Inspiring Talks: Michael Portillo & Professor Lord Robert Winston

Michael Portillo - Life: a game of two halves
Sunday 19th February 2017, 3.00pm

It took Michael Portillo little more than 10 years to get a seat in the Commons and then rise in power and esteem to a point where he was a favoured leader of his party and possible future PM.  A track record like that suggests to many a privileged friend of the rich and famous  with little or no understanding of or care for the ordinary citizen. But since leaving the house a decade ago Michael has endeared himself to many with  his obvious respect for solid workmanship and creative  energy, as found in our great Victorian Railways,  and the daily toil of the working man. A historian at heart, he has used a Victorian railway guide to take millions of viewers on a historical  voyage of discovery  throughout the UK ,Ireland , and indeed most of Europe. Listen to his extraordinary story and then feel free to question him about it. 

 

Professor Lord Robert Winston - MODIFYING HUMANS: Where Does Genetics Stop?
Thursday 20th April 2017, 7.30pm

History shows that humans are obsessed with their genes. Does the sequencing of the human genome really herald a new opportunity for medicine or is there a darker side that we ignore? IVF treatments now mean we can treat apparently hopeless sterility, help 65 year-olds to conceive, store eggs and embryos in the deep freeze for several hundred years, and screen embryos for serious genetic disorders before a pregnancy has even really begun. And advances in gene technology mean that we can not only select embryos for 'desirable' characteristics but we can now modify genes of animals with remarkable ease; so possibly very soon we may be able to enhance humans by genetic modification. Will ethical considerations prevent us from the next step - manufacturing stronger, more gifted and very intelligent children? Or will our imperfect knowledge of how our abilities are inherited mean that they there are some major surprises in store?   

For more information and to buy tickets visit: www.thepaaonline.org.

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