Horizons Academic Lecture - Exploring Life in the Deep Ocean
We were very lucky to welcome back to School Dr Jon Copley, Richards '89. pictured with Laura Tabb, Head of Science who introduced his talk, and Rob Stevens, on the right, Head of Academic Enrichment.
Jon came to School to talk about his work in ocean ridge research, giving a fascinating perspective on just how much of the deep ocean has been explored (more than we are sometimes led to believe), and the number of living things which we know exist but which have never been seen. He talked with enthusiasm and authority about the significance of under water hot springs on creatures in the oceans, as well as the glimpse we are offered of life on earth 250 million years ago, in the cold waters of Antarctica. Finally, in case we weren't simply in awe of the bevy of photos, slides and videos showing some of his work, Jon offered us a glimpse of the relevance of such research to everyday life. Who knew that the shell of the Scaly Footsnail has led to the design of crash resistant helmets and underwater pipes, that the anti-freeze proteins in fish have helped develop smaller ice crystals in ice creams and that the structure of crystal jelly fish have led to developments in fiber-optic cables? And perhaps most significant of all, that the microbes and bacteria in our cold seas may provide a break through in the search for new antibiotics?
Students, parents and staff raised many questions after his wonderful talk and there was long queue of Sixth Formers waiting for a minute or so of his time at the end. As a Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum, London and currently Scientific Consultant with the BBC Natural History Unit Blue Planet 2, his skills as communicator, educator and writer were in full evidence.