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Discussion > Stephen Chu lecture Oxford 11 November 2014 - pub meet?

Stephen Chu (Nobel Prize winner in Physics and United States Secretary of Energy from 2009 to 2013) is giving the Romanes Lecture - 'Our Energy and Climate Change Challenges and Solutions'.

This lecture will take place in The Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford on Tuesday 11 November 2014 at 17.45.

Book here (for free)

I plan to go to this lecture, is anyone interested in a pub meet afterwards?

Oct 7, 2014 at 8:08 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

I'm booked in!

Oct 7, 2014 at 9:02 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

ask him questions about "fracking" and why the Obama admin., European govts., various Greens, etc. are so opposed to it:

Oct 7, 2014 at 11:20 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Alas I shall be engaged in my ongoing studies of the dangers of a warming climate. Investigating the disastrous effects at 26 degrees north latitude. How lucky you all are to be wrapped in the glow of an Oxford November. Ask Chu how he likes the weather, and if it's nicer than where he lives.

Oct 8, 2014 at 9:57 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Definite maybe. It's Steven Chu by the way. Not that I'm expecting a big ego or anything.

Oct 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

So it is, Richard! I wrote Steven first then for some reason changed it - I can't recall why now... Hope to see you there.

A pity you can't make it Rhoda - but glad you are somewhere warm.

Oct 8, 2014 at 8:15 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

notes that Drake will be avoids the chance of meeting Chance the gardener

Oct 9, 2014 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

angry at what I last wrote are we? I'm not definite for 11th, as I already said

Oct 9, 2014 at 3:19 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

OK, I'm booked for Chu so up for anything after! (I'm going to try to visit a open source programmer friend in the Oxford area earlier in the day but, modulo that, may need advice on where/how to park.)

Oct 25, 2014 at 1:52 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I'm in!

Unless Pompey vs Shots in t'Cup has a replay that night.

Oct 28, 2014 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

We now know the Shots/Pompey replay (if needed) won't be that night. So I'm definitely on. Will be bringing my g/f. She has little interest in clim8 but will enjoy the occasion and the surroundings.

Afterwards, we'd like to eat somewhere. KA/Turf/White Horse wld seem to be local. Shall we all head off to one of those?

Nov 7, 2014 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

On Friday 14 November, David MacKay is at the Oxford Playhouse talking about how the laws of physics constrain our energy options, and will describe what happened when his reflections on energy arithmetic propelled him into a senior civil service role.

Could be interesting

Nov 7, 2014 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

On 11 November, I suggest we meet up after Steven Chu's lecture outside the Sheldonian theatre, then walk to the Turf Tavern (unless anyone has another suggestion). We could meet on the wide bit of pavement diagonally across from the Kings Arms (by the stone steps and pillars of the Clarendon Building which is beside the Sheldonian). We'll be by the tourist map on the corner.

That sounds more complicated than it is! Try tweeting @nmrqip if you can't find us.

Nov 7, 2014 at 7:29 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

It was good to see you all yesterday in the pub (four BH regulars and two slightly bemused friends)!

Steven Chu's lecture was unexceptional, I thought. Not really alarmist about climate, he made recurring use of the smoking/lung-cancer analogy in the first part of his talk. Having established the CO2/temperature link in that way, he segued straight to 'how to deal with this risk' (without really having explained what the 'risk' was (apart from a Munich Re graph of weather losses)). He then showed a lot of slides of energy data (mainly US-based) and described just how difficult it is to solve the energy-storage problem (he's working on better batteries at Stanford). He ended by saying 'it won't cost very much' to solve the climate problem - an assertion which I didn't think he'd really proved.

The most notable moment for me was when the Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton referred to 'anthropomorphic climate change' in his introduction. Hamilton described climate change as 'one of the most serious issues' facing the world, so he might have taken the trouble to get the words right. Perhaps he spoke more truly than he knew.

Nov 12, 2014 at 8:30 AM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

I'm glad I missed it. I really can't stand the lung cancer false analogy (as mentioned here).
I assume Ruth's comment "Having established" is intended to be ironic.

Was there any Q&A at the end of the talk?

Nov 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

That Munich Re :NatCatService (Natural Catastrophe Statistics) website looks the business, but Paul Homewood jst had a story about how there UK heatwave stats were just lifted from the "upto" bit of the Metro newspaper..very shoddy
Munich RE Using Fabricated Fatality Numbers

Nov 12, 2014 at 9:34 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Yes, Paul, I was being ironic - sorry I should have made that clear.

And no, there was no Q&A.

Nov 12, 2014 at 10:17 AM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Here are the highlights:

Nov 12, 2014 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Hamilton's performance was very lacklustre. He told us precious little about Chu, apart from that he'd had a bike accident not long before. Instead he talked mainly about those who had given the Romanes lectures previously. I guess it's easier that way - he can give the same speech every year.
As for Chu, he came across as a policymaker rather than a scientist, but was certainly more bearable than his equivalents (Huhne and Davey) in the UK

Nov 12, 2014 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterShotover

Thanks Latimer. If those were the highlights, I can't imagine what the lowlights must have been like.

Nov 13, 2014 at 9:52 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Chu has the air of a scientist biting off so-called big problems without pausing to think. His initial project was to solve 'the problem of photosynthesis more efficient'. I think it is ridiculous to think a bunch of hundred scientists can get together and 'solve' a problem that nature has been working at for billions of years. Photosynthesis is already at high efficiency. Trees are among the largest and longest-lived organisms. The basis for existence of the entire earth biome is photosynthesis. The starting point of carbon-based life form energy metabolism is photosynthesis. All the 'information' needed to keep this system going is encoded in genes that package themselves into seeds which are available for ... free! The plants make these copies in the billions. On the other side of the equation, the most efficient form of energy storage for the metabolism of living organisms is again carbon-based, i.e, hydrocarbons.

Photosynthesis->hydrocarbon. The formula is done.

It is telling that Chu set to 'solve' the first, and is now concentrating on the second.

Nov 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Registered Commentershub