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Do we want to live forever?

Fantastic new student academic series – Pending Puzzles – gets off to an engaging start.

Hughes Hall MCR Academic Officer, Veronica Hera, launched a new and thought-provoking series of academic events this week to challenge, entertain and get our community thinking. The first Pending Puzzles evening discussed the topics surrounding the question “Do we want to live forever?”.

Veronica said: “I was delighted to see students, postdoctoral fellows and senior members of the college engage in a captivating exchange of ideas. While I don’t think we managed to find an answer to the evening’s question by the end of the night, we surely managed to learn a lot from the amazing speeches which sparked a lively conversation among members of the audience, both during the Q&A session as well as after the event, over some pizza and drinks!”

“Most importantly, I think this event achieved its goal – creating a space for interdisciplinary engagement and building a close-knit community at Hughes Hall, by providing students and senior members with a chance to connect and consider interesting questions from different angles.”

The panel explored the themes of immortality and what this means within different contexts, whether the costs of searching for the magic cure to aging would be better spent addressing global and local inequalities in life expectancy, how demographic shifts impact on infectious disease distributions, and the reality of physical and cognitive frailty that comes with today’s older population (complete with hints and tips on how to stay healthy into our eighties – thank you Fay!).

Thanks to everyone involved in making it a success, particularly Chair and organiser, Veronica, and staff who produced superb pizza and salads to accompany the post panel informal discussions. And, of course, thanks to our attendees and engaging panelists:

  • Dr Stephen Cave, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Philosophy, and Hughes Hall Fellow
  • Dr Fay Gilder, Medical Director of the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust Harlow, former consultant anaesthetist and clinical leader at Cambridge Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Hughes Hall By-Fellow and Tutor
  • Dr Angkana Huang (Hat), Hughes Hall Research Associate, studying how changes in demography and societal interactions impact the ecology and evolution of pathogens.

Veronica said: “I would like to extend my warmest thanks to everyone who joined us on Thursday evening for the first event of the series, but especially to our wonderful speakers – Stephen, Fay and Hat – who framed the discussion in a thought-provoking manner, based on their expertise.”

“Not convinced yet? Then please join our next event on “How can we make digital education more inclusive?” when we will have the chance to hear from another three highly knowledgeable panellists: Kevin Martin, Sara Hennessy and Alison Twiner. Who knows? Perhaps you could be the one to untangle our next puzzle!”

The next Pending Puzzle is on 3rd November, at 6pm, in the Pavilion Room, on “Making digital education more inclusive”: For further details and to book: www.hughes.cam.ac.uk/about/events/how-can-we-make-digital-education-more-inclusive. For the full College events programme, see our Events page.