As we got off the plane in London yesterday 5AM in the morning, our initial thoughts were how great of an improvement the weather is from Hong Kong. Since dawn had barely broken, it was nice and cool here at a temperature of 15 degrees. I would say it was even a bit on the chilly side, as we were dressed very lightly. Summer with this weather is certainly something we’d never experience in Hong Kong. I was quickly beginning to like it here.
We listened to three lectures in all today. The first two lecturers spoke on the topic of the oceans, while the third spoke on diseases. They were all superb lectures, each informative, interesting, and eye opening. I especially liked the third speaker who spoke about diseases. His profound understanding in this field of science is evident with every word he chooses and the fluency at which they are delivered. Being his area of expertise, he spoke with such elegance on the subject that it captivated even though the jetlag had already hit me. It was absolutely a great start to the forum for me, and I certainly look forward to hearing more brilliant lectures.
At night, they hosted the Welcome Party. In truth, I am not much of the party-type person, so I found myself just observing the craziness from the sidelines. Most of the friends I made I met prior to the party, but I did manage to talk to some other Asians. They was a group of undergraduates from a university in Tokyo. The other friends I met included people from Switzerland, Singapore, Britain, and even India. We are off to a good start.
London is a charismatic city beaming with life! The architecture is stunning as laws prohibit constructors to tear down old building. What further compliments this calm and vibrant city is its cool refreshing breeze. You can literally spend a whole day exploring the city by feet and letting the fresh air relieve the physical and emotional fatigue.
The keynote speakers gave an insightful opening explaining how important oceans are for the planet and the human race. Since the industrial revolution, the oceans have been acting as huge carbon sinks. Taking in the ever so increasing amounts of carbon dioxide we displace into the atmosphere and neutralising the effects of our activities (at least for now).
Mr. John Shepherd warned how humans are removing carbon from natural reservoirs such as rocks and oil at an alarming rate. The carbon trapped by natural processes through many million years is being sent back to the atmosphere through recent human activity – we are indeed, reversing Mother Nature’s call.
Science is evolving to demand more inter-disciplinary teams and people. To really apply science, different scientific communities must work together in a collaborative manner. Geologists for example, must work with oceanographers to find oil reserves and team up with engineers to create technologies to extract it.
As time goes by, more challenging problems will arise as the human population increases. This mark the perfect time for new scientists to hop on board as many careers and opportunities will arise. But we must learn to cooperate with other fields such as social sciences to really bring the desired changes into every single human being sharing our tiny but beautiful blue planet.
The London International Youth Science Forum's opening ceremony.
Photos: Youni Nip
To read more about the London International Youth Science Forum, visit www.liysf.org.uk. This trip is sponsored by British Council.