Can we improve the human condition? With the complete genomes of our closest existing and extinct relatives readily available, we stand at the doorstep of deep understanding of the molecular and cellular characteristics that have not only made us distinctly human but have imbued us with uniquely human traits, conditions, and diseases. This symposium explores how studies, including those using stem cells and gene editing tools, are revealing important genetic differences and how they emerged in the human lineage.
Imagine a not-too-distant future where gasoline-powered engines disappear and we all travel in electric, driverless cars that don’t pollute the air. And, a future where the actual number of cars on the road decreases because we’ll all participate in a transportation sharing service rather than owning our own vehicles. That’s the vision presented by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in this energetic talk to the Goldman School of Public Policy as she describes its financial and environmental advantages but also outlines the new policy challenges. Among them, how to retrain professional drivers? What to do with empty parking lots? And how to replace the tax revenue generated by gas sales? Granholm’s eye-opening peek into the next decade will give you lots to think about next time you’re stuck in traffic.
While the idea of strapping on goggles to virtually visit Ancient Rome or go inside a molecule sounds like the stuff of science fiction, the technology to do just that is becoming more popular and available every day. Yes, there are plenty of obstacles — from cost to teacher training — but using virtual reality as an educational tool offers considerable
benefits. Not only can it boost visual and technology literacy, but it also improves students’ attention and engagement. Learn how this technology has the possibility to transform K-12 education from educators and engineers gathered by Sally Ride Science@UC San Diego.
Contributed by John Menier
Listed by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2012, Ann Patchett is a true woman of letters: novelist, essayist, anthologist, and co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville. Patchett is also a frequent and accomplished public speaker, noted for her anecdotes about the literary life, her insights into the creative process, and her wry wit.
One of Patchett’s favorite topics is the ever-changing relationship between readers and books. As an example she cites her own evolution reading (and re-reading) the works of John Updike, Leo Tolstoy, Pearl Buck, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and others, noting that “the books don’t change, but we do.” Put another way, the reader’s evaluation of a particular book is shaped as much by the reader’s life experience and circumstances as by the work’s innate qualities. As such our appreciation (or lack thereof) for a particular title may change over time, but the consistent commonality among the books we treasure is that they never fail to evoke a strong response. Patchett believes the writer’s primary task is to elicit that response by inviting the reader to become an active participant in their story.
Patchett’s approach to the reading public is refreshingly un-elitist. She stresses the importance of what she calls “gateway drugs,” books of dubious literary worth that may encourage readers to explore other authors and genres. She applauds the success of “trashy” pop novels such as “Fifty Shades of Gray” and “Twilight,” no matter their pedigree, for their role in re-vitalizing book sales and energizing the publishing community. What matters most to Patchett as both author and bookstore owner is that the reading habit is fostered and encouraged, and in that endeavor, there’s no place for snobbery.
Healthcare has never been as important to peoples’ lives as it is today. Staggering advances in technology and science stand alongside major changes — and controversies — in policy and payment. In this new series, Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of UCSF’s Department of Medicine, bestselling author, and rated in 2015 by Modern Healthcare magazine as the most influential physician-executive in the U.S., interviews leading lights in medicine and healthcare.
In addition to finding out what’s happening now and where medicine is going, these individuals talk about the experiences that shaped their careers.
The first two programs are available now with more coming monthly to UCTV.
Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
From self-described army brat to a renowned physician and scientist, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo is the immediate past-chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force. Find out how she balances the various demands on her time, including being a mom.
Dr. Lloyd “Holly” Smith
Dr. Smith came to San Francisco in 1964 and transformed UCSF into a world leader. His ability to steer that change is as much about management as medicine.