After a full day of Tech Inclusion Melbourne and a Data Science Melbourne panel discussion, a normal person would go home eat dinner and have a bit of rest. I am not normal.
To end a somewhat overwhelming and exhausting day, my friend Mar and I dashed over to Plenary 2 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, just in time for the start of Convergence Science Network's (@ConverSci) latest event: The Science & Ethics of Gene Editing.
This was a fantastic effect and certainly one of the best public science talks I've been to in a long, long time. I didn't know much about gene editing, nor CRISPR-Cas9 but I had heard about it often enough in the news that I knew I wanted to know more. It was a sell-out event. The organisers twice moved it to a much larger venue, in order to fit the diverse audience of ~1700 people, that included high school students. attended the talk. I went away completely and utterly inspired by the magic that is science, and immensely proud to be a woman in science. This weekend I'll be buying Rachel Ignotofsky's Women In Science for my friend's 4 year old daughter. It's never too early to introduce kids to science, and perhaps more importantly introduce them to the people who inspire us.
Professor Jennifer Doudna and Assistant Professor Kevin Esvelt talked about genome editing, a technology that is described as a game changes with implications far and wide for society. They are both fantastic science communicators.
Jennifer presented a brief history of CRISPR-Cas9 while raising applications and ethical questions posed by the technology, while Kevin called for greater transparency in science. He also discussed Gene Drives and Daisy Drives, concepts new to many in the audience, in what was a thought provoking presentation.
You can watch all previous talks on the Convergence Science Network YouTube channel