All Oxford University Scientific Society events are open to the general public. All talks begin at 18:30.

Free entry for students at St Anne’s College for talks held at St Anne’s College.

Trinity Term 2019:

Week 1 Wed 1/05


Brian Launder

“Climate Engineering to avert dangerous global heating?”

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Manchester

Week 2 Wed 08/05

NOTE: 19:30 start

Bryn Roberts

“How Big Data and AI are Revolutionising Medicines R&D”

Global Head of Operations for Roche Pharmaceutical Research & Early Development, Switzerland

Week 3 Wed 15/05 Ben Davis

“The World Is Made Of Sugar And Dirt”

Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford

Week 4 Wed 22/05
Week 5 Wed 29/05 Dr Frank Haselbach,

Global Head of System Design, Rolls Royce

Week 6 Tues 04/06


David Gann,

Vice-President, Imperial college and Chair, UK Atomic Energy Authority

Week 7 Wed 12/06


BRIGHT International Oxford Chapter Presentation on NHS and Health Innovation
Week 8 Wed 19/06


NOTE: Events are £2 for non-members of OUSS, and free for members. Membership can be bought on the door (£10 for one year or £20 for life).

Week 1: Brian Launder

Climate Engineering to avert dangerous global heating?

Venue: Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre, St Anne’s College

The presentation briefly summarizes the massive change in lifestyles and political strategies needed to limit the rise in global temperature to just 1.5 deg C as advocated by the Paris Agreement (COP 21). It concludes that it is very likely that the world will have to resort to Climate-Engineering techniques to avert catastrophic global heating. Two such approaches are then examined, Direct Air Capture and Marine-Cloud Brightening. The former entails extracting CO2 from the air and ideally re-using it (or failing that permanently removing it from the atmosphere). The latter exploits the Twomey effect by brightening low-level marine clouds so that they reflect a greater proportion of incident solar radiation back into space

About the Speaker: Brian Launder received his first degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London (IC) and continued his studies to master’s and doctoral levels at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for experimental research on
laminarization of turbulent boundary layers. He then returned to IC as lecturer and reader for a dozen years developing the subject of modelling turbulence for use in
the emerging CFD software together with fundamental experimental research on gas-turbine blade cooling. After a 4-year spell as professor at the University of California,
Davis, he returned to head the Thermo-Fluids Division in Manchester. Following his election as a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering he took on the role of regional director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. From 2009 he has edited or authored several books, official reports and articles on
Climate Engineering.

Week 2: Bryn Roberts

NOTE: 19:30 start

“How Big Data and AI are Revolutionising Medicines R&D”

Venue: Danson Room, Trinity College

Big Data, powered by genomics at scale, digitization of medical information and emerging digital health solutions, are transforming healthcare and medicines R&D. Once FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), these data are amenable to advanced analytics approaches such as machine and deep learning, and the resulting insights propel our understanding of disease and how best to treat it. The resulting potential for Personalized Healthcare, where patients receive the treatments most appropriate to them, is improving outcomes and lowering the burden of disease for
individuals, families and society. Ultimately, earlier detection and prevention of disease is our goal.

Bryn has a PhD in Pharmacology and background in Data Science. He joined Roche in Basel in 2006 and, in his current role as Global Head of Operations & Informatics for Pharma Research and Early Development, Bryn overseas global research infrastructure and business processes, and provides strategic leadership in areas related to informatics, digital, AI, automation and personalized healthcare. Beyond Roche, Bryn is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford, with interests in AI and machine learning, systems biology and scientific software development. He is a member of several advisory boards including the Pistoia Alliance, University of Oxford Dept of Statistics and SABS Centre for
Doctoral Training, and the Microsoft Research/Univ Trento Center for Computational and Systems Biology. Bryn has been recognized in the Fierce Biotech IT list of Top 10 Biotech Techies and the Top 50 Big Data Influencers in Precision Medicine by the Big Data Leaders Forum

Week 3: Ben Davis

“The World Is Made Of Sugar And Dirt”

Venue: Danson Room, Trinity College

Sugars are neglected molecules. The question is “Why?”. Atom-for-atom they contain more infor-mation, more complexity and more power in Biology than any other component of life. They certainly do a lot more than simply provide energy and build structures.

So….. they should be great things to look at – perhaps, even, the holy grail of Biology.

Perhaps one reason that science and scientists have struggled to get to grips with sugars is that the normal methods, the normal tricks, of Biology don’t work.

Chemistry can come to the rescue. Chemistry can, in principle, build almost anything. This includes building any of the pieces, any of the molecules of Biology, including the sugars.

However, until recently, this has been seen as a tough, some would say slightly crazy, way to do things.

In this lecture you will hear about three stories in which we have used Chemistry to try and ask some useful questions about sugars in Biology:

What do sugars do in Tuberculosis?

How do bugs make their protective coats using sugars?

Could sugars be used to make a cell from scratch?

These questions tell us about even bigger questions:

What makes a cell live?

Can we kill bugs in new ways

About the Speaker: Ben Davis got his B.A. (1993) and D.Phil. (1996) from the University of Oxford. During this time he learnt the beauty of carbohydrate chemistry under the supervision of Professor George Fleet. He then spent 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Bryan Jones at the University of Toronto, exploring protein chemistry and biocatalysis.

His group’s research centres on the chemical understanding and exploitation of biomolecular function (Synthetic Biology, Chemical Biology and Chemical Medicine), with an emphasis on carbohydrates and proteins. In particular, the group’s interests encompass synthesis and methodology; target biomolecule synthesis; inhibitor/probe/substrate design; biocatalysis; enzyme & biomolecule mechanism; biosynthetic pathway determination; protein engineering; drug delivery; molecular biology; structural biology; cell biology; glycobiology; molecular imaging and in vivo biology.

Week 4: 


Week 5: Dr Frank Haselbach, Rolls Royce
Venue: Danson Room, Trinity College

The presentation describes key technologies within aircraft engine systems contributing to low emissions products, fuel efficient in the large civil aircraft engine market. After an introduction to modern high bypass ratio engines design, certification and operation a detailed discussion of key technologies as well as future needs will be done. Emphasis will be on the architectural, aerothermal, material & system/sub-system technologies, the corresponding demonstrator programmes and the technology incorporation into new engine architectures. At the end, a brief discussion of hybrid/electrical air transport will conclude the discussion.

About the Speaker: As Chief Engineer – Large Engine Programmes Frank looks after all in-production and Fleet Trent and RB211 engine marks (Trent 1000, Trent XWB, Trent 900/800/700/500 and RB211- 524/535) as well as New Product Introduction. He also is accountable for Future Programmes engineering and Research & Technology. In addition, the system design function for the large engine part of Civil Aerospace is reporting into Frank. Based in Derby, UK, and positioned in the civil aerospace business sector he leads the whole engine architecture, functional and mechanical design of all large civil aerospace products and also acts as the Chief Aerodynamicist of the group. Prior to this, Frank held executive roles for System Design & Sub-system design and he was Executive Vice President for the Combustion & Casings Supply Chain Unit within Rolls-Royce. He has served as a senior engineer in the company since 20 years in various roles in Germany and the United Kingdom. He has operated businesses and worked with customers, teams and suppliers in Europe, Asia and America. As an elected Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellow and Visiting Professor for the University of Oxford he also holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering. He is Member of the DGLR and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society

Week 6: David Gann, Imperial


David Gann is a university and business leader with extensive international experience in innovation strategy and technology management. He is Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Imperial College Business School and was Vice-President (Innovation) at Imperial College from 2013 until March 2019. He has a PhD in Industrial Economics, is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute.

David has written or edited eight books exploring why and how innovation happens, the ways it continually transforms the world we live in, and how it can be managed.

He is Chairman, UK Atomic Energy Authority, non-executive board member, Directa Plus plc the world’s largest producer of pristine graphene and member of the Department of Health & Social Care Tech Advisory Board. David mentors start-ups and advises boards on innovation and technology management, including Citigroup, Gammon, IBM, Huawei, HS2, McLaren and Tata Group. David was Chairman of the Smart London Board (2012-2017), responsible for London’s digital strategy, reporting to Boris Johnson and later, Sadiq Khan. He developed Crossrail’s Innovation Strategy, and was Group Innovation Executive, Laing O’Rourke plc (2007-2011).

David was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to engineering, and received the 2014 Tjalling C. Koopmans Asset Award for extraordinary contributions to the economic sciences.

David publishes on technology management and innovation strategy in journals such as Harvard Business Review, California Management Review and Sloan Management Review, and on systems engineering in Ingenia, ICE Proceedings and Project Management Journal. He writes a blog with Mark Dodgson for the World Economic Forum (https://www.globalshapers.org/agenda/authors/david-gann/) and is author and co-author of eight books, published in seven languages including Chinese, Malay, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and Arabic. Most recently:

· The Playful Entrepreneur, with Mark Dodgson, Yale University Press, 2018

· Innovation: a very short introduction, 2nd edition, with Mark Dodgson, OUP, 2018

· The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management, with Mark Dodgson and Nelson Phillips, OUP, 2014

Week 7: BRIGHT International Oxford Chapter Presentation on NHS and Health Innovation

Week 8: 

NOTE: Events are £2 for non-members of OUSS, and free for members. Membership can be bought on the door (£10 for one year or £20 for life).