01/2022: Medical Ethics (D Wilkinson)

Sleep softly: Schubert, Ethics and the Value of Dying Well

Thursday 20th January 2022 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

Covid-19 Update
We as a committee recognise that the pandemic is not over, and there may be those of you who are concerned about a complete removal of restrictions. We recommend that you perform a lateral flow test on 20th January, before attending. The venue has requested that attendees continue to wear masks when not seated (although this will not be enforced should people wish to remove them). There will also be a one way system in place, doors and windows will be open for ventilation, and plenty of hand sanitiser will be available at various locations within the room. We will also request that, where possible, people try and distance themselves from other attendees who are not in their own social bubble when choosing seats. If anyone has any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself or another committee member either via email, or in person on the night. We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable to attend what is sure to be a great evening!

Ethical discussions about medical treatment for seriously ill babies or children often focus on the ‘value of life’ or on ‘quality of life’ and what that might mean. Professor Wilkinson looks at the other side of the coin—on the value of death, and on the quality of dying. In particular, he examines whether there is such a thing as a good way to die, for an infant or an adult, and what that means for medical care. To do that, he calls on philosophy and on personal experience. However, there will also be references to art, poetry and music. This is partly because the topic of mortality has long been reflected on by artists as well as philosophers and ethicists. It is also because, as we will see, there may be some useful parallels to draw.

Speaker: Professor Dominic Wilkinson

Professor Dominic Wilkinson is Director of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medical Ethics at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He is a consultant in newborn intensive care at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. He is a senior research fellow at Jesus College Oxford.

Dominic has published more than 200 academic articles relating to ethical issues in intensive care for adults, children and newborn infants. His co-authored books include ‘Medical Ethics and Law, third edition’ (Elsevier 2019); ‘Ethics, Conflict and Medical treatment for children, from disagreement to dissensus’ (Elsevier, 2018) (BMA President’s Award in 2018 British Medical Association Book Awards). He is also the author of ‘Death or Disability? The ‘Carmentis Machine’ and decision-making for critically ill children’ (Oxford University Press 2013) (“the best book of the decade in bioethics… this is a book that must be read by everybody who is seriously interested in the bioethical issues that arise in neonatal intensive care or, more generally, in decision making for children with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening conditions.” (John Lantos, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews). He was Editor and Associate Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics from 2011-2018.

Twitter: @Neonatalethics

12/2021: Christmas Party (CANCELLED)

ATOM Society Christmas Party

It is with great regret that we have made the difficult decision to cancel the ATOM Society Christmas party. We were really excited to host it again this year, but with the COVID-19 situation evolving as it is we felt it was no longer tenable. It would be much harder to be masked and distanced and still have a festive atmosphere, and we did not want to jeopardise anyone’s Christmas plans. My deepest apologies to those who had RSVP’d and were looking forward to the event, and to our speakers who had accepted our invitation.
Our hope as a committee is to organise a social event in the warmer months when hopefully the risks will be lower and we can have a much more enjoyable time!
As it stands we still hope to host our January 2022 talk in person, but we will obviously keep you informed if this changes.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Christmas from the ATOM Society Committee, and we will see you in the new year!

11/2021: AGM & Seabirds (A Fayet)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 18 November, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will probably be delivered in person. Please check closer to the time. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

The event will start with a short annual general assembly of the society followed by a presentation.

Title: Spying on Seabirds – using tracking technology to study declining seabirds

In this talk, Dr Annette Fayet, seabird biologist at the University of Oxford and National Geographic Explorer, will discuss how she uses miniature tracking technology to follow the movements of seabirds at sea and investigate what is causing the declines of seabird populations. She will use examples from her long-standing research programme on the charismatic Atlantic puffins on Skomer Island in Wales, as well as recent work she has been doing in the western Indian Ocean on tropical seabirds.

Speaker: Dr Annette Fayet

Dr Fayet grew up in France where she studied Physics, Chemistry and Engineering up to Master’s level at the ESPCI Paris before deciding to focus on biology. She now is a junior research fellow in the Oxford Navigation Group, part of the Animal Behaviour Research Group. Her investigates the at-sea behaviour of pelagic seabirds on long-distance movements and their potential life-history consequences, with Atlantic puffins and Manx shearwater currently her main study species. She is interested in expanding her research to encompass the whole breeding range of species and address questions at a global population scale.

10/2021: Quantum Weirdness (M Weber)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 21 October, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will probably be delivered in person. Please check closer to the time. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

Title: Quantum Weirdness

At the smallest scale the world behaves very differently to our every-day expectations; a particle may be at two different places at the same time or Schrödinger’s cat may be dead and alive. This behaviour is described by quantum mechanics, which was developed in the 1920s, but that puzzles even the experts 100 years later.

This talk will be a beginner’s guide to the quantum world. We will explore how even the act of looking at something changes that very system. We will explore how this behaviour on very small scales contradicts our every-day experience. But without this quantum weirdness, many of today’s technologies would not be possible. Reality at the smallest scales may force us to re-evaluate how we see the world around us.

Speaker: Marius Weber

Marius Weber studied the Natural Science Tripos at Churchill College, Cambridge concentrating on Physics. He is now a PhD student at the University of Oxford at the Quantum Computing group of Professor Lucas. He is working on trapping single ions and manipulating them with lasers and microwaves to make a better (more reliable) quantum computer. He is also a non-stipendiary lecturer at Oriel College, Oxford.

09/2021: Malaria (C Williams)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 16 September, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will probably be delivered in person. Please check closer to the time. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

Title: The eternal struggle? The Battle Between our Immune System and the Malaria Parasite

Malaria is a devastating ancient disease which affected our pre-human ancestors and has been taking a terrible toll ever since. During this time, the parasites that cause malaria, have been constantly evolving to better evade our bodies defences and more recently to overcome our drug treatments. In this talk, Chris will talk about our long history with the parasite and will elaborate on the literal like and death struggle that goes on within our bodies, as our immune system tries to protect us. In addition, Chris will give an overall of efforts at the Jenner Institute to aid our immune systems and tip the battle in our favour.

Speaker: Chris Williams

Dr Chris Williams is an immunologist at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, where he works on clinical trials conducted to develop novel transmission blocking malaria vaccines, against the malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Prior to joining the Jenner Institute, he obtained his MSc at the University of Glasgow, before completing his PhD at the University of St Andrews, where he investigated potential drug targets in P. falciparum parasites. After which, he joined an Oxfordshire based Immunotherapy company, developing immune therapies against cancer.