Save Our Biology Subjects!

The School of Biological Sciences (SoBS) recently announced some prospective changes to the Biology curriculum, which will possibly take place in 2012. The proposed changes are as follows:

  • For second year students studying Biology in 2013, from the 9 subjects currently on offer, only 6 will be available.
  • For third year students in 2013, instead of having 15-16 subjects to choose from, they now only have 8.
  • Out of the 4 subjects that used to be offered as intensive field work courses, only 2 will exist.
  • All third year ‘Plant Biology’ subjects will merge into 1 6CP subject, two Ecology subjects will merge into one, and Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBLG) also faces cuts.

These changes have yet to be confirmed as a review of this hasn’t been officially released, however lecturers and other members of the SoBS have failed to inform students of any changes or consult students on their thoughts. Such reductions in the courses are said to limit internal choice within Biology, create bigger class sizes, put more pressure on staff, and in the event that a student fails a subject, they will be forced to repeat the subject until they pass, to maintain that major in biology.

Currently a large group of students in the Faculty of Science are fighting this reduction, and they want your help.
For more information visit the Facebook group at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/252488888130950/

Sydney Science Forum: Law of the Locust

Speaker:
Prof. Steve Simpson (NSW Scientist of the Year)

Locust plagues are one of the most infamous insect scourges, affecting the lives of 1 in 10 people on the planet. But they have also provided important new clues into the causes of human obesity, how we age, and the complex behaviour of crowds. Professor Steve Simpson takes us on a strange journey that begins in the midst of a locust swarm and ends with the human obesity epidemic. Along the way you will see what you can discover by tickling a locust’s leg with a paintbrush, how recreational drugs turn shy solitary locusts into swarming party animals, how robotic helicopters are being used to track swarms, the sinister role played by cannibalism in locust swarms, and how a powerful appetite for protein can explain not only locust mass marching but also human obesity and ageing.

When 5:45pm-6:45pm, Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Where Eastern Ave Auditorium
Cost FREE
RSVP Please click here

Some like it Hot: Life in the Central Deserts of Australia

Speaker
Professor Chris Dickman

Australia’s central deserts support rich assemblages of animals and plants: add water, and the seemingly barren landscapes transform and pulsate with colour and activity. In this lecture, Professor Dickman will take us through the extraordinary ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ cycles that characterise inland Australia and examine how life persists during good times and bad. You will see the amazing adaptations that frogs and desert mice use to cope with the extreme conditions, how floods, wildfires and invasive species affect the native small mammals, and how so many species seem to appear and disappear at different times and places over the desert landscape. With the spectre of climate change looming, life in Australia’s central deserts may provide a glimpse of what the continent’s coastal fringes can expect in future.

When 5:45pm-6:45pm, Thursday, 12 August 2010
Where Eastern Avenue Auditorium
Cost FREE
RSVP Please click here

Darwin and Intelligent Design

Speaker:
Professor Elliot Sober (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Are evolutionary theory and belief in God necessarily in conflict?

Professor Elliott Sober addresses this question by considering what biologists mean by saying that mutations are “unguided”. He will also discuss Darwin’s views on God and Christianity.

More information

When 6:00pm-7:00pm
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Where New Law School Foyer
Cost FREE

On the Origin of Epidemics

Speaker:
Professor Edward Holmes

How do epidemics start and spread in human populations? Can we predict what epidemics will occur next?

These fundamental questions will be addressed by examining how evolving RNA viruses are able to jump species boundaries and emerge in humans, sometimes with devastating effects. As case studies of the origins and spread of influenza and dengue, both of which are of great public health importance in Australia, will be considered in detail.

More information

When 5:45-6:45pm, Thursday, 18 March 2010
Where Eastern Avenue Auditorium
Cost FREE
RSVP Please click here