A long wait at the advertised starting point in Park Lane. A bottleneck into Piccadilly. We eventually turned into Green Park, eventually to meet our daughter, Sophie. Lunch in St. James’s Park and then to Parliament Square, still crowded long after the speeches has finished. In addition to the route of the march itself, many roads in the West End had been closed, apparently in response to unexpectedly large crowds.
Among a large class of 2018, on September 22nd Bristol University received our youngest daughter, Eleanor, to read Zoology. We wish her well. It’s a great place, and she is a multi-talented young lady.
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 memorial. The last is the location of the banquet, in the Museum of Anthropology.
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 bacteria. I like the idea of tinkering with these machines to see what might be done. Totally unexpected results, rather than targets, will be the most useful. Important discoveries and new possibilities always arise from a problem in understanding, and from thinking of ways to solve it. There were definitely some important problems, good ideas, and experimental tests freely reported at the meeting. Some were very good indeed. I shall comment on these. It was unfortunate that the meeting opened with an unscheduled ten minutes intelligible only to those already aware of some sort of bid for funding, thus excluding most of those present. I was happy to be in the majority on this.
There is progress – resting always on the possibility of ideas being open to examination and criticism.
The organiser was Junichi Obokata of Kyoto Prefectoral University. My painstakingly generous local host was Mitsumasa Hanaoka of Chiba University. I am so grateful to them both, as to the colloquium staff and fellow participants.
At Mitsumasa’s invitation I gave a seminar in his laboratory in Chiba, immediately after getting off the train from Narita airport on 8 September, and a longer and better version on 9 September at Kyoto University. Both seminars were entitled Mitochondria, ageing and separate sexes, and elicited excellent questions.
My plenary lecture at the colloquium itself was an account of progress with a consistent theme over a number of years and in different laboratories, countries, and universities, including recent results published in 2016. This lecture was entitled Why chloroplasts and mitochondria retain their own genomes and genetic systems: Co-location for Redox Regulation of gene expression.
I gave a Plenary Lecture soon after arrival: Redox control of thylakoid protein phosphorylation and reaction centre gene transcription. Molecular recognition redistributes mobile light-harvesting antennae and adjusts the stoichiometry of photosystems I and II.