The Society makes grants both to individuals and to organisations in support of cultural and scientific activities which increase innovation, outreach and diversity in Leeds and its immediate area. It also supports local museums and galleries and publications relating to the city.

About the Society

The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, founded in 1819, is a charity that promotes interest in science, literature and the arts – in the city of Leeds and beyond. We have meetings, lectures, entertainments, publications and visits.

26 October 2023

Nano comes to life – Stoner Colloquium 17:15 on 30 Nov at University of Leeds – Sonia Contera, Professor of Biological Physics, University of Oxford

Not a LPLS event. This link takes you to the Colloquium’s listing and you can carry on to book there.

The nanometer (0.000000001 meters) is a special size: it is the boundary between the quantum world of atoms and the world that physicists call “classical”, the world of our experience where time only goes forward, where actions have consequences. Nano is the special space where life emerged on Earth. The proteins and biomolecules that make us up are measured in nanometers. This fact reveals the key to its importance; physics (energy, movement, information, quantum processes), chemical reactions and biological functions are intertwined in proteins and biomolecules. The nanoscale is the scale where everything is related, where the complexity that characterizes our lives begins.

How and why do we design and build artificial structures and even machines at the nanoscale using DNA, RNA, proteins, and other biological molecules or construct hybrid bio-inorganic robots using the building principles of biology?

In this colloquium, I will explore the intellectual roots and development of nanotechnology (the capacity to visualize and manipulate matter at the nanoscale) and how is now revolutionising medicine: from nanovaccines inspired by biology that can train the immune system to fight cancer or a viral infection, and nanoantibiotics that can eliminate resistant bacteria, to the engineering of tissues and organs for research, drug discovery, and transplantation. More profoundly, nanotech facilitates the study of biology within the framework of physics, thereby creating interfaces with other fields (e.g. quantum mechanics and computer science). This will potentially change not only the future of materials, energy, engineering and AI, but also the way we think about life itself, and will give us confidence to pose questions such as “what is intuition?”

Refreshments will be served after the talk.

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