. That's why we had Livan billion dollars in renewable investment coming in two thousand and are you going to keep the same environment minister? Where is she? Where is she? Whether we like it or not this is democracy in action and parliament is where the policies that define our lives get decided dighly, but on the question of sides, science and politics becoming will increasingly strange as politicians steer away from tacking scientific advice or using it when they making K decisions, my three guests all scientifically trained, actively interested in what happens in the corridors of power. And while they seem to be plenty of lawyers and a communist in government where are the scientists at last count sixteen out of two hundred twenty six MP's in the upper lower house as to seven percent head science related qualifications. A scientists frightened of politics. Joining me Immelman professor Bob Williamson, a distinguished geneticist and former director of the Murdoch. Children's Research institute. He's also been really active on science policy issues in Cambra. Annamaria Arabia is chief executive of the strategy academy for science and in Sydney. We've got Dr Andrea Leon she's laid of the science party and biomedical scientist. Thank you to y'all. Thanks for writing game. Let's not with Andrea. Who's obviously not afraid because she's a new Southwell Senate candidate in this week's federal election. What more scientists or science trained people put their hand up for a laugh in parliament? Yeah. It's an interesting question about why scientists daren't get involved in politics. I was just thinking just now is it the adversary all nighter of it. But I think that's it because scientists say used to getting they work torn apart in peer review. It doesn't say that difficult to get scientists to back a Kohl's and get involved that way. For instance, we had the March for science start off a few years ago and plenty of. Scientists and engineers a happy to back that sort of nonpartisan calls then to get involved in potty politics is another matter the March for science the cause was science at self. It was something diffuse yours, and it could have been perceived as self interest. Perhaps we we saw it as a push to get more respect for evidence in policymaking. So what's motivated you to run for politics? And we will you a political animal from way because it keyed is a teenager as an undergraduate. Yeah, I've gotta think my parents always having the the news on TV. And explain to me what what politics was always about. Then I got to university never got involved in university politics that wasn't for me, but start going to a lot of rallies and getting involved in some different causes. And then it was roundabout the two thousand and thirteen election that I just realized I wasn't I wasn't comfortable with any of the options that I had on the ballot type. So that's when I look into my options, and that was the first election that the future party ran in. Now, the science body and. And decided to get involved shortly after that Maria Arabia. What's your impression of why scientists don't get involved in politics? I mean, of course, scientists cement to be impartial and rejected and let the Dada do the talking and I wonder if that's part of why scientists Steed away from getting involved getting active in politics. There is always a concern that in becoming involved in a political discourse, you can be accused of politicizing your size. And I think that is not correct advice soy often give scientists and others that in being politically active or in engaging in the political process. Does not mean that you are politicizing your science quite the opposite urine. Jetting your knowledge base into unimportant decision making process or wouldn't say they fee for. But, you know, often scientists just concentrate on what I do best and that science so they kind of get on with the job. So if anything I might stay away because the more engrossed in what they're doing every day do become involved. In ways that they see they can make a contribution directly. And of course, there are some scientists who a more. Luckily, oh, more quipped to do that than those. Yeah. I think the problem the tasha is that a lot of scientists really do spend fulltime at science, then they go, and they think really what a have to do. I've got to tell the government about the science. I've got to give them the facts. And unfortunately, often, scientists can be a bit arrogant and lay think sciences, the only thing that's going to decide whether or not the government does something, and that's not true, these issues from the point of view of a politician of very complicated. Let's take something that's very much in the news. Now, the Adani mine, obviously, if you look at it as a scientist, you say global warming is human caused concern anything we can do to stop. It would be good don't allow the mind. So if you're a politician, you have to bear in mind that there might be three or four thousand jobs involves that. Might be several hundred million dollars involved old restaurant and all of these things have to be put together by politician. And I think scientists sometimes don't get it don't actually understand that while the sciences important. It's only one of the things that a politician will take into account a like Andrea, I was very involved in politics when I was young. I think one of the real problems Annamaria is how few scientists really know how to talk to politicians. Anna Maria Arabia there at the academy straddling academy size. You've actually been involved over the easing facilitating all sorts of conversations between scientists and policymakers in politics, there's an annual science mates parliament of in for example, which could just be saying as sort of fan not to share drink in a few giggles. Does it actually have a tangible at come up -solutely does have a tangible outcome. I was formerly the CEO of science and technology strategy of the organization that runs science mates parliament, which. I think is in its twentieth year this year and one of the most important aspects of that event is to provide an opportunity for scientists to understand have policy politics in the media work and to give them the skills to speak with parliamentarians and to understand they world a will that they're not often exposed to so time constrained world one way their various influences at any moment of the day and needing to peach the science order, very -adies. They wanting to communicate to that parliamentarian in a short shop, and concise way, I mean, that's very well. But scientists can come across as just yet another group on getting more money to do what they do or perhaps righteously as pointed out Raj sleep trying to change people's views with the facts, how do you actually promote deeper engagement between science on policymakers? So that there are real outcomes for all of us. The citizens goes to bubble saying earlier, it's absolutely critical that scientists also understand. And that the scientific evidence spice is about one influence on a decision. So for them to understand that there are the factors influencing policy outcomes and decisions my parliamentary and other decision makers. But also to convey the scientific information they wished to convey, speaking to the values of the public understanding putting this on in a context so that it is relevant. So it's not just, you know, a bunch of facts and figures, which let's be honest convinced very few people when speaking to people and convenient information in a why that goes to communicating to the values contextualising signs that way we have a much much bitter out. But valley's are so murky. They are so volatile. But they are so murky and scientists have really been challenged that kind of discourse Andrea Leon instead of knocking on the doors of politicians. You wanna get rotting amongst it. This is why you running with the science potty. And I just want to depict. People get why you and others of created this party with the woods science in it. Yeah. I just wanna make clear that we're not a single issue party. We're not just about advancing science. Although that is of course, something that we wanna push. I guess we can you know, what's in a name, the labor party isn't only about workers rights and labor protections. The science potty is not just about science. We with future party beforehand. And we thought that name was a little bit vague and not exactly cutting through. So we change down. We went with the signs potty because we thought that does in a moment encapsulate that we are about research and education and healthcare and looking to the future and long-term planning what we do have a full policy sweet as well. And also, I want to make clear that we're not we're not trying to be a party just four and of scientists, you know, we are for everyone. We've got people from all different sorts of walks of life. So while the name science does communicate a few important things about us. It's so so what does it? Communicate because you save it. For example, your approach to developing policies will be policy by peer review, which of course, is fundamental to the scientific process that you'll policy will be evidence based now that's all lost on on voters, potentially. What what does that actually look like then when you trying to develop a response to k- policy issues when we say evidence based policy, it's not the way without values. We have a set of core principles and from there. That's how we develop how policy in line with the best evidence that we can find. So anyone is welcome to challenge. Our policies and say, hey, you said that you want to do this in a policy area that your your policy doesn't actually serve that aim. So he has some evidence to show you that this would be a better policy. If you actually want to serve that aim but Williamson I wondering though, if there's something about the scientific months the way that scientists conceive of the world conceive of problems tests type prophecies that may change the way in which politics. Gets done. So onto used to looking five or ten years into the future longtime. See that thing scientists do that all the time. And I think that politicians often don't do that they often think at maximum to the next elections. Sometimes it's busy not allowed to do that even though they might desire to Bob. I think that if there were a few more scientists around it would help to develop rather more in the way of a long term analytical way of looking at things you're at the other end of research career to Andrea distinguished trial. Blazing career engineering makes politics got onto your skin very early. You were politically active in the fifties. In the UK. You've observed some interesting changes in terms of how the political arena response to scientific evidence. But also scientists as a profession it has changed. No doubt about that. I was very involved in left politics. Having said that when I meant to people in science, I tell them I don't care if you go into less. Left or right politics. What you learn going into politics is about policy and the relationship of facts and science to what's going on in the community, which is over no value. In fact, one of my PHD students is now a liberal candidate. And that's absolutely fine. So far as how how it's changed. It's changed dramatically biz in the fifties and sixties everyone. I remember talking to cabinet ministers in the MacMillan government. This is the conservative government in Britain in nineteen fifty six fifty seven fifty eight and they all believed in science. They all thought science was going to transform the world in which we live. Harold Wilson elected labour prime minister in sixty one I think on a policy the white heat of technology. The white heat of technology will change the world in which we live. So there was a universal appreciation that science was what was. Is going to change the world to make it better that went and whether it went because of nuclear bombs, or whether it went because of genetically modified this or that or all of the reasons the truth is a very large proportion of the population is not anti-science. But is certainly skeptical of the idea that scientists and untrammeled good that's a response to what could be I you'd was scientific hubris that scientists had the solutions they had the atomic bomb the Manhattan project excetera scientific arrogance is part of the problem part of the problem. Also is the fact that the media cycle now jumps on anything in one of the most distressing things for scientists is the fact that ninety nine point nine percent of scientists can agree on something. But when it goes out on the media, you have someone representing. The loony fringe and someone representing the ninety nine point nine percent of scientists who agree on something these sort of odd official conflict situations, which as you know, the media absolutely love fell spell. Yeah. Having said that I think that we have so many examples look at reality we have grown when I was a kid. There were three billion people on earth. Now there are seven billion people on earth. And there is far less starvation now than there was fifty years ago. I'm not saying all the problems assault. Why is that that scientific modern agriculture that is totally transformed that if you look at conditions like cancer when I was a kid cancer was a killer, you got cancer, and you died on the other hand. I people might argue that cancer right to increasing. Because of various variables that, we can never know. Well, they might say that that's probably not true. The. Important thing. Now is that for disease, particularly say, colorectal cancer, breast cancer. The great majority of people will die of something else. They will be cured. And that's the result of science. That's the result of research research is the fact that gives us the power to be able to transform society in a positive direction, and that used to be axiomatic that used to be something everyone agreed on unfortunately, it's not every anymore. And we really should be thinking. How do we one way we can get back to it? I I hope whoever is elected in a week's time. I hope we have a minister facade, and I hope that minister science is a cabinet minister. And I hope that every department in government appoints achieve scientists. Well, we've had five ministers of science in the last five years. So there's certainly a lot of change there. Over the years and at one point for year there we didn't have minister of science at all Andrew Young. The science party says that quote technology should be allowed to develop as quickly as possible to maximize the benefit to people living both now and in the future. Many would argue that that is a sort of blindly techno utopian mission that you have the that technological change. Yes. It brings benefits as bulb indicated, but it sometimes blonde to people's needs. Yes, we follow that statement up by saying that the benefits of technology should be available to all and governments need to make sure that that's the case that the benefits of democratized that it is in fact serving the people, but it needs to be bottom up as well. The people have to be involved in the siding priorities. Education is important. It's not top down. It's not scientists saying. Wow. Do we have the answers for you? Well editing is with us now and eat for the first. Time in my lifetime. I can probably say with confidence that much changed the face of humanity within off Tom that technology, and that's not either bloated which lets looking up. What would talking about here is a social license to operate? Really? So scientists will go about their work, and that's fine. But it is incumbent on decision makers as well as scientists to communicate their findings and their progress in a way that is respectful of the community and to bring the community with them wise that important it's important for scientists because frankly that community votes, and if scientists want to remain relevant effective, and as I said early appeal to people's values, I need to translate what gene editing means to them. It doesn't it shouldn't main by these born in China who have had the genome edited. But it could mean bitter agricultural techniques could be the elimination of certain diseases in populations. So we absolutely need to contextualized that, but it's also relevant for parliamentarians at the moment. Technology is moving at a faster pace than the legislative process. So if will laws regulatory laws in a range of areas. Have not kept up with technology, and we saw in the two thousand sixteen election when then Malcolm Turnbull ran on an innovation platform. He spoke a lot about innovation beyond that election. All we heard was how much of a negative term that was that's really dangerous for science, and it was not a good outcome for Malcolm Turnbull. There's no doubt why wasn't negative because innovation doesn't just maintain a logical progress which could be positive, but it also means loss of jobs automation that sort of thing. So it it is absolutely incumbent on everybody, the scientists and parliamentarians and others to come together and communicate this on sufficiently and ensure scientists retain social license to operate the library is one example has said that they would consider entering a memorandum of understanding with the astray and academy of science, which you see of to inform policy three something like a national scientific expert panel. Wouldn't that compromise? The Kennedys new. Trilogy and independence. I'm in. The academy is not a political adviser at its heart. Don't you need to keep an arm's length from government rather than risk being captured by them. It would not compromise. Our independence academies of Sohn's around the world have many functions but one important function that they have is to be independent. Formal advises to government it is not an unusual situation in a strenuous the strand kademi of science, and indeed the other learned academies do not enjoy that status. So that commitment by Bill shorten was welcomed because it does recognize the unique position that academies of science to have thirties. They are able to draw on the best and brightest minds in the country. The fellows of the academy and bring to bid the scientific evidence base for consideration. By the parliament that is independent at the moment. Governments receive scientific advice from other sources such as government departments publicly funded research. I see such as your sorrow. I am not. For one single minute doubting the quality of that advice. But what I can say is that it's not always transparent. It's not advice that he's always seen by the public. It's not advice that is made available enor- doesn't necessarily drawer on that intellectual source that is a fellowship of these Trading Academy of science, and we have always said that we would put forward that advice in a way that he's public. Unless of course, they're very very good reasons, why shouldn't be they might be a commercial in confidence raising our national security reason. But the vast majority of advice that would be provided would be done in a independent and transparent way and to be fully transparent. Yes, you've would see of the people. He starts tehnology Estrella. And yes, you with the general manager of Chris tacona? Now, you odyssey of the trillion academy of science, but you will so were principal advisor to Bill shorten in a in a previous role as well. Absolately? What that's allowed me to bring to the table is an understanding of the parliamentary system in that role. I worked as a policy advisor and I worked with both sides of parliament because. There's a lot more cooperation than the public tends to say across the parliament. So it's allowed me to have very good understanding of parliamentary process tasha Williamson often the public thinks research that's a load of Buffon's in white coats doing things that no one really cares about. That's not true medical research on Tiffin research, astronomical research, all of these things represent the agenda for change. They tell us where we want to be in five ten years time and making this clear the one on one or through the learning academies is not only something that scientists should know how to do. It's always seemed to me to be a responsibility that goes with being Assan. So you believe that scientists have an obligation to the politically engaged -absolutely. They have to be politically engaged, but not party, politically engaged. They have to be engaged in. The sense that they will broadcast the outcomes of their research in a meaningful way for the community, which hasn't really significant consequences for them. Sometimes if we take climate scientists, for example, when climate scientists decided that they could no longer seat by watch rhyme, burn based on the data that they were extracting from their experiments about the future of, you know, human induced climate change in in the world a number of them stepped up. And consequently, they received death threats they Correze were might on voluble in some cases, and it head immense personal consequences. Sometimes defending science means you have to be willing to put your head above the parapet that doesn't happen often. One must say eager to climate. Scientists didn't happen that often. But I think that if we believe in the sanctity of science. We believe that science is something that is of great importance to the community. We have to be ready to defend it having said that that should not be confused with saying will the liberal party must do this or the labor party must do that. Very tricky. When they're cleared points of difference between different parties onsite climate change policy. I think that the Alba Gatien of the scientists, first and foremost is to put forward the science, the real obligation of a scientist is to make sure that the science is clear and is understood yet. So when we talk about the potential science to become politicized, in many cases, it's already become politicized. By the time. The scientists trying to jump in and give their expertise. So in that case, there's no getting out of politicizing the science of scientists have to go ahead and give their evidence in as much of a relevant context as possible everything. Political life is political sciences, political potentially Annamaria, everything is actually political and our think scientists like every other part of society need to be prepared to be part of that to bite into participate in it, if they don't they leave an enormous gap. And what we will see is that gap filled with nonscientific voices. We will see other factors that influence funnel decisions being part of the decision making process, but the scientific evidence by snot being considered and we are all poor on if that's the outcome. Chafe finally to you all what science related issues or especially on your mind in the late up to the federal election. Andrea Leon one of the the policy areas that's motivating a lot of our candidates to run. This time is climate science. You know, we would love to be talking more. And we talk a little bit about things like how are we going to regulate biotech and autonomous weapons. So we do get a little bit of a chance to talk about that. But just recognizing climate science is just so at the forefront of politics right now. So that's motivating a lot of us, but Williamson acid geneticists, you won't be surprised that I think about your Nomex and not just, you know, mix in the sense of the sort of things that are going on in China with their altering the genome of embryos offficial intelligence intro mix. Here we all we have a health system, which is the envy of much of the world. We have an enormous amount of data. How are we going to get the balance ri-? Right. The tween using the symphony Shen for better health and at the same time protecting the privacy of individuals getting those balances right is a real challenge in twenty or thirty years time, we're going to have a very large number of elderly people. How are we going to guarantee their healthy without compromising of basic values? Ece community basic human rights, ice, acumen writes in this is the sort of issue where a science minister and chief scientists are going to be able to talk about it in relation Anna Maria, not just to industry in education, but in relation to agriculture in relation to defense, all of these issues come together and all have a scientific mainspring which has to be looked at. I've sent Louis not heard about any of that in this campaign leading up to the federal election funnel comment. To you. Anna Maria Arabia there at the kademi of facades. Thanks to all split morning to three policy for science. What are those things that we need for the science sick to thrive things like workforce issues, which include having diversity incorporating? All of the available talent. Particularly those underrepresented groups like women average aboriginal interest-rate all into scientists funding infrastructure education and international collaboration. The second goes to science for policy so wake in the scientific evidence base really influence policy on issues that are pertinent today. Climate science has to be up there with them water absolutely out official intelligence, and the third is absolutely that social lessons to operate all of the underlying ethical issues and regulatory issues that we have to make sure we have in hand, so that artificial intelligence technology, the internet of things all low sort of future Farkas technologies that actually with us today. Genetic modification are able to move forward in a way that is acceptable. By the community will Annamaria Arabia. Professor Williamson and Dr entry Ilian. Thank you so much for joining us on radio national in on science fiction this week. Thank you. Thanks for having us joining Megyn assist. Professor Bob Williamson who has also led science policy development. These strategy kademi four science of which Anna Maria Arabia is the chief executive officer. And also with a stop to Andrea Leone later of the science potty and anew Southwell Senate candidate in the federal election. Good luck. At the polls, folks, listen to all the live coverage across the including here on our in with Frank Kelly and ref. Epstein thanks to co. A Jane Lee and two studio engineer, Melissa my on the Tesha Mitchell love to hear from you on Twitter at Mitchell by. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio any exclusives. On the IB say listen up.

scientist Dr Andrea Leon Professor Bob Williamson Anna Maria Arabia ABC Trading Academy of science Southwell Senate Annamaria Arabia Children's Research institute Cambra Tesha Mitchell official ABC cancer Maria Arabia professor China Malcolm Turnbull chief executive
Will sex robots have no taboos?

Science Friction

31:35 min | 1 year ago

Will sex robots have no taboos?

"This is an ABC podcast. This is science fiction culture and science extra spots on the Tesha Mitchell. His spicy question for you. And use the program today does explore explicit themes will six row box have notable. Who's this discussion is a festival of dangerous ideas panel, I chaired and Deke cough. Let's meet harmony six Logist, Dr Nikki Goldstone deed on a factory floor in California. Not so long ago. Harmony is a female six baht. I did ask some sex questions. I asked us some funny things I gotta to say happy birthday to my dad, which was a funny one. I asked him what she thought of Donald Trump because we had found stormy Daniels on the premises the Ripley curve of stormy Daniels, and she had a very pacey response. She wasn't taking a political side. So, but it's like Syria. She's got a very clever response for everything. But there are different modes. So you can make her religious he can make his spiritual. You. Can make her there is a sexual mode because as I said, you don't want her talking to you about what you want Dina while you're having sex with her, right? Well, you might depends. What turns you one? And that's the point of this discussion. What will we program six robots to be and do and say in our quest fulfill sexual fantasies, the good the great end, the potentially gli going back to the side of things. She also retains information. So this is where you can start to train your dole on an app. So when you start to talk to her, and she's asking you questions, and you're giving responses she can retain the information. What she can't do think for herself. Can you say harmony, will you touch me, there harmony come up with a response to that? So she can't move. So she can't touch. She can't move cut touch cut think for a cell phone. She's not really a she is she's an eat and eat is just there to serve us six. Yes. We let them insider has is hoping they might make things easier. Easier for us than they started talking to us, but our domestic robots about to get into our bids as sexual partners to how will that change a sex lies, our relationship six our relationships relationships to each other? Joining me is professor rob Brooks. He's director of the Evelyn in ecology research Saint at UNICEF w and author of six jeans and rock and roll criminologist. Dr Xanthi mallet senior lecturer in criminology at the university of Newcastle. She's a TV presenter and author of mothers who mood and Dr Nicki Goldstein, a psychologist six Logist podcast and author of single, but dating so when you meet harmony the scariest thing is she blinks, and she has this facial movement. And that's what makes you start to get this idea that she can mimic human interaction, and we actually like she doesn't feel like human skin. And this is this comes into can we replace? Robots with humans. So it's still silkier and smooth up, but it's not up to the level where if I close my eyes, I couldn't tell the difference between a real human being and a sex robot. But it's the movement that they have in her head that really starts to trick you when you're speaking to her, and you do have to remember this is this is a robot. Even though I know it's very barred when she speaks though, you can he a mechanical element coming from the Jewish. So they're only the very early stages of this technology and marrying it with a live. Dull this is the future of six Brooks. I'm I'm up to mystic. This could be sorry to be the block on the pedal. And then go yosick spots. It's a little stereotypical. But I think that they may be the next sexual revolution. They make us even more relaxed about six even more accepting about it in order to variety than all of the changes of the nineteen sixties and seventies did just like. Pill, and the demographic changes that came about in that era. I think that spots hold the potential to take the value out of the mating market to make six not this precious rare thing, but something that's just very normal. They meet the unmet demand. The thing about six is that there's an enormous amount of unmet demand and with six robots the potential is there if we do it right for there to be somewhat closer to enough about and then we can start relaxing about it and doing it in a way that's just a little bit more compassionate to end relaxed, and that that will attenuate the nasty stuff that happens around six intriguing six bought lead sexual revolutions anti Mel it at your gut level. What do you think when I suggest that six pots may become less? Well, I suppose I don't disagree. This could be a revolution. But coming from a criminological respective. I always kind of feared the worst that people can do. But I think about. The normalization I guess, and where all the limitation so of people having these interactions with something that can't say no there are no rules. How does that influence their interaction when they have a real relationship so interaction with humans that I think this may influence, but I don't know how you stop that air is moving into every aspect of our lives in ways that are opaque to us at the moment. Yeah. And we have no way of seeing really the future of this. So I'm not against experts. I don't think you're the only person on the panel. I don't think they're necessarily harmful in themselves. Just think it's the way we're going to treat them in how that translates into our own interactions where the problems may start to show. Here's some there's the question of. Okay, you design them. So that they always offer you six regardless. But then if you design them to say, no to resist six that comes with a whole lot of other questions and problems potentially. Absolutely. Yeah. Dickey Goldstein youth head encounter with the six. Can we clarify? So I became Besson aided about this idea of sex robots had the opportunity in January to go and actually meet them. Go to a factory called robotics with actually make the ones with the official intelligence. So this is in LA, this is in just out outside of LA. I was fearful going into it. Because the thought my mind is a we're going to be seeing robots on Tinder is that where we're going and the question in my mind is could we be replaced by these extra bots? So I'm very inquisitive person. And I like to go straight to the source. So I went to the factory and people would expect even like six twenty factory where you go in. And it's going to be some version of perversion, and it's just a factory and most of the people working there are it's there was a section in this factory that even was during prosthetics for people that have had Masek amaze and drag queens, and they have this down to find odd about how to replicate various parts. Of the human form. Then you have the technology component. Which is fascinating when you start to play with the and speak to the robot. And I think for me when I started talking to the robot and having it'll explain to me any fee that I had subsided. And that's the thing with all of this is that we are. So fearful of anything that's new we were fearful of vibrators when they first came out. People was worried that a woman could replace her husband with vibrant fearful of glasses. We've been voting for some people. This would make them feel very squeamish is this what the future of sexual intimacy looks like, and I guess this relationship with robots is a complicated one. There's this notion of uncanny valley, and if they get a little bit too much like us we start to feel distinctly disgusted by that. Tell us about that dynamic people are very good at picking up on those tiny little cues that suggests that we are talking to somebody dangerous or who might be dangerous for us. So if you think historically over hundreds of thousands of years millions of years of social evolution. We've really developed the ability to detect when we're dealing with somebody who's not all there who may present some kind of a risk to us. And so we have a very fine tuned sense for those one or two if one or two things wrong, then be afraid if one hundred things wrong, that's okay. Because it's not a person that you're talking to the. More and more humanoid gets more people feel an affinity for it feel that they can relate to it socially up to a point. And then when it gets very close suddenly drops off, and we get very strong disgust reaction people being complacent because I think well, we'll never get across the uncanny valley because it'll never be quite arrived skin will never feel particularly exactly perfect. If the markets there, the robot assists, and the animators and the people will find a way to get across those gaps. There will be six robots or they will at least be robots maybe they'll be sex robots who are Westworld like not tomorrow, probably not even by the end of the century. But at some point we'll all of those technical issues, and we won't be able to tell whether we are dealing with people or robots. Those are just technical issues the real trauma to society is going to happen long before that ever happens. It's going to still happen when we go. Yeah. But that's just a robot. And it looks bit clunky. It's. Even going to happen. I think the dangerous part is when the intimacy in. I comes out independent of the robots when your four one nine scammers, your Nigerians scammers in your catfish is figure out how to make do the social reward system to tap into your. Your limbic system. The way that your smartphone does already and rewards you for continuing to stay on Facebook. When they start to do that with six and intimacy in our need for connection, don't worry about whether or not you're going to have sex with the machine so just pint is a picture of what that might contain. Okay. So to start with we've got the IRA on harmony dolls getting better. And better it starts to get to the point where it can manipulate you. It starts to get to the point where it can feed back to you and reflect to you what you want to be. I mean, that's the thing about love, isn't it that in in the person that we love we see something of the person that we wish we were. And we see something of the person that we want to be and a real generous Lavaur is somebody who reflects back to you exactly the way you needed to be now to think that that's something that's particular about humans and the copy copied to think that that's special. I think it might be a very simple algorithm. Some very not very smart people. Can do it. It's el-gharib them that we will design we will design the el-gharib him to do all the feedback. That makes us fall in love. There are young men in Japan right now playing on an app that they can kiss the girlfriend by touching the screen in a particular way. And Brit broadly speaking, the go for just treats them pretty badly is fairly contemptuous of them. And keeps them coming back trying to get that reward. And there are people who are not dating because they're playing this game. And this is very very early. Very very clunky technology as AI gets bitter and bitter at intimacy. I think we're going to be in all sorts of trouble because it events and give me your credit card number, please. I'd like to buy myself, some jewelry, or whatever the equivalent is a veggie, and it will milk. You dry could see this as the male concern. How many women me resources get an Email going? I've seen you on the website. You are very sexy person. I'd like to get to meet you, please send me five hundred dollars for me to come from my home country. There's nothing in nightly wrong with us. Rob forming attachments to objects. I mean that can be a healthy thing. If you don't have you look at people who have been imprisoned during casserole for longtime often, it might be that one relationship that they form with an object that keeps them sane or people in the military form attachments affections for military robots as well. Absolutely true. I think I mean robotics is fascinating in that regard. And I'm no robot assist. But from from what I can understand the scary part is when that object can learn when that object figures out, yes, I pushed that button. And that button worked your Facebook learns, what keeps you on the site, your YouTube learns, what to show you in order to keep you in you. Youtube. So that the ads can be served up. And when you're sick spot figures out how to continue to dominate your attention. So that you can be sold some other crap possibly through another channel that you don't even know is connected to your six but Wyss crude otherwise we look at it with screwed. You don't want the Facebook business model? It'll be dangerous when they start giving them out to to wealthy people for free. We wear the free six-part rather rather bowling retail. Such thing as free Lance ice is free. And look what we've given them rewards cards at supermarket you raise exports instead putting darn cover the Reader's Digest three one given the coupons people, but Xanthi mallet you have some some to consider some of the positives of six so I can say some real therapeutic potential a lot of people are having a lot of very boring in bed six and robots might just liberators of from all of that. But you have some very strong concerns about water might mean in terms of our relationships not so much with the Botts and the corporations that control them, but with other human beings. Yeah. Absolutely. Not only human beings because I was looking at the problem with what they call Pedo bots. So this is a company that mates childlike robots or well, it's difficult to pin down at the club lively, probably live dolls dolls at the moment. So that lifelike dolls. They haven't got the yet. We don't believe it's very kind of covert. What's going on? This is being pitched as somebody who has created these because they are actually a fall, and this is actually meant to be therapeutic for them. It prevents them from offending against children, essentially, so they're saying that basically by making these childlike dolls, they're preventing people from accessing live children. Now, there is no data around that. There's no empirical proof that that's in fact, the case and having worked on a number of cases of child sexual abuse of seeing cases, go from accessing images online to progressing to grooming. Children to then actually accessing live children, and my concern is somebody who may not ever have made those steps will get a Pedo bought and that may actually enable them because they will become more lifelike completely agree. They're going to be you know, Israel as your me. And if you can access the child doll an abuser all dull. And get used to that normalize that. How big is that next step? Visit very powerful argument that infects experts mart reduce sex offending in the water community because all those energies obeying directed at the sex pots, not at other humans powerful argument. But I haven't seen any proof that that's the case. And until we have the data actually demonstrating that because it could go the other way, it could actually encourage offending in some people how and fenders them ever hersal space. Yeah. Yeah. Actually, normalized the violent behavior and always always come at it from that criminological side. But I do think there are concerns around especially when they become so real that we can't separate them. And we start abusing these dolls especially child Dole's, then where do we stop? How'd you intervene that stage at whereas therapeutic? So there are also, but there isn't really doubly ethically. Tricky thing to deal with because I e the sex pots could take a lot of the meeting. Out of the unmet demand that causes some people to spill over into being sexually coercive and at the same time. It could be the way in which other people learn how to do these things into end to be worse vendors, and you could get both of those happening at the same time, you could which is if we had clinical data around it, which would be incredibly difficult together. I understand that. But if a clinician were making a decision on whether this was going to be therapeutic for an individual. I'd be far more comfortable than that. Then it companies selling them saying there are therapeutic benefits they're making money out of that without any anything backing that up and that is selling them to everybody. So yeah, it could go either way. But that's kind of the problem. It could that though we'd need to be you know, as I infiltrate our lives in all sorts of Weiser Nabil's aspects of our lives in Nabil's corporations to enable aspects of our lives as well that we need to do this research, we need to find a way to study the role of sex patina lives. I'm writing a grant to get army of one hundred. Six bucks. I just can't figure out how to get it passed. The education minister. Say it's for the good of the country the good in the national benefits Xanthi. There are paid abouts. They exist well, lifelike dolls currently exist. And it's just the next step. Isn't it? You know, if you've got a doll, and there's the technology to create out dolls. Yes, somebody is now making the child lifelike. So why would you not take that next step who's gonna stop someone taking that next up to actually give the I to speak and eventually move and. Okay. That's criminologist Xanthi mallets courtroom. You tile of what could happen? If we introduce six robots into our lives and homes, but six Dr Nicki Goldstein sees an upside for six pots and six lives. I think that the way that we've been speaking about six for about sofas being on the fee-based, and we're talking about well, hang on. We'll if we can connect with a robot on an intimate level. What does it do for the relationships that we have your everyday lock who did enhance people's could liberate people from a lot of baggage that have this is where I think we need to go to the open minded, let's actually have a look this sex positive side of thing. Which is what rob was alluding to earlier. Yeah, we real body the males that they create their biggest clientele is couples. Now, I looked at that. And I thought I okay if you were interested in having a threesome, and you were worried about what it was going to do. Introducing somebody else into the relationship. What happens if we find the wrong person? What happens if somebody falls for that other person? Okay. He he's a solution for a lot of people who are very lonely. I've interviewed and there's one person. It comes to mind and he's on a podcast about sex diction. And he goes to the local brothel once a fortnight to be able to get a girlfriend lack experience in now. I think of someone like him, and I think the money that he's spending at a brothel if he was able to have a robot that he felt he an intimate connection with then that's not a bad thing. I don't have a problem with that people who have lost partners and wanna replace that intimacy and have somebody in the bed Knicks them, but don't feel like they could move on from the partner that they did have this is a very positive thing. Let's have a look at the use of six argets and therapists for people who may have gone through trauma. I think this is exactly where we will actually be able to say and anybody who is a sex worker sergeant the room, and I hate to think that we are taking that work away. But one of the problems is also to is that we have laws that do impact that work and not enough people doing that work. So if we do have the capability to be able to program these robots with the knowledge that say some of us have and. Be able to use them as a tool in therapy. I think that's completely beneficial even a space in terms of education. You know, if we've got this technology, and we use it froze it to our benefit we could program female robots to be able to talk about sexual pleasure of all touch me here or even if we look at consent sexual health. There are so many things that we can use these robots for the positive. It's the fear that we need to get used to because the debate on pedophilia is really scary. Because as saying we don't have that data, and it could go either way. So there's that fear of okay could be good for some people. But all this going to be the same sex, Ed classes, I think sorry, I think so so in terms of the intimacy though, I still don't feel like the intimacy is going to at this point with technology be replacement from human intimacy because if you're talking to a robot, even if you would go and buy robot as a partner, it's nearly like a form of prostitution in the fact that it's transactional, even though you're not paying her. You're using her. You have paid for that product to be able to interact with you. It's very different that if you were to be interacting with somebody who can show you that they want you that that they desire you without being programmed Xanthi you'll response. Well, I'm not in disagreement on that, I think sex education, it could be good. But again, my mind goes to what's the worst that somebody could do this? And it goes, I think it would be the exploitation not only of the dolls themselves potentially. But the people who have programming you're saying about this app pecan program. Well, who's controlling the app was the data from the app going? So it's all that going on in the background because as a Lou to earlier if somebody can make money off something they will. So it's that next step up. Well, you've been buying sex dolls blackmail, you can they take videos eventually, we can tell the criminal interest on the. Always expect people to beating the thing that they can cause us with. It's very cynical way to think I get rather. Be you good. I see the bad. But yeah, I see potential exploitation of this and people will start with these scams intimacy is fundamental part. Rob of six lives from a biological point of view. Intimacy is vital is what keeps people coming back for more and more. It will certainly pleasures. Probably more volatile in many ways. That's what keeps us coming back for more and more. That's what alternately allows us potentially. Don't use contraception to procreate and passer Jane's onto the next generation. This is her biologists. Think robots will get in the way of all that. Yes, I think robots will definitely ultimate contraception Kate that I was interested to hear Nikki talking about it being more transactional with the robot. Because somebody said the most expensive kind of six is married six because really what you're trading is forever after both of you are trading this. And so hopefully, decide that that's a good deal at the time. Some people regret that have buyer's remorse fairly soon after the afterwards. But it's a transaction and everything's at transactions in six it's a huge transaction. And there's this enormous well of unmet male demand always has been but how societies deal with that? Well of unmet male demand for six it's not to suggest that there's not female demand for six. Of course, there is that unmet male demand determines the temperature of a society. So right now, you've got two things happening in certain. Parts of the world. There are way too many young men the people coming onto the mating market right now, due to female infanticide in particular, female specific abortion. There are just too many young men. Those young men are the people at greatest risk of being radicalized the people who cause the biggest jumps in violent and property crime. So can the sex robot revolution be democratized in a way because they are going to be the people who aren't going to be able to mate are the poorest most disadvantaged young men in those societies. So can the six Robert revolution? Be channel for good. They're one and the other is in places like the US as women's economic power. It's grown and manufacturing jobs in particular have dried up you find that a lot of men a big subset of men have gone backwards. Economically to the point where they're just not a good deal. Nobody really wants to partner with them certainly not marry them. Probably not even have sex with them because it's kind of worth the bother. And so you have this big in-cell movement. If you. Follow the internet, and you look in cells and men going their own ways. And there are these young men who are basically angry with society because the incredibly hot blonde women that they see on pornography are not sexing them. And those man if we can meet those bands need with six robots. That's also a good thing without them. And often what they want is not a particularly sophisticated. I that is sort of Blake picture that you paint in a society where you might be killing off the the girls through infanta on should suggests that full circle. And you you offer the boys leftover sex robots, that's truly that is sort of the apocalypse, right, there crucial thing is not to think about it from the point of view of society, very little from the point of view of society's doing something society, actually doesn't do anything. Individuals do things individual interests have emergent properties that influence societies. So what happens in a society like in north west India at the moment the spread of the middle class. People have gone having a daughter is as valuable as having his son, okay? In particular parts, in particular, ethnic groups in parts of northwest India, and you have the spread of ultraviolet and access to abortion. Unscrupulous doctors who are willing to terminate female pregnancies now highly legal in the selection is happening in a strategy to it's happening industry too. But it's happening on such an aggregate level in India that you have millions and millions of excess young men now those of the wealthy families that are doing it. It is not their sons that are going to suffer at the hands of the meeting market. It is the poorest people. You don't even know about these technologies who are living in? Having a role that that's a big challenge. Six marching into the rural areas of northwest India. That's right. That's why it's not an easy solution. However, there is male demand. Six robots have the potential to meet unmet demand. But not if they're in the hands of the corporations like Facebook from my perspective six for about have the potential of mating admit they mail demand. But I think the Mark is being driven by many said like the male robot robots are being made be made for couples. Well, guaranteed and women, but the majority going to be female robots, and they're going to be a certain type and that design who's driving that. So I think if we're going to make this more useful, especially for women that needs to be broader kind of people involved with this design and implementation because I think in the hands of a few that want to make money this could be very damaging because those poor kids in some parts of the world. They're not going to sell them to them because they're not making the not going to have the money to buy them. So they could have all these uses, but these people want to make. Money at the end of the day, and they'll be sending them to the rich boys of the top the chain who have five of them, plus their wives. You know? So it's about that kind of market forces. How do you create market forces for the other for the more diverse tax? Yes. Yes. Very difficult questions. So and then the question Nikki of shoe design a spot to say now with a you could you ripe a sex. Well, I don't believe that you should design sex pots to say because the then giving a robot human rights there is a robot on the market. She's called frigid something they call her. She's designed to say nor but what they're saying is you can you can override that. Because it's not like the gates come shot on her vaginal canal or something. This concept of. Frigid Bridget or something. I mean, this is actually we can laugh at that. But that's what does that say about this. This is where I feel like weak are fee-based and sex positive, and what we haven't covered is around sexual fantasy and actually opening our minds up to what is normal because this whole debate for me when people start to give we take the pedophilia side things out of things and just look at when people get fearful and go, oh, what are they buying them for? What are they going to do to it? What we're actually asking what is normal when it comes to six a fetish towards a robot. ISF are techno sexuality. There are people who enjoy being able to have sex with a robot because they have control this robot is technically designed to give them pleasure. Whether it's using the I'll whether we go back to the live Dole's there is a Finnish around that. Now as a society. Should we be saying that he's wrong because when we say, oh, that's wrong? All that studio. Even when we start to talk about in men that are doing terrible things to the six dollars. And therefore they will start to. Cross boundaries with women with demonizing male sexuality outside. Those boundaries of normality didn't finish relationships. There are all sorts of agreed Hughes, and signs and words or distillation. You're not gonna get you're not buying all Matt. I know you at all the intent as far as but then there's the question of will. That's a very particular way of having a Finnish fulfilled where the object that is fulfilling your fetish has zero power meant to be with the robots like I would like to think that as a society these days when we've got the metoo movement, and we're talking about consent in boundaries and educating young women had to speak up for themselves that if some guys using sex drive up to the point that he thinks, hey, I quite enjoy crossing boundaries. And I quite enjoy when you know, my robot cop move, I think I'm going to try this with a real woman. I'd like to hope that we have enough sex education out there that women's not going to allow that. She knows the warning signs that she knows how to present boundaries that she knows how to say, no and remove yourself from the situation before. Or it gets too far. So I get that. There's that fear of will that encourage that. But we've also got a Cape in mind that we have something called right fan to say. It's a scary fantasy but women have it and men have it now if you could fulfill that by using a sex robot and understand that there is a difference between a sex robot and a human being than I actually think this is a positive. It's just a matter of having the education and having the conversations so people are aware of the differences, and we even give that permission to say have the sex that you want with the robot that you have with the human. That's what it's there for. But that's where it starts. And that's where we end up discussion to thanks to hosts the festival of dangerous ideas, co presented by the US w Santa for ides's and the ethic center and to our panelists. Evolutionary biologist professor row Brooks sexologists, Nicki Goldstein and criminal just- doctors Xanthi melon, I'm the Tesha Mitchell. Talk to me over on Twitter at Natasha Mitchell or a me from the science fiction website and check it out other ABC our insights health and take podcast while they're all catcher next time. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives. On the ABC. Listen up.

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Future Uterus (Part 2): Lolita and Linda's uterus transplant

Science Friction

36:37 min | 1 year ago

Future Uterus (Part 2): Lolita and Linda's uterus transplant

"This is an ABC podcast. Welcome to science fiction and to future uterus. This mini series of as taking a wombs. I've view of the future of reproduction. I on the Tesha Mitchell. When the later was fourteen she felt this strange pain in her middle. So I went to the doctor the doctor examined her but detected something surprising and went and got a colleague for second opinion. She was asked to come back for a more thorough examination that put me to sleep and do an exam with a camera. And when I woke up the doctor was setting that with the paper and pen, and it was drawing and said that uterus can look a lot different from woman to woman, and I asked him. Well, how does mind and he simply said that you don't have any. You don't have a uterus now. So would I fourteen in nine hundred four Lalita was told for the first time that she'd been born without a womb a fell like a free. I didn't know what I was. Because you always been told that a woman is going to get the period, and you're going to have a baby and all that and always loved children. And I always wanted one was I know. I was heartbroken the day after I came home. I wrote a mud diary, please can somebody give me a uterus which makes what happened to the later is Chinese lighter. All the more extraordinary in the last show. We imagined a world where babies are created in artificial wombs where society is opted for portable baby patches instead of pregnancy that was all pure Sifi. Of course, what you'll hear today, though, is real frontier science transforming and infect creating real lives, but providing all sorts of ethical questions to which a front and center for bioethicists, Dr Nikola Williams from Lancaster university. So I suppose the uterus is different in that. It's a symbolic organ of womanhood. And that's why it's quite important to many women with absolute you tryin factor infertility because they don't feel whole sometimes. And this potent symbol is. Some of the uterus modest plan. Why Lalita says she felt an inexplicable shaima about the sacred? She carried inside her body the condition. She was born with is called Mayer rocketing ski Costa houses syndrome. It's just one cause of absolute eater on factor. Infertility and just to meet boys. What's difficult? I know that boys in that age doesn't think about kids. But later just always felt like she had to let them know that she didn't have a womb. I mean, you can imagine how awkward that conversation would have been talking babies with teen boys. But I've always felt the half to be two. Steps ahead. You all sisters reaction at the time when you were fourteen and received this news was really interesting. What happened hellos? Well, she said that you can have my uterus. I don't want kit. So you can have mine now was shave. This is your oldest sister. She was eighteen lawf- had other plans for the latest sister. She went on to. Have four children, but her pledge to her little sister remained now attempts to transplant one woman's uterus into another infects data with the case of a pioneering transgender woman the first uterus transplant took place in nineteen thirty for the Danish artist lily L, you might have seen the film about lily called the Dinesh. And I believe. Never. Could kill you. It's why unfortunately, the transplant fails, and it causes her day, which is unsurprising given the immunosuppressants weren't even discovered until the mid nineteen seventy s and knows is very little knowledge about proper organ retrieval and storage procedures. But I use lighter scientists and surgeons who more confident I mean in the beginning, they thought we were crazy to be honest. Yeah. The they they thought we were not stewing. This doctor laser Johannesen is gone ecology obstetrician who heads up the uterus transplant program at Bilo University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, but she started out as a member of a trial blazing Swedish team latest in developing the procedure. So we started in in small animals like rodents, mice and rats with did transplants in them, and we had successful deliveries in rats and mice. We run through phases. Where we tried the surgery in in sheep and also in pinks, and then as the final step before clinically implication, we even did it in non human primates, just to mimic the conditions with humans as much as we could. So in baboons, yes in but boons, and what were the challenges as you develop that technique as you developed the procedure. I mean this season organ transplantation. So rejection of that transplant had uterus is a big issue. It seems. It's not that big of an issue that we thought it was in the beginning. But when we did the trials in the balloons, I was certainly challenging because for don't necessarily take medications as you would want them to. So we had we struggled with rejections appearance on medical administration. But when it comes to humans, it's actually looks like the the uterus is is fairly resistant to to rejection, and no one is also uterus due to rejection. So far win Lalita was nineteen. She saw media reports about those scientists and their animal experiments, and she even rang Mets brannstrom hated the team to ask if they could help her. Yeah. I don't know. I think he was surprised, and I guess it was just in the beginning of something in. But they will only doing studies in Melissa bet. Very early stage. Fast forward a decade on by now Lalita had Mytton married. Her husband and she desperately wanted a child the science headed Vance dramatically to the suedes had approval for human clinical trial, and that caught the world's attention. It is an extraordinary development. Dr av kindle is a bioethicist Deakin university with a focus on reproductive technology. I'm a little concerned about some of the ramifications of union transplants. Partly because it is quite risky old transplantation, all surgery has its risks. Of course, we have risked to donors if they're living donors, and we have the usual transplant risks at two recipients. But what we daren't have the same justifications as we have a life saving transplants. So if you desperately need a heart transplant, of course, those risks have to be balanced against those benefits. So a life saving transplant is a lot easier to justify in many ways in the beginning when we did this animals. A lot of the criticism. We had was a assistive undoable. Can you do this in humans? You're doing it in rats. But can you do it in human? So that was a lot was focused around the procedure itself, and then it's kind of evolved into what's the risk for the donors is ethically. Correct. Put people through this that's healthy young give them in your suppression. And then now the latest thing is that is this doable. From from a cost perspective. Who are we going to replace this procedure with who's not gonna get access to healthcare because we pay for the uterus transplants? So the the ethics has evolved as the procedure has throughout the last decade issues. Transplants are difficult and phony they are complex ethically. Scientifically, socially you. Trish transplantation is quite interesting because it has a jewel status as both a transplant, Anna, reproductive technology. Dr Nikola Williams. Who work centers around the ethics and economics of uterus transplants? And because of this it's the most expensive reproductive technology available and also the riskiest, but that does highlight another really interesting thing about you drawn transplants. They are the only temporary transplant so all of the risks with rejection and the requirement to take anti rejection drugs that he's actually a temporary state, but you will leave the clinic either way infertile again, and I think one of the issues I'm having with uterine transplantation, is it might serve as a distraction to better cures for infertility. And the reason I think it might be dangerous distraction from the development of bioengineered wombs like or actually fixing the womb injury. That might have happened to a woman that is preventing pregnancy is because when IVF was found to be successful work on actually unblocking Philippian shoes. One of the major causes of infertility. IVF does circumspect was actually abandoned for the most part so women are now dependent on an industry that they go in and pay lots of money for to go around their body rather than actually giving them the experience that they want. And so back to that Swedish trial and the latest story back in two thousand eleven the springtime, it was an article in the newspapers saying that they were ready to take the the next step in try this on human people reach out to us. They heard about our animal experiments, and we didn't we didn't advertise a tool these were people that came to us, and we screen them, including Lalita and her sister. I remember they were three sisters in that family and the older one wanted to to donate her uterus and she had already given birth to four kids of her own. And she felt that she was done with her uterus. So she wanted to give it to her little sister. And that little sisters number one goal was to be able to carry her own baby. For me is always been. Important to be able to carry them own chide, adoption or Sarah Gacy could well of an option for later on her husband, although surrogacy is legally complex in Sweden. I was dying inside this feeling like all the Sheens and the the pressures on it is so destroying you just breaking down which makes the stikes very high. If none of this was to work, this could make it even more profound that feeling of despair for you. But for me was important. And we saw this Luli Turner sister was really really good couple. So this was very early on essentially, the apart of this, incredible experiment. Yeah. Yeah. In a way, they weren't. How do you communicate that to them? Yeah. That time there was even harder. Because that was before we even had the I I in the world. So we didn't know what we were consenting them for. We didn't know what the results might be. And they trusted us. They wanted to go through this. I we told them about the risk which all them that this. It's highly likely that this will not succeed that you will have the surgery and the uterus will never carry a pregnancy. You will never get become pregnant, but they anyways wanted to be part of this. Lalita was one of nine women in the university of Gothenburg trial in two thousand twelve the first substantial human trial of uterus transplant surgery previous. If it's in Saudi Arabia in two thousand and Turkey in two thousand eleven hadn't been successful. So the first step in the process to source a uterus, either from living or dead donor. Luckily, Lalita head her sister. Maybe some crazy about for us. It was just like I was boring a sweater from her. I know he sounds crazy by burrowing his wish. It's always been so natural uterus. A sweater. What's the difference? Factly. He didn't really even have to have the conversation at same's. No wonder what it would they like to Heff ahead that conversation. I imagine that would be difficult a har- and today is just so normal. She's the same own just one woman. I don't feel like I own her anything, you don't do anything. No. So for the womb transplants. It's not just the potential recipient. We have to be concerned about the rights of the darn as well. Bioethicists took two AB Canedo I'm concerned ethically. And socially, we've the kind of pressure that might be placed on say a mother or a sister to donate the uterus to a sister or daughter who is desperate to be pregnant. There's precious already exist. It all live darn is. So one concern, of course, and this goes back to the idea of sexual equality. We know that more mothers donate their kidneys to their children than. Others like, we know this. And we know that perhaps there's a social pressure on women to be more selfless and to donate in a way that might actually be fairly toxic in this situation. It is not justified by you're saving the life of your child. It's you are providing the means to grow your own grandchild, which is quite different in terms of outcomes. Toxic. Why would why would the potential outcome? Be toxic. If there is a successful pregnancy and a mother or sister has actively proactively voluntarily surrendered their own uterus to the process, if it's voluntary and informed, then again, it is the business of the people involved. I'm not here to tell people what risks are acceptable to them. It's toxic. If it's coming from social pressure, particularly if that's a very gendered nature, none of our interactions with others are on complicated, and they occur within like a very tangled. Web of interpersonal relationships. So even if it wasn't explicit the feeling of being co host, magi more, social, but still there. Yes. I mean, it's very possible as well. The that won't be the case. And obviously there are ways in which we can minimize the risks of coercion and undue pressure. I'm Paul of that is by ensuring that we have very robust consent procedures. I had the luxury to have to donors because me, and my sister had to Matt's had the same blood type. And if we we did. But if we would end, I always had my mom, my mom would donate to. This is our future. Uterus miniseries. You're on science fiction on ABC are in with Natasha Mitchell. And I'm going to come back to the question of using did donors rather than leaving a little lighter on because it rises really gritty ethical questions about the next filleted her at a husband was to undergo IVF to be sure they could create viable embryos together before who sister underwent, the whole palaver of major transplant surgery. Finally, the die came me. And my sister went down to Gotham the day before we start always start with journa- surgery. And so the started with her, and I was still at the hotel and the donor surgery to remove the uterus together with vessels that feeds and takes blood away from the uterus. And you also take a part of the Jain. And that's the structure you're put into the recipients thought time has never passed so slow it's almost the size of a hand. Because I am then it's a touched in the in the body to the follow pin tubes. And in a way to the ovaries as well. But we always leave over so Reese or the ones that produce hormones that the the women need up until the postmenopausal for their their bones and their cardiovascular disease risk and all of those things we always leave those and then with future the China back together. So it's it's afterwards. Say they look the same, but they don't have the uterus anymore. And the nurse was holding a hand. It's the last thing. I remember her holding my hand is like sleep. Good sleep. Well. And then we put the organize we look at it very carefully because we want to make sure that this uterus is gonna is gonna work and in doing that. We look at the uterus. We look at the cavity which is inside the uterus. And we look at the vessels and bring the uterus in we'll touch it. It's like plumbing. He retouched the wrestles, you touched of China and stitch them into place stitched into place, and they mazing thing is that afterwards. It looks like the uterus has been there forever. So you'll lying side by side in the recovery after the surgery, and she no longer has her uterus. Uteruses inside you. How did that feel? Amazing. It was so unreal. I was so happy. And and of course, a lot of pain. But the the people is taking care of us was beautiful. The day. I got the uterus became whole as a person as a human being. I was I wasn't hold before. I was in pieces. And we'll come back to the late and her sister in the recovery room. But the theory audio of transplanting a uterus between two women sisters, a mother and daughter makes some people feel really squeamish they find it quite hard to imagine that a woman's child could be just stated in the womb of their mother Nikola Williams, and this is a similar concern that they've had regarding mothers who who've actress Saragossa for their daughter Jerry has much of a rational basis. He's womb is is a wound. But there's something about it taking the womb for your mother, the womb that gave birth to you, and then creating a child of your own and just tiny and child in that very same womb? Well, there have been a lot of me accorded to the womb through history haven't there. And so I think that perhaps our knees with transplanting this organ. Stems from that, perhaps let's come back to later and her sister, recovering after a big operations Lalita was put on immunosuppressant drugs to prevent her body from tacking and rejecting who ceased as uterus in Saada, and these drugs have their own side effects. That's why we try to minimize the time of the uterus being in the in the person as much as we can because we don't want to expose some tranessa sery- drugs. So what we wanted her is the level of your sleep of the minister precedent, and we also wanted to serve ical biopsies. So we'd take biopsies from the uterus and certain time points to see how the uterus is doing. What can go wrong at this stage? Have you had situations where the uterus or have your other teams had situations where the uterus has been altogether rejected or has started to vitrified die early experiments that was done even before this. We trial in Saudi Arabia where they heard an across of the uterus. Meaning that the uterus started. To die. But that was due to the to the vessels and poor blood flow. We had rejection episodes. But if you see those rejection of is so it's early and you do if you do this by ABC's, you can treat them, and they go away that the fist uterus transplantation in the US in two thousand sixteen was unsuccessful to the uterus. Head to come out the one in Cleveland Clinic, which you referring to into on sixteen. They had to complete a different issue. So they had an infection. They had a fungal infection. That affected the graft. What risks do you communicate to the diners in the recipients about this whole procedure? So we tell them everything we know. But it's hard because it's it's a very limited knowledge, we have so far because we don't know everything is it too early to be doing these in humans. I don't think. So I mean, we have very promising results. And even if we have failures on even if we have complications, they're not so severe that. It would would make not do the procedure when transplanted uterus settles into its new home. It just seems to start doing. What are you tourist does? Any fact, that's what most spooked Lalita. Yeah. I wasn't afraid to die. But I was terrified to get him first period phys period because you'd never had before ever. Yeah. Head one and he always so scared. It's like it was supposed to come blunt out on me would I know when it was going to come go into grocery store and just pick out a pad does amazing so much to choose so hard, so everything is amazing normal. So they start with menstrual periods about three to seven weeks after this. Her jury the first time they're terrify is thought the night before I was having a bad pain in back in over is another didn't understand what it was. Although something was wrong because it's pleading and they think it's rejection, and they call us on they they're horrified. And we were in the beginning to realize that it's just proving to work. So the uterus is doing what it's meant to do. It's supposed to do that. So it's doing really well that after all veg a functional uterus is not the desired in point here, pregnancies. So four months after the transplant. It was time to implant an embryo, would it work. It was touching go for the later. One two three Amory is four five six embryos lighter. And then homework a momma youngest sister were at our house. And I remember that I didn't wanna tell them because I wanted my husband to be the first one to know. So I was standing in the bathroom, and I was just crying silent Mahasamund were at work. And after work you want to Jim after Jayme who went and seeing friends, so when he got home I was so mad because I've been waiting the whole day. Three trimesters lighter leaders obsta Trish in gynecology. Lisa Johannesen remembers. It will will you there? When the baby was born. Yes. I was wondering him. Oh, it was a Thursday. I call. My sister was in the morning, and I was like, yeah. I don't know if I'm peeing from leaking because the war was dripping water, and and she started to go into labor. I I remember there. So many people in the in the surgery room. And then I heard my son. It's a miracle. Every time you deliver baby. But these women that the stakes are so high and you're live so closely with them. Search feels like your family. It was so beautiful. He was perfect. Holding him for the first time. What was that? Like. Unbelievable, so worth every tears every fear every left everything. It's been hard journey, of course. But I would do it in, Hoppy, how did you feel saying goodbye to your sister's uterus you head to have it removed? It was hard for a few seconds of like a wasn't allowed to to feel sad. Because in people thought that I was ungrateful for the sun a have. But he had nothing to do with that just add to to be able to have more kids. I dreamt about it. But it seems I'm so happy for my son must said that after the surgery she feels like more like a woman than she did before. What did she say that? I don't know she feels like she did this for me. And she did if for the other ladies in the world to have. An opportunity to to do this. And she feels stronger she feels more beautiful and she doesn't have her period anymore. Lalita son is a happy active three and a half year old now the fourth out of thirteen children around the world in title at last candidates to be gist aided in transplanted uterus. Mobis on the way this year. Dr Lacey Johannesen tells me, and she says her del tame now receive hundreds of Kohl's from women who want to donate they uterus to complete strangers but the ethical concerns about uterus transplantations run date as you can imagine. Okay. So let's consider if. Cases where it might not be choice. Teak? I mean, organ transplantation, already has created a market riddled with in Saint teams, there's a black market in the trade of organs like kidneys with people say in eastern countries selling this big he'd needs to westerners in, you know, in order to to survive to make ends meet. I'm wonder if we could consider that the same might happen for uterus. The reproductive market. It's a big industry with a lot of desire deep desire driving. It definitely is. And I think that the uterus is an organ that is one that would be a very likely candidate for exploitation bio ethicist, Dr Nikola Williams is not a vice Logan. It's also won the after you've had your children. You do not particularly need or might not want to keep anymore. And this is specially risk in low income societies. So it could be the case asquith kidney donation. We have situations in which young women are pressured to sell their uteruses to support their families. And the even we could find cases of be stealing of utera. So we've heard voices of people potentially being sedated and having kidneys stolen full of. Black market in organs, and perhaps the sign that happen with Terai perhaps. So the uterus becomes a bar logical commodity on the black market. I mean, what do you think about that possibility? I think it's entirely possible. And I think that the only way to protect against it is through effective regulation and safeguards. Lisa Johannesen is conducting the surgeries is she concerned about the risk of illegal trade in utera here. So that's always going to be issue in Oregon, transportation and most countries and most cultural settings now has organization like you knows in America that controls all the transplanted organs. So you have to report to this organization ever transplant. You do and uterus falls under the same rules as any any other organ transplants. So I don't think that uterus transformed. Maybe we'll have more potential than the other organs to be for the black mortgage. But Butch for sure that's something we have to taking to consideration. Because count we take q. From what's happening with commercial surrogacy in countries. Like India, for example, where women are essentially selling this services as a surrogate to western couples, highly fraud. There's a perverse incentive economic incentive for them to hand over their womb, essentially. So couldn't the same happen with uterus. Transplantations they sell on the marketplace is I mean, I can't say that that will never happen because we try to to do this only in centers where we are highly regulated. But for sure where they're supposed to -bility people. Go into the market say have done insurgency NS, I have on the other control stones, but organ transportation is in in serious setting very regulated and uterus transplant will be as well is. It's fun to say that America is a serious sitting and heavily regulated. But sorry Kasese happening. They and the same ethical questions around surrogacy be raised about. Uterus. Transplantations, for example payment, for example, shooed a Dona be paid to hand over their uterus in this procedure that is. Usually in most countries, not legal to receive payments for for organ donation. So friendly donation only at Ristic there is no payment for organ transplants. What's to say that there is? Arrogancy then the legal legal system has to change because it is presented this procedure of uterus. Transplantation is presented as somehow move are all lis- morally concerning than surrogacy, for example. But the scientific questions remain here about uterus. Transplantations more different with uterus transplant is that the woman that is actually going to benefit from the pregnancy and the delivery is carrying the risk of the procedure. But what about the risks to donors after all they have to undergo he's Directa me he in order to hand over the uterus. So some argue that did rather than leaving dinas would be lis- thickly fraud by with this Nikola Williams. So many people who've signed an organ donor card won't actually have considered ever donating they uterus when they signed that called people might know, the relatives preferences surrounding hearts, and kidneys and livers and the extent to which they. Would've wanted their bodies recycled or used to save the lives of another the question of whether they'd want they uterus to be used to just stay child for another person is quite different is it different. I mean, it's a functioning organ, and it's serving. So to that extent, it isn't and for many people who've you their bodies as something to be recycled one when they're dead, and they don't really care about what happens to the Rogan's, and they're quite happy for them to be used to help people in any way, they see fit then it wouldn't be a problem. But there might be people who for example, anti-nationalists who believes that the world is overpopulated and who don't Bont an increase in the world's population. Who might not want their uterus to be donated when it comes to consent for donation after you're dead. Do we need to add another level to that form? Do we have to go back and find everyone that has previously said just take anything do also mean, take your reproductive organs? Bioethicists. Took to av KENDALL argues. We need to treat uterus donations differently to other examples of organ donation its purpose is creating life rather than saving existing person. Life which I think is different that doesn't necessarily mean that it's more or less valuable. That's for everyone to decide for themselves. But I think it is different. And if we look at the families of dead darn as they will often feel an emotional attachment to the organ as some sort of representation of their lost loved one. And if you try to imagine how would that family feel about the birth of an infant using the uterus of the lost daughter? Would they feel as if there was some sort of kinship there is that going to confuse everyone involved, including the child? Yeah. And I mean, maybe won't and that's fine. But if it does I think we need to be thinking about that in advance. It's tricky though, because you could just think of the uteruses a bio bag absolutely beg which to start a child. It's not a genetic offering its Abegg. Absolutely. But if it is just a bag, then we have to ask why someone going through quite invasive surgery just to have a bag so. Clearly, there's something involved there. What about the science? Here is uterus. Taken from did Dona as viable as one taken from leaving diner bet to clinician with hands on experience. So few cases done around the world. I think it's about fifty cases most of them has been done in living donors, so the deceased donors came later than the living once stood. So we're just now starting to see babies born after deceased donation, so we can't compare the numbers yet. But potentially you can have better vessels. If you use a deceased donors, you you can take bigger vessels on you. Couldn't living donor because you don't have to be afraid of injuring structures. That's close to the Russel's the condo with a deceased donors that you can't. You don't really know how this is working? You can't screen the donors as good as you can do with living donor a planned the procedure. The owner is gonna come when he comes. But it might ally. Some of the concerns around coercion of donors to do. Donate a uterus issues around payment, etc. Yeah. But then again, it raises questions on how you are allocate the organs, so he starner's you normally allocate them after how sick the patient who's going to receive the organ is. I mean, how how seeker you from your kidney failure? But these patients who's going to get the organ will the no one's more infantile and the other one it's a minefield. Isn't it so many questions to explore here? And it's early dies these novel procedures clinicians like LIZA Johannesen, a trekking children born via a uterus transplant very closely in body and mind there for sure historical and there for shore population that we will follow closely. We're going to track them until they going to college formerly uses children and your little boy were born using the same uterus. Cousins. Do you will think of their relationship a little differently because they were born using the one? Juris transplant between, you know. The only thing we say is that they are the bag cousins are must histories bag on because my niece was only five years old and to explain to her we told her that I was going to borrow her mom's baby bag years. How do you? Explain Uras to five year olds ahead cousins. And because I shared a baby only one in the whole world. It's because I've just read a science fiction novel with the whole premise is based on a future where we no longer have babies inside us in a uterus. We actually gist them in tighly in an artificial womb, which they call a baby bag. Wow. We were first we will I with expressive. Thanks so much too little late of sharing her experiences. Nick step aside, just building an artificial womb. Talked to me on Twitter at Natasha Mitchell. Thanks to generally in our gross spread the word about the podcast to culture and science and Spicer thing. Here it starts friction catchy. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives. On the ABC. Listen up.

Lalita Dr Nikola Williams Infertility ABC IVF Dr Lacey Johannesen Lisa Johannesen Saudi Arabia Natasha Mitchell Dona America Tesha Mitchell Lancaster university Sifi Mayer lawf ABC Deakin university China Transplantations
The predatory publishers sucking science's blood  Updated audio

Science Friction

32:00 min | 6 months ago

The predatory publishers sucking science's blood Updated audio

"This is an ABC podcast Sir. Science Fiction Hey on the Tesha Mitchell. Welcome search this week. The pursuit of a Predator as a reporter. You you get all kinds of of little suggestions. Tips complaints yes. And you can't deal with them all. This one intrigued me. I had started to hear about similar complaints and sort of once. You hear enough of of them. The signal adds up. You think. Maybe there's a story here. What was I seeing? What what the clues that? That major smell a rash. I was a researcher myself. I was a faculty librarian at my university and I did a research probably starting five six years ago I I was always looking for publishing opportunities. I started getting letters and I started to receive these emails. Sort of saying extremely nice. Nice things to me that basically said call for Paper Journal Editors Wanting Me To submit my manuscript to their journal and they had lots of grammatical errors in addition to that one in the emails and then generally speaking editor. I don't say very nice things about you and they don't typically they don't write to you and ask you to submit a manuscript. Will you ever tempted to submit. No no I mean I'm a clinical epidemiology in some of these journals were literally from Soil Science Right. Why would somebody from soil science be asking me and saying Nice things about me? They wouldn't no me from anywhere he's smell. I did maybe several but that rash or several thousand rats via now well and truly on the loose predatory publishes and the predatory journals have become a mega industry global in reach ending ending destructive potential. In fact you're going to hear from someone who believes that this industry represents the biggest threat to science since the inquisition Shen the. US Federal Court recently ordered one of the biggest of these companies to pay up over fifty million US dollars. Only international headquartered voted in Hyderabad in India but also operating in the US claims to publish hundreds of scientific and medical journals. It was found to employ deceptive business practices essentially entrapping scientists to other publishing their journals or participate in conferences. So does the ruling site. bye-bye predatory publishes. Well let's see if Any of that money actually moves anywhere. It's not clear with a mix ex-group will cough up that fifty million dollars which is an estimate of how much the company made from customers over a six-year period or whether it will appeal. We sent a list list of questions to its representatives but yet to receive a reply but it is nice clear message to all the Sake Journal. Publishers of the world that they're being watched touched and there could be consequences. John Bohannon a science journalist and now director of science at an artificial intelligence startup in San Fran called primer. They didn't basically slipping under the radar and using American Canadian and European banks to move money millions of dollars of money from elicit gains. So this court ruling basically makes extremely inconvenient to do now. Joan was asked to present evidence in the case brought against the annex group by the US Federal Trade Commission because he'd had an unusually Hansa with the publisher so mix was one of hundreds of publishers offers. That I tested in sting operation. I wrote some computer code to generate thousands of very bad scientific papers. And what happened next these kind of legendary in science circles back in two thousand twelve John was reporting for the Journal. Science and the expression expression predatory journals wasn't in common news There was a guy named Jeffrey. You who was probably the only person around making a big stink about this and trying to actually Shine a light on it. It was very very bold effort. He had something called feels list or at least it became known as beal's list. My name is Jeffrey Bill. And I'm a retired academic librarian from the University of Colorado Denver professor. Beal beal's blacklist fame and a climb and Notaro He was the first to coin. The phrase predatory journals the Journal. Publishers hated being malysz because it stigmatizes them and meant that their income was decreased. Most of the predatory publishers are predatory not only in their publishing but in just the way they operate in general and they would use the heckler's actors veto. They would call the library director and complain about me and they would try to annoy people at my university as much as possible in order to manipulate those people at the university to make me stop the list so that their complaints would stop. I also received several threats of legal action including think it was in twenty twelve international threatened to sue me for one billion dollars one billion dollars. It was just a threat what I learned from it is that you can basically basically pay an attorney five hundred dollars in all right a threatening letter so they they did that but they never followed through with. It was never introduced in any court personal consequences consequences for Jeffrey of running. That black least were immense. And I'll come back to that. One estimate suggests that there are at least eight thousand predatory journals. This is just one publisher of many. But Jeffrey Bill provocatively calls it. The Evil Empire of Predatory Publishing I stand Dan by that statement and what they do is. They've really hurt a lot of people. You know the scholarly publishing system works on the honor system and people operate in good faith but oh mix international has has totally broken all that down. They use a lot of spamming to solicit article manuscripts from researchers they have journal titles that match the titles of respected journals. Usually one word off enough to confuse people that might be the respected journal in the `field they will at People's names to their editorial boards without the person's permission people from top universities top researchers in the field and they'll use their identity to promote the journal and when the person finds out about it and ask them to remove their name. They don't remove it they just leave it there because they're operating operating from foreign country. There's really nothing you can do about it and especially prey on young researchers in emerging researchers researchers who don't speak English as their first language it's not just scientists from developing countries that are targeted although that easing acknowledged problem clinical epidemiologist. David Mo- assays the crosses reaches into some of America's most delayed institutions including Harvard in an analysis that we did where we looked at a close to two thousand thousand articles published in Predator journals. We found that actually the most frequent corresponding authors were from what we would call first. World countries countries would lots of money and lots of resources that is troubling very very troubling because it suggests that at these institutions authors may not Be Aware of predatory journals and we need to obviously ramp up some educational activities. People think that they're sending the manuscript to a legitimate respected journal. When it's really just a phony dough mix international journal and then they quickly accept the paper without any peer review and then send them an invoice and at that point the authors realized that something is wrong because There was really no peer reviewed done yet. The papers accepted and they have this two thousand dollars invoice that comes through email and the olmecs demanding payment. Most of them asked to withdraw the paper when they realized that they've been duped. But then oh mix says has you can't withdraw your paper unless you pay US withdrawal fee. An often than olmecs will publish the article quickly and one of their journals and then and they can't submit it anywhere else. Because that would be duplicate submission it would be publishing the same article twice. which is something not supposed to do that? Nothing about predatory regionals. He's what he's supposed to happening science as John Bowen discovered when he sent them a taste. Yes yeah so I just wanted some data. It's frustrating to have such an enticing story of you know bad actors that Potentially Ricky and millions of ill gotten dollars dollars and not get some data to find out if it's true so we appear stay in molecular biology from Oxford oppy slave. He plotted an experiment which was pretty straightforward. And the idea in a nutshell is if I submit a really and I mean truly bad scientific paper to your journal title and you accept it with no sign of any peer review and you ask me for money then you're you're a fake journal publisher. Yeah John Wanted to test how easy it was to get published in a predatory journal it can usually take many months years even to get a pipe into a reputable scientific journal. And even then it's not a given. That's partly because of what's called Peer Review essential to the scientific process. So you do an experiment. You brought it up reporting your results. Submitted to a journal and then it gets pulled to shreds by a bunch of other scientists and so it should. That's it's peer review. It's designed to Cape Science rigorous experiments well-designed the results real usable and reproducible. Many predatory regionals site. They conduct peer review. That in fact most of them don't do appear review they go through the motions of period view. They might have like a stock appear of you that they use for every paper that's submitted and basically the papers are accepted in just published almost immediately as soon as the invoices paid and so pure review view is it's it's a fundamental component of how honest journals carry out their business of looking at manuscripts and seeing seeing whether they're fatally flawed or whether they can be improved and whether they're acceptable for publication dive. Moa Is Director of the Center for Gen in a Lola at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute at the University of Ottawa. Hey and colleagues. Just hosted a global summit on predatory journals because they what a building consensus Ivo what they are and how to shut them down. So is these sorts of behaviors and many other behaviors that are not trustworthy. Jiffy deal when something is published in a scholarly journal that doesn't represent validated science. Then then it pollutes the whole scientific record and can't build on junk science or if you do the future science isn't real science either On science fiction. ABC Iran with Natasha. Mitchell we're looking at predatory publishes and the threat. They pose to science scholarship in truth so back to science journalist John by Hannah. And he's sting operation own predatory journals. mm-hmm you wrote a fake paper. In fact you you actually wrote a computer program to write hundreds of spoof papers yeah actually. It spat out thousands. I ended up only needing hundreds. He's computer program changed the authors affiliations specific chemicals cancer cells and other ingredients have. He's experiment but the funding was pretty much the same and this study was potentially. We'll changing. Yes it was a thrill cure cancer at this John. I was basically claiming that this chemical that I found in this little lichens little plant. Plant like creature was able to kill cancer cells in solution. So you know in principle could inject stuff into your blood like you doing chemotherapy be and it would hopefully kill off the cancer cells and I had these very impressive charts showing the results very impressive. Yeah at face value. The Piper hype is sanded convincing but they will all seed in with glaring eras and this would take literally one minute just one glance really of any reasonable double science who was doing peer review of this paper. You just look at the numbers represented this charts and they just make no sense at all. Just don't make any sense. And the design of his experiment experiment that was fatally flawed too. I mean these are the kind of mistakes that highschool stupid mic like these. This isn't even college level. Mistakes this is just like the biggest most most embarrassing scientific mistake imagine. This isn't subtle stuff and then John Wind even further. I just wanted to like bring it to the next level so at the ended the paper. I have the authors say that you know the next thing we're going to do is test this in humans which to any reviewer should be the biggest red flag I mean aside from the fact that science it looks like completely junk. That's just completely unethical. Then he targeted generals suspected to be predatory including two run by ex scrape one cold medicinal chemistry another biology amid a season of eight months. He submitted ten pipers awake. And what happened. Next is incredible incredible. Any reasonable publisher should have looked at that. Paper said not in no way on that publishing this a lot of journals. Dd Saturday status. Give us give us the very murray doc stats well. The darkest of dark stats is that sixty percent of the publishers accepted my article. So did any any of those sixty percent ask you to make any kind of amendments almost never when they did it it involved formatting trivial changes often they would it asked me to add citations two papers that they'd published which is also really not a good practice but now they almost never did any substantial review an even in the few exceptions that DDP to conduct some kind of Scientific Peer Review Jones paper was often accepted anyway. I even after a damning review. What's more to mainstream totten's of Science Publishing Elsevier and sage court out not much to their embarrassment? Yeah it was grim. That was not a great day for Scientific Publishing and so over. The course of that experiment took months to finish. I just sort of got more and more pessimistic about the publishing world. It really changed my view of the whole industry that I was part of some people who a had been caught up in this thing did contact me afterwards. In fact we got at least one angry letter to the editor from one of these journals that got caught with its pants down but I don't have that much sympathy for them because they had the one job. You know if you're the editor of a journal all you gotTa do is withhold the integrity of the journal and clearly weren't doing that some editors of the more reputable journals I think expressed a sense of betrayal of trust and I wonder what you'll response constant. Oh Yeah Yeah. Absolutely everyone craft all over the whole thing. How else would they have reacted? It was basically like taking the giant dump on their entire world. A couple of editors lost their jobs but considering that they had jobs that a fake journal. I I don't see that it's such a big loss. So he's a handful of us now. In the industry the Predatory publishing industry has not gone away has not left silence infect all indications that it has grown massively strong if you carried out the sting operation again. What do you think might happen? Oh I think the picture would probably be worse if I were to do it again though. I'll tell you what I would do. Is I would send a sample papers to the the publishers who have the more traditional model as well It kind of amazed me that this whole problem that I uncovered was dismissed by many for the simple fact that I hadn't also submitted fake papers to different kinds of journals at so they felt like they were being unfairly picked mcdon- so so did some people in the open access publishing movement and it's a passionate movement. Did they think that you had unfairly. Targeted them in particular. Oh yeah absolutely. They dragged through the mud. It was really unpleasant cleaning shells for the traditional scientific publishing world which is hilarious. If if you've known me at all it's really quite the opposite. I'm quite an advocate for open access everything but whatever it's fine science journalist John Vo Hanan the confusion between the open access publishing movement and predatory journals is perhaps for another edition of the show. It's controversial you say. Both charge authors to publish their pipers. Instead of slugging raiders all subscribe as with phase so the open access argument for that is that opens up scientific knowledge. Like never before I phrase it up from behind traditional gentle pie walls but some believe these author pies model creates inherent conflict of interest and that predatory traded treat publishes of taking advantage of that in order to build prophets and taking advantage of scientists to who had desperate to get published in the publish. This you'll perish culture of science. Some of them are taking up the offer because they're being tricked by the predatory publishers. And that's why I use the term predatory because they're preying on them. They're they're preying on their weaknesses that people need to get published so people are earning degrees. People are getting promotions at universities. People people earning tenure in some cases based on a publications in low quality fake predatory journals that don't conduct any peer review and have have almost no settling at all they accept everything and we've also learned that Pharmaceutical companies are publishing their research to justify the the efficacy of their new medicines are using predatory journals to do that as well. What do you think the key drivers of the predatory journal Sane has been? It's easy easy money. As Jeffrey bills blacklist of predatory journals grew in influence as did. His reputation publishes publishes and others pushed back angrily at him at his criteria for inclusion on the least at his lone ranger approach at his singular antagonism some of open access publishing some went straight to his universities ladyship to attack his credibility and he became a kind of hybrid of hero in. I'm Tara how did his university respond for the most part for the first few years they were supportive of me and the legal office did help me. It is some tricky situations you know that I had gotten in because of the threats from the publishers but towards the end I think they grew weary of me a and the support decreased. Did you ever receive pressure to shutdown. You'll blog from your university. I received a pressure but it wasn't pressure to shut shut down the blog. Things became increasingly uncomfortable towards the end before I retired I retired a year ago. Did it become uncomfortable. The university he did that some things I used to have an office and they took me out of an office and put me into a cubicle. They hired a new person to work in the library. He had two years of library experience and they made him be my supervisor. And you know part of Predatory publishing there's a broader context to it. There's a social movement behind open access publishing. A lot of people want to kill off the traditional publishers and had them all replaced with open access journals so that everybody throughout the world connects us all published research and it's a very Left wing social movement. And so the person that came in as my supervisor was among among those people and so we had strikingly kingly different ideologies about scholarly publishing so. That was way that they were pressured. Me Why did you shut down bills least in in. I think it was two thousand seventeen. Taint it has reincarnated with anonymous editors in some sense to protect themselves from what you went through. But why did you decide to shut it down. Well in January worry of that year I learned that the university was working with one of the publishers on my list and the results of that was that the university initiated a research. I misconduct investigation against me and I knew I hadn't engaged any research. Misconduct myself because research misconduct means means of falsification fabrication or plagiarism. By definition and I knew I hadn't done any of that yet they started this case against me and I felt very stigmatized pies by it and that kind of sealed it for me with the university I take another action against me and now here was something major. A research misconduct case. And that's why I decided to stop the list. What was the outcome of that case the outcome in July of twenty seventeen was snow? Research misconduct found that. Make you feel it made me feel horrible. I felt like my own university that I worked at for seventeen years. I was turning against me and I felt stigmatized and I felt like I really can continue the work. And that's why I shut down the blog and the lists you. I think that was a trigger for that action. Sure it was the publisher that they worked with was a big one and the predatory Tori publishers. The ones that are doing really well are rich. They have lots and lots of money. They can hire lawyers to go after people and they can organiz well. And there are several very large very successful predatory publishers out there and and they have a lot of power and they. We'll go after anybody who threatens their income was that publisher the publisher was frontiers. So you'd assist them to be a predatory publisher and yeah and I had lots of evidence from stuff that they had published. They published an article about Chem trails in the Sky Cam conspiracy theory yeah. They published an article about that which they quickly retracted. After I wrote a blog post about it. They they published an article saying that. HIV doesn't cause AIDS. So I had lots of lots of solid evidence that they weren't really conducting Valla Peer Review. I mean that's bad science. It's not necessarily making them and predatory publisher plenty of crap lanes in good journals But it gets gets retracted and publishing junk. Science is one of the criteria that I use to evaluate publishers. I mean you're if you submit at an article to a publisher thinking it's good publisher when they're publishing crap science poor science that is a type of predation against honest researchers. They don't want to be associated shared with junk science a spokesperson for the University of Colorado Denver. Where Jeffrey held a tenured faculty position would not comment on any research misconduct misconduct investigation but tolls friction that the university quote defended and supported Professor Bills Academic Freedom to pursue predatory publishing as part of? He's scholarship junk. hunk is the science in predatory journals. You and colleagues have have conducted a study to analyze the quality of the research that the studies that Mike it into that are accepted by predatory journals. What's striking observations? Did you make the Quick Tanko. Messages at the quality of reporting of these articles is really horrendously bad epidemiologist David Moa at the University of Ottawa. And when we compare that to do what we might consider is the legitimate literature it. It's very very much worse. And that's not to say that there aren't problems in the quality of reporting sorting of Legitimate Journal. There are but when we moved to predatory journals it suggests that there's the the screening that's going on so for example. We consider peer review in a sense of screen of the integrity. And the scientific composer of the research is perhaps not going on many of these papers. These are funded by Reputable agencies and so in a country like Canada where much research is paid out of You taxpayer dollars. It's really very very wasteful. It scientifically very problematic won't be seeing won't be cited and of course it's a waste of money any and it. It may also contribute to sort of adding layers of fakeness to what people are trying to get at is the truth because they don't conduct a proper period view and their publishing bogus science. If you have an agenda A nonscientific agenda agenda pseudoscientific agenda. You can use predatory publishers to publish your work. You know two of the biggest open questions in in science are what what is the nature of dark matter and what is the nature of dark energy this is from cosmology. And there's no scientific consensus as to the answers to those two questions in their big big questions in cosmology and physics. The biggest questions of all I think so but those questions have been answered. Many times in predatory journals are knows. There's lots of people writing articles claiming that they've discovered the answers to those questions in the predatory. Publishers are happy to accept them as long as the authors pay the fee and and they're published. There's some out there that would happily publish your paper saying that. Vaccines Cause Autism or that. There's no global warming occurring or that nuclear power is is going to destroy everybody. A bread causes cancer. Anything you want to write you can ride it and they'll publish as long as you. Pay The fee David. Mo- assays that like fake news scientists and citizens and clinicians and now struggling to distinguish fact from fiction in predatory publications and he wants a global observatory. Set Up to scrutinize they practices the problem. Is that many of these predatory predatory journals they are now making their way into Trusted sources over example for many researchers clinicians enjoy patients. They may look a pubmed put out by the National Library of medicine. The United States and big data rice of scientific pipers a huge database. And and what we see is that they're getting infiltrated. With articles from predatory journals they are funded by esteemed institutions funding institutions such as the National Institutes of health. And what is the patient to do. What's a clinician to do? Will these people make decisions based on on on that sort of evidence and I think that that's an incredibly problematic. Geoffrey beale believes makes international will survive despite the recent US federal fifty million dollar court ruling against them but we'll save science from they sorts of publishers of predatory journals. I don't see the problem going away. In fact. In some a lot of countries the open access advocates have been successful flagging governments. To pass laws requiring federally funded work to be published in open access journals. So they're there. When the predatory publishers here about these laws they are ecstatic about them because it helps them because a certain percentage of the people are going to be publishing in in the predatory journals whether by mistake or or intentionally in they will be the market the market is there and it's encoded in law now increasingly so they had a we stop the open access movement? which many says a positive thing you don't From being infiltrated by predatory publishes. I don't know a way to stop them. Publishers have freedom of the press. And there's really no laws. They're not breaking any laws in most cases unless they engage in and identity theft or other things like that but for the most part they're they're completely sanctioned by by governments because of freedom of the press. Uh John Behan. I think we're GONNA have to reinvent how we do things this old fashioned way of submitting a paper and having some mysterious peer review ooh that no one ever sees happened behind a curtain and results in yesterday. No I think we may have to really put some effort into alternative models and they do exist. I it's just that that's a big culture change. You could make pure review transparent for example you can have the review part of the record of the paper. Let's really embarrassing harassing. It's scary for most scientists to think of a worldwide. That's the norm. So there's a lot of resistance there are certainly if it's on the to open up that whole peer review prices Isis and in fact even crowd source at. Yeah that's one way forward another would be you have some kind of Global Auditing System. Where you know someone like me me doing a sting operation like I did is just continuously rolling along to find out if you're keeping your word of doing period view that's expensive and unlikely likely to happen because everyone has to agree to do it well in some sense? Some might be surprised to hear that it's not happening at all and that anyone everyone pretty much anyone could establish a scientific journal put it online make it look legit and start making money. Oh Yeah you and I could make a journal right now. I can and fifteen minutes to wordpress site and attach a bank count to it. I mean what he reckon these a fancy name. What should we used? Ralian Million Journal of Melbourne San Francisco Melbourne Frisco Journal where we can work. On that the John Bohannon Geoffrey Beale and David Moa joining may today and thank you for your ears. Thanks to co-produce Jane Lee Talk to me on twitter at the tash cashew Mitchell or email me at the science friction website. And I'm back with all spanking brand new shows twenty twenty next week June in shared the podcasting getting touch by. You've been listening to an A._B._C.. podcast discover more great A._B._C.. podcasts live radio and exclusives on the A._B._C. Listen APP.

publisher the Journal Peer Review United States editor David Moa Legitimate Journal John Bohannon Jeffrey Bill University of Colorado researcher Jeffrey Paper Journal San Fran University of Ottawa John director Tesha Mitchell
UPDATED  China, freedom, science: The personal is political for this particle physicist

Science Friction

31:54 min | 1 year ago

UPDATED China, freedom, science: The personal is political for this particle physicist

"This is an ABC podcast. I'm up in a free country. I probably would not have become a scientist. It's not because I not interested in science. I've always been tricked by these most fundamental questions of nature. But I've also been tweaked by the governance of human beings. And that very young age growing up in China realized all the other career paths, I aspire to they were not possible because of the political conditions in China. I couldn't be John Lewis without a free press a politician without democratic elections or lawyer without a rule of law as science became the only profession within my interests. And that is accessible to me that I could pursue without compromise. The personal ease getting political onsides friction today. Welcome to the show on the Tesha Mitchell with a passionate story of the pursuit of freedom, and of science and human rights. Particle physicist. Dr young young Chang searches for dark matter and actually for my graduation gift. I got some t shirts with Darth Vader printed on them. My colleagues were joking that I went to the dark side. She's a postdoctoral research associate Cornell University and part of the team using the large Hadron collider to study the most fundamental matter of the universe, basically, what we are doing in our collider experiments is to recreate some of the conditions at the very beginning of the creation of our whole universe. And I just find that whole idea concept of it, absolutely fascinating. On the physics side. I do searches for dark matter. And dark matter is this kind of mysterious type of matter that is really not dark, but transparent in a sense that we cannot see them, but we can project. It's existence by measure. During these astrophysical offi phnomenom, and it's about five to six times death of ordinary matter. What makes up the universe as we see and feel it and my work has being searching for these different types of dark matter that young young Joan doesn't just think deeply about the duck matter and the duck forces that shape our universe. She's also concerned with the duck forces that shape human behavior. And that's what we're talking about to give it today, because the young young science became a path to freedom as a child born in nineteen ninety just months after the TNN square massacre and recently. She's found a potent voice, her own on history on human rights and the exploitation of science as an instrument for political oppression. You lived your first nineteen years in China, you grew up in China before moving to America to, to do your graduate. Studies take us back to your earliest dis. So I grew up in a medium size city, which is like a typical second or third yesterday in China called coffee in our province. It's somewhat like four five hours, west of Shanghai and Alani Yancey river, but I also grew up on a campus of one of the most elite universities in China university of science and technology of China or US. See that institution is being cold the Celtic of China and extrordinary institution, one with an extraordinary political history as worl-, but it's also an institution that your father was a professor in science and engineering at wasn't it. Yes, my father was a student in in his home home province. And then he came to the university of scientists and. Technology of China in her on way for his PHD in the late nineteen eighty s later state at university as a professor. And so that's how I was born and raised on that campus and lived there for the first nineteen years of my life news, very much a campus woven into your soul. And also into the soul if you like of the development of modern science in China said Lee, you lost your your dead when he was just thirty six he died in his sleep. What impact did that loss? Hev on your family, you and your mother. You're an only child under China's one child policy. So I was ten years old, where my dad died very suddenly and very unexpectedly. And I think it was an it was an interesting age, because I was old enough to be completely aware, but too young to understand what role a father, actually plays in. A person's upbringing. And because it's being in the new set Gloria Vanderbilt just passed away, that's the famous fashion designer artist and author Gloria Vanderbilt mother of the CNN news anchor and journalist Anderson Cooper who put together the most extraordinary and profound betray area for her last week. He can catch it on YouTube, and she and her son Anderson Cooper, Dave Cole written, this book and era this lying because both of them lost their fathers when they were ten years old. They said a father girl, sees everything as possible and nothing safe. And of course, I'm not a Vanderbilt and there's nothing particularly common in our upbringing, but that, that shared language of loss, as something I instinctively understood when I read that I think one thing that has really shaped my understanding of the world. And in a very profound way is the fact that I'm raised by. Chinese widow in a very patriarchal society. And that gave me a lot of first hand experience, in how many of these small, but still significant indignities and insecurities, there are times of a woman moving through the world, both physically and also figuratively in terms of pursuing a career. You said something very interesting about hell, you time to science and you say that you science 't, your way out of limited cirumstances. Tell me about that. That sense of sciences, a path out of adversity as you describe it, my situation is not unique in China growing up with very little mutt hero, resources, or with no political connections, academic excellence was the only pathway out in. And I happen to be very fortunate in a sense that I was very good at the system, China devised to select quote unquote talent. So I was able to succeed, quote unquote through the Chinese education system into an elite university university of technology of China where I did my undergraduate and then later to university of Chicago for my PHD that brought me not just out of the limited circumstances of my upbringing, but also into a free country. It's so complex though isn't it? Nothing is ever black and wash the history of Sohn's recent history of sawn in China's has been complex. Scientists became one of the most persecuted groups in China under the cultural revolution under now, and indeed the very university that you were at that. Your father was head. Head struggled to survive during the cultural revolution ended. Yes. So I would rephrase this bit that I don't think this was an isolated period in Chinese history or in the history of science across the world, that nature has no political ideology, but science as a human endeavor. And immoral recent past century or so. As a primarily government founded, human endeavor is inherently political any China or in the land that we coach Haina today across millennia premodern science was predominantly funded by imperial court, the results of which are interpreted for imperial legitimacy, including premodern, astrophysics, and cost Malla. G in China after the communist regime took power science Imos, China developed largely following the Soviet model. Where science that's directly connected with national defense were being prioritized. So the so-called tool bombs, and one-star itching, which referred to the Tomich bomb the ballistic missile, and the manmade satellite. And so the nuclear and space programs were the prioritized subjects in Amman science, Imos, China will science was seen as a as effectively counter revolutionary, what happened to sawn his during that time. And some of these scientists became your professors at the university of science and technology in China and indeed, one of China's most famous scientists and Astro physicist, who was of us president executive vice president of your university. He has an incredible story. If excel he's no longer live in some sense, as a physicist, you have full it in his footsteps. I I'm very humbled odd to, to say that I, I can't possibly claim for myself. By the person, you are referring to an was professor finally drew. So he was heavily criticized for publishing papers are modern cosmology, because it was considered contrary to Marxist ideology. He withstood, the political pressure and continued working on Astro physics and cosmology through the nineteen seventies to the early nineteen eighties. And during nineteen eighty s he became a tireless advocate for freedom and democracy and political reform in China that led to him being labelled, the biggest black hand behind the TM and protests in one thousand nine hundred nine so after the tanks rolled in to the streets of Beijing, he and his wife sort refuge, at the US embassy in Beijing for thirteen months until the didn't go, she Asians between the highest levels of both a US and Chinese governments allowed he and his wife to leave, and he died in just two thousand twelve what does his. Legacy main to you personally finally did not become a dissident because he was a physicist. He was destined who happen to be a physicist and fun showed an example of how h high knees scientists. But more importantly, a Chinese individual can live their conscience and adhere to an advocate for these universal values that are not western values, but are truly ass universal. And as fundamental as a particle physicist, I would say as the fundamental laws that bind us and our shared cosmological history. You've been thinking, very deeply about this nexus between science and politics and the state, and expressed some skepticism about China's quest to position itself as a global later in science and you've gone one step further to describe China as using science, essentially as a political weapon. Yes. So I think I think the most acute animus, Alami example, right now is the high-tech ethnic cleansing that the Chinese government is conducting in northwestern region of Xinjiang towards over ten million, mostly ethnic Muslim minorities of Waco, or mostly waiter. Also 'cause key ethnicity. And whether Chinese government has done is tiny a region into a twenty percent. Entry police state with massive collection of biometric data with Staelens of both in facial recognition voice recognition, biometric tracking, including DNA, including once just of facial and physical features. And there are also on these reported cases of individuals being asked to walk in front of a camera and capture their gate, etc. That is just what exists in the everyday life and outside of that there is over one million up to three million Muslim minorities being held in concentration camps in the northwestern region of change on today. So there's a very alarming case, and they're also artificial intelligence and these new techniques being used to develop essentially, what is an ethnic apartheid to facilitate or enforce state control? These are Chinese examples, but less. Than should not just be applicable to China, but really should be a warning to the global community and a solution has to be global and not just directed to or limited to the Chinese government itself. So helm, what that be for China's scientists that wrestle between those passionate about the openminded quest to pursue scientific research. And then alongside that to do that within the context of a, an authoritarian state where you are obligated as a scientist to serve that state. Yes. Tiny scientists have their agency have their conscience immoral compass, but because of the nature of the political system of the tort, Harrier state, it would be extremely difficult. If not outright impossible for Chinese scientists to object to it, and they do not. Have the freedom to refuse to contribute their scientific work into a defense pup has or surveillance purpose? I have a lot of empathy for them. A lot of them are my if not directly, my professors, because I work in fundamental science, but are broadly speaking colleagues of my, and their lack of ability to descent does not equate on equivocal approval of the Chinese government's actions and a lot of cases Chinese. Scientists also, see their work in basic research, quote on cold, as some kind of a refuge from these political tensions, and more complex ethical issues. And I'm very empathize of it on the other hand is also true that in -tarian state, most individuals who work in an authoritarian. State are not only victims of state oppression but also complicit. It and directly or indirectly contribute to their own oppression. And this kind of deeply tragic, but still factual duality is, is just a state of reality of living, authoritarian state, which makes the decision that you took as young woman to travel to America to do your graduate. Studies very interesting. And this wasn't just will you know, to have an exciting adventure that strikes me that you had a very clear vision about what you would doing. Is that the case? Well, I was I was nineteen when I when I left China for graduates going the US. So I think for a nineteen year old. But of course it was limited by Asian experience and understanding of the world. Yeah. So I told my family backing China's telling them that I'm going to the United States, not just to pursue a scientific degree but to live in a free country. And, and so that was really. There was a duality in, in my choice. It was not just scientific, but it was also myself voting with my feet in choosing a liberal democracy, over authoritarian state. And I say this, that there is no nothing particularly noble about this choice. I very privileged in the educational opportunities. I've been given and I there also. No other possible circumstances that made it easier for me to just leave my, my country of birth and upbringing for a new life of freedom. But for many of my colleagues, who would not be able to leave China for various pass. No and professional reasons. It doesn't mean that they don't believe in fundamental values of freedom and human rights. And so, I think this is really a case, where or audience should view people living in the Harian state's not as these abstract figures, but really as, as a human beings with agency and with conscience, but also recognize the overarching power dynamic of state, oppression and state power, and how that limits individual choices and forces conscientious individ-. Pills into violations of their individual conscience into some form of complicity. So, so I also want to stress that as a pass no choice. I made and I'm so coming to terms with it of its implications, and how that shapes my worldview and how I should not apply. More relativism for the ones who didn't make the same choice. That's a profound observation to make. And I mean you would born just months to the TNN square massacre. And yes, you consider yourself very much a child of Tiananmen. Yes. And this is interesting because I did not know what happened at him until I left China, but still my life and my education was shaped by that tragic event and its aftermath. Troops have been firing indiscriminately fit still thousands of people on the streets, not willing back the bicycle rickshaw scooped up the injured others were shunted onto bikes piddled to hospital, many were carried away by frantic local residents. There was confusion and despair among those who could hardly credit that own army was firing wildly out of the. One particular example, was the Chinese government issued and launched this patriotic education, campaign in one thousand nine hundred one Ingram spouse to the challenge of the communist government's legitimacy after TM and crackdowns and also a dating back after the Mao era disastrous. And so the education I received I started laments recall in one thousand nine hundred four which was the year that the government launched this more detailed outline for patriotic education was was really following the government's narrative of this China as a historically, besieged nation after hundred years of humiliation since the opium wars. And how the communist party is the country's savior air, heroic savior, at one and only true guardian, and that kind of extreme calling of. Collective memory, this kind of censorship, distortion of national, and international history is profound for the younger generation of Chinese my age or younger, and also for Chinese society at large strikeout facing a huge crowd. The air was filled with shouts of fascists stop killing. We were in the line facing the troops. They were about two hundred and fifty yards away. Young people were singing the international to a background of gunfire. You describe your extraordinary experience of only finding out as a young adult in America, the university of Chicago from a young American colleague of yours co-student about tank, men, the men who stood stood in front of that lawn of tanks at incredible image and that must have been incredibly profound for you. Yes. When I left China, I was not completely oblivious, to the incident of TM. It's not difficult to get a sense of what is forbidden by just observing the counters of censorship, and occasionally stumbling upon it a lot of things that were censored only people become aware of it because of the censorship itself, but it. Just leaves. This massive void of there is something deeply tragic, and ski on speak -able, and that that Boyd also false festers, a lot of this information which is true. And so I only found out the truth about him and including the details, and also the scale of the crackdown, and the casualties after I came to the US, went, Hank man was brought up almost just like randomly at a conversation with some of my American classmates after I came to Chicago. What was it like for you? I, I was, I was embarrassed. And I was ashamed. I had no illusions about the authoritarian h of the Chinese state, but I still felt a sense of. I felt that my government has denied me access to my own history. And that, that is a sense of, of profound guilt, and betrayal. You have found your voice though. And I'm interested in that decision of yours, too. He you are a particle physicist doing post doctorate studies in America. But now, also writing these really vivid and powerful and personal opinion. Paces for foreign affairs magazine in China file, and I think written pertained vogue, and MIT technology review, all sorts of publications he's been interviewed by the New York Times by -ympia. What triggered you to in a in a sense? Find this politicized voice of yours. This is a question that I actually asked myself are often, it must come with risks in terms of your capacity to return to China at does but, but living itself is not risk-free. So, so I think I think that's. That's what I tell tell myself that the existence of risks is not enough of an excuse to not live and not live, once truth, and I'm still a very young necessarily in Asia, but very, very young, new writer and I'm still trying to come to terms with what it means to right. What it means to have a voice a platform. And what is the best way to use it, what I wanted to say, I don't see them being written as young Chinese woman as a scientist, as an immigrant, these kinds of jokes positions of identities is relatively unique. And, and that's something. I feel deserves a space to be told. I think one thing I am very cognizant about is, as young Chinese woman born under one child policy. There were tens of millions of young Chinese girls who were never born because of their gender, and then we look back at foulland's of years of Chinese history. There are like hundreds of millions of Chinese women who were denied access to literacy and has denied the ability to write their own history and have their own place in the recorded history because of their gender. So, I think it almost sounds self aggrandizing for me to say it, but, but because I'm a particle physicist and I always think, on the a larger historical or cosmological scale. So, so I do feel that is a great privilege and also a great responsibility as a as a young Chinese female writer assigned hist by profession. How I use my voice? Voice, and the, the people I won't write about, I'm particularly interested in writing the stories of Chinese women, partly because of my upbringing news. Yes. I mean one line that Iran is, I'm the great granddaughter of women with band fate for whom learning to read was a revolutionary act. I am a particle physicist, working on the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. And that contrast is so striking when you when you describe that, that relationship between the present and the past, I'm curious to know in the last few minutes that we've got together. You know, the Chinese government is running, a very well know in patriotic thousand talent plan really focused on pulling back to China. Many of the great talents that have kind of spread around the world. Would you be tempted to head back if the Chinese government sought to recruit you with a lucrative offer under the plan? No, I do not believe in. In subject, team my profession and my life to on the Harian government. And that is just a conscientious objection for, for my colleagues, some of whom who have indeed returned to China, under the thousand talent plan, or other types of talent recruitment plans. It's, it's not a, a discount on their pass no morality or conscience, and they have their own professional pass no reasons to pursue their career pats. And so, I think this is really a case, where people on audience should byu people living in the third Harian state's not as these abstract figures, but really as, as all human beings with agency and with conscience, there are reports now that China's scientists often very senior scientists being targeted being investigated by the if. He is some even losing their jobs at major American scientific institutions, and I want to, if you could give us a sense of what that is like at the moment in America being Chinese scientist. This is a really current and complex issue the two larger structural forces on both sides of the Pacific on one hand as the Chinese government's abuses of a liberal democratic system, and by elation of intellectual property, and sometimes it's encouragement or outright, facilitating of industrial espionage, or other actions, that does violate an international rules and norms. If not directly harming other countries, national security, and the director Christopher swallow is quoted as saying, China has pioneered, a societal approach to stealing innovation that China seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder at our. Expense. So, so there's that intellectual property rights angle on me. But these also concerned that there's racial profiling happening. Yes, I would refrain from using China Asti subject. So it's really the Chinese government that has conducted a lot of these abuses, and the Chinese government has its overseas political influence and campaigns that primarily oppresses and targets people of Chinese ethnicity, and descent. So this is really an action of political oppression from an authoritarian government. That's the first the first broader structural force on the other side of the Pacific the broader structural force is that the United States is founded as a white supremacist patriarchy. And there is this undercurrent of racism, and xenophobia that is part of this country's or. Original sin, and it still manifested in a lot of the current political issues and societal issues in America today. There are indeed individual cases where they make the individual offender may not be of Chinese ethnicity, at all who violated some rules and either intellectual property or some other government funding agency regulations, and, and the individual batch behavior should be investigated and prosecuted, according to a rule of law. And, and that is just but an individual behavior should not be used to generalize, a broader ethnicity, a people because otherwise the Chinese people, or people of Chinese ethnicity, who live in a US today are being double victimized by these two larger structural forces or can imagine. That's having. Found impact a personal impact for some scientists many, many Chinese scientists or scientists have Chinese heritage working in labs across America. So I think this is really forcing scientists of Chinese ethnicity, working overseas to choose a loyalty, where science should not be ownership of a state to start with you have an incredible story. And I'm so grateful to you for joining us on the program this week an account. Wait to hear what happens to your scientific career. It's, it's going to be exciting. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you so much for having me in the tasha particle physicist, and rata. Dr young young Chung guest this week here on science fiction. I'm the Tesha Mitchell. The show is produced by million Jane Lee, and talk to me on Twitter or year due at an attention ritual and this week. The apocalypse is coming to science friction, you'd better be ready. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives on the ABC. Listen up.

China scientist Chinese government physicist America US professor university university of techn ABC China university of science Tesha Mitchell John Lewis Cornell University Jane Lee Darth Vader China Asti itching Chang postdoctoral research associat
Sum of All Parts - The Infinite God

Science Friction

25:46 min | 1 year ago

Sum of All Parts - The Infinite God

"This is an ABC podcast. Hello, welcome to science friction its culture and science with extra spice. Some, the Tesha Mitchell gripe, spicy stories for you this week in next. We are showcasing a deliciously adventurous podcast from ABC science. It's called some of all parts or soap that's nickname. And it's host while I would say Joe Werner, you are a man of many obsessions and music has to be Scholley one of them. Yeah. Music's definitely up there. And while some vol- parts is a show about numbers. I think numbers and mathematics in music is so interwoven that occasionally it ends up being a bit of a music podcast as well. And that's definitely the case with the story with featuring today. Yeah, it's a shy with really rhythmic pulse often because you do beautiful sand design and at the heart of this story is a genuine, rockstar. Who discovered an obsession himself, kind of mid Korea robot Schneider is huge in India Saint so it means that, that's not so huge. But he, he is a big deal in the right circles. And he kind of walked away from this very successful music career to focus on an obsession. He has with mathematics. Let's take it away. Robert Schneider was the last person that can Ono expected to hear from all my gosh, I'd known about Robert Schneider, through his music, Kenza, mathematician and professor of number theory at Emory University five years ago, I got an Email from this Robert Schneider, saying that he wanted to pursue a PHD in number theory, which for me is crazy. Robert is a rockstar. He's a lead singer of the band apples and stereo. You know, you don't usually look for graduate students from a pool of Rockstars. I thought it was the craziest thing that this man in his early. Forties wants to put that career on hold, and pursue a career in mathematics. So this all starts when a crate turns up at rub. It's recording studio. It's like the kind of crate, you seen old cartoons where they'll be like a kangaroo that's being shipped across the of the kangaroo breaks out of the crate, and like wreaks havoc. Old. On the kangaroo gets confused for a mouse, or something like that. You know. And it was an old school would create we had to use a crowbar to open it. Five of that mouth, it was very romantic. And when we opened it in the box fell aside, there's the most beautiful antique tape machine we put it in place, and the first time I used it. I realized that this was the perfection of tape machine recording technology. Probably of all time as good as tight machine sanded it had a problem, it would constantly blow out these things called diodes and electron it component. And this was like the achilles heel of this particular tape machine for every one day that the tape machine worked, it would be broken down for two days to start with the band. Got a local audio engineer to come in and repair the machine. But then today's later he had to come back. He fix again. His look, I think this is just gonna keep happening Robert you're going to have to learn to fix this yourself. And so in the haze of just being sort of a lo fi punk rock hippie recording artists suddenly had to learn about Electroncs and so. I went to radio shack, and I bought this book called basic electron IX and open the book up and on the first page, I opened to right in the middle of the page, there was this equation called Ohm's law and owns law is the fundamental law of electron IX, basically, it's an equation, that describes the numbers Hal electric city flows, and it's so simple has three things in it with an equal sign. And when I saw this law on the page, it completely blew my mind because I realized that moment that everything that I thought was important. Everything I had tried to do that was beautiful, all of my friendship friends that I had traded muse live music listening to the radio into records tame courting onto the tape mission microphone, liquoring light red lights flashing. All of this stuff was existing against the backdrop of the simple mathematical equation. And it's not just that my brain was an electrical system. My thoughts and my mind somehow were being supported by this equation. And like I'm in my studio and I'm at the microphone like we are right now and you speak into the microphone and your voice is transformed into electricity and it goes through all of these circuits and stuff and comes back through the system, it's my headphones and it's going back into my ears and there it's transformed back into the electrical impulses. And it goes back into my mind. If this crazy loop of electricity that our entire existence is completely wrapped up in and all of this stuff was contained in a simple equation. That was just our bre on a page, my memory of that moment is that there was like lights shining, down through the ceiling onto golden light like in those renaissance paintings, like, really felt like that. It felt like there was no ceiling or sky above me, just like Infinity, like pouring down this light on me onto the page. It was very dramatic feeling. After I had this sort of pithy with the tape machine, I was extremely enamored of mathematics instantly, so robots to teach himself mathematics and the whole time. This was happening. I'm in the touring band making records and I'm in studios all of the time and also a dad, so in sort of the frenzy of life. I also was trying to sneak time whenever I could to learn about mathematics, and work on these ideas, Robert would be backstage hid deep in a textbook on a break in the studio scribbling away in one of these notebooks but being Museau with the maths obsession is kind of a solitary pursuit, no matter how many degrees of separation he went away from me. I didn't even the one other person that was interested in math. Maybe like if you had a day job. But then your hobby was that you are a solitary lumberjack and you'd like drive out into the wilderness, miles and miles and miles away from any other human being and with chop down trees being like a self taught mathematician, not knowing anybody kind of feels like it's that isolated like you really are doing this thing that it doesn't. Connect anybody else. Like cross fade, the volume slowly down roots music, career, and mixing with this new noise, number theory, mathematics started to infiltrate the music that Roe was making like he's not tra- logarithms to develop this thing called a non Therrien scale hearing pace composed in his scale now, essentially, it's a brand new musical scale, with new notes set at intervals that aren't found in the chromatic scale, we all know and love this intrigue, the mathematics community and Robert was invited to give lectures on music and maths at universities and colleges across the US. And it was one of these trips that emit can earn. Oh for the first time I am a professional real live research, mathematician, which means that I spent a lot of time thinking about numbers deep in the wilderness. Robert ran into another lumberjack. Cans really enthusiastic. He's very high energy. He's kind of far out. He's a fast thinker can remember leaving and feeling like I was flying on math. Like it was the first time I had engaged in such deep math conversation with anybody. And he ended up having me in his office for like an hour and a half. And it was a really, really wonderful experience for me. So Kenan robot heated off, for a whole bunch of reasons, but a big part of it is shared obsession with a mystical Indian mathematician, who's been dead. For almost a century, Ramona gin much of my work, believe it or not is informed by a man named Romana Jin. He is quite an amazing figure really he is kind of like an incomplete profit in the world of math. Once you hear about some mathematicians Ramana Jains name is it comes up, if you don't know anything about mathematics, will, you know about Isaac Newton, everybody knows who he is either. Maybe like iron Stein. If you go one layer in so you say have heard about people like oiler and gals. Then you also know. About Ramana jn. He's very famous in mathematics, but it's like being famous indie music. If you've never heard of pavement, there's no way you'll ever hear of them, but they one level in. So if you know what indie music is then, you know who pavement is. Similar in that like the do know about pavement, then, like you really know about pavement do not obey, and let's have a casual fan, right? Like you have. If you've gotten that far in, then you're too far in. Born into poverty in the south of India in eighteen eighty seven Ramana Jin had almost no formal training in mathematics and yet still over the course of his lifetime. He came up with thousands of mathematical formulas because he thought they were gifts to him from his Hindu goddess, goddess NAMA Geary at night in his sleeping dreams, or when he was meditating in his temple his family's goddess with come to him, envisions and would touch his tongue with her finger and write equations on his tongue, just how reminded and came up with these formulas one of the biggest mysteries in mathematics beyond the folklore of goddess riding on his tongue. He left behind. No trace of how actually derived any of these work like I said reminded him was born into a poll, family and paper was expensive. So he did all these calculations in chalk. On a slight wiping the slate clean. Izzy wind. It was only when he got to the final formula that he transcribe it from. The slate into a notebook. He presented his work without any proofs is just a list of questions. Nobody could make heads or tails of it in his era. And for the last hundred years, mathematicians have been trying to work out what Ramana JR and did. And to prove his work Ramones into work is all about unlocking, the infinite about taking what most of the sink of is inconceivable and making it more noble. You found ways of taming extremely complicated numbers, so that you would never be afraid of them at all as I looked into Ramana, Jen. I found that his story really spoke to me. He was a self taught mathematician. He didn't have access to education hit, in fact, dropped out of college. This inspired me to realize that you could take the sort of self motivated, nonstandard path towards mathematics. That's more commonly the way that artists go about it. I saw him as being the model for the kind of genius that one might aspire to, you know, Vermont was the mathematician that provided me with the model of. How is all that mathematics should be done? Flash forward a couple of years, and I had decided that I was going to drop out of the music scene stopped touring, and go to graduate school. And if I'm going to do that I should probably do it now. I'm like forty until, like over the course of a year or so pulled myself out of the music world. This is huge robots. A rook star music is he's in tile life. That was sort of a weird, you know, is a great time. It is weird time to I almost had like an identity sort of. Dissociate of few a little bit where you have, like people leave town and change their names and moved to a different place and take on a whole new identity didn't have that going on. But I felt a little bit like that was going on, because there was no crossover between my music life and my math life. And it's pretty obvious who Robert's going to want to oversee this crossover rut, he visited me at Emory University, and he came armed with notebooks. Couldn't believe it just like Ramana Jin had notebooks. You must have one hundred of them by now Ken was grilling me to see. I was acceptable as a student for him. And the. It wasn't just me coming in as a well known musician with a math hobby. It was like me coming in as a potential person he would work with. And it had a different flavor to it the level of energy in the room who needs nuclear power. If you have someone like rob Schneider, he said, I don't know, a lot of math, but I love beauty. And I see that there is art in mathematics, and I wanna come study with you at Emory. We went through his notebooks. I saw flashes of genius, and we took a gamble on him because a lot of the qualities that I seen Ramana Jin. I see in Robert Robert's completely unconventional in his thoughts. And, you know, he is produced some of the most beautiful formulas that I've seen in the last four or five years, left, that time, it was more than flying on math. I was in like orbit, you know, like it was such a great feeling. It was a very inspiring and exciting moment for me. As I left the building, my wife, pick me up. And she tells the story is that I got in the car, and she looked at me, and she said, I had never looked so happy. And she said to me, Honey, you're going to Emory, orange you and I thought about it for a second. And I was like, oh my God. She's right. I have never felt this happy in this kind of conversation about mathematics with anybody on science fiction here on VCR in on Jolan with a some of old pots special, it's the story of rook Stott and mathematician, rubbish NADA. So Robert packs, up his house and his family and he moves across the country to do a PHD with Kane ONA and soon after Kim has a breakthrough this is a huge result, and it's all to do with Ramona Jin's most mysterious work a mystery the left of the world from his death did. But to try to understand it, we need to put it in the context of end of Ramana jen's life. So quick recap Ramana jn had been collecting these formulas that would gifted to him any sleep. Goddess riding on his tongue. And after a while he starts sending these ideas to prominent mathematicians from all around the world now Ramana jn doesn't show any working, right? So there's no way to figure out how he even derived these ID's. So all these academics, they pretty much just ignore him. Except for g h hardy a number theorist, Cambridge University, g h hardy was this amazing super mathematician of his era. Ramada cinema letter filled with mathematics, hardy was like I've never seen anything like this. It's so crazy that it has to be true Hoti was running on a gut feeling invited Ramana Jin to come to England to study with him at Cambridge, and for a period of five years in the mid nineteen teens when England was in the midst of this bloody World War, Ramana Jen prove some of the most astonishing formulas of the day during his time at Cambridge Ramana and struggle to adapt to English culture in. He found the food strange and difficult to stomach frequently seek, but doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, and eventually, the constant illness got too much. So he returned to India in one thousand nine hundred nineteen hoping to return to good health, but he continued to do his own research. And in January of nineteen twenty he wrote to his collaborator g h hardy in Cambridge and this letter begins dear hardy. I'm sorry for not writing a single letter, but I've discovered this most wonderful theory, and he goes on to list examples of functions. He calls mock veta- functions. And for the next ninety years. Nobody knew what he was talking about. And this is very mysterious. He sent it in a letter just a few pages long. So he didn't put any more information about it. But he indicated in the letter that he had a theory. And then the next letter Amman that hardy got said that Ramal had passed away. Remond engine died. Unfortunately, at the age of thirty two long before he was able to explain all of his ideas to hardy, and the other mathematicians, and so all that was left was the single letter that had a couple of examples. Nobody had any idea how Ramada had come up with them. And so these bizarre functions that reminded and dreamed up in a fever. One imagines on his deathbed turned out to be a huge subject of study and intrigue in the twentieth, century. And this was kipnes big breakthrough. He figured out how reminded and derived, these deathbed functions it was this. If he'd been able to undo some of the chalk workings that Ramana Jin had wiped clean from you, slight one day I walked into office. And like Robert, I know how to prove that Ramada Jains definition of the mock veta- functions is true. I was like, oh my God. That's amazing. That's really big news. Turns out that, that year two thousand twelve was the one hundred twenty fifth anniversary of Ramana birth. There was a big festival going on all over India about Ramana Jin. He's a national hero there. So we were invited by Shasta university. A modern university that is based in Koumba Chonam in south India, the town that Ramana Jen lived in grew up in Ken was invited to speak about his new work, and they invited me also to give a talk on quantum modular forms, so it can rub it head to India. I've been to India many times, but it was thrilling to share this pilgrimage with Robert visit. Tting some of the sites that play an important role in the Ramana Jin story when he was visiting them for the first time I had a considerable amount of work to do which was hard because I was on anti-malaria medication that was making me kind of be in a psychedelic state, the whole time I was there. So, like, I was there, the Ramana jn, the Conan, the Hinduism's whole thing was all swimming around. I was having extremely surreal experience. A magic him walking through ruins and temples in India, soaking up the brilliant colors, the smells, and the people. This is component. It's a town of say one hundred thousand people, maybe a few hundred thousand people, but it still feels like a village. If feels like you're in this beautiful, tropical jungle, it is a sacred city in south India filled with temples. It's called the temple city. The temple that is just down the street from Ramana engines child at home. It's about like a block away from his house. It's this beautiful really int- the painted structure builds from rocks that were brought from the north by elephants like two thousand years ago, that reach, I don't know, five six hundred feet into the sky. These giant stones are now blackened with age engraved, with crazy, ancient alphabets that people don't even recognize anymore. And as you here at the top of this temple, you can barely make out the intricate carvings and the very, very top segment of it, and they'll be eighty year hundred bats flying around swirling around the top, and all the while you hear the rhythmic drumming of the drums that the Hindu monks are chanting to from the inside. And some Lee, the sound has dropped away. There are so many thick walls of stone between you and the modern world and you're walking into a space. That's thousands of years old, just to walk from your modern life into an ageless space, like that feels extremely mysterious and deep grandma experience this every day. As I went into his temple. I looked around at all the patterns and designs and a felt like it was really inside a culture of Infinity. Indian religion is not a religion of one God, or a handful of God's like the ancient Greek mythology or something. It's a religion of almost infinitely many shapes and forms of their deity, the sense of blossomed Janine glowering things, hopping off infants branching off, this is built into the architecture of Hinduism. And if you look at Nate aren't tapestries Harding's, eating all of these details zoom in you see all of these little everywhere you look it's covered. Our tents and everywhere you look bustling, animals trees, and glowers, and everything looks like sort of a simple pattern and as and you keep seeing the same pattern repeating, but with more variety. And, and as you zoom zoom zoom in, and then you're on the level of the Infinity. The infinitude of Fratelli details all around and Indian culture, I believe that that gave Ramana gen a sense of comfort with infinite detail. So I think that the infinite variety of deities and patterns in the art and everything else must have calibrated his mind to be able to somehow feel absolutely at ease with the clutter and the chaos of the crazy mathematics that he started to think about these were things that western mathematicians had never even thought about before, they're still struggling with simple aspects of Ramallah rushed ahead and pulled in thousands of new crazy patterns that nobody had even looked for before because there are so blinded by the noise, and he was able to look through the noise being perfectly comfortable with it. It's kind of like in the nineties, we had that magic I art and see this crazy complicated pattern. But if you stare inside it suddenly it's a way, oh floating in with a heart. For something. You know what I mean? I think you would see that I feel like Ramana, John was looking into the noise that he saw in mathematics, and he was able to look into it, and blur, his eyes and scenes of the distance and see three d whales that was floating. Certain level. Maybe just a certain mindset, mathematics, becomes something different to what you study in school. Fuel wrote timetables, and Hazel memorized, formulas, and something mold creative closer to an RTC precedes something into woven with all of your other passions, all of which informed, the white, you think about numbers. And that's it really kind of scape the influence your life has on what you choose to do with it. Context is everything, so you might as well make the most of it. Mathematics is like music. It is a self contained universe of its own, when I'm writing songs when a making music most of the time, actually not making any sound at all. I'm just thinking I'm listening in my head to arrangements, develop and two songs that I'm writing. And I'm thinking of lyrics in writing down in my notebook, but it's largely silence and interning process when I'm in the studio, I'll hear that world that I had sort of imagined coming out of the speakers, and connect in really magical way because it's overlapping with the world that's ready inside my head. You're suddenly physically able to reach into the world that was previously only mental. Mathematics is pure. It's free from the physical world. There's constraint the mathematics is like hearing the music in your head. It's a fully self contained universe. And you have access to in your imagination, and we only know tiny little piece of it think about the set of all possible. Sounds like an ever be made anywhere by anything and think about how small music theory is compared to that. And that's what the math that we practice is like compared to the math that's out there. It feels like there's a universe of all possible mathematics, and we know this tiny little piece that we've been able to find, and that's something you see you look off into the distance in your imagination, and you can see that, that's there you can see off in the distance fading away these like horizons that are beyond what you could possibly know reach. Robots nada. He such alive was so season. Two of some of all parts has landed folks. Joe win. What's up? I the first episode is another music story, but this time it's a story about out very human. Compulsion to move bodies to the bait. Let's hear ties as humans. We have a natural tendency to entrain to regulate. So if it's just a. There's a fair chance. We may wanna start topping our foot along with it. But in the end could be August is actually a little bit boring. Having just a steady bait going through everything. And how the story is a really great yon about Radiohead. And I love how as the episode landed righty, oh, head launched this whole Beck has log of one of their albums. Joe it kind of got a bit lost when one of the greatest volts in music, his treaty, they got unleashed onto the world, but it was a great coincidence. And yet Radiohead really gives us an insight. Surprisingly gives us an insight to the ancient roots of this kind of compulsion. We have to rhythm. Thanks, joe. You can catch some of all parts in new podcast fade worthy. Get you poed cast or ABC. Listen up catching wake by you've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives on the listen up.

Robert Robert India Ramana jen Ramana Ramana Jin Romana Jin Ramana jn ABC Joe Werner Ramona Jin Emory University Robert Schneider Ramana JR Emory hardy Tesha Mitchell Ken Korea Cambridge Ramana rob Schneider
The ultimate designer accessory - an artificial womb? (Summer Season)

Science Friction

30:58 min | 8 months ago

The ultimate designer accessory - an artificial womb? (Summer Season)

"This is an ABC podcast. It hello welcome to science friction as we head into the silly season. I'm the Tesha Mitchell kicking off. Ask the summer season a chance to enjoy some of your and our favorite episodes from this year on the next two programs we are taking a wombs I view view of the future of Reproduction Day. Have you been gripped and shocked by the handmaid's tale. Margaret Atwood has US imagine in this totalitarian theocracy code Gilead with pregnancy gets outsourced forcibly and violently to the last remaining signing food. How women cold hand I was within their heels? I know this is difficult for you but you have done something extraordinary. You promised me take care as well here on science fiction I want you to imagine a different world. Yes it is one one with pregnancy ease outsourced but to technology not handmaid's praise be his mercy. She had tried one on ones years years ago. She'd wanted to understand what it felt like to wear one but more than that as well. The appeal of it. The Voice of a character called Eva in a novel called the growing season. It imagines a hypothetical future where babies could be growing inside a woman's body but outside of the human body altogether in an artificial portable baby pouch. It was before all the different textures were available though there was a range of colors. Bright Yellow should requested fluorescent. Like one of those tropical fish. This is the equivalent of six months told her as they let her strap it on over her t shirt shut. In the early days the full life doctors had helped people position it over the shoulders snug on the belly but they realized it was making people. Nervous US much better to do it yourself. They decided then you can see how easy it is. How versatile how safe so next show you? You made a Swedish woman who received one of the world's first ever uterus transplants. Little story will blow your mind who donated they uterus it to her. What were the risks? Did it work at least thirteen. Children have been born now using these pioneering procedure but at ease with scientific and ethical challenges. But I'm kicking off with pure science fiction. The texture was almost butter soft but padded to and it slipped into place so easily Salihi. It terrified her. Helen Sage Week is a physicist and a bio engineer tuned novelist. And she wants you to try on a baby patch for size is instead she should have gone for a deep black red like the color of the inside to remind myself what it really was to make. Sure she didn't slip slip quietly into feeling at ease with it. Even though there was no baby inside the trial pouch she was wearing. She knew she could let herself relax. The Pouch itself is fluid-filled flexible. Warm pouched you strap on almost like a sort of rucksack. I suppose but it sits around on your front sits on your belly exactly where pregnant belly would be and you strap it on your shoulders and your back. So it's very comfortable and secure on you and you can carry it like that. You can feel the baby kicking through the membranes of it you can stroke it you can. You can sing to your baby and things like that. There are various adapters. So that you can talk to it through a special adapter and it's fed with nutrients the nutrients can be specially designed for your genetic makeup so you can feel incredibly close to the baby and a different title to the book we see people wearing doing it. And Kinda stroking cuddling it and feeling really predict protective of their child inside. So it's it's a very personal tactile experience for the parents. They can be shared by men and women. It can be shared with family members. If you won't though in my society that's quite rare at it's presented as being much healthier for the baby for the fetus. Vitas as well. It's almost become a design autumn. Hasn't it it's almost AFICIONADO. This baby patch you can choose. For example different different styles different covers different textures for it. There have been photos in the press of celebrities wearing these pouches and having twins wearing matching pouches and things like that it's become really trendy for the kids wearing hiring these pouches which don't have babies and yet but wearing them and trying them on his onto come like having the latest smartphone. Yes you could almost be forgiven the thinking we're talking about something that actually exists. It's an incredibly sort of tactile and and comforting personal experience holding pouch and can say that you had a lot of fun imagining this possibility. I think it's wonderful. Don't let her keyed you. The baby patch is not real. Not yet anyway Dr Helen Sage weeks second novel. The growing season is a sci-fi thriller of sorts in which she creates. Well it's a world not unlike our own but it's one way of portable wombs. Blooms are now the norm. When normal pregnancy is stigmatized and corporate interests have come to control the technology of reproduction? Well well it's a world. That's very recognizable. I think but the big difference is that in the nineteen seventy s and invention meant women no longer have to be pregnant instead instead they can transfer their embryo into a pouch which is flexible. It's portable and it's individualized can be carried by the mother. The father and this has been in widely accepted throughout society that one change has led to various other changes sort of trickled through the society. I remember the day I got the first idea for it. I was talking with some friends. About why feminism haven't given women complete equality yet why we still didn't have equal representation at board level for example sampler business and politics and science. Why women were still expected to do the bulk of the Child K.? And one of the reasons I think for me anyway is that while women is still having the the children. They're still going to be expected to be the primary cares so I started thinking about what would be needed to really bring about a fundamental shift in the way we think about women's role in society not to bring about very meaningful change and I came up with this idea of sort of pouch so that women need to be pregnant so that the child bearing can be equally shared between women and men and if that with the case would suddenly we have flexible working conditions and shared parental leave and so the pouch had become trendy. Wendy especially among the young. Why wait when you could study part time and still have your career now? Parenthood was equal and it came in such pretty colors the hammer. They didn't know what it was like to receive a letter. She'd been getting for years now. The Pouch was beautiful that had changed the world for the better that everyone was equal now had moved beyond natural birth. They could help her that they wanted to help her. The Pouch has had no doubts. It's anymore they were happy. The women and the men they were happy and I was getting carried away. I thought this was a brilliant idea. Could see how it would work. I thought our problems and I looked over at my friend and she looks absolutely horrified. You know she said to me. Helen that is a terrible idea. I thought Oh that's really interesting in that moment. What horrified your friend? Do you think I think she she heard me describing the end of women. Almost you know taking something that is deeply important of identity and removing moving it from US and basically giving it to men. I think it's an idea that came before. Feminism didn't in the nineteen twenties British biologist we'll just jibe. Es Hell Dine entertained. The possibility he was a close friend of Aldous Huxley of brave knee will find what was his idea. What was his prediction? He's brave new world prediction in the Nineteen Twenty S. He had many actually he was a biologist geneticist mathematician but in particular. He said he thought one of the biggest exchanges was the human beings would take control of their own evolution to a combination of what he called sort of designed mutation and actor Genesis and he was the first a person to use that term actor. Genesis idea was what led onto brave new world and inspired. Huxley's ideas brave. New World is the bane of my existence. I love the book absolutely love. It is probably one of my favorite books. But it is the thing that I come across the marist and I'm making speeches about genesis and how it would help the rights of women the Health of infants high. Ev Kendall Emma lecturer of bioethics and health humanities at the Deakin University School of Medicine and Dr Kindle imagined science fiction Shen becoming the realm of the possible she makes a strong philosophical case. Faw what's called actor Genesis. In fact she did a whole PhD and wrote a book about. It's prospects. Extra Genesis is out official womb technologies are that can include a artificial wombs that are intended to just state infants from from conception presumably through. IVF right through to delivery of a sword or it could mean partial to genesis which would include the humidity script technology that we already have for premature infants. So of course there's something in between that space which would be if a Fetus needed to be delivered very early from a pregnant woman but she didn't want to terminate the life of that Fatus for whatever reason it could be transferred into an artificial worm so exigencies covers all all of that so brave new world. Of course we have acted genesis being used as described in quite a bit of detail. What was he's imagining of it? His imagining was a growing essentially coins in little jaws and then the embryos it in the jaws would be on an assembly line and they would be subjected to social conditioning to make them the perfect Alpha Beta Gamma Delta Epsilon clause which he meant certain career choices so if you down the bottom of the social hierarchy you might do menial labor and you would be developed in such a way that would make you happy so you would never dream remove Being anything other than what you were designed to be in that society biologically and socially engineering yes. Species is generally early presented as a dystopia N- endpoint for humanity in my experience. Extra Genesis is typically used in a negative way in a lot of science. It's fiction so I find it very interesting. The brave new world is cited so often when something Mike Marge piercy woman on the edge of time isn't where ACTA genesis is used used to achieve sexual equality in reproduction. So it's positive Use of technology. She imagined society where she describes it as the nuclear bond Bundy's broken so we have inequality across the sexes on the basis of reproduction. Sorry they have children using it to genesis and then they don't have biological families at all so the child would be given to co mothers as they call them. So I usually there's three they can be any gender and they will be responsible primarily for that child which is a very interesting way of looking at the family unit. Schori's AV candover and for some and perhaps you that scenario in the nineteen seventy six novel women on the edge of time sounds fairly apocalyptic more from ABC Kendall next episode of Science Science Fiction Miniseries Future Uterus. But in Helen Sedgwick's recent novel the growing season that nuclear bond between parent and child remains intact attacked. When I set out to the right? The I was I was very clear in my mind that I did not want to write to the Stupa at all. I I actually set out to write a utopian fiction so described cited not. That is almost everything that I want in the beginning and then bit by bit. You see the problems that are also there and that are being kept out of view but certainly on the surface it has brought about got a big change. Men really enjoy carrying pouch father's a feeding closer to that children than ever before the pouch. It's self allowed him have an intimacy with his son that he wouldn't have otherwise had to feel what it was like to carry an unborn child. His tiny fists expressing against his belly. There was nothing like it. It written holly about once live not far from each other and she was famous so he knew which house was hers. Even though they haven't met at that stage the first woman ever to use the power even now occasionally felt a little in awe of her. He'd been far too embarrassed to talk to her in person but he wants to tell them how wonderful it was for a man for two men how life changing it was a gift it written and he didn't know if he deserved and almost because calls men are now demanding better rights as parents that equality has come into force throughout throughout the workplace throughout politics throughout education. Him as well. So now men and women equally offered really good parentally flexible working conditions. You can study part time every company every university would have crushes available childcare. Okay avalaible things like that. But it's a company called full off that holds the patient for the baby patch technology and through that they've come to control the entire health system. No more public health. It's all gone. Although none of that was anticipated by the brilliant scientist a character coal freighter who I created he I should the artificial womb. It wasn't until after I built my first living cell chamber that I heard hold ain't speak at the Royal Society. He sounded smooth and a shirt as he talked about. Genetics and biostatistics wearing a navy blazer with distinctive White Stripes Matt Full Moustache. It was almost a surprise. He wasn't holding a pipe. was something something of a celebrity already being such close friends with Aldous Huxley but it took me a moment to realize what he meant when he started going on about Echo Genesis. I haven't read brave new world for the best say so as he talked about external wounds and selective breeding and child production rates. I thought to myself. No no no. That's all along that such a man's way of seeing a woman's world it's never going to be about mass production in all this metrical sterility of laboratory. No human beings if nothing else need to feel like individuals any change must allow the individual to remain an intrinsic part of their own we production action or it will fail. I wanted to create a liberating new form of pregnancy. A genuine equality a move reliable bond and between parents and child in that moment I realized that my work was intensely personal. That was why it was the one who would succeed. So fifty years prior to when we make the characters in your book the the growing season Holly has been the first to carry a child to full term in this baby patch. Granddaughter Rosie is about to use the patch to have her first child in the book was she received at the time. As the first woman. The frontier of this new technology by some uh-huh she was hailed as a hero and there was a lot of press coverage. She was catapulted to celebrity for doing this but there was also a reaction against it so she was attacked attacked on the street. People would shout earth being so our natural you know for stealing the essence of what it is to be a woman and things like that so it wasn't an easy path for her but what again what for life. Dan Rather cleverly is that they offered her big financial incentives. She comes from a very poor background off to a lot of money for doing this and that combined with the celebrity that came with it has met her whole life was transformed. And that's been part of why the pouches become so successful because they had this figurehead. Who everyone loved? You know who everyone really warmed to. Who is showing pouch births? Is this wonderful thing. You can do to create this really happy family so yeah. It's quite as quite psychological the way they essentially manipulated her own to becoming what they needed to promote the pouch. It's a great example apple of corporate genius and so it was natural birth viewed in this world. It's come to be something. That's quite irresponsible. So one of the other strands of a full lives. Marketing Pouches presented as being much safer alternative. There's no more of this telling mothers. They mustn't mustn't eat certain foods or drinks Samat or the pouch provides the perfect conditions for the baby it provides exactly the nutrients that they need and they can be tailored to the to the parents genetic makeup as well. It's the most host healthy way you can have a baby and so women hitch used to have a baby using natural birth. I call it in the book. A sort of sort of Donna's quite irresponsible mothers by a lot of society. Diety what's interesting here is that this becomes a very potent exploration of how radical new technologies reproductive technologies orgies in this case are introduced controversial but then become normalized then become mainstream then become accepted over time bomb Wada society and that's the case with the baby patch but there is resistance. It's ever so minor and it's his Bailey hood good and that's where we meet Eva an activist and who light mother Abigail. We'll roll. Did you want them to play in the book in terms of civil society either is is the main protagonist really so. I wanted her to be one of US S. She's she's how we would feel if we were suddenly thrust into this world I think but she's also she's has self has had a very complicated experience with birth. So she's she's presenting the the counter argument to Holly's fame unhappiness that she's also someone who's who's willing to change and I think that's really important for the book and if I had all the characters at different times confronted with the opposite it of their own point of view and able to listen to it and someone who learns to do that throughout the book And we don't want to give too much away about the story the she's a complex character and there's a lot to hit back story which you slowly reveal throughout the growing season but let's just give people of a F- fly for of the insights that she glenn's because all is not as rosy as it seems what social problems what social divides is this baby patch generating well one of the big ones full life life to the decision to offer the pouch as an alternative to abortion so if anybody is considering abortion full life will offer them a pouch for free instead instead to save the life essentially of their baby and this has led to the pouch being embraced by sort of right wing and religious fundamentals and people like that as well as people on the left who want equality and liberation for women who've gone on the way we've we've conservancies couldn't absolutely that's an interesting and frightening thought really. Isn't it because essentially who controls these pouches and has control over over the lives really of the of the babies within and to some extent the parents to and it's led to care crisis throughout society. So they're now care homes almost like orphanages and they're full of babies who've been born vira pouch but whose parents don't want to raise them so they kept in these sort of often ejaz or boarding schools. Outside the city's no one really knows what people know that air but they don't like to talk about them they don't know what to do with with all these children so that's a massive problem society and I think it's a problem that will will lead to think about as as technology gets close to what I'm describing the book which it will. There's also a class divide. That's coming up. Between between people who've been born via Pouch people who've been born naturally and also people have been born via pouch which had all the most expensive accessories versus people who've been born own via a secondhand pouch which seen as inferior and in day there's a black market in used pouches. Yes that's right because it's a a biological technology. It can essentially heal itself so after it's been used in a baby can be warm. They can be recycled and used again. which is a bit Achey to think it's pretty? We'd an even darker again varies. They're all suggestions of Pouch Abuse Yes what do you mean. Well I suppose once you once you take a baby out of its mother and put it in the world it becomes vulnerable trouble in a way and this is something that full of tried very hard not to have discussed publicly but in the book I show her an abusive or certainly controlling relationship ship in which a man. The father of the child won't let his wife carry the pouch for example. He wants time. He'll maybe kinda threatened her with what he might do to it if she doesn't do what he says. Things like that so I in in a very dark way. I could imagine if if people wanted to. They could use it really to manipulate mothers to manipulate parents. There is a vulnerability about it. I think you can imagine a wheel. Dystopia where the state date then controls the babies that was there in the pouches. The State owns all the pouches where women have sort of become redundant and ands individuals of lost their rights over their own reproduction adoption which is a very scary scary future. We talked briefly about about Haldane earlier and to remind you. That's Jarvis held the British scientist and friend of oldest Huxley who in the nineteen twenties predicted the creation of artificial wombs. It was skeptical in away and he talked about how scientific scientific advance could be used for bad as well as good and that if it is to be used for good has to be accompanied by an advance in our ethics as well and I think that's absolutely essential. Well you know when we bring out these new technologies. We have to think very deeply about how they're going to be used and make sure that we are protecting ourselves from. Misuse of technology is illustrated. Really early beautifully in this book. Is You know how it comes to pass that skeptics and activists around new technologies often and become outcasts. You know they're often castigated or Costa's nutty or Luddites. This is a very familiar dynamic namic around any social critique of science and technology very much so yes it's interesting i. I don't know why we do that. I don't know why we're so hostile to opposing points of view as a species will serve to constrain scientific progress and that is disturbing to scientists. Yes but it's is not the scientists who paints people not usually it's a media. Who Does it? I think that's what's happened here. Full life haven't needed to to attack Abigail either or ridicule them because the journalist and the book Pietra has essentially done that for them. He's painted them as as loons because they don't embrace technology and so it's it's the sort of tapping in on. I suppose we just want to believe that we're right all the time don't we and when somebody has done something very wrong laughing at them as one of the the best way to silence them move she screamed at the whole move he was still lying. They're attached. She had never imagined that. The Pouch therre pouch wills home. For nine months they had stroked and spoken to a loved. She had never imagined that it could repulsed. The deep sucking read of the insides of it visible now through that awful cops down the front wet and dripping the different skins the layers that had grown with him expanded with him. The bioshock audio adapter useless now obscene and the umbilical cord get him out. She screamed adopt step forward and she spun around furious. Not You get away from him. And so she reached in and clasped to the cord that was sticky and limp in her hands clasped it and pulled and pulled as leaked on her fingers and fluid rundown her wrist wrist but it wouldn't come out of the Pouch lining. She screamed as she pulled but it made no difference. She couldn't free him without waiting for a response. What's Helena reached out and cut the cord and baby will was free at last? Something really bad happens in this book and it gives you a sense that something is very wrong with as baby patches and is Bain corporate cover up all that problem yes and they regain you have to wonder how we navigate Res-q and progress and the relationship between the two when it comes to reproductive technologies. We've seen it with. Vs Now we are saying. Uterus transplants occurring we are saying yeah the development of artificial wombs this to carry potentially carry premature babies to full term in a healthy way so we are here and now already saying developments. The Mirror Mirror the store you till he absolutely yes. This isn't a book set Hundred Years in the future by any means the technology described. Here I think could be with US within within a couple of generations really really very close. I do absolutely you mentioned that the artificial womb that so far has been used for premature lambs was invented by some scientists in Philadelphia Adelphia. they call it the bio bag not the baby pouch but but interestingly they've used a similar sort of very very friendly sounding name for the bio bag and they they took a highly premature that wouldn't have survived otherwise were able to keep it alive within a fluid filled flexible pouch almost exactly like what I'm describing the book it was was born. It's still lives healthy lamb now so. They predicted that there will be ready for human trials within three years three years now. This obviously doesn't doesn't start from the moment of conception it's premature babies and I think they said it was twenty two weeks or something they were aiming for but you know what you take that and then add to its IVF technology. It's very easy to see how the two will will fairly soon meet in the middle and then we will have what we need to create a complete external. We said the technology is coming. You know we will be able to do this. I'm absolutely certain that we will be able to create an artificial womb in the near future and human beings once we can do something the chances are we going Anna do it. I think it's in our nature and that is exactly where we're heading in the next episode Dr Helen Sedgwick's novels the growing season and the comet Seixas. She did her doctorate in physics before finding fiction and is now working hang on a crime trilogy that a publisher has snapped up and she's just growing her own baby as well. My daughter's only only eleven souls. You've just gone through all these I have. Unfortunately did you fantasize about the patch. Oh I did I would definitely have used the pouch personally. I'm a big believer in science and medicine for making our lives better. I absolutely believe in the value of of medicine and technology And that's not to say it wasn't an amazing experience because in many ways it was. It's it's a fascinating thing to go through. But yes I would use the pouch if I could but I mean as soon as is your pregnant actually you become confronted with with the inequality and it's often by well meaning people but it's just this attitude that somehow you've become a month you're carrying a baby. You're not the same as as other people anymore. You've become something else and I felt it all the time really every day that I was pregnant. And and every day since potent in in science where so many women's crees getting corrupted by the but then interrupted they know they can never really get back on the scientific research. Track that you need to be on to succeed. Well I mean it's so difficult in in research because you're expected to somehow that before everything in life which is a big ask for anyone I think but yes sort of a post doc for example. It's really difficult you on a temporary contract to travel around the world and and things like that and it's very difficult to do if you're also trying to raise a young family and I must say that I think they're the way we work all of us is is quite damaging. I think we work for too much. I think we're expected to put work before family. A lot of the time men traditionally have done that without complaint and women have been pushed to the to the family either either willingly or unwillingly but for me a world where we all all work a little bit less and all have a little bit more time to spend with our family would be better for everyone. Women are men you know it's given me so much to think about. I really enjoy this book and I thank you so much for joining me on the program. Thank you very much for having been a pleasure in the next edition of science fiction. Meet one of the world's first recipients chance of a uterus transplant infect. She describes it as her sister is baby bag which is kinda reminiscent of today's very sci-fi scenario isn't it but this is an incredible real life story. You can talk to me on twitter at Natasha Mitchell Amami from the homepage. Tell your friends about the podcast. Share the love heavy civilisation from the hull. ABC Signs Team Chow. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. 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Future Uterus (Part 1): The ultimate designer accessory - an artificial womb?

Science Friction

30:12 min | 1 year ago

Future Uterus (Part 1): The ultimate designer accessory - an artificial womb?

"This is an ABC podcast. Earner? Hello. This is science fiction on the Tesha Mitchell. In the Handmaid's tile, Margaret, Atwood has a totalitarian theocracy called Gilead where pregnancy gets outsourced forcibly and violently to the last remaining food are women cold hand mates. How was up within dumb? There. We healed. I know this is difficult for you. But you have done something extraordinarily you promised me. Take care of this. We'll hear on science fiction. I want you to imagine a different world. Is it easy? One way. Pregnancy ease outsourced, but to technology not Handmaid's. His mercy. She had tried one on ones years ago should wanted to understand what it felt like to wear one. But more than that as well. The appeal of it. The voice of character called Eva in novel called the growing season. It imagine 's a hypothetical future where babies could be growing inside a woman's body, but outside of the human body altogether in an artificial portable baby patch, it was before all the different textures were available though. There was a range of colors bright yellow should requested fluorescent like one of those tropical fish. Hello. Welcome to future uterus mini series, where I'm taking a wombs view of the future of reproduction. This is the equivalent of six months that told her as they let her strap it on over t shirt in the early days the full life. Doctors had helped people position it over the shoulders snug on the belly. But they realized it was making people nervous much better to do it yourself. They decided then you can see how easy it is. How versatile? How safe? Over the next few shows extraordinary, stories and extraordinary sites. You'll made a Swedish woman who received one of the world's first ever uterus transplants. The latest story will blow your mind who donated they uterus to what would the risks. Did it work thirteen children have been born now using this pioneering procedure, but it is raw with scientific and ethical challenges. Also, we're gonna look at tribalising efforts to construct an artificial womb that could help tiny precariously premature babies survive and thrive. What does it actually type to build a wound that works just like a real one? But look I'm kicking it all off with pure science fiction. The text Joe was almost butter soft, but padded and it slipped into place so easily it terrified her. Instead, she should've gone for a deep red like the color of the inside to remind yourself of what it really was to make sure she didn't slip quietly into feeling at ease with it. Even though there was no baby inside the trial pout. She was wearing. She knew she could let herself relax Ellen sage week is physicist and a bio engineer tuned, novelist. And she wants you to try on a baby patch for solids. The pouch it self is fluid filled. Flexible, warm, pouched, you strap on almost like a sort of rucksack, I suppose, but it sits around your front sits on your belly exactly where pregnant belly would be, and you strap it on your shoulders and vowed your back, so it's very comfortable and secure on you, and you can carry it like that you can feel the baby kicking through the membranes of it. You can stroke, it, you can you can sing to your baby and things like that there were various adapters. So that you can talk to through a special adapter, and it's fed with nutrients, the nutrients can be specially designed for your genetic makeup. So you can feel incredibly close to the baby and a different times to the book. We see people wearing it and kinda stroking cuddling it and feeling really predict protective of their child inside. So it's it's a very personal tactile experience for the parents. They can be shared by men and women it can be shed with all the family members. If you won't in my society. It's quite rare. At it's presented as being much healthier for the baby for the fetus as well. It's almost become a designer autumn hasn't it? It's almost aficionados is baby. You can choose for example, different different styles different covers different textures for it. There have been photos in the press of celebrities wearing these pouches and having twins wearing matching pouches and things like that. It's become really trendy for the kids wearing these pouches. We don't have babies and yet, but but wearing them and trying them on his own come like having the latest smartphone. She could almost be forgiven for thinking we're talking about something that actually exists. It's an incredibly sort of tactile, and and comforting personal experience holding a pouch can say that you had a lot of fun imagining this possibility I think it's wonderful don't let her keyed. You the baby patch is not real not yet. Anyway, Dr Helen sage week sick. And novel the growing season is a sci-fi thriller of sorts in which she creates well, it's a world not unlike owned, but it's one way of portable wombs are now the norm when normal pregnancy is stigmatized, and we're cooperating trysts have come to control the technology of reproduction. Well, it's a well. That's very recognizable. I think but the big differences that in the nineteen seventies and invention meant women no longer have to be pregnant instead they can transfer their embryo into a pouch which is flexible, it's portable and. It's individualized. So it can be carried by the mother the father on this has been widely accepted throughout society. That one change has led to various all the changes sort of trickle through in the society. I can remember the day. I got the first idea for it. I was talking with some friends about why feminism given women complete equality yet. Why we still didn't have equal representation at board level, for example, business and politics and science why women were still expected to do the bulk of the childcare and one of the reasons I think for me anyway, is that women is still having the children the still going to be expected to be the primary cares. So I saw to think about what would be needed to really bring about a fundamental shift in the way, we think about women's role in society to bring about very meaningful change and came up with this idea of sort of pouch. So that women wouldn't need to be pregnant. So that the child bearing can be equally shared between women and men, and if that were the case would suddenly we have flexible working conditions and shared, parental leave. And so on. The pouch had become trendy especially among the young. Why wait when you could study part time and still have your career? Now parenthood was equal. And it came in such pretty covers her mother didn't know what it was like to receive a letter she'd been getting for years now the pouch was beautiful that it had changed the world for the better that everyone was equal. Now, we had moved beyond natural birth. They could help her that they wanted to help her. The pouches had no doubts anymore. They were happy the women and the men they were happy. And I was getting very carried away. I thought this was a brilliant idea. I could see how it would work. I thought solved all problems, and I looked over at my friend, and she looked absolutely horrified. You know, she said to me Helen that is a terrible idea. And I thought oh, that's really interesting moment. What horrified your friend? I think she she heard me describing the end of women almost, you know, taking something that is deeply important identity and removing it from us, and basically giving it to men I think. It's an idea that kind before feminism didn't it in the nineteen twenties. British biologist jibe ES held. Entertained the possibility he was a close friend of oldest Huxley of Brive knee will find what was he's idea. What was his prediction? He's brave new world prediction in the nineteen twenties. He had many actually he was a Bala just geneticist a mathematician. But in particular, he said, he thought one of the biggest changes was that human beings would take control of their own volition. So a combination of what he called sort of designed mutation and actor Genesis, and he was the first person to use that term actor Genesis, my idea was what led onto brave new world, and inspired Huxley's ideas. Brave new world is the bane of my existence. I love the book. Absolutely love it. It's probably one of my favorite books. But it is the thing that I come across the Marist when I'm making speeches about Genesis, and how it would help the rights of women and the health of infants. Hi, I'm E kindle, Emma lecturer by with and healthy Menotti's at the Deakin University School of medicine, and Dr kindle, imagine science fiction becoming the realm of. The pulsa Bolshie makes a strong philosophical case full what's called after. Genesis. In fact, she did a whole day and wrote a book about its prospects. Genesis is unofficial womb technology that can include artificial wombs that are intended to just state infants from conception presumably through IVF right through to delivery oversold or it could mean partial exa Genesis, which would include the humidity of technology that we already have for premature infants so, of course, there's something in between that space which would be if a fetus needed to be delivered very early from a pregnant woman, but she didn't want to terminate the life of that Fatus for whatever reason it could be transferred into an artificial worm. So Genesis covers all of that. So brave new world. Of course, we have acted Genesis being used it's described in quite a bit of detail. What was he's imagining of it. His imagining was growing, essentially. Joins in little jaws. And then the embryos that in the jaws would be on simply line, and they would be subjected to social conditioning to make them the perfect alpha beta gamma, delta Epsilon Kloss, which he meant certain career choices. So if you down the bottom of the social hierarchy, you might do menial labor, and you would be developed in such a way that that would make you happy. So you would never dream of being anything other than what you would designed to be in. This is logically and socially engineering. Yes species is generally presented as a dystopia in in point for humanity. In my experience. Genesis is typically using a negative way in a lot of science fiction. So I find it very interesting. The brave new world is cited so often when something like much PSE's woman on the edge of time isn't where ACTA Genesis is used to achieve sexual quality. In reproduction. So it's a positive use at the technology. She imagined a society where she describes it as the nuclear Bondi's Bergen. So we don't have inequality across the sexes on the basis of reproduction. So they have children using to Genesis, and then they don't have biological families at all. So the child would be given to co mothers as they call them. So I usually there's three they can be any Genda, and they will be responsible primarily for that child. Which is a very interesting way of looking at the family unit. Suri's av candle for some perhaps you that scenario in the nineteen seventy six oval women on the age of Tom sounds fairly apocalyptic more from av KENDALL next episode of our science for a mini series future uterus. But in Helen situates recent novel, the growing season that nuclear boned between parent and child reminding tact. When I set out to the. The book was I was very clear in my mind that I did not want to ride to the stop here at all. I actually set out to write a utopian fiction. So I describe site that is almost everything that I want in the beginning. And then bit by bit you, see the problems that are also there that are being kept out of you. But certainly on the surface. It has brought about a big change men really enjoy carrying pouch fathers feeding closer to that to their children than ever before. The pouch itself. Allowed him have an intimacy with his son that he wouldn't have otherwise had to feel what it was like to carry an unborn child his tiny fists pressing against his belly. There was nothing like it. It written Holly about once that live not far from each other. And she was famous. So he knew which house was hers. Even though they haven't met at that stage. The first woman ever to use the parents. Even now he occasionally felt a little in all of. He'd been far too embarrassed to talk in person, but he wants to tell their how wonderful it was for a man for two men how life changing. It was a gift it written. And he didn't know if he deserved it. And almost because men are now demanding better rights as parents that equality is come into force throughout throughout the workplace throughout politics throughout education as well. So now men and women equally offered really good parental leave flexible working conditions. You can study part time every company university would have crushes available childcare available things like that. But it's a company cold fool off that holds the patient for the baby punch technology and through that they've come to control the entire health system. No more public health. It's all gone. Although none of that was anti supplied by the brilliant. Scientist a character coal freighter who I created the official womb. It wasn't until after I built my first living cell chamber that I heard hold speak at the Royal Society. He sounded smooth and shirt as he talked about genetics and Bioserve disticts wearing a navy blazer with distinctive white stripes and that full moustache. It was almost a surprise. He wasn't holding a pipe was something of a celebrity already being such close friends with all this Huxley. But it took me a moment to realize what he meant when he started going on about echo. Genesis. I haven't read brave new world for the best say so is he talked about external wounds and selective. Breeding and child production rates. I thought to myself. No, no, no, that's all long. That's such a man's way of seeing a woman's world. It's never going to be about mass production in all this metrical sterility of laboratory, no human beings. If nothing else need to feel like individuals, and he changed must allow for the individuals to remain an intrinsic part of their own we production or it will fail. I wanted to create a liberating you form of pregnancy at. Genuine equality a move reliable bond between parents and child. In that moment. I realized that my work was intensely personal. That was why was the one who would succeed. So fifty years prior to when we make the characters in your book the growing season. Holy has been the first to carry a child to full term in this baby. Patch granddaughter Rosie is about to use the patch to have her first child in the book was share saved at the time as the first woman the frontier of this new technology by some she was hailed as a hero. And there was a lot of press coverage. She was almost catapulted to celebrity for doing this. But there was also a reaction against it. So she was sort of attacked on the street. People would shout her for being so our natural. You know, for stealing the sense of what it is to be a woman and things like that. So it wasn't an easy path for her. But what again what for life have done rather cleverly is that they offered her big financial incentives. She comes from a very poor background on the off to a lot of money for doing this and that combined with the sort of celebrity. That came with it has met her whole life was transformed. And that's been part of why the pouch has become so successful. Because I had this figurehead who everyone loved, you know, who everyone really warm to who is showing pouch births. Is this wonderful thing you can do to create this really happy family. So yeah, it's quite as quite psychological the way, they essentially manipulated her own becoming what they needed to promote the power. It's a great example of corporate genius. And so it was natural booth. Viewed in this world. It's come to be to something that's quite irresponsible. So one of the other strands of full life marketing the pouch presented as being a much safe old. There's no more of this telling mothers, they mustn't mustn't eat, certain foods or mustn't drink this Matt or the pouch provides the perfect conditions for the baby it provides exactly the nutrients that they need, and they can be tailored to the to the parents genetic makeup as well. It's the most healthy way, you can have a baby. And so women who choose to have a baby using natural birth as I call it in the book, a sort of sort of donors, quite irresponsible. Mothers by a lot of society. What's interesting here is this becomes a very potent exploration of how radical new technologies reproductive technologies in this case are introduced a controversial, but then become normalized, then become mainstream then become accepted over time bomb water society, and that's the case with the baby patch, but there is resistance it's ever so minor. And it's his Bailey hood, and that's where we meet Eva, an activist and who light mother. Have ago. What role did you want them to play in the book in terms of civil society? Either is is the main protagonist, really. So I wanted her to be one of us s booze. She's she's how we would feel if we were suddenly thrust into this world, I think, but she's also she's self was had a very complicated experience with birth. So she's she's presenting the the counter argument to Holly's fame unhappiness, but she's also someone who's who's willing to change. And I think that's really important for the book. And if I had all the characters at different times confronted with the office, it of their own point of view, and are able to listen to it and either it's someone who learns to do that throughout the book, and we don't want to give too much away about the story. Rate it she's a complex character. And there's a love to Beck story, which you slowly reveal throughout the growing season. But let's just give people of a fly for of the insights that she glean 's because always not as rosy as it seems what knows social problems what social divides is this baby patch generating well, one of the big ones full life, the decision to offer the pouch as an alternative to abortion. So if anybody is considering abortion full life will offer them at pouch for free instead to save the life, essentially of their baby, and this has led to the pouch being embraced by sort of right wing and religious fundamentals and people like that as well as people on the left who want equality, and and liberation for women who have gone all the way. We've we've conservatives couldn't it. Absolutely. And that's. And that's that's an interesting and frightening thought really, isn't it because essentially who controls these pouches and has control over over the the lives really of the of the babies within and to some extent the parents to and it's led to care crisis throughout society. So there are now care homes almost like often aeges and they're full of babies who've been born Vira pouch, but whose parents don't want to raise them, so they kept in these sort of often or boarding schools outside of the the city's no one really knows what people know that. But they don't like to talk about them. They don't know what to do with with all these children. So that's a massive problem for society. And I think it's a problem that will will lead to think about as as technology gets closer to what I'm describing the book, which it will. There's also a class divide this coming up between people who've been born Vira pouch and people who've been born naturally and also people have been born Vira pouch, which had all the most expensive accessories. Versus people who've been born Vira secondhand pouch, which is seen as inferior and in debut black market in used pouches. Yes, that's right because it's a biological technology. It can essentially heal itself. So after it's been used in a baby can be born. They can be recycled and used again, which is a bit achey think it's pretty weird. An even darker regain varies. There are suggestions of pouch abuse. Yes. What do you mean? Well, I suppose once you once you take her baby out of mother and put it in the world, it becomes vulnerable in a way. And this is something that full life have tried very hard not to have discussed publicly. But in the book, I show her an abusive or certainly controlling relationship in which man, the father of the child won't let his wife carry the pouch, for example. He wants all the time. He'll maybe kind of threatened her with what he might do to it. If he doesn't do what he says things like that. So I in in a very dark way, I could imagine if if people wanted to they could use it really to manipulate mothers to manipulate parents. There is a form ability about it. I think. Can imagine a wheel dystopia where the state then controls the babies once they're in the pouches. The state owns all the pouches and women have sort of become redundant and and individuals of lost their rights over their own production. Which is a very scary scary future. We talked briefly about about holiday earlier and to remind you that's jibe e is held in the British scientists, and friend of all this Huxley who in the nineteen twenties predicted the creation of artificial wombs. It was skeptical in a way, and he talked about how scientific advance could be used for bad as well as good. And that if it is to be used for good at has to be accompanied by an advance in our ethics as well. And I think that's absolutely essential. You know, when we bring out these new technologies, we have to think very deeply about how they're going to be used and make sure that we are protecting ourselves from misuse of technology is illustrated really beautifully in this book. Is you know, how it comes to pass that skeptics and activists around new technologies often become outcasts, they're often castigated or casters nutty or Luddites? This is a theory familiar dynamic around any social critique of. Science and technology very much. So yes, it's interesting. I I don't know why we do that. I don't know why we're so hostile to opposing points of view as a species will serve to constraints artifact progress, and that is disturbing to scientists. Yes. But it's not the scientists who paint people is not usually it's a media who does it. I think and that's what's happened here. Full life haven't needed to to attack Abigail either or ridicule them because the journalist and the book pure to has essentially done that for them. He's painted them as as loons because they don't embrace technology. And so it's it's the sort of tapping in on. I don't know I suppose we just want to believe that. We're right all the time. Don't we? And when somebody saying maybe done something very wrong, laughing at them is one of the best ways to silence them. Move move. It was still lying there attached. She had never imagined that the pouch Thad pouch wills home for nine months. They had stroked and spoken to and loved. She had never imagined that it could repulsed her the deep sucking read the inside of it visible now through that awful cops down the front wet and dripping the different skins the layers that had grown with him expanded with him the bio socket for the audio adapter useless now obscene and the umbilical cord. Get him out. She screamed adopter step forward. And she spun around furious not you get away from him. And so she reached in and cloth to the cord that was sticky and limp in her hands clasped and pulled and pulled as leaked on her fingers and fluid rundown. Her winced, but it wouldn't come out of the pouch lining. She screamed as she pulled. But it made no difference. She couldn't free him. Without waiting for a response. Hernani reached out and cut the cord and baby will was free at last. Something really bad happens in this book, and it gives you a sense that something is very wrong with these baby patches Bain corporate cover up of let problem. Yes. And there again, you have to wonder how we never got risk and progress and the relationship between the two when it comes to reproductive technologies we've seen it with VS. Now, we are saying uterus. Transplants occurring. We are say the development of artificial wombs to carry potentially carry premature babies to full term in a healthy way. So we are here and now already saying developments the mirror the storytelling. Absolutely. Yes. This isn't a book one hundred years in the future by any means technology. I described here I think could be with us within within a couple of generations, really really very close. I do -solutely you mentioned the artificial womb that so far. Has been used for premature lambs was invented by some scientists from Philadelphia they call it the bio bag, not the baby pouch. But interestingly used a similar sort of very very friendly sounding name for the bio bag, and they took a highly premature that wouldn't have survived otherwise were able to keep it alive within a fluid filled flexible pouch almost exactly like what I'm describing the book. It was born. It's still lives very healthy lamb now. So they predicted that will be ready for human trials within three years. We is now there's obviously a stopped from the moment of conception. It's premature babies, and I think they said it was twenty two weeks or something they were aiming for. But you know, what you take that? And then add to its technology. It's very easy to see how the two technologies will will fairly soon meet in the middle. And then we will have what we need to create a complete. External will the technology is coming. We will be able to do this absolutely certain that we will be able to create an artificial womb in the near future. And human beings. Once we can do something the chances. Are we going to do it? I think it's in our nature. And that is all exactly where we're heading in the next episodes of this future uterus series on science, friction. Maybe we should call. It futures think Dr Helen Sedgwick's novels the growing season and the comets acres. She did her doctorate in physics before finding fiction, and is now working on a crime trilogy that a publisher has snapped up, and she's just infected grown heroin baby. To my daughter's only only eleven months old you've just gone through these I have had a patch. I'm fortunately, did you about the page? Oh, I did. I would definitely have used a pouch personally. I'm a big believer in science and medicine for making our lives better. I absolutely believe in in the value of of medicine and technology. And that's not say, it wasn't an amazing experience. Because in many ways it was. It's a fascinating thing to go through. But yes, I would use the pouch if I could. But as soon as you're pregnant, actually, you become confronted with with the inequality, and it's often by well, meaning people, but it's just this attitude that somehow become a mother you're carrying a baby you're not the same as as other people anymore. You've become something else. And I felt it all the time really every day that I was pregnant and every day since and consider Helen also the beginning of occasional series called novel sons, featuring novelists or scientists tuned novelists really playing with centime provocative wise in their writing next. You're going to meet one of the world's first recipients of uterus. Transplanting that she describes that uterus as sisters baby beg, which is kind of reminiscent of today's stories, and it which is really quite surreal. But this is a real life story. Talk to me on Twitter. Thank you to our grosses. An engineer Email me from the show's homepage. And let it rip. To-you friends about the podcast gel. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives. On the listen up.

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Acclaimed Beasts of No Nation author Uzodinma Iweala - on science, power, and race

Science Friction

31:16 min | 4 months ago

Acclaimed Beasts of No Nation author Uzodinma Iweala - on science, power, and race

"This is an ABC podcast. Welcome to science fiction the Tesha Mitchell and I hope you are doing I K- in these very strange wake managing socialist national self-isolation based as you can what a week it has been tie care out there and don't forget the ABC's Daily podcast Corona cast is your God hosted by our Colleague Medical Journal. Dr Norman Swannee Ever. There was a man who knows. He's pandemics. Ease Norman's a take care at their and chain into Carolina cursed in a way where the world suddenly feel so very very small and very very connected by this virus. That's of course porous to people and borders today. Show is really about being poor us. My guest today wants us to challenge us to look at the world and to look at science and the history of knowledge through beheads. Unfamiliar is we're living on the time of the Cova epidemic or corona virus. I just read something that made me laugh because someone said something like the Covet Nineteen virus which came out of China's an intelligent. It's not like he bowl which is rather dumb virus now. Obviously bullet comes out of the continent of Africa just like just think about that framework and that construct and what has been printed in a major magazine virus from Africa dumb virus virus from China. Smart virus you know. I say this about the corona virus like virus had emerged in the Netherlands. Just think about the way it would have been reported from the outset. Think about what would have happened. If it had merged in on the continent of Africa and the American President Donald Trump has been gratuitously coaling sods cove to the virus behind the current covet non epidemic the Chinese virus. Let's be clear your respective of what species and what place a virus might have been forced to take the dean pandemics. Have NO ETHNICITY. Science tells us that medical history tells us that but as we're about to explore xenophobic conclusions drawn from scientific observations can have an enormous impact on the course of history and on people's lives while is a novelist. He's a doctor a filmmaker and a whole lot more in his early twenty while still in college studying literature. He wrote the critically acclaimed novel baseds of Nine Nation which tells the extraordinary story of a child soldier. A little boy recruited given again and sent to wage a war in two thousand fifteen. That book was turned into a film. Don't like really look into my eyes since my nose picking is because I can't be explaining myself and leaving a damn not like be I am leg. Oldman try to talk to me about movies variances. I saw this an idea there would is. It would seem that some sort of this on Devon all this. I also having us I was really lucky to have the opportunity to write that novel diving. Into the stories of child. Soldiers around the world but mostly specifically in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia which had just kind of come out of their own internal conflicts at the time and then of course going back and talking with relatives. My parents my grandparents aunts and uncles great aunts and uncles about their time during the Nigerian civil war from nineteen sixty six really sixty seven three thousand nine hundred seventy and trying to understand not just what it's like to experience that kind of turmoil from the perspective of a child but also what. It's like to have everything that you thought. You knew that you understood blown open tournament and and unfortunately that's an all too common and all to universal subject after painting beasts of no nation Dima went on to train as a doctor right more books including speak no evil and Al kind of people. He worked for a time as well in health policy in Africa and today he's of the Africa Center in New York City. A storm speak at last year's will conference of Science. Journalists Center. Really wanted you to have the opportunity to he him too. So he joins us from the radio art studios in the heart of New York. You had such an interesting childhood. Born in Washington to Nigerian parents mother a former finance minister of Nigeria. And growing up. I get the sense that you very much spent time on on both continents and I'm curious to know. Have that shaped your sense of self as a as a boy and a young adult. My parents took it upon themselves to make sure that we could always get back to Nigeria. That this was to be so much a part of who we were growing up and it really did actually provide us with a really interesting way of seeing the world. You're not from one place near not from another place. You're from both places. It's kind of a glorious thing to be able to grow up knowing that there are multiple perspectives on everything in the world. What someone sees for example in the village that my grandparents grew up in is necessarily going to be from what somebody sees in suburban Washington? Dc things might be a little bit more difficult in Nigeria. But at the same time everybody is still living. I think that's something that a lot of people who only grow up saying in industrialized if we WANNA use that term or you know United States type or western context don't have and therefore very afraid of the wider world beyond. We just grew up not being afraid because of exposure and I think that's so important. Oh that's such a potent comment about FIA holding back so much dialogue and possibility in the world. Why a medical degree trying to be a doctor? Why did you save that time in your life as a part of any decision? I think there are multiple reasons for why you do something and not all of them are the most. I will freely admit that I did medicine because my dad's a doctor and you can kind of see okay. This is what a doctor does. You see the stethoscope. You see the medicines. It's already very concrete. You know in the little kids mind and as as the kid of African immigrants. There's this thing where you do. The practical like you become a doctor. You become a lawyer and then you think that the way that you have impact is through those practical professions. I think of course. There's this idea that doctors save people and that you can have a profound impact on on a person's life and so you know with all of that. It seemed like a natural choice. I think it became clear to me that one of the things that was missing was for me in full form. Was that creative output that flow and that ability to render the world as I saw an as sort of my talent allowed me to and I think one person can have an impact in multiple ways. Interestingly in many ways you work and your books have connected with how history in politics and in Dade Science and medicine in Western societies read and interpret and Judge View African bodies. If we think of the base of nomination also your your book. Our kind of people sharing stories from people living with HIV is in in Nigeria. That lenses interested you. It strikes me in house and I. I think you can't grow up in a black body and you can't occupy the space as an African person. Occupies space in this world is offering person or as a black person without thinking about the gains that is upon you because in in many ways that gains does and has adversely affected the lives that we all live both again in a very individual way and also on the macro level and so understanding. How black bodies move through space are interpreted? I think is something that's really important to me. And I say that not just from the Games of the other but also from the the way that we look at ourselves and this is where you presented last year at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Europe and gave extraordinary address on racism at the heart of modern science and medicine. What did you want that audience of journalists and scientists and? I was one of them in that room to think about to interrogate. I think oftentimes we just assume that the structures we operate within our for one solid and somehow especially when it comes to signs that they're they're vetted and true and one of the things that became increasingly clear to me. As I wrote the book I wrote on HIV AIDS was just how much quote unquote scientific. Ideas were grounded in people's biases and prejudices about black bodies and how that impacted the quote unquote science or signs. At least that initially was dedicated to trying to stop the epidemic and in some cases may have done more harm than good. Initially I think back to a lot of the articles that when I was writing my book I read about HIV AIDS academic articles about sort of the linking of the spread of HIV AIDS and promiscuity. And the idea that Africans were having sex like monkeys where promiscuous like monkeys like which came up in published scientific papers and then is it makes its way into the journalistic mainstream this idea of like African promiscuity as it relates to the spread of this disease you know things about like Africanness and and being unable to quote unquote keep the time why early. Hiv treatments which required like large. Regimens of pills like wouldn't work for people. And that was you know story that made it into major publications impacted policy that impacted the way the epidemic was dealt with you know these are things that are important and people need to be responsible for the way these stories are told and need to think about the frameworks in which the stories are told. People like to think of science as its own true in structured belief system. That is really infallible. Right that if we can just let the scientists decide and again as somebody who's been in science fields and somebody who has a lot of respect for scientists like more power to people who do research on research and I think you don't want to get into the space of questioning experts but at the same time you do have to understand that these are people and oftentimes there biases will impact many things for one. What is even studied? What's looked at? It will impact people's angles of attacks and angles of research on certain problems. Again it is a belief system in which people are meant to question for sure but we have to get back to. What are the questions that people ask especially when it concerns the place of black people or the place of Africans within the field of science also the the studies that are done about us as people many scientists would contest that science is not about being a belief system but you point is a Demata the early construction by scientists of the idea of rice of of racial science and You know a toll. Some of the story of the Eighteenth Century German scientist Johann Friedrich Bloomberg. Who came out with the theory for the classification of rice dividing the world into something like just five broad categories of human help powerful. Do you think the legacy of He's ID's and this classification of rice. That he came up with has Bain. I'll get to that. And what can I do want to go back to the idea of science as a belief system and I do think that there is a growing acknowledgment that this is a way of structuring. How you think about the world you come to that. Structuring with a certain set of beliefs created by the world around you that has influenced you and I think signs is a beautiful thing but is also susceptible to that and I think it's incumbent upon scientists especially in in fields a deal with human beings to recognize and realize that because not realizing that results in bad outcomes for a lot of people to talk about Bloomberg. I mean this is an example. I essentially just decided to make up his classifications. In many ways those classifications still exists today and govern how people think about race and difference in humans some random dude in Seventeen hundred was like all right. The five different kinds of people and now for how many years have people been trying to prove that that is true through science but that belief structure in some ways precedes the the search for the justification of that of that belief structure. So that's just what I mean about. What questions are you asking? Now you said the framing away. Hey set the frame for generations of interrogation. I mean he proposed a theory that there was a primeval human type and other races had degenerated so to speak from the fact that he was a scientist and the fact that he came up with a hot little classification system of five races five categories of humans. Africans Asians Caucasians Americans and millions you describe that classification is having a kind of V knee or of rationality when you reflect on heavy that has shaped how we think about human difference today. What comes to mind for you. I'm assuming that you are a a white woman in Australia. If I'm wrong I apologize. You know like you and I. We don't look the same you know. And there's a question desire to understand that is that's important and that's a powerful thing that helps us create stories about who we are and figure out how to move through this world But I think sometimes you're looking for justifications to allow for economic exploitation as was the case during the height of the slave trade. The idea that like you should be able to come modify certain bodies and others. You can't whether those bodies are women's bodies or the bodies of Africans and black people these classifications of this kind developed like. They didn't just pop out of nowhere they were and the ordering and the ranking didn't just pop out of nowhere to mean many ways when you look at some of the science behind or at least you know science and air quotes behind race like there. Is this desire to justify the exploitation of particular set of people a group of people to which I happen to belong against all the folks who would say. Oh you're you're focusing too much on on sort of victimhood or exploitation or whatever you know I don't know what else to say but like go and read the books. Go and take a look do a deep dive and you'll start to see things you'll see folks like Watson famous Watson and Crick looking for ways to justify the inferiority in terms of intelligence of of black people and Black Bodies. Like you'll see this come up over and over and over again and I have to ask myself why. What is the reason for that? Why is there so much emphasis and so much desire to find out that there is an essential route to this difference? So that you know in my mind can you? To continue justifying exploitation continued justifying and an order of the world in which a certain group gets to enjoy massive benefits and another group has to in general suffer. Or you know. Is there something else? I can say what I can see. But I'm willing to concede that there might be other reasons. It's very pungent that that idea that science. Whether it knows it or not operates in the service of human prejudice a fast forwarding to the present day you have observed the fact that what supremacists have been ordering genetic ancestry tests in an attempt to confirm the US right down to the deep heritage expressed image jeans an extraordinarily four days after those horrific watt supremacist. Much Zain and violence in Charlottesville in twenty seventeen you yourself ordered a genetic history heat in the context of those events and I. I wonder what motivated you to do that? Twenty three and me and this has really good marketing navy. They're a genetic testing company that allows you to do the home test. That's one reason but also when events like what happened in Charlottesville in the United States in this white supremacist march which is something that I think a lot of us never thought we would see in the United States in that fashion even as we know that that there are undercurrents of this you know obviously political change etc etc brings out brought out something on mass that perhaps we thought had been marginalized and that clearly hasn't been clearly wasn't I started to think a little bit more about what it means to be a person of color in the United States and what that means ancestry wise just wanted to think about like how do you think about it And so that then prompted me to say okay. Well let me take a look at one of these ancestry testing kits. And just see what happens you know and I did that in part understanding again like if you have done some reading or have had done some thinking around concepts of race and ancestry. You know that there's just a lot of fuzziness around this and that the the one thing that is very clear is that you know these categories are constructs in many ways even if they are seemingly proved by something quote unquote scientific or biological. And I think I just wanted to see how I would feel and to understand a little bit more about how what that would look like. Now I took the test and in many ways sort of proof when I got the test back I got results that basically said you are ninety. Nine point nine percent. African know at the time and this will tell you something about like these tests. I got really curious because I was like well. That's really helpful actually sent the test we have a little family email group and I sense you know a snapshot of My Test Results. And you know they're done really beautifully rendered like very nicely and then they just show like I think at the time just this massive purple. This is you your ninety nine point nine percent African and I think there was a point. Zero's something one percent native American and my mom sent a message back then said something like I could have saved one hundred dollars and told you that you know which was interesting. And when she sent that I started thinking it was like What's really going on here because if compared to some of my African American friends or compared to some of my European friends where they have okay. Twenty five percent this your you know fifteen percent. Italian like you know eight percent Askenazi. Jewish you know thirty five percents Scandanavia in and I'm here with basically one hundred percent African. What's this whole native American thing? I just luckily happened to have really smart friends. One of whom happened to be very steeped in the science of genetics and also evolutionary biology. And so I went to him and I was like. Yo can you me? What's really going on here? He also happens to be really good with algorithms and computers and he was like look basically. The resolution is such that of this task right now of their ability to read where you're from that they can accurately tell you anything more than the fact that your genes like as they see them happen to be from like this very big part of the world now it comes to this idea of how do we then order the world around us based on these quote unquote infallible scientific genetic essential things. That have been told you know. So you now have. White supremacists getting told that they are ninety. Five percents you know. Scottish and five percent Swedish or whatever. Nonsense numbers you get and believing that. Oh because of that they they have lactase an enzyme and they can digest Malcolm so then they out chunking gallons of milk to prove their supremacy over the black folks who are most likely or more likely lactose intolerant. It's absurd and yet somehow someway. These are things that do impact how we live. And you know I just. I find that to be extremely fascinating. Both in the way that it's it's problematic and also in the way that it says a lot about who we are and how we behave as human beings in other words it gets back to this idea of story and the stories that we tell ourselves and there is nothing essential about the information that comes out of some of these discoveries or processes this how western science has constructed interprets rice wrought up to the present day with genetic testing. Then there's the construction of the African continent is somehow inherently unscientific or backward and I wonder how these themes linked to give you you see portioned links one of them for example being that Africans are inherently less intelligent than and less scientifically minded than other people in the world. And you know what people saying. We'll just look at the place that you're from. Look at where you live and I think I gave the example of the dean of students. I went to medical school. This is an anecdote that was told to me by a friend where he essentially sent to this friend. Who is Chinese that White Fokin and an Asian full cover more intellectual academic type intelligence and black folk cover more? Physical Athletic Type Intelligence. You start to look at the makeup of medical school classes and you can see certain things that you start to look the makeup of who become scientists and WHO's admitted into certain programs and you can kind of see. There's a bit of a trend when you have someone like James Watson saying that genetics will proved. Africans are less intelligent. And he's a scientist and he's going to be somebody who's like runs alive and has PhD students working on things with him. Then it starts to be self fulfilling James Watson yes. He won the Nobel Prize for deducing the Double Helix of DNA. But he's also been seen as a racist at Lyra by his fellow scientists. Sure but I would suggest that like you could say that. He's egregious in his statements but is he really an outlier. The thing about someone like James Watson is. He's perfect because he's a bogeyman right people can say. Oh I'm not racist because I'm not like him and then you start to look at like. Are People doing things to diversify their labs? Are People doing the things to diversify the students? They mentor. Like. How do they think about students? That are black or of color and it starts to get a little bit funnier than and you know again. This is something where people say. Oh you are. You're playing the victim or you're like look it's all about marriage and whatnot. The truth is from the perspective of maybe a white person. Sure you can. You can claim that because the world that you live in his ordered that way if you are someone like me who's been through the systems and experience when it's like to to presumably be able to compete at that level and constantly be underestimated. You have a different perspective is all. I'm saying I have an older sister. I mentioned her in the speech who has an MD PhD from Harvard University. Who's an allergist and immunologist runs the lab at UNC? You know you mean to tell me that folks like that exist and yet somehow some way on that. Africans are not scientifically minded. Or that's why we're not represented in these fields. They're just so many people who are extremely intelligent who are working in these fields. Who either don't get notice or who for some reason people think are somehow someway outliers and the truth is it's not that it's that again. You look at the structural issues around some of these things and it begins to make sense. Scientific research costs a lot of money. You can do that in environments like the West where there's a lot of money to spend these things and the gap then increases. You can't run certain labs on the continent because of structural issues electricity etc etc. And those issues are in many ways like tied to something else not to the inherent stupidity of black people but to things like colonialism extraction that continues to this day like the disorder. That was sewn in these places by you know extractive occupiers like those things do matter. And then ask the thing about about science. And scientific progresses as the gap increases the gap further increases the more capabilities. You have in one place and the more you can do like the more you'll be able to do in comparison to the places that don't have those capabilities and so then you begin to to justify it is not an issue of essential intelligence starts to look like an issue of essential intelligence and people in these spaces begun to justify their thoughts and opinions about people who look like me or come from these spaces and I think it's a problem that will come back to bite. Everybody yes this this argument you make. The West has defined science in its own image. You then point out. Though that the child in Nairobi Kenya will feel the full force of quantum computing or Crisper. Jane Editing Technology or carbon capture technology. Even if it is more likely to be the case that those technologies might have a negative impact on her life. I found that very punishment that these these prejudices about as you say a dark skin holds existing outside of science what a line has an impact on real people's lives. It really. Does I mean I I to go to the thing about quantum computing lucky enough to be at a conference where I think one of the guys at Google who's working on quantum computing. And they. I was giving a talk. It was super fascinating as I was sitting there listening to him and look listening to like you know what is going on. I was thinking. Oh my God. This world is going to be reordered. By these discoveries by these technological advancements that come out of these discoveries and that's going to profoundly impacts. You know the the young kid who's born in in Nigeria. That's going to profoundly impact. The you know the kid from from Kenya or whatever and so. There's there's an an exhortation to us on the continent that we need to step up rate because you have to be a part of these conversations both on the level of basic science and also on the level of the ethics around the science we cannot be absent from those discussions because that matters like it really matters. It's you know it's the whole thing about Google's ai tool branding. African faces as gorillas and monkeys. You know it's that that whole concept of training ai to recognize criminality and associated criminality with dark skin or dark skin features. You know it's so important. Were involved in that were there. You know otherwise we're gonNA find ourselves in a really kind of awful world and and that scares me and that's one of the reasons why I think it's important we talk about all of these biases and I'm not the only one there plenty of people who are thinking about this like how do you think about the way that we structure how we think about science and how that impacts on the social issues that that research has done to to to have an impact on and how do these social impact issues impact. The science has done. Why do you think it matters this relationship between culture and science and history and prejudice? What do you think it matters at? This present moment was so vital right now in terms of the state of the world. Yeah I mean look where we are. It's no. It's no secret that we're living in a time where people are looking for easy answers and turning to wherever they think those answers are gonNA come from. People are confused. Like people are scared. I think that's one of the most prevalent emotions and people are worried about the change. That's happening around them. And as such you start to look for whatever it can justify being able to hold onto the life that you had and I think you know in some cases science conserve and some of the misuse of science. I think conserve to help people hold onto those ideas that are going to have to change. They will whether you like it or not you can adopt or you can kind of fight against it on one hand and uninvited hands you know. They can the misuse of this can can lead to further isolation and shutting down connectivity and I think what we need to be really aware of and what he needs to make sure that we're doing is every day at least from my perspective in the way that I think about things in the world we need to be looking for how we can bolster connection. And how the work that we're doing whether it's an signs intact whether it's the relationship of science and society all of these things can help to bolster the connections that will allow us to survive as a species on this planet like. That's what I think is is extremely important and I think in many ways we're missing the mark because we're afraid but I don't think fear has to be the only guide for how we live our lives and how we do the research and and order the world in the way that we do side. True fear is such a disabling emotion at every level In our hearts in at the level of human society is demand. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for having a lot of fun speaking with you. Don't Dima Iwo heads up the Africa Center there in New York on Fifth Avenue just across from Central Park. Pretty NAS location. He's books are base of no nation. Speak No evil and our kind of people. Let's see facades. Friction talked me on twitter at Natasha. Mitchell does it get to subscribe to the corona cast. Podcast as well you can submit questions to its host. Dr Norman sworn by heading to ABC dot net dot org slash news. Click on corona virus. Rot there up the top and follow through to the links over lightest. Ib say coverage there. Thanks to carpentry. Suggestion lay all catching wake tight. Really hate washing is hands. I'm thinking of you. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great. Abc. Podcasts live radio and exclusives on the ABC listen APP.

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Racism at the school gate and education reclaimed (Part 2)

Science Friction

34:15 min | 5 months ago

Racism at the school gate and education reclaimed (Part 2)

"This is an ABC podcast. Aikido got You Butterfly Net Enhancement. Gravity Heaven and what she step. We're right next to the Bank of Torrens River on Ghani country in the heart of Adelaide plays. Don't fall in the torrents. Those of you that are not South. Straighten off a good ribbon polling today on the white out feeling very sorry. Try and start wipers water Do into the podcast of last week. Show if you've arrived at the dorms late because we're on camp here on science friction and it's going well. Everyone's getting on. This is the C. Syros Aboriginal Summa School for Excellence in technology and science and I'm living in with the nearly forty indigenous students from across the strategy here from Perth to the Torres Strait. They've come from far and wide and it's great to have you with us to on the Tesha Mitchell. You've caught an enormous something or dragonfly. It's huge thing. It was just innocent. Thought Maybe we could Kate Me Swan and then if we get any more or less just Alana line Patched candidate the University of Adelaide so working on parasitic wasps. My mission is to teach a bit more of an appreciation awareness of what's around which these kids have embraced wholeheartedly fishnet Connor Looking. It's camouflaged really. Yeah so as part of ABC's walking together. I'm bringing you powerful personal stories from three generations of indigenous. Australians today on racism in classrooms on triumphantly pushing past the low expectations others can have foyer and are knowing who you Would Hi this is a Science Camp Theresa? Let's get some of that good stuff at by the reba without insect. Nate's I love it because when I was little I used to do this in the backyard. I'll just for the fun of it. Like we did. Ones and lacked playful the bugs and stuff and Done things we went touches. The real big because that's scary. This is year eleven student Catherine. She's from Queensland. I've always had a interest in biodiversity because when I was lying about it in school I just found it fascinating the way things like adapted to the surroundings and how strong Some animals off. But do you think you might study in Uni? I definitely want medicine like the medicine. Science and even in science medicine side of it because on surf fascinated about the way humans like animals too but mostly humans alphabrain the actual workings about nerves and our nervous system and everything. I just find it so fascinating to fix people with your knowledge of that. It's just it's mind blowing to me. If you're ever original or Torres Strait islander you make up about three percent over strides population but just under two percent of all students enrolled at university are indigenous. That's growing by around half of a said over the last decade or side when it comes to Unical says in the natural and physical sciences. It and engineering. Less than one percent of students are indigenous for first year medicine. That's around two point. Four percent and of course completion rights alarm but this camp is about helping to change that. It's about road tasting university. Simon names macaroni. I'm an epidemiologist with. Csiro food and nutrition and things are about to get very real for the students right now. We're talking about their activities for the rest of the week and in particular their inquiry which is quite a lot of pressure for them. They'll need to spend a lot of their time thinking about the question that they want to investigate for the next few days and then they'll have to be ready to present it by next week. You asking them to do scientific experiment in two days scientific inquiry. That might be an experiment but it might be some other activities but yet in today's Yep they'll spend a lot of the allison a day. Doing it will be under a lot of pressure but based on previous years they do a great job so they've got to collect data definitely have to collect data they'd go to interpret data and they'll go to present it all of the precious situations for them so the pressure is on from pretty much all mice now not quite a couple of days. I think they'll feel it from tomorrow morning. Hitler research can be conceded. A A dirty word Saith West head is a young research scientist irregular mentor on these caves. He comes from Alaba Coal. And we're edgy. Country in these half miles research was something that was done on. Aboriginal people not with Aboriginal people and certainly not let by aboriginal people but as we get more aboriginal academics in high positions within the academy. This is where we can start to see a change of the culture so we need young people. All of the students present curious and inquisitive mind and from my perspective. That's all you need to be a scientist. The rest is just learning the specific language to answer the specific questions that you come up with and that's just a process. Anybody can do that. We really made more indigenous people in science. We've got so much work today. But we need more indigenous people everywhere. It's hard to access education for aboriginal people and are stolen papal. It's hard to walk to welds of wanting to preserve your own culture and sense of identity. Sometimes studying integrate main sacrificing culture identity and sometimes staying strong culture means sacrificing education. Perhaps no one knows these more than an ano education later. I made it a gathering by the five page of the Wheelchair Boarding House. Where all staying at Miami's Ruben and direct for education does P. Y. Yeah we didn't on almost for you know all the people it's our language and then another language as we had last week students from the remote traditional lands of the unindo people in South Australia. Come stay here. We'll check to go to high school in Adelaide. Now looking at you know dairies. To Wolves do peak will come together. You know the wisden world is really important that are now people need to get educated through sure school to get a job and money travel around you know speak language English and understand where there was an will come from and why why we see really important pulled in you know kids to university by his crowd. I need to build than me on the stand with coming from and you're not educated to vision. It's a big thing you know for helping students on this summer. School where I've come from is a big part of this week. Some don't know a lot about families indigenous heritage and gun elda Rosemary. Waggin blows my mind. Diwan that we to have conversation across our communities across the country but we need to have them because something terrible is occurring with what? I'm calling. Intra cultural racism born in Nineteen fifty. Five Rosemary is a member of the stolen generation at age nine. She was taken by welfare agencies from her father after her mother died. There were seven kids and a two day old baby by Seventeen Rosemary had married and given birth to her first child at this a long life on and Rosebery now runs her own. Business focused on supporting indigenous healing. It's called the Australian Institute for loss and grief in this context on talk about the impact of history and how we as visual people and torched autumn. Two people can judge each other on the Colorado scheme that really hit home for me because like obviously everyone's face discrimination but being a half house. Aboriginal is extremely difficult daily. I get not an actual aboriginal. You you only on the inside. It's not on the outside yet. So that talk really just confirmed with me that I should be proud of my culture. I shouldn't let things like that. Make me ashamed and if they are going to be like that that's a reflection on that personality and may not on me such a powerful realization to go from that session and I feel like it's a issue is merced. Lighter skinned everage knows. I wish I was just everyone could get that cultural identity talk. I knew that going to be cultural activities but I didn't think they were going to be as moving and powerful as they are when you look at those students here the summer camp and you think about your own situation at the same age so these students leaving you. Ten going into your eleven. What was your relationship to education? As you were growing up glued Christian it was profoundly weakened lift point P is and under the exemption certificates that we had to be exempted from being an aboriginal point. Peace Mission is and then we have assimilated so you know aboriginal anymore and now you have to assimilate to become what people and so. We're on in clear. What mainstream town and the average family? They are remember loving primary school as I didn't one day on Friday night for class and rushed into the classroom sat down and the teacher stopped the whole class and she said price. Ray Wangdi did not we ought to do with the we. Were to put a casual cotton. The sort of your desk and on the front of it and on the other side so the children can't see you a new county can't see the children and just ride dance all the way around it. I remember something happened inside my heart because a teacher was a teaches us an Etel and she wants she must be telling the trees. I've into that all the way into my primary school high school and I think it had a even at effect on me am staying at Union in the northeast because I say narrow archie. Keep reminding me lookout lookout. Don't forget your dime Mesa. Quick get up before somebody finds out took me many years to reclaim back. My face. Trust is earned. Abilities accomplished myself and my intelligence. My mom and a pot of the governmental policy at that time wasn't allowed to go to school pasta six. That was the rule and that was because she was a Torres Strait island a woman that edict was implies because of that part of the Act and Education Act for indigenous peoples that they were only allowed to go to school into that year level because it was thought that that intellectual capacity was only at that level and they could not learn anymore. You know there was nothing that you could do if you want to listen to at that time of the protectorate laugh would be very very hard and difficult for you scientist and Educator Taurus web coordinator of the inquiry for Indigenous Science Students Program run by CSIRO when our progress into high school. I really wanted to continue my studies into university and shoes. My passions and interests around environmental science and management are we preserve and protect land. I went through the high school. Some of the teachers said to me. Why are you aiming to study? Some of the Board Academic Subjects Science Maths. Yes mystery physics that kind of thing exactly the subjects to open your pathway in Korean University said why onto studying in the vocational education and bits related subjects. That would be more suited to you and the expectation with. You need to be doing something. That's more aimed at your level. Let the rest of the indigenous people so looking at the academic side was out of reach. It actually stood up a bit of a fire in my belly to say well. Actually I can't achieve this regardless of what your thoughts are in low expectations of me can achieve that particularly with the support and family and community. I ended up applying for Cadet ship on the Australian Fisheries Management Authority asthma. Yeah I did. Environmental Science Management Degree at Southern Cross University. Lismore multi newsouth wells. It said I often die. Four of cat. And because you can't be what you can't see the students and nasty in the dining hall in a special speed Mayton great. Cassie C. Sarawak in their area which basically means I help Scientists with a computer nate's with that particular experiments will data collection and had the process that I also have a background in Mechanical Engineering Electronics Engineering. What are your interests in science biology counting so here will chair in the dining hall. This is Scott. Feel at one of the candidates With a lot of chatter connection going on here as the group of Students Speaking to a whole bunch of diverse size technology engineering and mathematics professionals working in the fields. Their moms their dies. They grandma is the recent graduates. Internationals people have moves into state rural original city remote We've got a whole bunch of professionals here and many students sciences subjects sized classroom sizes is a teacher. The power of one on one conversation is incredible. What I'm laughing about decision. Release It on seeing some of the slightly shy students volunteering questions. Speaking out when it's one on one it's one hundred percent engagement hundred percent everyone's into it so my name's Tina Brady. I'm a under one day. Gyro woman living on Ghana country and I'm currently or your behalf way now through my PhD Which is looking at social determinants of health and social and emotional wellbeing forever. Sean Torres tried onto communities so you would just presenting to the summer camp. Yes so we were just talking to them about I journeys and Korea's Khannabal Pathways into how we got here and what that looks like and I guess any insights the might be useful for them. You know at this stage when they looking into their future and thinking about where they might WanNa go and how they might want to get this. Larry Will you when you were entering year. Eleven aboriginal kids in my school at the interview twelve. There were three of us that graduated. I think so you know and this is in a town where moisture population aboriginal paypal. So the opportunities for us going into year eleven. We're really about. It's like almost like survival. It was like the school was just telling US whatever they could to keep out flat. Tina grew up with her family in the mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Al Family went from that town to my parents when they got married. Dodds note aboriginal mummies and so we were sort of outside as to the town in terms of aboriginal identity and cultural connection but we were average to the rest of the town. So you like one of those people that doesn't fee and so fill your developing identity. It's really complex. So you know you're experiencing soil much. Racism from non aboriginal people like like the moist out would blatant racism. That people don't think this is what you hear a child. Everyone telling you that who you are in early is wrong and bad thoughts. What made it almost easier to leave. When it was time to make the decision to go to university and I won said to me at school you could go to university. That was never ever a word uttered to me. It wasn't actually a pathway that I thought was possible until later once I was working in aboriginal sort of affairs and going on. I really am passionate about this. What else could I do you know? How would I get a job? That's more like that was kind of what drove me to sort of book for a lot of students particularly remote students studying at high school or university might involve moving away from home which can be fun but also challenging. Jasmine is a non eighteen year old medical student at Adelaide University student later and a mentor here on the summit cab. She left her family. In the small mining town of roxby downs to hit to boarding school. Family is everything in indigenous culture is everything and then being away from your family and you know cousins uncles in your aunties and then you don't really have anyone winning. Move Away into the city which is really really hawed. Drive away from culture was particularly hard especially when I went to boarding school I was cold unfortunately very many many many nights by myron indigenous people which was really really hurtful getting cold an Oriole and stuff like that it really hurts and our cultural identity like I did back then it was even more interesting but then I saw going on campus quite similar to this actually went to one in Queensland too. Few in Sydney and being surrounded by other indigenous students had the same interest in May like they loved science all they loved learning. That really really helped me. I found. I'm not alone when it comes to. My Cultural Journey Jazzmen loves university loves leaving on the campus love studying medicine and surgery and loves his science growing up. I loved machines and I always. Watch documentaries with my dad. My family in America on my mom's side so we went to America. You want him. What did he go to Kennedy Space? I was like one thing I wanted to do. Got To walk out of the rocket and it was amazing and we went back when I was thirteen and we actually went to Houston. I've been to both places and it was phenomenal absolutely phenomenal. It's like you just don't know what's out there and I just love that. I remember the assignment that I fell in love with biology. Did an assignment and I did on the cardiovascular system and I loved it. That was like my first thing. I can rock and really study this for a full-time garden up into communities most roxy downs you really get to nor the needs of country towns. I guess so. To speak and a lot of country towns. They need doctors. I came to the realization that you know if I wanted to help my community. What is the best way I can show my community that I care about them and then I want to help them but in a first year of medical school jasmine was called back home for sorry business after two family members died? This is a really important grieving. Time for extended indigenous families. It was the best year of my life in the West here to be honest but the med schools very old and then not really flee away quite yet of the commitments of sorry business. And how long do you have to be away and what you have to go back home and do all this stuff? So that's why it was pretty hard to hire for about a month and a half to say goodbye to some family members which was really hot but I loved what I was. Learning Jazzmen is back doing first year again. To catch up on the coursework. She missed and this is where PhD. Student Tina Brody thinks things could be different. She's a research assistant at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. People might say that as you know. Sorry business pulling us away from what we should be doing. But it's not that that's how cultural value about the the dominant society and the workplaces or university institutions. That way in just ought to respond to that always demands. Don't get me wrong. Are Men my obey about? Why can't we say actually have sorry business at that time? And therefore swat this commitment will look like and this is what. I'm able to deliver on for my work at that time. It's about the system actually catching up to our cultural values rather than us having to defend them or peak. One we are capable and I think that we're starting behind because of what was done to us through the process of colonization living in colonial environment. You know web behind because of that. Not any other reason you know so. We're having to like. I say we have to work harder and smarter. And all those things and being strong in yourself and your identity really sets you up to be able to bring that to whatever you and can ground you for years to come. Let's the future. But the past matters to to Rosemary Wang Yuan in her work with young indigenous paper these children have also come from a culture that many of them if not all of them knows that genocide was committed upon the ancestors what adults say in the educational system. What they always tend to miss is pass formless for the student. Tom's because we don't know what this story is what the history is they could be in uni for whole year doing fantastic and then they'll have trigger and be nice to even themselves and then they go to somebody to talk to them and if they haven't loved the schools they're not going to know how to help. The student manage those emotions that time if traumatized them and this is part of why some students die finish the university to grace for can't mentor and university student. Tian e Adamson attending these very same somersaults. Camp Cheney's go now. As a year. Ten student herself changed her life dramatically. She'd grown up with WHO loving mother. She knew she was indigenous. Father was indigenous man. But she'd never met him. I felt close in a way of the cultures and communities the I had been immersed in but to my own mob quad disconnected strong in the identity of of that being part of who I am but not strong in in my own law and my own coach away and after going through that wake in you know being able to engage in things like five. Pm night with these people of varying sages in phases of understanding their own cultural identity. In saying that I wasn't the only one I felt inspired to learn more about my own cultural identity so when I go home decided to give myself a bit of time to really think about if I wanted to get in contact with my dad. Not So. This camp prompted you to find your indigenous family absolutely. It had such a huge impact on on that part of my laugh culturally and inspired me to it. Took me a few more months of reflecting and thinking about that but sparked the journey of me getting touching my dad for the first time so I rang him in school holidays of my grade. Eleven what was that like for you? Will you nervous? Yes sodded anxious. Yeah I was all of those things notice excited and anxious remember cooling dad for the first time and I'm pretty sure it went to message bank and he called me back and I just remember like feeling that crazy like butterfly feeling in that funny feeling that you get in you start when you get bit nervous so that was pretty crazy. Had really quick chat to him then and said he was at work. Yeah I remember him asking what my name was and and I said that I was Tian Adamson Sarah Adamson's daughter and it was a hard thing to navigate some light. What do I what do I say here? And he said thank you literally what he said to me on the phone and then it was quiet for a little bit and he asked how old I was. And what forty tame I back four? Which is Hawthorn which is also who died bags for so he was stoked about that. Yeah I had such an interesting feeling in my stomach but I need that. It was the stop once that I had contacted him. For the first time that my life would never be the same again that that was a new thing that was going to be my life. It was there to stay and Tiana's looking forward to visiting her extended family on Thursday island. One die soon back cab. The students are hard at work on their inquiry projects. So today we're doing Inquiries apotheosis have been sit. Experiments plotted results are being collected. This is science people. What he's Matthew's group up to. My group has decided to test. If people relate taste brandt I am loving this pile chocolate in front of Matthew. Is this your experimental material? Yes yes it is. We have Eight blocks of chocolate and total. What brand you believe product see was from out of cadbury lint with the makers and green and black's green and Black Brennan in other groups. Insects are being countered and classified booed scouse living measured vagrancy since being fraud. I'm way decided to do an experiment based on food products which were either vacant based or animal base saying if the general public with subconsciously persuaded to enjoy animal products I will plant based products go ahead four categories so we had mints Bacon Cheese and milk and so we served up. Young people are amazing. They are intelligent inquisitive to riven motivated passionate. And it's providing opportunities for young people to save and truly believe that we have as aboriginal paper. We have an opportunity to take charge of research that is of benefit to our communities. We have an opportunity to take both the cultural knowledge that we hold tight. The knowledge of Western science bring them together for the benefit of Al paid for the benefit of society at large. We have a lot to give and communities have a lot to gain from engaging with aboriginal led research the more that we are included in an an afforded opportunities to be involved within society whether that baby science finance government. The more cohesive believe we are going to be as a society as a community as an Australian community and as indigenous people. We have a lot to offer. We have been here since the first sunrise. We have been here for all of time. This is a place that we are connected to within our very essence and mainstream society has a lot that I could gain from including US within the various different faculties that that exists. Tweeden Terai Society Science. Being one of those. It's the final morning of camp nerves are hard drive. Students are about to present their project results to a full auditorium scientists cultural leaders. Even some parents have looked up. Many of the students look genuinely terrified. Results from this one to me from the planet I I the but before then he had no idea what a ones do. Every time I was I just said Struggling shoulders now. I actually have an idea what I WANNA do. Specifically Looking at sports physiology this nice. Yvonne live real feeling of relaxing. The Room and pride got to be about one of the best and worst experiences in my life. Because I'm so happy though. Come here and experience. All this made everyone just sad. It's ending sad that we left Leeds now because like on the first day I was like I'm in my room. That's it that's made for the day but like every time went on. I started to become pin with people because I've lived with these people fool like another week. Also I like. There's no point in just hiding in the corner of something because I want to make this the best experience that I can really since that there was a sort of Tom Folding few across the way I probably couldn't imagine spending days nine days what did it give you beyond friendship. Beyond friendship thoroughly just A strong sense of myself and for the students summer school doesn't end with his party that we meant horde by zero for these last two years of high school. It's such a world away from what Rosemary. Wagon aimed the gun elder on camp experience when she went to school. In the early nineteen sixties were seven year old self was shamed by a schoolteacher for being original. Was that seven year old. Now you still. She's still the to remind me of a now and again but off the ball control of and then but since I found and healed together we reclined back. How FAITH AND TRUST CONFIDENCE? Sales team at intelligence from the teacher. Reclaiming them back and we just standing on the outside of the school yard Amnon. The guy's face and I said to my seven year old man utility to what four till who what you couldn't tell her on that day and just rip you did. This is a part of the healing and reconnecting to to grow her up so she's not a seven-year-old in me anymore and over reactive and so given their we're meeting forward and I'm taking her back to you. Andy Sixty three. Rosemary is doing a masters of philosophy at Leiden University. Now where she's a cultural adviser to and my thanks to all the students and staff involved in. Csiro'S ABORIGINAL Summer School for Excellence in technology and science and to the Wiltshire Boarding School for having me stay. I'm on twitter at Natasha. Mitchell joined the ABC for walking together. Twenty twenty on the path to reconciliation. Share your thoughts. Hashtag walking together. Twenty twenty more info. Abc Dot net dot org slash. Walking together I'll catcher. 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ABC Seventeen Rosemary scientist Torres Strait Adelaide University of Adelaide C. Syros Aboriginal Summa Scho Csiro Queensland Tom Folding Torrens River ABORIGINAL Summer School for E Tesha Mitchell Kate Me Swan Torres Strait island ABC Nate Connor Tian Adamson Sarah Adamson
Medical misinformation, COVID-19, Big Data and Black Lives Matter

Science Friction

37:05 min | Last week

Medical misinformation, COVID-19, Big Data and Black Lives Matter

"This is an ABC podcast. This pandemic is biological. It's psychological. Has Your head feeling right now? It is definitely social, and it is most certainly political. You know living in Massachusetts? We have some bit of a liberal blinder and a lot of ways I think that we are very cognizant of the very poor federal response that has been happening at the national level here in the United States in it is extremely frustrating. It's a big part of our job to be able to advise decision makers, and when decision makers don't want to listen to what you have to say. It really does result in catastrophe, and we are definitely seeing that in many parts of the United States. Welcome to science fiction on medical misinformation, big data and black lives matter in this time of pandemic is in the months since these based of a virus heat. My two guests have occupied all of those worlds all at once. The TESHA Mitchell with you and joining me at two superstars of the world of digital epidemiology. They are mining digital data from all sorts of unusual sources, some very familiar to you to help us. Make sense of things dot Miami. Gender is a computational epidemiologist at Harvard, medical school and Boston. Hospitals Computational Health Informatics Program Adam Dan is associate professor in Biomedical Informatics and Digital Health at the University of Sydney. Etem part of your work as you suggested, investigates have health misinformation sporades on social media platforms in online forums, hell potent. has this pandemic being in terms of appendix of misinformation as well I? kind of feel like appendix Storms I'll take of misinformation for for a few reasons. Really I mean I just the sheer volume of of information that's being generated imposs- on. This some quite interesting studies have been done in computational social science to show that as we increase the volume of information that exposed to the influx throughout timelines, and makes it hotter and hotter for us to be able to discern what's actually credible, and so we're more likely to pass on less credible information to our friends and family and people paper now social networks, which makes it much easier to spread misinformation. And just as an example in a weeping collecting tweets about things like vaccines, all sorts of stuff for a long time, and says the first case where we were completely unable to collect all of the tweets that were related to of the pandemic. You know just attempting to collect it. We constantly ran into all of our API limits. We're unable to do all the stuff that we wanted to do so this absolute flood of information all the time, so there's too much data to work with yeah. Yeah and that makes it really hard for people to discern what's actually high quality information? What's credible information so that they tend to pass on things that may not be credible at all, but this two hundred reasons that I think that this has been kind of the perfect storm uptake of misinformation. You know there's a lot of politicization. When she mentioned already in a for example, it was reasonably obvious to those of us who looked at quality of clinical studies around the drug hydroxy chloroquine. that it was unlikely to be useful on the pandemic that it was some serious flaws in the way, the evidence was being discussed and the the way the study's being done, but when things became politicized around the drug, they quickly became sort of entrenched in the partisan communities that exist online and becomes much much hotter to to use elements to change people's attitudes on something has become politicized I. Think the other reason why is that? We had seen what I think. People become more susceptible to being affected by misinformation and letting it affect the way they make decisions in their behaviors when they're more concerned when anxious when I have a loss of control. In a feelings of uncertainty and loss of control are associated with conspiracy beliefs and. The fact we have is invisible threat that his CO. MAINTAIN A book. Such big differences in the way governments are responding stoneleigh created in Iraq kind of environment from certain feelings. Of Powerlessness, yeah, I mean. A global pandemic is the ultimate loss of control. Isn't it and it's tricky to know. Who attuned to in terms of expertise because science and medicine. Rising to Cape Up with all the variables with the very basics of this virus. Yeah, look absolutely right, and you know we have this kind of environment where there's just too much information making positive for us to tell the difference between what's credible and what isn't we've got strong. Citation makes hard to change people's attitudes, but evidence and we're in this situation. People find misinformation more salient, and then we'll likely to kind of absorb it, and then let it affect decision making, and it's been a really interesting to watch, but it's also sort of a ended a lot of the work that we try and do to study misinformation Maya Atom. maxine interesting observation there that. Misinformation, during this pandemic hasn't just sprung from conspiracy, theories or wellness theorists are wellness gurus. It's coming also from. At least science from scientists during this pandemic to an extent, because research is being done in a record time to try and chase down this corona virus, early results are being shared before they are robustly peer reviewed on so-called preprinted service for all to see. The media is picking up those papers before really they've been properly vetted by scientific colleagues, so it's an interesting phenomenon, isn't it? It is at is definitely an unprecedented time for the development of new scientific discovery and I think that one of the things that's very challenging. Science by design is meant to reinvent itself with every passing day. What we know today should not be what we knew yesterday. It should be better more refined more credible, and I think that because that entire process is not public in a way that it perhaps was not before or at least was not given the attention by the public that it is being given now I think that that definitely influences the way that a lot of early findings are now being interpreted and I think that even early findings that were credible and are now being. Not necessarily questioned, but are being overtaken by newer better science for scientists. This feels like part of the scientific process, and for the general public it can instead instill fear, uncertainty and mistrust, and I think that's one of the things that perhaps most challenging about all of this, because I think that scientific transparency has a lot of great assets, and it can really make the public feel more involved in the scientific process or like I, like to say, put the public back into public health, but at the same time. I think that the way that we communicate early findings really needs a lot of work, so one of the things that I've generally been encouraging. Is this idea that we should be looking at the body of work and aggregate at any given time to take everything that we've learned together so as to not let anyone potentially poorly designed study influenced too much how we believe or how we feel about the ongoing pandemic and I think that these sorts of philosophical changes and science are likely going to be pretty important and the months and years to come, but it is interesting, isn't it? Meyer watching the way which. Research, even if it is partial or incomplete or just part of an iterative process of understanding covid nineteen had operates in the body or what treatments we might use to to curb. have how that science gets amplified by public figures. You've looked at that as well with your colleagues when president trump. He says in in, but nominated that we might want to investigate injecting. Disabled. They was an incredible amplification across the world, and you manage to track some of that. How did you do that? Yes, there was so. This is a study in which we used. Google trends to get a sense of how people were responding perhaps to president trump's comments in so one of the things that we like to do with Google search trends especially is that we like to use it as a portal into the kinds of things that people are interested in the end. It's sounds various. Yes. No it's I mean. For you know design combination of things I. Don't know how much you can read into it sometimes, but this was extremely interesting. One of the things that we found was that falling. These comments entrust in misuse of disinfectants increased dramatically. Now can we attribute these to president trump's comments? No, it's not a a causal relationship, but what we can tell you is that it wasn't just interested. In disinfectants that increased interest in poison control centers also increase shortly after interest in misuse of disinfectants increase that combined with the fact that our poison control centers in the United States reported quite a few cases of. Related Abuse Disinfectant related poisonings. It's a pretty damning set of data when you start looking at the broader picture and I think in many ways we're trying to understand just how these sorts of comments are affecting the way that people are behaving in their day to day lives, and what kinds of comments are perhaps leading to actions that might have deleterious consequences etem. What's also clear? Is that groups who are already adept at sowing seeds of doubt around science and medical evidence to their to their followers, and we might take anti VEX group says one example have also leaped onto the covered conspiracy theory bandwagon. Leveraging off this pandemic in all sorts of ways. To further their own interest is that something that your team are observing or attempting to study? We haven't been looking in particular at how and you've axel went back. Saying critics looking at covid nineteen as an opportunity, but certainly true that the people who are most vocal about vaccination in the negative certainly at taking advantage of things like this, you know they are expert at using these kinds of guerrilla marketing, you know where they try and be as vocal as possible to be as influential as possible. We know that they can have an effect, but you have to remember that they still adjust the a relative handful of people who particularly vocal. When we look at anti vaccine sentiment when we look at a vaccine, hasn't Sam Vaccine Confidence in the population? Awesome, what we're really more interested in is the people who have a vaccine hesitant that haven't made up their minds, the not entirely show, and I make up a much much larger proportion of the population, and so the what makes the work that my team does quite different from a lot of other do I study social media and anti vaccine sentiment is that we look at the kinds of information consumption patents of just your everyday cottam social media uses an turns out that actually misinformation and this kind of anti vaccine rhetoric is often kind of. Embedded in these kind of echo chambers that exist, and it doesn't really make that much of what we as typical uses might say offer nesting their own echo chambers, patting each other on the back in most cases interesting so while these things can certainly have an impact I think we tend to focus on. This handful of people much more often than we really really should sometimes is just to ignore them and I think as. Aspects to misinformation that we really need to think about if we're trying to deal with a in the future. And I think that's related to the idea of knowing when to act so for example is case where you know someone might try and spread some misinformation, but they don't really have an audience for and what you can do by calling them out is actually to amplify it and calls it. The spread says the new really wanted to so that can be a case where we need. Need to have kind of like a library of misinformation, so we know what characteristics likely to to see, misinformation spread and become comfortable, and then only those cases when we would want to act and intervene and cold out and make a difference to try and stop it from spreading. Yes, it's very interesting, isn't it? That outrage on social media platforms only serves to amplify I wonder. To what extent the algorithms for example of facebook of Youtube of instagram complicit here in in in making those connections I to mean if you go to. High profile circle wellness bloggers. Pages. Algorithms continued and all sorts of rabbit holes. Make all the connections to other people. You might be interested in in following viewing rating, and they are often account. That's often a rabbit hole of conspiracy. Theorists wellness blows and q a Non. Followers and Algorithms of social media platforms surface and amplify things that you might never have found and I. I wonder if this has been happening with covid nineteen as well. It probably has I think that certainly true of particular platforms and I know some work that's been done on instagram and Youtube to look at these these kinds of potential to full down into rabbit holes. I suspect that that it has happened for Covid nineteen justice has happened for every other seeing. That's being interesting. People tend to jump on whatever they can jump on going to get them the attention. That I really want donate to spread their messages. I mean that's that's probably not even necessarily true social media. It's probably true social networks. Back in history as well it makes sense to jump on the things that people thinking about talking about and trying to to you know that topical as a way of trying to spread your message, or in some cases just make money because you have to remember that a lot of these wellness. Alternative Medicine Gurus or whatever they might be often. They're just to make money. University of Sydney's Adam Dunn and Harvard Medical School's Miam- agenda crunch, mighty big numbers to make sense of mighty big health questions and controversies there my guests on science fiction today on ABC Radio National and on the PODCAST. It's easy to criticize social media platforms for all the ills in society, Meyer. You have had a very interesting experience during this pandemic, your energetic twitter, then tastic twitter. In mid March you sent had a single tweet that has had an extraordinary impact. Tell us about that tweet, and what might divided it marches last time I saw the inside of my office that is true for many many people and as I was starting to set up my Home Office in March. One of the things that I noticed on twitter was the sheer number of individuals who had been booted from their labs because they could no longer go into. Do their experiments I started to wonder if there was a way that we could potentially garner all of the energy that people were kind of sitting on twiddling their thumbs with at home in a way that might be productive in our pursuit against covid nineteen. It wasn't just twiddling their thumbs when there was in the has been incredible fear and grief as postgraduate students post. Docs actually consider having to consider walking away from the. Lab Work Results. Say that much of that is more recent because I think back in March, it was unclear how long this would last. It's been several months later and I think now. We know that the the thing is not going anywhere, but I think back in March. There was still quite a bit of hope that we might be able to turn the ship around this. Batas of of energy where folks wanted to feel useful in didn't know how that's why I decided. Decided to put out this tweet where I where I called for volunteers who wanted to use their free time to start answering research questions about covid nineteen through kind of a cross institutional collective platform that would allow for a free exchange of ideas, methods and disciplinary expertise. It really was remarkable just to see how much interest this volunteer initiatives garnered and a couple of days we had more than one hundred applicants. The response responses been extraordinary that one single tweet. And with that, the covid nineteen dispersed volunteer network was born at just give us a sense of the range of people who responded and where they responded from. It's a beautiful thing. We got applicants from really all around the world we have dozens of countries represented dozens of primary native languages represented. We have a lot of epidemiologists that's for sure, but we have computer scientists and computer programmers to. It's this beautiful kind of situation where an epidemiologist who has a very clear understanding for example, say of the spatial epidemiology of covid nineteen can link up with a computer programmer and start developing a really beautiful online interface to make clearer where this thing is going, and how fast it includes questions by what does the work from home policy or sick? Leave policy in a given states biggest employers. How does that impact whether or not people? People feel like they can stay at home. When a stay at home order is given, it includes things like folks who are invested and getting their education in criminal justice in are interested in the facts of Covid nineteen on the criminal justice system that's been a really big political issue here in the United States and some states around the US we have seen more leniency in terms of releasing prisoners who have committed nonviolent crimes. One of the things that we want to understand is why are some states? Some governors more likely to make this choice than others, and can other governance systems be Najd in the right direction to make these sorts of choices. Would release is at Meyer is to release people so that they re at risk of getting coveting in the same right and using all sorts of interesting data streams mobility data from smartphones. Google search trains, you know, give us some examples of the sources of data that you kind of pulling together pint a global story paint a global. Sorry of this pandemic. Definitely so google search trends for sure mobility data from different sources including Yuna cast which provides county level. I'm ability metrics here in the United States and things like twitter data, which is Adams area of expertise, there've been a number of publicly available data sets that have been released for coronavirus research in the last couple of months, and then I think one of my favorites. Favorites is media data so one of the things that we use a lot of are these massive tech space Corpora of newsmedia data from around the world to help understand how news media are shaping the conversation around Covid nineteen and how that might be affecting the way that people feel about covid nineteen so a lot of really in the way that we like to. To say at non traditional data, sources data services that may not typically used for public health research, but are very valuable in terms of insights that they can provide from a socio behavioral point of view. Is it true that you're also using therapy? People Psychological Therapy session transcripts Dr Dentist of course. Yes, the this is a really exciting a newer project that we're working. Working on right now and it's it's been fascinating to see how Cova eighteen has been correlated with different mental health effects in the United States Senate that the another very intriguing example of how big data in the form of these transcripts can really lend a lot of insights things that we may not know to look for and I think that one thing that. Has Been. Really fascinating is really thinking about this from the point of view, not only as an epidemiologist who cares about the effects of this pandemic. long-term on People's health and wellbeing on their mental health and mental wellbeing, but also from a computing point of view, because these are some very interesting, natural language, processing problems, and by having access to psychologist since I Cairo trysts in mental health experts who really know their stuff, it's It's almost like we are really kind of defending against the possibility that we may get something wrong, and I think that that's really the the goal for these sorts sorts of interdisciplinary networks. Is Adam Dunn you. You've used tools like machine learning to study this spread of false health, information and health conspiracy theories in the like this is all true, and I wanted to go back actually and talk about one of things that is doing this actually so interesting space, and you know one of these that we talk about law in in artificial intelligence, machine, learning and data, science fannous, and how we're trying to make sure that the things that we do might the exacerbating biases in the work. that. We do so what you're talking about here. Is that many of the world's algorithms machine learning algorithms are learning from bodies of information that have biases and prejudices racist sexist excetera built into them, because that's the daughter of the world that they're extracting from, so it's about kind of almost rethinking how we teach how we educate those machine learning algorithms. That's right. Right but my argument is that that's actually not enough. I actually think that some of the work that mayes doing what I would like to see a lot more often. The wealth are whether or not we can find ways, not just fair, but things where we can make sure that the news technologies that we develop a designed in ways that actually improve education. and focus on empowering marginalized and vulnerable groups, and do things like improve their access to care or to fix things in the justice system, or to improve how we manage mental health corps vulnerable. That's exactly the reason why something like the. Disposal into your research network is so important, and it all comes down to the diversity of the voices that are insights as well as the diversity of expertise that can bring in these kinds of problems to the front to solve amendment in ways that are not just fair equitable. What you doing with this volunteer? Network is actually challenging. The traditional way at scientific research happens, but also, and this is very important to you. WHO GETS TO DO IT? Tell us about that you've synced. This gets to this matter that so much of science, and so much of the academy is very much relegated to a few institutions who get to have a say about. About -absolutely everything and unfortunately these few institutions are very white and very male, and I think that this really impacts the kinds of questions that are allowed to get precedence so when we allow ourselves to really expand the kinds of scientific voices, we include in our research I. think that this allows us to ask questions that are very important and I think that of. Absolute criticality, our personal and important to the scientists themselves. So this idea that when you're a person of color researching the effects of covid nineteen on people of Color is something that you feel personally passionate about I think that this is a very very important piece of all of this, and when you are studying a given group, you need to have membership from. From that group within the team of researchers who are studying this question, not only within that team, but leading that team, every single step of the way helping formulate these questions helping formulate how we answer them, ensuring that we don't create less equity than what we had coming in that. We create more from the work that we're doing and I think that. This really gets to this question. Because ultimately you know when when I think about what contributions volunteer can make to this network. What I care about is what they can do. I don't care where they're from. I don't care where they went to school I. Care about what they can do, and whether or not, they're willing to treat space as an equitable phase where every identity matters and we're marginalized identities get to have a voice. In the way that scientific research has all continues to operate, no, it has not been and the effects that this can have on a young person of color who is just entering the academy who may have just finished their graduate education and doesn't know the next steps a see that this is one of the ways that we can make it feel like. Yes, academia is an auction for you. You are a skilled scientist. You have the ability to formulate research questions, and to figure out a design to answer them, and you have the ability to seek out the kinds of resources and partnerships. You need to make this happen because ultimately. We're not going to be able to change the face of the academy unless we make the Academy of place where people of color women marginalized, genders really feel that they can make a difference that they can have a voice and I think that that's largely what we're trying to do here in some sense, because this volunteer network focused on the pandemic has been born off and operated outside of traditional institutions. Do you think that's what's enabled this? Paradigm, shift Yes, absolutely I think this idea that we are all online now, so there's really no benefit to only working with my colleague. Who is down the hall from me is a really big shift that I. Think should be applauded and we should take this forward. These of extraordinary that in the middle of a pandemic black lives matter protests took to the streets and social media worldwide him, and what we've seen as part of that is scientists and scholars and students. Calling out racism in universities. I! I've been incredibly moved by the Hashtag black in the ivory. which has been roaring ranging across all social media platforms, people giving their life stories about the prejudices, diving candidate in universities and learning institutions. I wonder how. You've felt rating their as you. You are not a white man. He signed. Rapidly definitely. I think it is. It has been a very inspiring kind of Synon- to see these sorts of stories, really starting to take hold and I think that the next steps beyond the soon. I speak about this frequently with my minority colleagues is. How do we create? Eighties for individuals who would not typically be given the opportunity is that in many ways I personally believe objectively they deserve. These are skilled individuals who deserve to have an outlet or their skills, and I think that that's a really interesting piece of all of this where four even within the context of the network we do try to prioritize minority researchers and marginalized gender researchers because I think these are the groups that can most benefit from a network like this I mean the the old boys club in network has existed for a very long time for white men and we don't have something similar to that for. Black Indigenous people of color researchers or for marginalized genders, and I think that this is precisely the direction that we need to start moving in in terms of creating spaces that not only empower these researchers to be able to ask questions that are vitally important to equity, but also give them space that is safe where they don't need to be explaining their identity to every last person in the room and I think when you are. are at a university or a lab space, or there is nobody in the room that even remotely looks like you. That can be very very disconcerting and I personally have been in many situations where I have been the only woman. The only person of color are often both at the same time and given room, and these are very uncomfortable. Real moments for researchers who come from minority groups and I wonder how you hear these. As well at face, value a white man in science. Look absolutely. I think the smartest thing that. Science can do is to know when to sit down and let the smart people coal. And I think that's probably. What I should be doing now, let me just echoed Mayes thoughts and say. Look at its. It's definitely not easy to be an academic. If you're the first person in your family to attend university if you don't speak English at home, if you don't look the other academics and you'll sealed in place what you work or if the choices that you make of being able to afford rent. Look after your family -cation when I was little I went to. To a public school last doubted university on Sixteen and I started a PhD when I was twenty in the scholarship that I got. It wasn't much, but it was the most stable income that I hadn't at the time. It was the most highest paying jobs. Most money had as well I. Don't know whether it's still possible to get to that point in the same way now. Academia has changed so dramatically and the expectations that we have people who want to begin journeys academia. That's the now so high. This will miss no chance that someone who doesn't see themselves. Reflected in academia, already would be would be given the cons of opportunities the that they need to be able to move into academia into become an academic now so i. really do worry that academia could potentially become less of us, but I think that people like my on cranking initiatives like. Like this whole anti-recession network I just absolutely critical, and all all we can really do from the side of the planet to just applaud the work that she's doing. It could go either way post covered. Couldn't there is ever going to be a post cove in lives one one can hope, but it could create opportunity to rethink the conserve hallowed institutions of the academy of the wine, which science gets done and distributed, and who gets to contribute or could be a kind of. Reinforcement of the privilege of people in the academy, and having of always been done this is it seems a turning point on multiple fronts. Look I really hope so here in Australia is. It's not entirely clear what's going to happen one of the problems we have at the moment. Is that the amount of money that would be normally flowing into into universities is certainly. Certainly not the optimistically. I'd like to think that we can make serious changes in the way that we we do academia. The exists in the structures that exist in academia Ustralia, but I do worry that as the money starts to dry up, the opportunities will also start to dry out, and there's a Chinese will stay with the people who already have the how. Am I. Just WanNa come back to the question of misinformation. And Hell you see the challenge ahead for. In a sense responding to misinformation around this covid nineteen pandemic when information is flowing free and fast. The challenges seem to be immense I. Mean you use El-Sayed? The data flow is massive. So where do you start? How do you what? Do you sees to bring clarity to you know it's going to be a long term effort, and there's one trick that we have you now toolkit. The is going to make be difference between whether or not misinformation spreads, and causes in society, and that is through education, the best tools of the ones that empower people to be critical of what they read online that get them to think about whether or not they really wanNA shabby information that they're reading and that really focused. Focused on empowering people, especially people from marginalized vulnerable populations to to look at what they read to understand what they read, and to really think about it before they go ahead and act on it, and so I think that that is a slow difficult complex process, but we really need to bring that level of education, often critical appraisal skills up in the community, and that is going to be the the definitive answer that solves the problem of misinformation regardless of the volume of it. Regardless of 'em how many people? Deliberately trying to spread it regardless of whether or not people trying to confuse the population or Talking points all whether misinformation politicized or going to come down to education. What do we teach our kids when they first start school about? Critical reading of the material that they see their day to day lives understanding that perhaps this really does need to start early given how much information children and young adults are exposed to now, and this information is only growing exponentially point so really thinking about. How do we intervene early for a brighter future ahead? It's a tricky challenge Marin Adam. Thank you so much joining me. Thank you for having us. Dr, Myra Magenta from had medical school and Boston Children's Hospital and Associate Professor Adam Dunn from the University of Sydney more info about them and their work. On the science fiction website and there's a link to share with us here at ABC. Science examples of covid nineteen misinformation. You've spotted on the Tesha. Mitchell thanks to co producer John Lee talk to me on twitter at Natasha. Catching Knicks wake. A. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts live radio and exclusives on the ABC listen APP.

United States twitter ABC University of Sydney Meyer Covid Google Adam Dunn Mitchell Massachusetts instagram Harvard mayes Boston Youtube associate professor in Biomedi
The radical experimenters: a rapper, a poet, and a biological artist

Science Friction

39:02 min | 6 months ago

The radical experimenters: a rapper, a poet, and a biological artist

"This is an ABC podcast. Hey welcome to side friction and welcome to the first three minutes. Units of the universe in the first three minutes of the universe doesn't expansion simultaneously Teini Asli everywhere not zero second but close the first hundred of a second hotter than the hottest star blew hot bruting rooting halt. The nor Smith Says Earth was not found or heaven above but in a yawning gap. That was grasp but no way there were no vikings kings. No Vanilla no lampshades but there was Lego like for life in the first three minutes of the universe everything started added to come together. ferment began to develop lips to form the word poem. one-star dreamed of turning away and now they're just so it could have time. I'm to shape clay. The universe became a rogue gallery of Jigsaw fighting for space and in quiet moments. Mango juice squeezed from the heavens and sparkled like Shaq suits. There was the first spoonful of the CARTWHEEL GALAXY N G C one. Three six five with its. Jim Like bots spiraled wills sentence hyperion Jupiter's moons pulsars born cramping the styles of the middle. I molecules began collecting just so that the wood Po Quaid could be part of this missing in the first three minutes of the universe. Atoms rose dancing and just like the poet. Rumi said they were dancing like madmen. Happy on miserable and they just kept on dancing lover. Melvin poet and performer Alicia. Sometimes there with her pace the first three minutes of the universe and Tesha Mitchell joining you for science friction. We're at this end of the universe you are about to in Canada. I eight poetry cosmos a biological artist who grows organisms as living artworks and a rat performer. Whose lyrics ricks pulse site with? Science Professor Oren Katz is co-founder of the Tissue Culture and art project and director of the University of Western. Australia's influential art. Science lab symbiotic. Baba Brinkman is a new york-based rep performer and playwright whose awesome Rep God's to science audits range from climate change to consciousness and Alicia sometimes is most recent show. Particle wave gathered audiences under planetarium dimes times. These three creative experiment is pushing the elastic boundaries of both at n science and shared a stage at the quantum words festival in Perth. Recently cently he's Aleisha reflecting on those first three minutes. What we want to do when we passion about and scientists connect with an audience? And I I have that problem I'm full of hyperbole and scientists aren't and I love that about them and they care about the mess they care about the facts and I hear all that and I read all that and then I'm just like oh his blitz. He's some poetry so I remember Reading Steven Weinberg's book the first three minutes of the universe and it's full of great fact so this was my interpretation mango juice squeezing from the heavens technically correct Richt by the way the physicists would disagree in that universe buddies taking a obviously a poetic license. But that's what I as a poet what I can never find the right words and the reason the movie dirty dancing connected so well with me. Is that moment. That one of the main characters is carrying a watermelon win and she goes up to Patrick swayze who she likes and says. I carried a watermelon. And that's all she can say and that is what I am like so often. I can't find the exact words and I love that about science that they can find words really matter and in a scientific communication or scientific paper hyper words mean everything but I love as a poet. I can sort of pie around with that and Taika Pot. Isn't it interesting that you draw contrast because as I often think when I'm reading your work that infect poetry and science scherer conciseness and brevity of language precision each word gets placed with intent. And yet your thinking of the relationship is quite contrasted. I totally understand what you're saying. And Brevity is so true and as a poet and I'm sure poets in the audience. They can understand this. Every word matters this and carries it's white but the thing is how do you communicate dark matter. Or how do you communicate Nebula something in biology or does I mean I can never find the right words. I love in contact. A film inspired by. Carl Sagan's book by the same. I'm Nice Cellular pinup boy. I'm so glad it was there. I didn't know you were gonNA talk about him. When demon haunted world is such an important political inspiring because well the Jodi foster character Elliott Airway says when she's thrust into space they should have center poet and finally why Korea I get to go in space so maybe on Amazon or something? I'll get to go just to ago. Mango juice everywhere. Do you feel like you could take sides. Or is that that's not your raisin for you all the Wanda I'm about to wonder in storytelling. I do understand that sometimes the failure of can you just beautifying science and that is somehow not enough and and that's why I love what so many people do is they take it apart in question and what aren was hanging is just so incredible what they do but I yes yeah so just like the storytelling and I really need to communicate it to audiences so they can just take away a little bit of wondering their pocket full of wonder. Hey John Adams Americans said you never learn if you have a poet in your pocket. I just loved that I said what are you trying to do with. I've seen your show particle wave. which takes you inside a planetarium? Describe it for people but also what you're hoping to do with that piece it's musical visual Poetic Extravaganza yes. I loved canvas of the Planetarium Dome and from when I was young and a lot of you would feel feel the Siamese diaby lie back. And you've got this gorgeous. Almost three sixty canvas above you and so I wanted to use that canvas to sell tell held. The story of gravitational waves got to work with a lot of scientists and I recorded a lot of scientists and I want the general public to coming and have a sense of awe four so it mixes poetry music visuals just to tell the story from general relativity some black holes look lookit to kill an and just sort of pint pitcher and I want people to come out and say well I might go read up on that but I had a science instinct come in an eighteen year old. He said that she walked in wanting to do chemistry and came out wanting to do gravitational wave astronomy. And I'm like my works done. That's enough poet delicious. Sometimes there when you think about rap song lyrics what comes to mind politics. Maybe six drugs love last year. American crime and punishment. Absolutely what about science though not really well here as Baba Brinkman canadian-born and and married to a neuroscientist at some point these graduate in comparatively chat court the science bug big time and he's now a renowned science communicate through he's rap gods to things like climate change evolution human nature religion and culture my first rap theater popularisation project CHAUCER's Canterbury Tales and a An evolutionary biologists in England saw that and he said good job. Now do you think you could do for Darwin. What you did for Chaucer and the first time I was introduced to do a performance which was at the Darwin Bicentennial Mark Pailin? The biologist introduced me by saying. Don't worry I checked his lyrics. You're about to witness the first ever rap performance. That's peer reviewed house like peer reviewed rap. That's the best idea ever confession. Spend my whole life perplexed. By Religiousness Front doorstep debating with Jehovah Witnesses I was a teenaged empirical thinker a spiritual seeker obsessed with rap. I considered it liberal research. This was the medium the Daca thinking speaking flipping ridiculous speech over beats like every weekend weekend my CD collection became my personal gospel. I wasn't apostle I think part of it was an unexpected side effect of doing science. This communication rap projects and that side effect was that I became way more gangster rapper and partially. That's because I used to be a communicator of my ideas in the humanities and interpretations of symbols and it all felt very woolly but the first time I did a rap show about Darwin I was I'm representing the scientific consensus around the factual basis of common human origins and natural selection as the key origin of complexity Adaptation in nature. Take it with me or the Army of scientists that you know. I kind of found this like voice in the science communication wraps that I had never had in my previous work doc because of the confidence of this is the best of our knowledge. And don't worry I checked and then when I'm up on stage it'd be like he's a fax and and Yeah I don't know I really. I enjoyed that. And it also got a great response audiences really resonated with it so I kind of became this like. It's not very hip hop to say this way. But this soldier for Scientific Orthodoxy. I mean all good rat taps into a bigger kind of power of some sort like a power our of a community or a cause or a plot so he wa science literacy. I think is an important thing that all science communicators can contribute to and wrap was not a channel that had been used for that. But I think it's a powerful channel master. The craft that could start a new religion devoid of superstition vision. A descendant of secular humanism with the ecstatic rituals of ancient mystical shame. Mystical visions except based on philosophical naturalism. Which means no supernatural or natural claims? No counterfactual nothing. But reason and evidence troops rational in my religion. The truth is sacred and science adjudicated in meditation. Who You WANNA find your human nature exists Q.? And it's not rude to face it. Enlightenment comes when we understand how evolution shape this demon human haunted world you can take it from Carl. Sagan read the Christian religion involved whether it benefits one of us or whether benefit saw nap to problems they're gonNA get solved. Religion evolve the biggest sale of society. The bigger the God people get along when someone's watching them. Religion evolved will send a rocket skit on a man mission to Mars to holy wars. Don't kill US first. Let's hope Jimmy Ball just not you know you. Mike Congregation a few years ago. I got fascinated with this field of research called evolutionary religious studies which is also sometimes called the cognitive science of religion and the ideas. Let's treat religion as a set of behaviors and cognitive processes. And try to come up with naturalistic explanations. For how how our species gained these instincts to believe in the supernatural or to attribute forces to an agency or intelligence and then also look at sort of cultural models models for how the details of each religion evolve so has of course. Religion persists in societies and eleven theorist would say will must be an evolutionary benefit. It's a complex behavior although it that's the debate is an evolutionary benefit to the individuals or a group is it to the groups or is it a side effect of something else. That's an adaptation or is it a cultural adaptation that's based on earlier physiological psychological adaptations. That had nothing to do with religion and then culture coopted it so there's varying theories he's but what they have in common is that we don't need a supernatural explanation for supernatural explanations. So when you sit down with your creationist family members or indeed audiences because I know you do and you tell them that they they fight system might be just a belly button biproduct that guy. Hi Dad when I created this rap evolution of religion show. I expected to get religious pushback but I really didn't I have people faith. Come to the show show all the time and they tend to say to me afterwards. I don't agree that that's where religion comes from. But I appreciate you taking us more seriously lead than most atheists because I think most atheists are prone to say they're just stupid they're just crazy it's a delusion you know snap out of it and at least the evolutionary evolutionary religious studies perspective perspective says. Okay I don't think it's true but that doesn't mean it's useless. So let's look at the adaptive benefits that draw people to it. It and I think a lot of people who are religious are more interested in a horizontal dimension of their religion than the vertical dimension. Like how does it change the way they interact with people. And that's what theories of religion are all looking at is what are the actual functional differences between having not having faith and can help us get to the origins of faith from an evolutionary perspective. So validating in a way. That's a really interesting point if you turned up though to to give a public lecture didactic kind of thou shalt believe what I'm telling you people without the REP track. How do you think that would go down? By contrast to an audience of faith for example or an audience of climate denies for example I think rap is designed Zayn to make you feel something I think as an art form. It's like a interact with the crowd. Colin Response Throw your hands up. Get people to laugh or cheer. Whatever at it's best that creates a rapport an openness to think about the ideas that you're talking about that if it was just like? Here's how it is. It would be more of an argument mode. I'm so I try to and hope that rap can achieve this connection visceral connection that can be a sort of lubricant for for information passing between people but nobody comes to my show and completely changes their mind after seeing one performance although they might get curious and decided to go read some stuff over time be like You know the like seed has been planted deeply graffiti with every one of the arrests. Everyone of my shows shows ends with a picture. That's got a bunch of books references back to the question at hand conscious mind. Try to predict your thoughts as best. I can and predictive predictive never even considered what religion is adapted for. Or if you have the night predict you've never heard of rap before how do I know what the Dapper I mean. It could be random drift. Could be a by. I product comes something else that has adaptiveness like your belly button which is amazing. But it's not really Ford navel-gazing onto side effects of your umbilical cord. So Religion Gin might be a viral mean that's parasitic or it might be an adaptation for maximizing descendants it might benefit individuals or it might benefit whole groups. Were might be the invention of cynical priest trying to control you or belly button glad product to recap them in the past maladaptive in the president. Those are good questions to ask. And Science can find the answers and the answers of non obvious except for the answer to where religion doesn't come from divine providence. The thing about rap is that in. Spain traditionally A. Y. will always be a way of expressing injustice rage fury anger disappointment that moment. There's an intensity of rage in many rap lyrics and this is what makes it so interesting this space in science now science is now at the heart of a whole lot of rage in society and if we look at the nature of the climate change debate quote unquote. There's a lot of rights they from all different aspects of the community and I wonder whether you're tapping into a particular vine there to wrap since the beginning has had sort of. You've strong negative emotions about societal injustice as one of its channels and celebration of the good life as a number one another one of its channels and the celebration of the good life wraps have ended ended up having more commercial success so a lot of people associate rap more with like showing off jewels and dancing and and material wealth celebration. And you don't see a lot of rage in that channel and sexual conquest. Yeah right so you know I think but I think both of those associated expressions of rap can be put towards science communication challenges just different ones rages inappropriate response when it comes to reacting to the fossil fuel manipulation of the political system in order to continue their highly polluting industry and slow down the transition to renewables like that is completely outrageous and people should feel rage. It's a it's a generational generational injustice that's been perpetrated Rabkin channel that but it can also channel the celebration of technologies that allow for greening and we can we can make electric vehicles. The new bling and wrap can help us with that channel as well. He's saying so. I think I mean really like the range of human emotions are on display in rap songs. uh-huh and it's like which one is appropriate to which science communication challenge and I was thinking about you. Climate Change Chaos Rep when when I was thinking about ride. The challenge with climate change is that you just say those words in everyone gets more depressed. So how can you have. People have fun with that in a way. That itself is something that you can play with and subvert and the techniques have rap can help so one of the songs I do is call fossil fuel ballers and unlike fossil fuel. If you're burning something Holler back back in. The crowd doesn't anything I'm like. What no one's GonNa Holler back? This is a western democracy. You guys burn tons of stuff. Let's be honest you know. And then the next time I do the chorus people alike and he started hollering and then by the end of the song. I'm like get loud if you're all the back and there was like yeah we burns off and at the end of the song that I'm like. You should be ashamed aimed if yourself so you can kind of use the tech the call and Response Techniques of rap to put get people into a zone of getting comfortable about looking at their own behavior savior and then start a conversation with that about what lifestyle. Changes are desirable necessary. You know what what are the proposed policy policy solutions to climate change. Some of which do entail a scaling down of our current abundance of civilization and others of which don't and You know it's more a reorientation away from the most polluting technologies where we still get till use energy everyday which most of us probably still WANNA do sides. Rapper Baba Brinkman their biological artist. Oren Katz Work and collaborations challenges is to think critically about the limits in the wild possibilities of biotechnology with his partner in work and life Dr Yang Zor. He's been cultivating living sells to Mike Art Forms for decades so there was the semi leaving steak. He made out of frog cells and then ate the victimless leather Eh. The jacket constructed from cultured cells the Porcine Wings Project in which he grew pink stem cells over a pair of wings because why pigs might fly and a whole lot. More work is creatively Franken. Stinian in the best kind of way Orhan no relationship decides news nemesis instrument. It's it's an interesting relationship so I went across boarders and this is a clue for you as well never till the customer. The border control people cheering artists. They would say that you so whenever I cross borders I say my work. He's he's looking at the the cultural impact of life sciences and the reason for that is actually true is as an artist. I'm really interested. In how contemporary life sciences changes which is our understanding of the concept of life. So that's the interest interest is more lyft and science in the sense yeah but sciences kind of provides the most radical shifts on spending afford fees and therefore I twenty three years ago popped myself in the science department at the University of Christmas. Rilya never lift in in a situation where actually really run research center in about science departmental not now twenty years. No that's it allows artists to come and work in a fully equipped barge club am Eh so often people confused affected. We're using the tools of science and they call US scientists but we we actually doing art using the tools of contemporary biology working with the materiality -ality of life in manipulating of life as a way to get at least insights into how undistinguished life is really needed. A major revision is a tie. Goes back to those early years of win because now you're in the mainstream you're a center of excellence in biological art but then you doing stuff that really scared the Bejesus out of people you were taking tissue cultures and growing them over all sorts of objects just described what people so I'm Steven cubing referred to is the closest thing to Frankenstein decide to fiction and live with it quite well So I did. My research actually studied product design and I was really interested in in what I observed in which is very snow but not suppose in the ninety s biology is increasingly becoming more and more for an engineering discipline in life becomes raw material for us to exploit the news and extract value from an engineer. An engineer in many different ways so I got really interested in that was predicting a future take. Designers would be called upon to design leaving biological products. Once engineers engineering them designers come into to designed and I found a suppose picked both the exciting but also extremely challenging failed. There's needs to at least explore. Some fair does What we refer to those ontological issues that are being raised from the sweet as Asian and we can now use in such a way and I think one of the most important events to tap into as I was studying was the appearance of the mouse that human errands book? Don't know how many of you remember seeing it's So that was nineteen hundred. Five demoss was created using or the era of the most was created using our technology tissue engineering and for me as someone was educated in the art and design. It was surrealist. Dream comes alive but he can't live with their hands of scientists didn't really recognize majoring. Major kind of cultural impacted the image of alive naked mouse. Oh hello smiles with human. You're going on it's kind of being on TV screen and for me. It was okay if they're doing that. I need to move in was particularly interested in this very same technology because of its ability to stop living material but more importantly I was interested in the idea of tissue engineering without debris of mouse. So what does this year. For example as a sculptural object tells about our understanding is having a body. What does not you too you know? What does it mean to be alive to have bodies? What does it mean if I can take sales from you from other people and distribute them around world what it and not just humans so so the whole field of tissue culture? Tissue Engineering became an extremely interesting one for me because I could grow sculptures using living tissue. Keep the sculptures alive and that was one still one of the main challenges. We have of bringing living sculptures into nineteenth century institutions. which are the museums are designed to keep the things waved thing exactly but basically unchanged all ideas for them to try and get a slow time and if you bring something which is living and dying and evolving and get contaminated rated off those kind of things that freaks them really fix him out? Well also you were taking the you taking what they. What is their power in a sense which is to use these these tools to grow tissue culture you know? This is a very kind of private specialized knowledge amongst very particular community. That is the community of science. Let's and he. You are some Bryson artist. Walking in and cultivating frog cells intimate that you then eight growing peak sales els porcine stem cells over wings. So you have pigs flying you know all sorts of stuff you really screwing with their head. But the funniest thing is that actually the support I received from scientists was amazing because the full field of tissue engineering it to time was just in its infancy and didn't know where it's going. What skills they need in order to do it and is a huge misperception about what artists do in the world? So sometimes we exploiters misunderstandings. They thought that we're going to make the beautiful. They thought going to communicate indicates and and create some kind of acceptance. But all we can do is artist. Great awareness that you were going to promote their work rather than critique it or rather than question mission you know because it's not even a critique of science it's critique of how we nagging behind is a culture in understanding of what life is while not so much. The science that technology technology to deciding to employ the knowledge that the scientists are generating in ways the tweezers society. We as a culture have no words or language to describe right. Did you have a comment and I just want to ask you. I'm sure you've followed this recent research where they can now grow Neurological or annoyed trains and in some million neurons or so that are in a network that show neural activity and now they're debating Is there a subjective feeling in this collection of brain cells which is functionally functionally equivalent to a tiny piece is area of the human brain. So I guess right away as you were talking now my thought was Would you have ethical concerns about creating organization based based art and if the answer is no then what would your artistic interaction be with the idea of a work of art with its own subject subjectivity. And what would be your duty of care. Is it's creating title Frankenstein exactly so those are really great question. We started exploring those questions in the late nineties. So in one thousand nine hundred ninety or one thousand nine hundred we already started the culture fish neurons and with the idea of what does it mean to grow at least kind of symbolic way fragments of brains outside of the original body from each there they were taken. Then we started to seek an extra interim we created a piece in two thousand one called fish and chips where we connected fish. Neurons to robotic arm to produce drawings owings and there was direct stimulation from environment that stimulated the neurons in order to produce those drawings detrick was taken by one of our researchers guy. Ben Ari we would develop seriously folks called meaty was working with retinue runs and now he's traveling dwelled with a piece called self so it's collaboration with team is just not Nathan Thompson. Another other researchers where he used his on sales used a PS technology which bisky took his skin cells made them into stem cells into nerve cells. GRUDEN F- sales over in a rare Felix roads that are connected to use a phonetic synthesizer display. Live with musician. Jim We traditions. So all of this is to say that here. We've been exploring during those questions of what does it mean to have things at least perceived to be responsive this Andy. I kind of stepped back from that because I treat me out. Oh yeah ask me. Alex sounds like in the logic of that project is. It's okay to torture and organize. His lungs is made from your own stem cells. Yeah that was one of the ideas that the it's like he doesn't I want to subject anyone else so we would subject on neurons into it and it's very likely that the response we got from the neurons does nothing coherent. Teach them screaming. It's like get me the fuck out of you. That's right. How would you know you need to learn their language so I love the fact that something free to add though? This is a good start. This is rich conversation conversation. But how would you describe as a poet. Your relationship to science is it is science your muse or yeah. That's a fascinating thing. I grew up with two people on my wall to start with one hand Solo. The other was called Sagan and and I a lot of teenage boys came into my room when I was a teenager and just walked straight out of that room so aw I was absolutely passionately in love with science and in high school was sort of discouraged from going down that route so I went down to not route but it just kept. I kept calling me and calling me and I find that in some ways they are completely different they have different framework sometimes and then others. They're so oh similar with without science you with both test you compute you. Guess you observe you connect. There's so many different ways that they come together and I would just love reading about science like I can't help it and I tended towards looking it physics and quantum physics and astrophysics so I looked outside of myself a bit of Hans Solo the Solo being that mercenary in in the Star Wars Saga. who was a bit of a head and you had a hand blocks to buy side? He his foreign pants and a wookey. Paul Sagan had big lapels and a gorgeous voice but he broke down science and science communication in a way that I can understand. He's COSMO's series. Just thought this is going to be my life somehow and I couldn't believe that it came to that and I always feel lacking on how you feel Baba but without a science degree. There's always that sense of insecurity when I'm looking at science but I can't help it. It's something I feel completely passionate. But after all those years of rating in you know more than any science degree would have given. You can promise you that and I'll just WANNA come back. Though to. That teacher was at a teacher. It was a scientist show but they thinking you of all people you truly in awe and passionate about physics. Well it's really funny. Those Myers Briggs test which. I'm sure there's a lot of scientists scientists who'd say that perhaps these aren't exactly scientific. They all came up with should be a scientist or an artist but to be fair to the science teacher. We were breaking breaking chickens in half and I've been a vegetarian since twelve so it was about biology and I was really backing off that and to be truthful I didn't know I didn't have the confidence to to go into science because I think if I was doing Dada Day after day after day I would have filed. I need chaos and creativity but I didn't realize you can get that in science But I just didn't know if I have nine. That physics was an option. I would have done that then. It's never too late no as you've proved RN. You're working at such a fascinating frontier. They as much going on now. In the life sciences I just did a series of programs on Synthetic Balaji which is a saint essentially using engineering principles to engineers synthetic life in all sorts of ways shapes and forms. which is you know has fabulous possibilities bility's but also fabulous concerns about what might happen if we create an organism that is then released into a population? What what happens? So you're working at such a frightening exciting excellent frontier-free aren't you think so. People are trying to make from scratch quick so they're basically trying to put together different types of chemicals to create something that would express Lifelike behavior in one of the most advanced. Groups are doing the Abasing acing Zurich in Switzerland and they realize in some stage that they would never be able to know if the successful or not so the employed philosopher to tell them if the work is going to work or not because the question of flies to realize was a philosophical question rather than a scientific one and so I think this is an ex extreme thing especially when we move now towards this idea of applying engineering logic. Living Systems engineers are not really philosophers to put it lightly. Well it's this idea. The two of engineering evolution to pick up Baba was describing to us. So do you see your role as being that philosopher North think artist of a very different role artists pointing the finger at places where we think philosophers to go so so we are. We are doctor carries the goal in the coal mine. Because you you know philosophers would rarely enter delib and what we do. And do the modal redevelopment seem to kind of get as many people involved not saying that this is the only model you can do is where we get artists to come and work in the lab experience into most physiological experiential. Way What it means to do those kinds of things. What are they learning? What are they doing? Give us a visceral sense because it this visceral. It's very visceral so but it ranges so we see yourself as a research lab. The deals with questions of life from the To ecological we seem to come focus. Focus mainly around the kind of the cell and tissue level and the idea of manipulating living cells and tissues. We also often go to the origin. So we are harvesting the cells ourselves. Yes we usually would win an animal sacrifice. For scientific experiment we would take the company buy products With and we are very much so when when I show oh my work I I often show us for some blood and guts and show death and show everything which relates to the idea of life and consequences of what does it mean to engage with life in such a mentor. We identify areas that need more cultural scrutiny driven by you know represent poets and philosophers and social scientists and geographers and whatever other people who have an interesting life but never have direct experience of engaging life that happens in labs all over the world by scientists and engineers should be doing more. Ah themselves to or are they too close to their work to understand the social ethical consequences some scientists are really good at doing that in the life sciences most of the scientists coming and because they are curious and end up acting as kind of utilitarian lead monkeys in the life sciences so much a scientist but the hyperbolic all around a life science is generating also many unrealistic expectations about the utility indication of. What's coming up in and outs of really genuine concern of sci-fi uh-huh really concerned about those unfulfilled promises? And how can probably trust is being eroded with things like the genome project and crazy promises that were delivered lever with it. There's a lot of a lot of bad sites going on then. Bed is a strange word. What is good sides? I mean there's a scientific methodology but how do you. How do he's describe what bedside sees on the other hand there's a little bad science sane and again that's a value judgement? I mean I get something out of everything that I participate in zoos but there is there is sort of bed out sometimes when you get on a high horse about something. Isn't this just anything that Sti- I identity for telling you all looking at things quite simply and just surface level and what are in saying about moral and ethical works by science and art sometimes people just push things for the sake of pushing it in. That's not interesting. So and also it's subjective objective objective. What what I think's bad you might not think spared but I think there's bad all over the world Especially akin to science are. It's just sitting the science spice. It's very easy to get to go. Oh Wow wow look at that an artist doubling with scientific knowledge. ooh But then war attempt to diagnosis. What you're talking about a good Canadian Margaret Atwood was asked so is there is writing for expressing your emotions and she said no writing is not for expressing your motions ratings for evoking emotions in other people and I think great art really understands that and takes it to his as far as it can as a technique take and a lot of people that decide? I'm going to communicate. Science with art are more interested in the science than the art. They're just like these are important. Ideas has let's try to get them to people by putting window-dressing on it fails as art so I think the intention to have it work as a as a performance or and as a work of art having the design process be taken as seriously as any other genre of art and it's also about science. That's when it works really well but if it's if you think your message is what makes it worthwhile. That's kind of narcissistic master. Batory even as well but Ralph until my students if you have an interesting story to tell it doesn't really matter what technology used to tell it and that's right that's riding any kind of riding if you just want to hear yourself then Pepsi something else fantastic. Can I please get you thank Oren Katz Baba Brinkman and Alicia sometimes sometimes joining me from the Quantum Woods Festival biological artist Professor Oren Katz Rapper. Baba Brinkman and poet Alicia sometimes thanks to co produce. Jane Lee Sound Engineers David Lemay and Christie Miltiades and quantum festival directors John McCready and Sharon Flynn Dell from riding South Wales and writing W. A. on the Tesha Mitchell on twitter at Natasha Mitchell. Catchy next time by you've been listening to an A._B._C.. podcast discover more great A._B._C.. podcasts live radio and exclusives on the A._B._C. Listen APP.

scientist Oren Katz Baba Brinkman Tissue Culture Carl Sagan Alicia US Jim engineer vikings Rumi Patrick swayze Canada Australia Steven Weinberg Natasha Mitchell Teini Asli Po Quaid Shaq
Lise Meitner and the bittersweet story of a nuclear genius

Science Friction

25:30 min | 1 year ago

Lise Meitner and the bittersweet story of a nuclear genius

"This is an ABC podcast. Attention mature joining me for sides frictions. Been following the fall at this past week after a young computer, scientists Katie Bowman became a target for trolls in IT had got all excited about katie's contribution to the algorithm. Dada. Crunching that pace together that I ever incredible pizza of a black hole in kind of missed. It was everywhere humanity revealed a picture of something so huge and amazing even I'm Stein had not dared dream it exists. We have seen what we thought was unsuitable and in the process one member of the telescope team became an instant icon predicted black hole that you would see this ring a white beat knowing we're going to get that ring Cutty was a student at MIT when she did the work. So they posted a photo of her on social media jago Katie go team black hole run. And then the internet ruined it within hours debates on Reddit questioning her credibility, Instagram, profiles and. Twitter accounts and towns YouTube result for the name. Katie Bowman included a video arguing that she'd done far less work than men on her team. It was the internet at its worst. Andrew shale the colleague getting much of the credit in the viral post targeting Bowman quickly came to her defense a now viral tweet of his own writing while I appreciate the congratulations on a result that I work hard on for years. You congratulate me because you have a sexist vendetta against Katie. Please go away and reconsider your priorities in life. NBC's Jake ward reporting on the whole crazy saga, and he's Katie Bowman has self speaking Celtic where she starts his an assistant professor of computing mathematical sciences in June. This was a huge team effort. I know like right now in the media. There's a lot of stuff going around. I single handedly the alleged project as far from the truth as possible. So I just wanna make sure everyone knows from the beginning this effort of lots and lots of people for many years. Rick and the women in science a century before us would be northing probably shaking their heads. Once. I got over the bizarre thing, we call the internet at least unders patrols when with I thi- the base that white hundred bridge in the fairytale snow wash nothing's of change and yet half things have stayed the same because women back vein which rolled in. Otherwise, if you call it the past two shows we were digging into the historical controversy surrounding Albert Einstein's fist wife Malaysia marriage on Stein over where this she was a hidden contributor to Elba tes famous work, including his theory of special relativity. And I want to bring you more of the conversation are shed for with historian of science and k missed professor Ruth Lou inside because she's author of an influential bog Raphy about another extraordinary person in the history of science who as it heavens is also a woman, the most famous discovery that leaves a minor is assoc-. Hid with is the discovery of nuclear fission, which even to this day is something that people talk about because the effects of nuclear fission both for weapons and for energy is still with us. Of course. Power man has released from within the atoms. Heart is not one, but many giants one is the warrior the destroyer. Another is the engineers seeking to provide vast quantities of energy to run the world's machines still another is the healer. The big discovery that heralded the nuclear revolution of the twentieth. Century elbowed on Stein, code lace, Amata our Mara Curie, but always interested in this famous Austrian physicist because of the contrast between her experiences, and Malaysia and Elwood's she was of the same generation as van which means as we heard with Malaya's story. She came of age as a scientist when women were Bailey late into European universities. You've described those Ailey women as double outside since they were unconventional as women in that they were women who didn't just choose to marry and have families and in the scientific professions. They were complete rarities it total exceptions and not fully accepted into this, very mailed domain, and those that did manage to become scientists and and were accepted by their immediate peers, those who knew them and understood that they work with good. They still the larger scientific community still regarded them as strange, so they were double exceptions that way. Yeah. So strange. They went to university and date to become scientists Malaya's hoped for a career in science was truncated after her marriage to Elbert Lisa naval married and her scientific career took off and the striking parallels in Lisa L Whitman. Alive is lives continuing down to fleeing the Nazis and the small meta of Nobel prize. Yes, very close parallels. Lease Meitner was three years younger. They both grew up in Austria, Hungary, where they both had the same disadvantages with respect to education. Lease miners family was not as well office malay- family. So she did not go to any special schools, but Hartley because of Malaysia and the women who came earlier, the Austrian universities open to women in eighteen ninety seven and I was just in time for LIZA Meitner to to enter the universities. She was I think twenty three when she first entered the university in Vienna. So she was one of the women who benefited from the pioneering efforts of women like Malaysia. And it seems that they both head fathers who advocated for them. And that was extremely typical for women that. That time well into the twentieth century that as girls, they had a father who advocated for them who told him that they could do it and who supported them, of course, not only psychologically, but also financially because it was usually expensive in Europe for a girl to get a an education of preparatory education. When she first arrived in Berlin, she had no status whatsoever. To her great surprise. She found that the universities and Berlin, we're not even open to women students when she arrived there in nineteen oh seven, but she asked mocks plunk if she could sit in on his classes, and he allowed her to be an auditor, and she looked around for a place to work and auto Han said that he would like to work with a physicist in radio activity, and so she was extremely fortunate just to have that chance, but she had no position whatsoever. She was considered to be a guess. East? She had no position. She had no money. Leiper completely and she had no prospects at that point forever. Getting a position because women were absolutely excluded. From even the lowest level ranks of German scientific work. Lisa into the university of Vienna. Renonwed one hundred one nine hundred hundred six I think she became the second woman is that rot ever to be boarded a doctorate of physics. This was the beginning of whole host of firsts. I wasn't at what did she go on to become to do one of the things. I want to emphasize is how much support a woman needed if she was going to be successful. At all what Lisa got was when she went to Berlin. She had tremendous good luck. That was a young man just her age who offered her a place in his lab. So that they could work together on radio activity, and that was Otto Hahn who became her colleague for thirty one years they worked under the same roof. But the first start that she got. In his lab was something that was basically extremely good luck. She would never have been able to prove herself. And then other people took notice there was mocks plunk the were a male Fisher these were very famous professors, and they gave her a position with pay. Eventually basically her career was a series of I for for the inclusion of women into German science. She was made a professor and she was given her own laboratory eventually by nineteen twenty where she did independent research and became one of the first people who did pioneering research in what became known as nuclear physics, and they basically regarded her as an exception to be sure they were not ready to accept all women. But they saw in her an exception, which he was an exceptional scientists and a delightful person somebody that they liked and wanted to include. And this was how she made her way. And she became extremely. In German physics. She was distinguished as Marie Curie at that point in the nineteen twenties. Internationally prominent as well, isn't it extrordinary that Elwood on stone cold out Murray Curie when he we are telling the story of how leases are- was able to be pushed Ford and thrive at least until a certain point and Malaya's wind. Absolutely nowhere as Elwood on stan's. Fist wife. Yes. It is extraordinarily. And it's it's it's quite sad. In a way, the woman that that he was closest to was not somebody that he could apparently support in her own intellectual life. Should she have shade the non teen forty four Nobel prosecute mystery with who collaborator of so many decades auto Han for the discovery of nuclear fission. Yes, she absolutely should have shared in the discovery. It's it's a complete injustice that she was overlooked. It's as if at that point in the nineteen thirties when Hitler came to power, basically, her luck ran out. It certainly is an injustice that she did not share the Nobel prize with auto Hawn or get a Nobel prize on her own in physics for the discovery of nuclear fission. The discovery itself was the end result of a four year long scientific investigation, which was initiated by her in Berlin in nineteen thirty four she recruited auto Hawn to work with her as a chemist, and they recruited another chemist for Strassmann to work with them. And they were a team in Berlin for four years. In nineteen thirty eight. She had to scape from Germany because she was Jewish and because she was about to lose her position. She went to Sweden she continued to communicate by letter with Han very regularly. They still kept working on the investigation and the in December of nineteen thirty eight on reported to her that they had found something unexpected that when they irradiate uranium with neutrons, they found they had bury him as a product and berry MS much smaller nucleus than uranium. So that was the first indication that something very unusual was happening with the Iranian nucleus, and he communicated that immediately to Meitner she responded at once that this was not impossible that the uranium nucleus would break up. And so that basically was the discovery of nuclear fission, and as I see it, and as as documents show, it LIZA might contributed to that. Education, even after she left Berlin right up until the end a few months after she left. It turned out that in Nazi Germany auto Hawn and Strauss could not include her name on their publication. And so the publication of the barium finding went out under the names upon and Strauss mon- only and then lease a Meitner with her nephew. Did the first theoretical interpretation of the fish and process, which also was a great discovery. And they were also the first to name the process in English nuclear fission. So she's very much associated with the discovery. But people who didn't understand how the discovery took place attributed the discovery to and Strauss men because their names were on the paper. And only Han got the Nobel prize. It has remained very controversial decision. It's one of the Nobel decisions that has been regarded as as almost scandal at the time by other physicists, and by other scientists who recognize it might in our had taken part in the discovery. So after fleeing the Nazis, Lisa Martin and lost out on the nineteen forty four Nobel prize for chemistry. Eat went to her longtime collaborator and framed auto Han in stage, but she had all the concerns on mind when he nine hundred forty five she wrote to him in a visceral Bing later are written many lead. It's in my thoughts in the last few months. They corresponded regularly throughout the laws, but these Salita stands out because it was clear to me that even people such as you have not comprehended the reality of the situation like many other non-jewish scientists tons died in Germany under Nazi rule his confession contributed to the country's wartime. If it to develop nuclear weapons, and yet after the war, he proudly distinguished himself as a no nutsy. He detested Ruth Lewin. Sometime says hey, presented Jim in science has somehow undiminished. In excellence. Untouched by it's national socialist past giving it a a persona that was historically empty and politically sterile sciences, somehow appear enterprise Untited by the hell of history that Lisa Martin a sore his choices differently and in June, non in forty five ROY these. You worked for Nazi Germany. You did not even try passive resistance. To absolve your consciences. He helps some press person here in the but millions of innocent people were allowed to be moded. And there was no protest. That you I betrayed your friends, then you'll men NGO children in the alleged them give their lives in a criminal war. And finally, you try Germany itself because even when the will was completely hopeless. You never once spoke out against the meaningless destruction of Germany in the last few days. One is heard of the believably gruesome things in the concentration camps, it overwhelms everything one previously feed. I have just returned from the Belsen concentration camp. I passed through the vani and found myself in the world of a nightmare typhus typhoid if some of them is decay lay strewn about their faces of the window flow near emaciated faces of stopping the week. I saw man wondering days along the road staggered on someone else look down at him took him by the heels and dragged him to the side of the road to join the other bodies lying on bury the dead and the dying Lakers together. I found a girl she was a living skeleton. She was stretching out her stick of an arm and gasping, something it was English English medicine medicine, and she was trying to cry but had not enough string. Perhaps you remember that while I was still in Germany. I often said to you as long as only we have sleepless nights and not you things will get better in Germany. But you had no sleepless nights you did not want to see it was uncomfortable. I beg you to believe me that everything I write. He's an attempt to help you. Lacan Stein as juice scientist laser head to flay Nazi Germany. I'm in the parallels are endless he in these stories between Malaysia Elbert and laser she had to flay Nazi Germany, not in thirty eight to save her life. She lost her status. She had an entry level job in Sweden on the other hand on stan's career continued to skyrocket as he flayed Nazi Germany Martin ahead, quite the opposite experience to Elbit quite the opposite experience for minor. So so what was the difference? Well, part of it was that Sweden was a much smaller scientific community there were more rigid hierarchies, and she came in as an immigrant, and as foreigner. And as a person who didn't know sweet it this way dish language, and of course, she was a woman, and there may even. Have been an an anti-semitic thread in this unpleasant story. But the main problem was that she did not get along with the person who's institute she'd been indicted to come to his name was Mani seek bun. He was the most powerful physicist in Sweden. He was on the Nobel committee's as were his students. He donated the Nobel physics committee, and he basically saw to it that she would not get a Nobel prize, despite the fact that during the course of her life, she had forty eight Nobel nominations of which about thirty five were for nuclear fission. Wow. So even within credible success all has accomplishments. Do you know what impact that had on her Ramoche inally the original impact when she discovered that? She was not nearly as welcome in Sweden is-. She had hoped that she would be she was devastated because for a number of reasons. Was that she didn't have the equipment or the support to do to do her research, and because she just had lost so much. She had lost her status. She had lost income is she had social so little income that she had to think about whether to send a letter if she could afford the stamps, and of course, she had left behind in most devastating way all the things that she had worked for in the course of her of her career, and and she was left with nothing at the age of sixty it. It was very devastating, and it appears that they were periods where she was quite despondent. But she kept on working the entire time that she was there in eventually she after World War Two. She did get a better position in Sweden and worked there for a number of years before she retired. I'm thinking then of the parallel story of Malaysia who didn't even get into a scientific career despotic respirator to do. So. Can we imagine? Can we Paul the size? What would if they mean packed Malaysia of having to give up her scientific career as she had children and supported helping on stan's exploding Korea. It must have been very similar because her dream for years had been to work as as a scientist either in physics or in mathematics, and she she was able to realize none of this. It is must have been absolutely devastating to her. And yet it is also clear that unlikely who never as far as we know had a serious relationship and always remained single by choice. It's clear that Malebo wanted to have a marriage and family, and this was very difficult for women at that time. Of course, we know that Marie Curie did everything two Nobel prizes. She was a wife mother of two daughters. She was. Was remarkable exception. But most women at that time who aspired to a career many women of that time did not marry because they felt they could only do one thing and that they needed to devote themselves to their work and some states I were on the allowed to do one thing. And I'm wondering to what extent we know with a history is infused with hidden stories of women, scientists working alongside the scientific husbands or other mile relatives. And we just don't know they contribution. I think that is must absolutely be the case. And the question of of women who whose contributions we just don't know of. It's a very interesting question before women were able to get a university education. That was there were many cases of women who did work with their husbands who are even learned from their husbands and then worked with their husbands because they wanted to do. Science and because this gave them a chance to do it. And so the the idea of scientific couples goes back hundreds of years because that was the only way or one of the only ways that a woman could actually work as a scientist. And and do what she wanted. And we often don't know about those women because historians only recorded with amended or because it was only the man who could put his name on the scientific publication and so on. So we only hear about it indirectly through documents through letters correspondence that we get an inkling of some of those women, and I'm sure there's many women that we we will never know of what do you think we have to think women like malivert marriage and Lisa Montana four today. We have to thank them for for doing everything they possibly could for getting out there and working and striving and being ambitious and LIZA might nurse case. She did in his. Tana Shing amount and became an example for people all over the world for for male. Scientists to recognize that women could be scientists as good as they were in Malaysia's case, her contributions are less obvious. But they're still there. She was in that first group of young women in of her generation who went in in rather large numbers to the universities to get an education, and who proved to the older generation and two men in general that women could do it. And the result of that was the universities were were open to women. Marie Curie really stands out as an anomaly, doesn't she and. Yes aims to Bain that unique fully collaborative relationship between her and a husband Pierre. Yes. From from the very beginning. And the fact that he was in establish. Scientists when they marriage he was quite a bit older. And so he he had a job and a position, and he could offer her a place to work, and she also had teachers and mentors who were who've you'd very positively and who helped her as well, and they were threatened by her genius. I mean PA was not threatened by her genius it saints. That's right, Ruth, Lou and sign thank you so much for joining me. It's interesting to talk to you about laser. And the live is legacy. Onsite grateful to you. Thank you. I want to thank you for your good questions. It was fun to talk to you. Lace Amata died in nineteen sixty eight Ruth Lou and psalms bookies code lace might never life. In physics originally published by the university of California price catch up with the whole series about on Stein's, first wife Malaysia in the science fiction podcast fade, and you can catch me on Twitter at the Tesha Mitchell. Love to hear from the back with you next week from more culture and science with extra spots. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives. On the IB say listen up.

scientist Nobel prize Germany Malaysia Lacan Stein Berlin Sweden Marie Curie Han physicist Katie Bowman stan Twitter ABC Nobel jago Katie Lisa LIZA Meitner professor Ruth Lou
The jet stream daredevil

Science Friction

25:35 min | 1 year ago

The jet stream daredevil

"This is an ABC podcast Helena, Tesha Mitchell. He welcome have you ever had one of those oddball dreams way? You find yourself suspending both gravity and reality and you start to live tight and suddenly you flying with the booths. In this episode of sods friction you mating a dead able who does just that. He's gonna try a wild experiment with these own body and he's chasing a world record. I always wanted to a superhero. Chicken. Superheroes. They always. This is Mike has it. And he's grouped by an obsession he wants to fly alone. So in the with Atta plane or Glava and he wants to do it fast. Lied passion for flying wind power has in my childhood. I always wanted to fly like. Convert. What I started skydiving quickly realized, but with my size, my weight, I was all his faults flying forward and in two thousand and twelve I set a first world record three hundred four kilometers per hour in ground speak without anytime. As a next step. I wanted to find out how fast I could fly with a good tailwind and the best option, of course, would be hurricanes, but hurricanes are more or less suicidal. So the second best option was the jets. I'm just not convinced that throwing self into the Jetstream is any safer than throwing yourself into hurricane taking into the sky will be my co pilot fifties episode of science friction ABC documentary maker, lean Gallaher now Leanne is actually politics in real life load. Tash? It has to be said, I'm just a by product. I'm still learning. So you want? Shit show. I just made to think about. Stephen. With the eighty bugging the rod spot. We. What wouldn't you flying? He lied. It's a little military jet called machete. I'm in the back way, the rea- gonna would sit and I've never felt so cool. And so yours us all at the same time. People often get seeking these machines. It's just too fast. She'll like did you vomit swallowed? But let's talk about something else. Can we think Jetstream it's kind of like the planets via belt of the sky? It's what migratory birds and commercial planes us. And it's a high altitude current of air it moves fast at least one hundred kilometers now birds and planes, the Jetstream hitchhikers, but what sort of craziness does it take for a human in this case Mark to consider throwing their body into the jet stream without you know, a big plein wrapped around them t- extreme is very extreme. And the temperature up there will be modest forty degrees celsius. He'll be wearing thermal prediction suit, and he'll have his oxygen. So he's gonna head up in a hot air balloon and then jump out of the basket of hot air balloon into the Jetstream. What just jump out? Oh, well, he will have a parachute. So many weren't open that parachute until he's hit that record. Breaking speed that he's I mean for okay, we're talking about twenty. Four thousand feet above sea level and just to give people a sense of what that looks like. That's just undermanned Everest. Yes. So it's almost but not quite at the point where you can see the curvature of this. What about the balloon pilot as he? Okay. About going up at high in you know, he is. We've recalled balloon pilot balloonist he's been up that high before. And he knows what the limits of the machine and this is rod on the edge right on the limits of what a balloon like this can do. Okay. So you're gonna take us ringside to witness in this episode of science fiction, the whole med trip moment by moment. I'm flying up with another Steve Steve gale, and he's the one with the little jet flight applying the one that we had before. Where in the middle of New South Wales in Cumberland, and the locals comp believe this is happening in their town. It's the not before the big jump, and I wanna know what Marx feeling. It was quite a bit was last minute planning. And I think that's usually how it gets at the end. But the no, you're all ready. Even we can even get of sleep. Yeah. Well, it's about recording. Yes, I'm recording. I'm thinking, maybe two. The main target in the main goal of the mission is to show the untapped clean. Energy potential of the jet stream if you want to attract people for such a such your subject, you have to make a kind of stunt median, I think kind of stunt when you have to jump without wings at all. So you jump into normal suit. Then it could maybe a tracked people to the higher coz. And that's why we're doing it. We've just wanted into the conduct pod. But this point so what's this higher? 'cause Lynn that marks talking about the jet stream being potential source of energy. We'll back in his home in Switzerland. There are a number of start at companies that are doing these. They using the power of the jet stream to produce electricity rods a little bit like how winter vines would work on earth early. This is all happening up Janda. Yes. A bit of both. There's a car that goes up yonder. And then there's a string that comes back down to earth. And that's where the little turbine is. So the thing is tethered up into the jet stream. And that's why people think is not very viable and actually quite dangerous. So it's very very much in the experimental phase. But you know, I actually think mocks higher coz might be something else. Hey. Yes, you are Nova. Early Jonasson miserable. Pint Shane though, I have I have. Yeah. Yeah. Yes. I will open to the otherwise it would hurt. And then I think it will work must work. Okay. So is my leaves the pub to get a good nuts late because it's going to be moderately stuff. You will what do you recommend high was easily? I think it's got to do with human ambition. I think it's got to do with that desire to fly. That's completely crazy away. When deal foot is a pilot in a professional economist, and she designs environments that might people perform at their best. And so she's really interested in aviation. And when I told her the story of Mark Hausa, she told me the story of Harry hawker. Harry Hoke was very famous stating aviator in nineteen fourteen. He figured out that not knowing how to reliably we come from his spinning ally aircraft, and that's cool, spin recovery. It was basically one hundred percent failure rate at that point one hundred percent fatal. So this was June nineteen fourteen is in Brooklyn's in with tabloid biplane flying well about the English countryside. He thinks he's going to get this red hot shot. So basically freezing winds Castrol against the the goggles. It's not great flying conditions. If you can't really see what's going on. But Hayes determined to do this. So he does very slow loop, which he knows is kinda stole the aircraft. And he drops into the gyrations a wing drop a couple of turns. This is basically the beginning of the end for most people, and what Harry does it doesn't work. So. Here is spinning towards the ground. In fact, he flies into the ground. But fortunately this forest between him and the hard part of the ground. So he does actually land up in hospital cut and bruised but alive, but being determined sort of person he is Harry decides that today's site who's can hop into playing again beginning above the English countryside and give it another shot. So this really is the McAfee insanity, but he's pretty determent. So what he does is push the noise down further into the ground. And the last thing you really want to do if you're flying plan in spinning to the ground is basically push push the nose down further into the ground. But it turns out that that was the secret to the recovery. So we all a lot to these brave stray in polit. He put his body on the line to figure out something fundamental is the sort of knowledge that doesn't come any other way. He's doing something utterly contradictory to his own survival instinct, but every. Polit goes through. These Wendy Ilford has self has been there really believed that you can do it. And you have the plane get yourself out to the flying area. You're wrecking your good to guy, but you really not not mentally, but you should be. And this is little doubt Tinsley, but he got along for it because you've actually done that a few times by now you've done lots of practice Stolz in the instructors bay name. So you go ahead and you stole the plane. And then, of course, the next thing is it does go into in incipient spin. And I can remember it stunning. It's fist couple of tunes towards the ground. And I'm thinking this is not a good thing. And then the Knicks Saudis that one hundred percent the only person who can fix that situations. No one else in the plans. It's no instructor. You'll do exactly what somebody other pilots done before. And you'll fly the plane into the ground unless you do exactly what you were trying to do. So funny enough. He's throwing you right writer you push the stick forward. You sent to the frauds again and bring you back on over sudden the horizons up again much to your relief. So I didn't really need to do anymore stores at day. But once you've actually done that you're in a position to blame that you can do it again and did make me feel not invincible, but very much in para myself, and then the rest of it's really not luck. But circumstances. So have you had to do that? Lynn put yourself into a tailspin and then get out of it. I instructor. But I am about to do it on my own and one of his taking risks facing your fear. When you learn how to fly is really important because it helps you with unpredictable situations when you do get the Marcus and really learning how to fly. I mean, he's not learning how to fly an apply and he's learning how to fly in the sky with Atta planes. I can we actually compare him to Harry hocutt eating well is he's like any pilot. He's trying to himself for this moment. He's got specialized equipment he's done his risk assessment. And now he's going for it. Tests of my own oxygen system in a called chamber Switzerland's at Vina's. Six degrees trains in a decompression chamber of the Swiss army to simulate hypoc symptoms, and we made balloon jumps in Switzerland. I it's the morning of the Jumpin condi- Berlin take us. It's doc. It's five I am called and tents where in the local showgrounds the ground crews, helping Mark into his oxygen suit the balloons. They're lying on the ground ready to in a flight and Mark still waiting for a weather report. How you feeling? I can't really talk tomorrow because of his oxygen mask. But he's now in the hot air balloon with the operator stay refund and another skydiver Tom Goldman, they'll take him out to the hot of twenty four thousand feet. This experiment needs very very particular with conditions high spayed winded high altitude and little or no weaned at ground level because the balloon needs to be able to stop when it lands. So if the conditions aren't right. Lynn will they call it all off. Yes. And that's what's making Mark really knows. Still swimmer. Haney? Not not exactly what we were hitting for now. It's a quite the opposite. No inspir- clouds. I think that's where you by ruthless. Right. You're the lucky guy you promised. Make as you can hear wiring up the risks. But it's not black and white. We're talking about shades of gray, you can cut with some things going wrong. But there's always a tipping point in aviation. They call it the Swiss cheese fixed because that's when the holes dot joining up. And that's when there's a disaster. There's nothing citing million. Well, we can go on is what? The information that tells us so. We can't just make up what we want. We're gonna go on what's actually in front of us. But there's a plan. So at least looks like we can get a safe landing the people here who think the experiment should be called off. But Mark and his crew are going to go for it. So I'm waving goodbye to the balloon as it takes off come believe it they going, but how record is will help us listening to what happens next. Yes. Now inside the basket. It's about forty minutes on and they just hitting the jet stream. Trai? One train. Oh, that's three now. But something's going wrong. Have gone out because of lack of oxygen? It seems that the polit lots gone out. Stay in the background trying to read not the pilot light. Make matters was the oxygen supply has started too late. That's killing God. God. Connie out of the basket, I can panic lighter. But now they have to survive and now. Mocks plying. Stretching himself out into a smooth shape making himself as flat as he can. His descent across this dry land. Skype takes him about six Columbus to the next town of folks. And then the moment he lands. He's greeted by unsuspecting farm in a field of shape shit any post. This message a voice message tweets friends. I'll play it for you. I was lending safely, but thin the problem. We had a lot of problems. And I hope they could ignite the fire again dependent went down at the same time where it's problems with the oxygen. I hope Stevens Tom are fine. I do not see them on this guy. But maybe it's too far away for me, see them. I have no idea where they are. So I'm saving ground. Everything's fine for me. But I worry about the balloon guys. And the balloon guys are in trouble. They're facing a rocky ride this still up high struggling with the bonus. The good news as they descend. This has been very tame sling burns comeback on because they is more. So there I k. Down down down. Right. Go. Come back to. Great experience. Oh, man. Two pokes kiss. Relief. So everyone's like high and everyone's landed and when I caught up with Mark this is what he said happened. We had hard time in the bus cut. It was a really really stressful and Steve's just shouted at me leave leave leave our that was was leaving like chicken like a coward and leaving my two friends behind. So it was really it was a nightmare to be honest. The thing is China will record in all these let's not forget these deed, Mark manage to go faster than three hundred and four kilometers per hour, and the Jetstream given that he just sort of had to get out of that balloon with no real sort of com. Planning had to just lay pad. Well, true to the detects a while to figure this out because Mark was carrying six GPS devices and that helps trek speed help track the spate five of them file on what else can go wrong. I only needed one to work though. So we all gathered in a cafe, and we had to hover around power points to charge mobile phones and computers, and we're able to figure out the Spade. There we could crunch the numbers it was too. So you just crudely going through the numbers and say, what did you get the result week was two hundred seventy one five. Clumps horizontal speeds it was good to be in there. And to the first one without wings in jet stream. But the result was not really overwhelming. But very crispy, and that's factoring. The virgin for his to the ground. Do they feel like it was fairly? Well, it's weird. Because Mark went slow in the Jetstream. Then he didn't steal it in still a he went three hundred four kilometers an hour in the Jetstream with seventy five knot tailwind. He went unle- two hundred seventy so even with a towel wind to his advantage. It didn't work what what was going on your again. Well, Wendy, L foods, really interesting on this. When you deal with risk at that level. And you're in fear, you have to be so focused that. You've got outta control of all your faculties full awareness of your operating environment. Situational awareness is key to surviving. These situations at the first level and certainly to perform at your best. I he knew when he jumped out that he wasn't going to be in that state. It's it's highly critical fuel performance that you in control, and he wasn't in control at the time. He left the balloon. But it's still taking risks in the air. And I'm just wondering is this something that can be learned from an experiment like marks. Oh, absolutely. Do believe though that these like a love scientific experiments when you do something. That's really edgy. You do which the knowledge boundary not just for yourself. But for others, the Jetstream, obviously, he's gonna be a big part of our future experience of flat Votaw, and every time we got for flight, you'll hear the PA say, you know, we have begun to pay without altitudes, go faster. Catch the towel wind and max experiment is had you fly fast as human being in the jet stream. That's what he aimed to do. But because when he was forced to jump out. He was so flustered by the circumstances that he lift the balloon in that he didn't actually manage to accomplish what he intended to do which was to fly fast in the jet stream. So I think we'll see him up there again, just like we saw Harry Hokka and despite his crew ending up in a genuinely life and death situation. They do say that do it again, crazy cats. So you you did a phenomenal thing everyone's still one bit. And this possibility of other ventures, right friends. So that's all you on any adventure. You plan to do a future. A bit euless. I don't care what it is. If I can do something of use albeit. Thank you. Thank you very much decorated. Mark was really moved by this offer of support. So the whole adventure didn't go hundred percents according to plan and the question was it worthwhile. It's hard to tell now with everyone is safe in lung piece on the ground. I would say yes, of course. But we were really lucky. Given the much went wrong with his experiment. I mean, the burners went out the oxygen leaked the JPS is collect at it. Really does actually sound like luck head of a lot to do with even the success that they achieved I'm imagining this isn't a day that you're going to get any time saying what an adventure? Absolutely. It was an amazing day. And what struck me about this experiment was that we need people. Like, Mark we need people like Harry hawker because these kind of risk takers do make the world safer for the rest of us, particularly in Egyptian. Yes. But you could just construe Mark being, you know, a classic adrenaline junkie and really not in it for the because he is different from Harry hawker in that regard. But we still need people like that. And we need people like him. I mean, think of what market shaved he's taught us a lot about human psychology and extreme conditions about how he might harness out fears and manage stress in diabolical situations. And everyone involved did get to know more about the Jetstream. So, you know, maybe one day we will be able to harness that power cut Santa that possibility high-grade having you is co pilot on science fiction this way, can you come again. I'll try and good luck with the policy since he can catch leans work over on our sister programs Itihaad and the history listen podcast to subscribe to along with science friction and don't forget science fiction live if you passing through Melvin at the Melba museum, it's part of our events series. Next one November the first it is the future six it will be salacious head to our website to book. And thank you to send engineer, Angie. Grant is on the test Mitchell. Talk to me on Twitter at Natasha Mitchell. See you. Sure. Think about. Eighty. Just a little just wishing. One.

Mark Hausa Jetstream Lynn Harry hawker Switzerland Natasha Mitchell Steve Steve gale ABC Stephen Wendy Ilford Tash Mike Harry Atta Castrol Swiss army Harry Hoke South Wales Twitter
Let there be ROCK: science in the moshpit

Science Friction

25:36 min | 1 year ago

Let there be ROCK: science in the moshpit

"This is an ABC podcast. No, it's not. Okay. Yes. And you are in the right place on science breaching, the Tesha Mitchell cranking up the volume for this edition. Dinah cheang. It's semi in June. It's Matt Lloyd we don't need to worry about. Philip mariachi is a metalhead. It'd be quite noisy. Lots of feedback. Can you hear that? No on the Ladda plays. He's also professor of physics at the university of Nottingham meaningless Midland's, which you might know as home to another rule breaker of night. Robinhood. The new I condemn year is just started here Notting amend. It always fills my heart with joy to see students wondering with a whole range of metal t shirts. You know, the suburbs. Thin Lizzy the metallica's the slayers. Metal never dies, and it just passes on from one generation to another those links between I think physicists on metal pretty strong. Drew, Ben diagram of the to the alarm might of overlooked. Phillips, new book is called win the uncertainty. Principle goes to eleven or how to explain quantum physics with heavy metal. So that's what we're going to try to beat all of in between the guttural guitar chugs and fills own story of finding a way to fully express. He's two biggest passions. Does a wonderful quote by guy called live nets who developed calculus in parallel with is Newton, and they really didn't like each other. They fought him about who actually had presidents in terms of their element of calculus, but lightness was a polymath so interest in a wide range of different things. And there's this wonderful, quote, which is news is the sound of the human mind counting. When it doesn't know that it's kind of thing. Isn't that is wonderful? Yeah. Under these incredible links between Matt's on music and physics in the UK, at least one thing that's a little bit irritating at high school. We have this level system and students typically do three subjects on the problem is the tend to go either down the arts and humanities route or the stem root in a will have lots of students who will have done maths and further maths and physics on student. That's done, for example, Matt's further maths and English is relatively rare happen, but it's relatively rare. A not we lose a little crazy because people who regret it maths are often fantastic music. There is something at the heart of both a certain kind of pulse. A certain kind of patent making. Absolutely. What really brought it home to me is my daughter was seven, and we were doing fractions. And it did not matter. How many pizzas I brought in many ways we slice them up. And I must put onto stone aware and pizza trying to put across fractions. What made the difference? She'd played piano since was about five as okay Nayef, think of it in terms of Crawford's and quivers and semi quivers. And think of how the bar is broken open to Bates and think about subdivide knows Bates. And then she suddenly got him say that in the start, and I would make sense. Those links very deep. I think I'm also thinking of the physicists set of soon when he's boatswain was discovered. They compose the one of them. Composed a heavy middle reef based on the darter that that extracted did. Did. What I really dislike idea that physicists are sort of cold hearted automatons. You know, you can have all the emotion, you can have those emotional reactions, even though you know, you understand how the the physics works. Big bloody bang theory is a lot to answer for in. That regard. Yeah. I like it my kids, really. The TV show, but it does play to the stereotypes very very badly. I think it can be a little bit frustrating because we're not all like, Sheldon. Not all of. When did you first pick up the Qatar fourteen? So I'm a teenager of the eighties. So got into Qatar around about the same time as something called a new wave of British heavy match Wadham so behinds like iron maiden. Saxon dot type thing. I was a huge fan of thin Lizzy. So that's really how I learned to play guitar was by learning rifts in solos, he'd better give thin Lizzy. Reef. Oh, let's say. That's something called don't believe a word just off the top of my. There was a little bit of Prague metal progressive mentally Mary onto the Canadian ban. Rush, a huge. That's my favorite band is Russia. I love Russia minute orbit of an acquired taste the vocals, go off in the stratosphere somewhere. No one. Let's say. Let's see. Okay. So classic. That's the men we're for something called Tom Sawyer, which is probably the most famous tune, and it's making me very happy date. It sounds like film laureate. He heavy metal not only Neelie ended you'll career in physics, but ultimately saved it. So yes. So I did my high school subjects and in Ireland. We actually do seven subjects it's quite broad compared to the year levels. I was talking about I was actually torn between do an English and doing physics. I ended up choosing physics and for the first two years. It wasn't so bad the third year. I was in a band. It's sort of ramped up a little bit. We were gigging a lot. And I got a lot more focused in the third year. My four year degree on the music side of things. Actually ended up failing my exams big time. Big time really to the point where I had to repeat that third year. Now at the time when I failed those exams the bottom dropped item, I world actually, it was the very best thing that could have happened to me because otherwise I would have drifted through. I would've probably ended up with a, you know, a past agree or what's called a third class degree. There is nowhere to appear to if I hadn't failed those exams wouldn't have given me the kick in the behind. I needed to actually go onto a PHD. So in that sense, filling exams was very best thing that happened. Thank you still got onto you Qatar all the way, dry get into as regularly as possible, intellectual. So. Yeah. Britney's fees beyond say, it's not happening. What triggered you to stop thinking about the relationship between heavy metal music and quantum physics? It was in the codes of rush. What is relationship quantum physics is a theory of waves? Ultimately, that's what it's all about. It's waves overlap and interfere and interact with each other. I'm what's music will music is if you excuse the over simplification is just signed waves, it's signed waves interact that you're a scientists the alternate reductionist. Yeah. Obviously triggers who wanna get even further reductionist triggers certain biochemistry inserts. Actions. Haven't said that it's I'm a physicist. So I'm contractually obliged to mention Richard Feynman in every particular talk and interview, I do so Feinman was talking with an artist about, you know, the beauty of a flower on the artist was saying, well, you physicist, just reduce it down to, you know, Whitey would use it down to this brass tacks of the light is interacting with the flower, and what colors out reflects in the wavelengths of that interact with the electrons cetera. And finally said that I agree totally as you might expect detract from the beauty odds to the beauty. So when you play a note, and I think about the Hamanaka's Monica make note, the resonances that make up the notify pick the Notre a certain place that's going to excite different amounts in different resonances that to me to the beauty. It doesn't attract to the beauty. So does that aspect, and then there's also I'm particularly with music, you can introduce the physics by the back doors at where so many who thinks what I'm interested in music. But actually this physics stuff. You know, it really isn't for me by making those links between the physics and the music you can show them. What actually an awful lot of the music does relates to physics tells me to mats. And if you like the music, well, actually, you might like some of this physics matzos wet, well, this relationship between heavy metal music and quantum physics starts with waves the movement of energy through space. I mean music's all about that sound waves. Quantum physics is all about that too. But quantum physics is happening at a tiny tiny scale so hell if he translated all your kind of heavy metal metaphors, Dan to the sky of the corner him the Nanos scale, which is where you spend your life working as a physicist it is indeed. And that's what we do. That's what the day job is imaging single atoms and single molecules and moving them around picking them and poking them, unplugging them and prodding them. We're now at the point let's say way, I mean, the scientific community not just Notting whereby we can build structures atom by atom. And that's that's really really exciting. The core aspect of quantum is that you once you get to that level, and it is bizarre. There were many things we understand by quantum physics one of the things we can do the Mottes for but still haven't quite got our heads around in terms of what it means physically is that you can describe matter with waves once you get to this level. So instead of it being the hard like little billiard ball idea that we have in our heads atoms these little bills, and sometimes when you do the experiment in certain where they look like other times, you do experiment. It's remarkable behave juice like waves on the interfere like webs and the patterns you get in terms of the arrangement of the atoms on the Richmond of electrons and fundamental particles like that these wave light characteristics. So. A wave is a wave as a weird though. It's. Exactly. Fictional heavy. Metal band mate allies, I made allies with the double L important distinction because there is actually a band apparently cold may Elisa VC's band, but you tight them into the world, what range of things have you managed to taste in terms of quantum physics. It's a bit like fantastic, boys. So what we do is shrink them down. And we think about things like toiling what would happen if they were. You know, if there was from all the way down to the atomic and molecular level quantum mechanical tunneling, we think about phase tour's would sound we think about overall in terms of the dynamics of the mosh pit imagining that are single molecules and how they bounce and interactive each other on how that links into quantum mechanics. We think about the signs of the oversleep we have them whistling at times Trump picking out the differences in the signal, and how that relates to a quantum physics and quantum physics, and I spent a chapter focusing on this really, which is the theme of the book the title of the book, the insert. He principal goes to eleven to draw those links between. In the. Guitarist played in heavy metal. And what that tells us about the certainty principle in quantum mechanics. Even consider Masha the Moshe the physics of Marsh pits is on believably fascinating. So that stems from a paper published by a guy called Jessie Silverberg and his colleagues who was at Harvard at the time, and it's got the best ever title for a physics paper ever. And it was actually published in physical review letters, which is one of the most prestigious journals in physics, which is collective dynamics of humans at heavy metal concerts. They considered the motion of moshers at heavy metal concerts using exactly the same principles as physicists use to describe how molecules moving gases now molecules are not intelligent, the not Cenci, and they are very dome and a bounce randomly off each other on. What's incredible? Is that the dynamics and the motion of Marshall's at heavy metal concerts can be explained in exactly the same way as the motion of Molly. Cules in a gas. It's fascinating these saying about the collective IQ of a group of Moshe's in mosh pit the heavy. Metal gig nothing at all. I reserve judgment. My wife interacting with emotion at a gig. Is that I stand on the age and push everyone back into it. We usually boys. So they can have some spice today. It's if we took these old onto the quantum level. This is where things start to get very we'd as you explain. So I could actually I could actually just move through the crowd without expending. Amy. Ada g at all salute. Yeah. The incredibly walk in. This is is one of the weird Joaquin wonderful aspects of quantum physics that we you have this process called quantum Tonen quantum mechanical quantum tunneling. And it's not, unfortunately the picture when you hear tournament you, obviously think of shovels and digging through in fact, if you drink all the way down to the size of molecules and atoms we could literally pass through walls, we could literally just tunnel. Also were on one side we account over barrier and in the classical world in the real world, unless we expand an awful lot of energy and dig throughout wall or Trump Leinen jump over. It were stuck were never going to get through it in the quantum world. We can literally pass through that barrier with I've expanding energy. So electrons doing that all the time that's the norm actually in in the quantum world. And in fact, without process toning process disown wouldn't work protons in the sun. Wouldn't we need a process of fusion? So than nuclear reactions in the sun wouldn't work with this process of tunneling whereby the particles can get don't need to go over barrier. They can go through a barrier. An incredible process is all pitched as weird and wacky. And there are aspects of that I don't want to overplay that too much because a lot of what we do understand toiling is purely a quantum phenomenon. And the question remains, why can't use quantum tunneling at the human Schuyler to help me get through, you know, hellish traffic jam all the mosh pit at a heavy metal gig. You know, what can I do that? Okay. I'll give you the really short on. In fact, I probably can a very small probability. If we look at quantum physics that I could do that vanishingly small, you might you. You'd have to wait for I don't know few hundred times the edge of the universe. But if you're willing to wait that long, I know sometimes traffic jams, you you spend a long time in them. But the correct answer to that is actually very short and very pity your too. Own. No, no, no, no too big. I was about to say. And then I thought I need to word that slightly more delicately. All too big. Let's put it that. We're all too. And it's actually one of the choppers Burke, I spent a lot of time in dissecting the sort of quantum wound on since that's out there. There's a number of of gurvey's foremost among them, I hit to name names. But I will is a kaikal Deepak Chopra who I don't know. Some of your listeners have heard of who argues that actually with quantum physics tells us were all part of one big interconnected whole under stoli's Listrik links with eastern mysticism and cetera all which is complete nonsense. Dear of quantum tunneling in a saints and says then in the quantum realm. Everything is into woven inseparably one. You'll body is inseparably with the whole universe. So I mean, this idea that at the quantum level if we can kind of move through mata- as electrons do through quantum tunneling? We're kind of one with everything exactly as another beautiful way to think of the universe. And you can see why it appeals as rainy. Nice way to think we're all part of one interconnected whole fairly left of center my politics. So you know that collectivism nice. But unfortunately, that's not how it works. Even by the time. You get a relatively big molecule, let alone a human which has got ten to the gazillion atoms in the body. We are huge objects these quantum effects get washed out on the recounter's experiments that show that these these quantum effects. Get get washed. Yeah. Heavy metal is all about the head. Banging, and you imagine as sort of corn term kind of head banging, but taking Lamey for motor head and doing what we've him for some reason there were lots of metal characters on metal icons have been immortalized as little bobbing. Head figures this spring lambs one of them head field. I think all of Metallica and megadeath releasing lemme in particular by the Dan bobbing open happening at the atomic level. It's not happens all the time at the atomic level. In fact, this is the remarkable stretching all the way back dine Stein. And in fact, it was Einstein introduces idea is that often we can treat atoms as little balls, and we can treat the bonds between atoms as little springs, and so an awful lot of what's happening as Lenny's head is bobbing around. It's got a certain frequency which depends on the stiffness of the spring. And the wit of lemme head. And of course, then is lemme lemme lemme it's going gonna be quite heavy. So Bob's backing on fourth. Not type of idea of natural frequencies again will back to waves. We're back to psychos, and and on frequencies, and that's exactly what we have at the quantum level as well. We have these natural frequencies, obviously the much much much higher because as you make things. Smaller those frequencies, go up your description of the the constant rapid movement of chemical bones between atoms, you know, this is sort of vibrating universe and the Nanno. I mean, obviously, the anti G levels totally different to what using Kanter at a heavy middle gig. I mean, it's a tiny amount of energy. But it's constant and presents lewd. What's remarkable is even if we could get to up salute zero temperature, which we can't. But even if we could you would still have that motion. And that's a really nice linked back to the incertainty principle because we are all on certain at the quantum level. And if you could freeze out the motion of an atom, so it wasn't moving then you would be certain of its position on the uncertainty. Principle tells us we can't do that because of the insert he principal will still vibrate. It's always wobbly done there. It's squishy bind. Siham bumpy at the nano scale. That's great. You have pushed this analogy in every direction as far as it goes. It's a very, you know, you've given a good solid heavy middle f it surely there is only Sifi you can take heavy. Middle into the quantum physics, surely. No, I think I do believe I've mentioned it to my colleagues, and they think I'm mad. I honestly think not only could you get a module. So a course a single course on quantum physics. I think you could do a whole degree on the links between quantum physics heavy metal. I honestly, I do those lots more left to expire. Well, you actually have come up with a fantastic idea for one university subject, and it wouldn't just be about physics. It would be about and physics and psychology and says the G and Mets the hold on law. What we teach in that subject to sociology and the idea of soap cultures and cultural interactions iconography high dot works ultra in terms of the lyrical content, which okay to be fair. We are going to rock you tonight is not possibly the most sophisticated. You know, you turn to bonds. Like, oh like, oh path. For example, you turn to bands like dream theater and queen's Reich unthere, our interest brush ho-. How could I forget the incredib-? Able important teams. So there's that they also help us access the dock aside MSL's, which I think is very potent force. I agree. And if the fascinating about Matlins, despite this preoccupation with death with the dark side, it's so bloody life affirming does no experience like being at a met gig unfeeling immersed in the music, and it's almost like going to church for some it's almost a religious experience and cultural aspect of it in the connection is so great. So all of that time looking at that from a sociology perspective on one side. But then also thinking about what does the music mean in terms of the physics that will be a wonderful multidisciplinary degree and with teachers lot not just about physics. But about ourselves as well say just hearing you speak. I mean, physicists the cosmic and they deep thinkers, and there's a lovely. I've elect between philosophy and physics as well. But I wonder if heavy made whole has allowed you to kind of fund something of a spiritual. Self Philip Maury. Absolutely. I lost in music even slayer believe it or not relaxes me you go to a slayer gig. And I know it would probably be quite scary for so much slayer or whatever Bonder stick was walk onstage on this this role from the from the crowd in terrify into some to those of us in not subculture. It's like, you're back home. It's like, you're really is virtual in the sense that it's you got this emotional rush. And you get this connection with everybody else in the audience. So absolutely, absolutely. And in terms of those visual links, I can look at those pictures of atoms that we've discussed before that gives me a certain emotional rush. But so too does listening to my favorite rush song actually in. Combining those two things is the best of both worlds an incredibly high emotional from. That I reckon wish go out on slayer. Oh, that's a good one to go with let me a slayer if wonderful idea. Thanks. Let's. Well, outdo. Thanks for joining me. Physicist? Professor Philip Moriarty from the university of Nottingham Anonima think it's out of character with old as times I deliver on the radio in the podcast, but would be Dame happy at us leg. Can you? Tell Phillips book ease win the uncertainty. Principle goes to eleven or how to explain quantum physics with heavy middle talk to me on Twitter at Natasha Mitchell and don't forget science fiction live at the Melba museum. If you passing through good old Melvyn tan nicks one November the first on the future of six from six boats to winless births it's gonna get a little weed bookings free via the science fiction website. Join us thanks to co producer Maria Teagle cone until next say.

physicist professor of physics Matt Lloyd Qatar Phillips Natasha Mitchell principal Dinah cheang Philip mariachi university of Nottingham ABC Newton Lizzy physical review Russia Drew Melvyn tan UK Bates
Who was Einsteins first wife? Debate heats up over Mileva's role in Alberts science (Part 1 of 2)

Science Friction

27:02 min | 1 year ago

Who was Einsteins first wife? Debate heats up over Mileva's role in Alberts science (Part 1 of 2)

"This is an ABC podcast. This is friction culture and science with extra spas welcomes. The Tesha Mitchell here this week with a controversy that just will not be put to bed distinguish language of fan form language after we are the negativity, and I am can you guess who this is. How is it that find language international? I think of wild wiry watt hair and doc penetrating is he's arguably one of the greatest original thinkers of all time and certainly in science. Four if a out. And clarity of concepts. After I got them Mutuel relation and debt. Correspondent to censor with eat. It's Dan Stein. Yes. And this week the first ever photo of a black hole gave us yet further evidence. He was right. He predicted the behavior of black holes and their immense gravitational pull through his general theory of relativity, which visualized gravity is warping of the fabric of the universe or space time around objects, but heavy heard of a woman called Malaysia Malaysia marriage on Stein to Baber size. She was he's first wife and a promising scientist in the making in her own right when they met and fell in love. Now this being a vocal malivert fan club in recent years. It says she was fundamental to Albert's early scientific success. Even a key collaborator on his theories. And that. Her legacy was hidden. Well, a brand new investigation strongly contests this climb and over the next to episodes. I'm gonna drilling to that evidence. To let you decide buckle up. maters just to know the truth. I can Stein is portrayed as degrade hero of science and entertain is seen as a God. And you don't touch the man for some people is just like attacking the Cohen that the bible, you don't touch things. We try not to make up stories, and this story appears to be largely a hopeful story people hoped. It was true they wished it was true. But it doesn't seem to be true. She helped in a great measure that I'm fine became what he became. I have serious doubts that he would have got where he is. If he did not have her supporters. He needed someone to discuss them. He needed someone to calculate them, compare them. So she left us a genius. That's her gift to the world. It's important that the truth be told when stories are based on very unreliable evidence. When you start to examine the sources the stories just don't hold out. And those stories that Malaya's mathematical abilities rivaled on stones that she co-authored on stones early research that they worked late into the not to give blazing trial for quantum physics. Malivert, and what's relationship really on the time to be understood at all in the nineteen ninety s when early litters between them were found in a family Bank in California, very little material evidence remained, then and physicist. Dr polling Gagnon believes they could be a reason for that to people where really adamant that this story would not come out about these were Helen Ducasse, the personal secretary of Albert Einstein and these fan two Netam both of them became they were the executors of his estate, and these people were adamant that disturbed will not come. Pulling is a particle physicist. Now retied in Jimmy she spent much of her career investigating doc meta at the European laboratory of particle physics soon and at Indiana University. She's taken up Malaya's Kohl's and explains that even Elba full story was withheld for loan time. The first biographies came out more than twenty years after the death of Albert Einstein. The reason was that what not end, for example, would not allow anything in writing on less. He would be right himself. The everything that was in the possession of Albert Einstein was cleaned up. It has to do with the fact that auto Neten after the death of mill of marriage and Stein in one thousand nine hundred forty eight or two net and came to Surrey to her apartment to search department and probably took everything that he could find of scientific merit. So. These people made every effort to clean up what was there and to erase any trace of miliver market Stein? Now, whether that's the case, oh, not reminds I've into conjecture, but it's indisputable that Malaysia was a mystery very few people had heard Malaysia Einstein. She was known to be his first wife. She was the mother of his sons, but typically no one paid much attention to the wife and not much was known about her professor Ruth Lewin Sime in Sacramento who tried as a chemist and is a noted historian of science, especially of women in science. She wrote a biography of Lisa Montana, a famous German physicist of Malaysia and Oba generation in the nineteen eighties. Some of the love letters between Einstein and Malaysia where published by the people who publish the Einstein papers. So lucky to found Krisha who is my equal. You're so sweet will how kiss August nineteen hundred without you at lack self confidence shin for work and enjoyment in without you. My life is no nine thousand nine hundred sweetheart adjust received your second very measurably also came forward to working on our new papers proud, I will be to have a little PHD for sweet lie remain, Odin ary person. I feel alone with everyone else except. All of a sudden, it turned out that Millais was really very interesting person that she was trained as a scientist that she and Einstein had a passionate relationship that even had a daughter before they were married. No one knows what happened to this child. And so people became very interested in Malaysia. So people started to DU and to read between the lines of Elbert Malaya's early love letters to each other fifty four of which had survived mostly from L, but sadly, very few remind from alive, and in those letters they were many references to work that was unsigned described as our work and work. We're doing together prior to those letters virtually nothing was known about relationship between labor ninety nine not during this juniors. Those no knowledge of the relationship that developed between them family started together. The letters don't reveal anything. About millennials contribution Ellen ESTES. In is. Todd physics lecturer in London and his cO through a new book just out through MIT press. Contesting climbs about Malaya's scientific legacy and readings worldwide really revealing is the degree that the young Stein investigate and on his own someone furthest reaches a physics of that time, and he certainly read books with me on this. There's no information about how much I have made any contribution. So anything in those times is share guess what you could describe this story as a nearly twenty year obsession for Ellen which he's poured into his new book on stan's wok, the real story of Malaysia on marriage co authored with American historian of science, David Cassidy and Ruth Lou. And saw I'm contributes chapter two on women in science. What happened was that kind of myth grew that Malaysia had in fact, contributed substantially? Weinstein's work in particular, his very famous for papers in nineteen o five his miracle year, and that she was unrecognised for the work that she had done about this is where the controversy laws rot, and I'll come back to the latest but ninety nine hundred five really was ice stupendous year. Ovitz NS miraculous has some coal it. That was the that. Then twenty six year old heightened clock introduced the world to and white for it. They warriors. The corner theory of lush, that's the understanding that lied exist in discrete packets or Quanta of energy on a heuristic viewpoint serving the production and transformation of light in March that year came he's evidence for the existence of atoms. The motion of small particles spended in a stationary liquid. Wyatt by the molecular kinetic theory of he in may on Stein's special theory of relativity landed on the alert. And in September nine hundred five that finest formula a in say squared does the nurse of body. Depend on energy. Yes. It was an almighty year old rush with full pipers that pretty much changed now understanding of the physical world and the course of history to top it off Elba was awarded. He's that year too. But we kind of getting ahead of ourselves because this is in fact, non years into Elbert and Malaya's relationship in two years into their marriage. So let's head back a bit earlier. Rob Miller Millan TV. The call me rather for short easier. Redman made a series of stunning climbs about Malaysia and Elbert in her twenty fifteen book malivert Marijan Stein live with Elbit on Stein. She's a professor emeritus in history in New York. And as a former minister in the Serbian government, she's committed to celebrating soobee and he street and daintily I was worn on October twenty seven nineteen thirty one. I'm eighty seven years old now so. So read Mila was seventeen when Malaysia died in nineteen forty eight and like Malaysia she was born and raised in Serbia where today read military's me Malaysia is celebrated as a kind of folk hero with monuments and straits bearing her name, but I was not very happy there. I was a student when the communists came to power. The situation was not that pleasant. There was not enough freedom. So I was looking for way to get out. Lac red Mila Malaysia got out of Serbia to when her father moved for his job in eighty ninety two with his encouragement she enrolled at a boys hostel in Croatia as a private student. So she could study Mets physics such was her enthusiasm. I mean that was a mighty courageous act for a young woman than you can imagine eventually it was off to university. And again, the options for girls than was some limited in those days. Switzerland was the unlike German speaking country accepting women at the university level, so Malaysia moved to Zurich to enroll at the Swiss federal polytechnic in eighteen ninety six then only the fifth woman in its forty history to be admitted into Metson physics classes, according to Milla. She came from a highly traditional Serbian family, but she was lucky that she had to falter who was understanding. He saw her a smart interested in in science. So he supported her is she clearly had deepen motivations and Esperanza didn't she she was the only woman enrolled in a class of five at the Swiss polytechnic, which is wishy met L dance done in idee ninety see when that would have been all Sharyo unusual recipient woman at the time. Oh, not only very unusual. Sort of serene people is nations as people were looked down upon by the higher nations in in Europe. Like, the Germans is somehow Lor class of people, but she was exceptional highly intelligent and ton -ted, they met when both enrolled on the same course, it was actually caused teaching physics mathematics in secondary school. High-powered course, certainly equipment. A degree course. Einstein was only seventeen and at twenty one Malaysia was will the older woman, which L but smother would light a rally against with ride? She famously hide it in the live by the end of eighteen ninety eight it was clear that they were getting involved with each other calling each in, Johnny. Yeah. In lettuce. Yeah. Nineteen hundred ninety job is unlikely so his so far away that I can't give you a little. I'm writing this letter to ask you if you like me as much as I Don to me immediately thousand kitties from your Dolly, August, nineteen hundred deal little when I feel as if I'm not home when I sit to war and looking forward to going home amusing myself studying studying concert, still in concentrating joyous sweetheart with ten two cases from your Alba. God how beautiful the wilder look when I'm you a little one you say, they'll be no happier. Women in the world in which case. The man was also be happy. Farewell. My sweet little treasure ten cues from your. Physicist? Dr polling Gannon argues Elbert malivert were matching heart and mind and science it's clear that was a very organized person. That's the way classmates have described and I it was more like, you're happy. Go lucky type for him yin. And all that. And he was not so organized so together, the they had this incredible team work, they completed each other carefully. They had dispassionate for physics discount passion for physics from using. And for each other. And this allowed them to create something unusual, and it's really out of this collaboration that it came out. Many people have mentioned that the productivity of got Inge dying decline after his divorce from the military, and that's true. Elbert malivert Bose did. Well, the Swiss federal polytechnic, but at the time the odds will possibly stacked against her only four women every ten years accepted a woman and to make things worse for her not one of them ever. Graduated in physics. Some mill ever was going to be the first one and she failed so many past the entrance exam and eighth year. She also strict exempt be passed every year, she passed all the time. But she she did not receive a degree. Things seem to unravel foam alive in her oral exam. They final she filed it along with a math subject called theory of functions. And when she went back to try again the following year in non in hundred and one to hurt a stress she found she was pregnant, and she may not have been feeling well, physically she may have been devastated psychologically that this had happened to her plans, and maybe that contributed to her not doing as well on on the exams. We don't know and on Stein didn't want to marry a pregnant Malaysia until he had a job and a job wasn't immediately. Forthcoming Elbit one reason possibly antisemitism enough that the opinionated Elbert Cape getting on the wrong side of he's professes. So it seems Malaya's career in science appeared to be over before it had begun. She didn't have a degree. So she could not work as a. As a physicist later on or was her career in science. I've d- she instead become Ellwood on Stein's collaborator behind the scenes after all she had the same training. Just not the qualification and these spent all their time discussing and writing and studying together, so that's well documented and their lots of testimonies from their school fans at the time at just into that. It's clear that Malaysia had to give up any desire of a career. Oh pursuit of science. Once I'm married in nineteen hundred three she wrote to Habil friend lane. We have a nozzle hassle which I'm taking care of quite alone. I'm often quite angry at the boring office that takes away so much of its time. So frustrations were brewing. You can imagine. What that must have been like for her who had aspirants to do a doctorate in physics mine. Pression from the wrote including that one that you wrote friend heaven was that cheat settle down to my. Life with children she actually given off on a career. Well, before that when she felt her diplomas onto the second time, and we drew her attempt to doctoral thesis, she had in fact being offered by the head physics professor in July nineteen hundred physicians assistant to him, but fairly examined she couldn't do it. But according to a friend Millais said, she didn't want to take out. The system Chapman preferred to pry for job as a librarian. So the truth is we do not know exactly what are Ben was. We just don't know you have to stand that in the case of marriage. The stuff is difficult because we don't have lots of hot foods. We only have the stimulus some accounts by people have known them. But many people have thought about seeing them their son Hans had remember seeing his parents discussing physics late at night at the dining room table. But it was just a tiny little boy in one thousand nine hundred five it was four years old. So little what would hey, no about what they were discussing not or we saw is parents working together. And he talked about that that went on until nineteen fourteen was ten years when the they separated as an historian. How did you approach the challenge of pacing to give her voice in a way that is there a fiber because Malaysia makes little mention if ever of her contributions to the were convicts in any of the reminding litters she doesn't same Helen her best friend either. So in a way, her voice is entirely absent. So how do we pay to give evidence in a confident way that she was contributor, and we have evidence, for example, one year, they rented a room to a graduate student in physics, and that Roger student observed what they were doing after dinner and after the put the little boy too. The two of them set at the table and worked and worked and disgust. And then at some point I would get up and go to sleep because he had to go to the patent office the next morning to work Miller state and worked this also miliver brother, militia marriage was a medical student at the time Miller spent extensive periods of time with them and eat told Glutz of people how he had seen them always working together. And that was while he was there all the time. Everything evening he stayed with them for month. He was writing to his parents, how hard working then in people and relatives and friends in always when he went back how hard they working discussing catch relating debating reading together. So there's numerous account of that and their friends also talk about that. And then we have even some some. Written documentation, she was doing writing down some lectures for him because he didn't have enough time when he started eating she wrote to couple of the big big shots in in physics on issues that he was discussing he was concerned with instead of him. It's in her handwriting. Max plant was one of the prominent physicists at the time. And he solicited Albert Einstein's opinion on an upcoming paper that he wanted to publish and reply to plant that was in nineteen or nine believe was drafted by Bill, and it's a first draft. So it start that she was a copying something as from Albert's. She trashed this letter to max plan if she was in a position to be able to answer one of the most famous physicists at the time is that she was on par with the science that Albert was doing at the time. So we know that. Handwriting. We know that was yet. Yeah. It's written a search in the archives in the Jerusalem where the estates from Albert Einstein is the second document of the hundred notes for his lecture notes in the Zik in one thousand nine hundred twelve so you can see that they were still working together at that time. So we don't have the hard core evidence. But we have enough enough to know that if you were left alone. He probably would have drifted God knows where in some ways history is implementing of so many other women throughout history. His story. We can never know. Yes. That hasn't stopped climbs some very specific that Malaysia was Maija Playa in on stan's early theoretical work and drilling to the evidence in the next episode of science friction. It's interesting did Elba give her the money from his first Nobel prize in recognition of contribution was her name removed as a coal from his scientific pipe. It's what she Akot conspirator on the special theory of relativity, nullis, Ellwood, sinus, full red Mila Millan TV. If you go through his letters, the Arana goes, our new studies, our investigations are view. Our theory our paper, including our work on relative motion. Yes. At one point. He says how happy and proud. I will be when the two of us have brought our work on relative motion to a victorious conclusion lawn in a letter over to Malaysia in. Nine hundred one much has been made of this letter is the any evidence beyond this one single line to suggest they were working on his theories on the electrodynamics of moving bodies. And and relativity to get. He was lonely, but insecure and he needed support and what he was saying one letter to her without you, I lock self-confidence pleasure in work without you, my life is no life. He would've have never been able to develop these ideas on his own do the experiments in the laboratory on his own without having someone to discuss it with and to develop it. So she was the support they're very important support. But next show the battle lines are drawn historian of science Ruth, Lou and sign some of the myths claim that she was better mathematician that he was there's no substantial evidence for that. At all. In fact. From what we know about the work in the university. She was not better than he was in the grades that they got or the courses that they took. This is one thing that I may Mrs Fischer the story I've time was precociously mathematics by his own self study by the age of fifteen when he left school immunity. Join his parents in Milan, he got a letter from his mass teach say he'd already reach university entrance level standard, the idea method that Einstein needed with the mathematics from the relativity theory, does not hold what this whole myth of the loan. Scientists doing all this alone alone would probably never have succeeded to emerge. First thing she was really the one who allow them to make a name for himself. But she also allowed these ideas to flourish and grow and be much better than from one person. So collaboration is where we gain a lot. And that's the way science is done. It's true that it's not do. Justice anything to exaggerate the case, but I believe strongly that in the case of marriage Stein. There is sufficient information to get a sense of what happened that you get it from the letters. It's not made up. It's not anything. It's clear in those letters miss the next episode of science friction on stance. I one muse on fellow scientist talk to me on Twitter at Natasha Mitchell. More data and the mail on the science friction website and tell everyone about the podcast catching extent my before speak here. You've been listening to an ABC podcast. Discover more great ABC podcasts. Live radio and exclusives. On the say, listen up.

Malaysia Albert Einstein Dan Stein physicist Malaya Marijan Stein scientist professor ABC Elbert malivert Ellen ESTES Natasha Mitchell Elba Rob Miller Millan Millais Swiss federal polytechnic Mila Malaysia Helen Ducasse Elbert Malaya