16th International Symposium on Phototrophic Prokaryotes

16th International Symposium on Phototrophic Prokaryotes University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 5 – 9 August 2018 This was a fine meeting with many reports of first-rate new research. My own contribution was entitled Two-component redox regulatory control in the origins of oxygen evolution, cyanobacteria, and chloroplasts. Some photos… The first is a remarkable UBC… Continue reading 16th International Symposium on Phototrophic Prokaryotes

Evolving to Valhalla

How I wish that cells’ ancestors were not, now, being named after Norse gods. The whole of Norse mythology is dark, superstitious mumbo-jumbo. Giving names of non-existent quasi-humans to hypothetical organisms inferred from metagenomes is an obstacle to thought, and an open invitation to anthropocentricity. The usually admirable Ed Yong in The Atlantic, 11th January… Continue reading Evolving to Valhalla

Academic Freedom, Academic Independence

“Established by Royal Charter; accountable to Parliament”. In a British University a Professor can be sacked for failing to obey instructions of persons with neither interest in, nor understanding of, research and teaching; who have accordingly achieved little or nothing of academic distinction themselves; and who waste one’s time. “Managers”, unelected and unaccountable, may, of… Continue reading Academic Freedom, Academic Independence

Dicky Clymo | Valedictory Lecture

The life and afterlife of bog-moss: why it matters – Professor Emeritus R.S. (‘Dicky’) Clymo Wednesday 12th October 2016 This was a superb lecture; informative, stimulating, and entertaining. Dicky had put much thought into it. No-one could have gone away disappointed. Everyone in the packed audience will have learned something, and been given cause to… Continue reading Dicky Clymo | Valedictory Lecture

Enhancing photosynthesis | Royal Society Discussion Meeting

Enhancing photosynthesis in crop plants: targets for improvement October 10 and 11, 2016. Contributors presented interesting new findings, approaches and techniques, while the outlook and prospect of “enhancing photosynthesis” seems not to have changed significantly over many years. Crop plants rely totally on the same photosynthetic mechanisms as those used by all plants, and some… Continue reading Enhancing photosynthesis | Royal Society Discussion Meeting