All members of Darwin are encouraged to present their research at informal seminars held on Tuesdays and Thursdays during term. Everyone is welcome, whatever your degree or discipline.
Darwin members pick up lunch from 12:00, taking it into the Richard King Room (on the left at the top of the stairs leading to the dining hall) or 1 Newnham Terrace (straight through at the far end of the dining hall). Wine is served. Non-Darwin members are welcome to attend, although lunch is only available to guests of members. The talk begins at about 1:15 and lasts for about 20 minutes and is followed by questions over coffee. We adjourn at 2:00pm at the latest.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the world’s greatest health threats. At present, 700’000 people die annually from infections that are resistant to first-line antibiotics. Global action however, has been fragmented and asymmetrical. The EU for example, has outlawed the use of certain anti-biotics in livestock, but it remains a common practice in the US – where an estimated 70% of antibiotics administered to livestock are done so in the absence of any disease, India – who’s poultry industry is notoriously unregulated, and China – the world’s largest consumer of anti-biotics. This project attempts to investigate why collective action to address the AMR issue has lacked cohesion, and to pinpoint areas that are causing the biggest obstacles to progress. It will do so by reducing AMR to its structural features, using game theory as the theoretical lens through which to frame the issue. This project combines two methodologies. Firstly, it will use data collected from the official publications of various actors involved in tackling AMR. These include the WHO, the EU, health ministries in states particularly at risk from AMR, pharmaceutical companies, and representatives from the meat industry. Secondly, it will collect data through conducting elite interviews with key individuals in various capacities in the above organisations, as well as in key pressure groups looking to raise awareness of the AMR issue.
Flowers show a huge diversity of colourful patterns on the surface of their petals which are thought to act as visual signals to animal pollinators. My research is exploring flower patterns: their evolution, development, and function. I work with Hibiscus which has a bullseye pattern created by combining contrasting cell types and pigmentation in the basal and distal regions of the petal.
The talk will cover the work carried out in my first six months of my PhD which focused on understanding how flower patterns form, creating Hibiscus flowers with modified patterns, and observing bumblebees interacting with flowers with different patterns.
Tanzania’s political, economic and social development has been the focus of numerous studies by both indigenous and foreign scholars. Nevertheless, with the exception of key incidents such as the Zanzibar Revolution and Tanganyika Rifles Mutiny of January 1964, the development of the country’s security sector in the context of state-building either side of independence is not well understood. Neither is the manner in which Tanzania’s security sector interacted with the international community during this period, whether it be the former British colonial power or other states such as Israel, the US, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, China, the Soviet Union and Cuba. This reflects a wider imbalance in Intelligence Studies towards Anglo-American and Western-centric research.
Drawing on overseas archives from the United Kingdom, United States, Israel and Germany, memoirs by former Tanzanian and Stasi officers, and interviews with former officers of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, more popularly MI6) and Security Service (MI5), this talk reveals that significant change occurred in Tanzania’s increasingly politicised and unstable security sector from independence in 1961. Mirroring more neighbouring Uganda than Kenya, Britain lost its primary security assistance role, firstly to Israel, then to a shifting consortium of the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, China and Cuba from the 1960s through to the end of the Cold War.
Dr Thomas Maguire is a Junior Research Fellow at Darwin College and the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge, where he completed his PhD in 2015, and a Teaching Fellow in the Intelligence and International Security Research Group at the Department of War Studies, King's College London. Tom is also a co-convenor of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, teaches on the Cambridge Security Initiative’s International Security and Intelligence (ISI) specialist short-course, and was the John Garnett Visiting Fellow at the Whitehall-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) from 2014-2015.
Tom’s main ongoing project is examining the influence of the UK on the development of state security sectors in the Global South through training and assistance since 1945. This lunchtime talk focuses on one of his case studies in this project: Tanzania. Like all post-colonial states Tanzania’s political, economic and social development has been the focus of numerous studies by both indigenous and foreign scholars.
Darwin famously referred to the origin of flowering plants (angiosperms) as an 'abominable mystery'. Flowering plants are the most diverse group of land plants, and the ability to vary floral traits has been key to their success. One such floral innovation is the nectar spur (a tubular outgrowth of the petal which may contain nectar). Nectar spurs protect nectar from the environment and also enhance pollinator specificity, pollination efficiency and reproductive success. Despite their ecological importance, much is still unknown about the development and morphogenesis of spurs as there are no conventional model plant species which possess a nectar spur.
This project aims to probe the morphological and molecular basis of nectar spur outgrowth. To understand the basis of nectar spur outgrowth, a species which possesses a nectar spur (Linaria vulgaris) was compared to a closely related species which does not (Antirrhinum majus). A comparative transcriptome (the sum of all of the genes which are expressed by cells at that time point) was performed in order to give a global view of the genes involved in spur development and produce new candidate genes which may be involved in spur outgrowth in Linaria. Nectar spur length can be highly variable. Control of variation in nectar spur length was also investigated, focusing on two closely related species which have extremely long and short spurs respectively. A morphological characterisation was undertaken (recording cell number and cell length across a range of developmental stages) to determine whether the difference in spur length between the species is due to cell expansion or cell division. We found that primarily cell number and therefore cell division drives an increase in spur length in Linaria. This contrasts with previous studies in Aquilegia which have found that variation of nectar spur length is due to directed cell expansion over a longer timeframe. These data suggest that spurs may have evolved in different systems by disparate mechanisms.
Sophie Calle is known for her works based around ritual (_Le Régime chromatique_ (1997), _Rituel d’anniversaire_ (1980-1993)) and absent others (_L’Hôtel_ (1981), _Le Carnet d’adresses_ (1983)). Most recently, her work has turned to the death of her father (_Beau doublé, Monsieur le marquis!_ (2017)) and the death of her cat, Souris (_Souris Calle_ (2018)), but the pullulation of exhibitions emerging in the wake of Calle’s mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer has so far been unparalleled.
My talk will examine Calle’s ongoing preoccupation with her mother’s death, looking particularly at _Rachel, Monique…_ (2017) which is the physical embodiment of the many exhibitions stemming from the final months of her mother’s life, and the aftermath of her death. It considers the extent to which the daughter’s portrayal of her mother might be doomed to failure, or even to be read as an erasure in itself. It will suggest that Calle is faced with the paradox inherent in the attempt to capture her mother’s essence, impossible to ‘solidify’, and showing itself only through ‘the flux of action and speech’ (Arendt 1998: 181). It looks at how Calle acknowledges this impossibility within her work, confronting and highlighting the difficulty of representing the other, rather than reaching towards fixed meaning and closure.
A supermassive black hole lurks at the centre of possibly every galaxy, including our own Milky Way and the innumerable galaxies in the distant Universe. When these distant black holes feed on galactic material (gas, dust, and stars) they light up as “active galaxies”. The extreme brightness and energetic output of these systems, unrivalled in the Universe, is sufficient to impact the formation of the stars and galaxies around them. It also makes them readily observable with telescopes on Earth, if only as unresolved points of light on the sky. I will describe ongoing efforts and challenges in observing and understanding the active galaxy population, including the unique challenge of identifying the “hidden” population which dominates the cosmic growth of black holes.
In order to avoid what’s been termed ‘dangerous climate change’ scholars argue we need to radically transform our economies. The emissions reductions necessary to reach internationally agreed temperature goals imply rapid technological and industrial change in the coming decades. How do we think about this problem and what analytical frameworks can we and should we use to inform decisions? The nature of climate change is such that multiple disciplines are required to analyse questions and recommend solutions. In this talk I will present some of my PhD research on integrated assessment models and their limitations for informing energy and climate change policies.
The study of rivers offers important insights into why our planet looks the way it does. The interaction of rocks with water shapes landscapes, supplies nutrients to ecosystems, and consumes atmospheric CO2. The relative stability of Earth’s climate over the past 500 million years has allowed life to flourish, and is controlled by a delicate and complex balance between tectonics, rock weathering, and the evolution of life. It is, however, punctuated by large climatic perturbations that have typically resulted in mass extinctions.
River catchments integrating over large continental areas allow us to assess the net effects of water-rock interaction on a globally significant scale. By studying world's large rivers we can therefore better understand and quantify the global importance of rock weathering and its impact on Earth's climate. However, representative sampling of large rivers is non-trivial and requires advanced techniques. I will demonstrate some state of the art techniques employed by the Cambridge rivers research group, as well as how our research in Southeast Asia is helping shed light on the complex controls on the global climate.