Speakers at the Magdalene College Discovery and Public Perspective debate

How do we balance curiosity, research progression and public concern? How does culture shape the direction of discovery for researchers? How do we increase diversity in research to help future innovation more widely reflect societal needs? And how do the perspectives of young people change whilst at university? 

These are just some of the questions that will be debated by a panel of Lord Robert Winston, Sally Bridgeland, Dawid Konotey-Ahulu CBE, Dr Hannah Critchlow and Magdalene College Student Outreach Ambassadors at an event on 19 October. Discovery and Public Perspective is being held as part of Magdalene College’s triennial festival, which this year has ‘Perspectives’ as a theme.

“This feels like a really timely discussion, especially during this period of human history dominated by advances in Artificial Intelligence,” said Dr Critchlow.

“We’ve got a fantastic panel of guests who all bring particular experiences and points of view, alongside the Magdalene College Student Outreach Ambassadors.

“I’m really looking forward to a lively debate about the relationship between discovery and perspective”.


More about the panel

Lord Robert Winston is Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London. In the 1970s he developed gynaecological surgical techniques that improved fertility treatments. He later pioneered new treatments to improve in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and developed pre-implantation diagnosis. This allowed embryos to be screened for genetic diseases and has allowed parents carrying faulty genes to have children free of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis.
Sally Bridgeland is an actuary with extensive experience in innovation, risk management and responsible investment across investment management and pensions. She was CEO of the BP Pension Scheme in 2007-14 after 20 years with Aon Hewitt working as a consultant and in investment research. Sally’s passion for maths education is evident in her work as a member of the Royal Society’s Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME) and as Chair of the Strategic Advisory Board for the Centre for Mathematical Cognition at Loughborough University.  Sally is an Honorary Group Captain in 601 Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, introducing diverse ideas to the way that the Senior Leadership Team of the RAF think and work.

Dawid Konotey-Ahulu received a CBE in recognition for his work in setting up the 10,000 Black Interns Initiative. The award was for services to diversity and inclusion as this initiative seeks to significantly improve the employment chances of talented Black interns across 24 sectors within the UK, including the financial services sector. Dawid, a former barrister and investment banker, also founded Mallowstreet.com, the social media platform connecting the pensions and insurance industry. 
Dr Hannah Critchlow is an internationally-acclaimed neuroscientist, broadcaster and author at Magdalene College. Her expertise lies in Consciousness, Intelligence and Decision Making and she has spoken to a number of audiences including government officials, public and business leaders. Her book The Science of Fate made The Sunday Times Bestseller list, receiving international press coverage and translated into eight languages. 
The Magdalene College Outreach Ambassador Scheme was set up in 2022 with undergraduate students returning to their local primary and secondary schools to deliver interactive sessions on their research and studies to help inspire the next generation. 

Registration details

The event is being held from 17.30 - 18.30 on 19 October at Magdalene College and is open to the public and free to attend. To register, go to the Magdalene College website

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