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How To Change The World 2016:

Just a few tickets are still available for how to: Change The World 2016, the extraordinary day-long conference that gives you a panoramic view of the future. Book now to secure your seat!

Presenting leading experts on: solar power, 3D computing, new techniques in cancer research, neural implants, robotic brains, human-centred geolocation, clean hydrogen fuel cells, 3D printed organs, DNA data, epigenetics, Alzheimer’s prevention and more.

Now in its third year, the one-day how to: Conference will provide an unparalleled insight into the innovations that will change our lives in the near (and distant) future – presented through engaging 15-minute demonstrations by the people at the forefront of their development.

The day will be moderated by Matthew Taylor of the RSA.

Sponsored by Weizmann Institute, Escape the City and Doctor Preneurs:






How To: change the world

1st Dec 2016, 9.30 am - 5.30 pm

Conference divided into four session blocks

Curiosity Driven Research

Prof. Daniel Zajfman - President, Weizmann Institute of Science

Nothing has changed the world more than science. Today, scientific innovations are some of the strongest influences on modern economies. Therefore, this has profound implications on how we support scientific research and drive the scientists to focus them towards specific goals, which are relevant to our present-day problems, or market opportunities.  But this approach could distort, and in fact, even destroy one of the major engines behind innovation: Free Scientific Curiosity. 

How much freedom should scientists have in order to foster the next scientific revolution? Are they allowed to take enough risk? Can we guess the future that science will provide us?

Cyborgs and Robots with Brains

Professor Kevin Warwick - Coventry University

Robots with biological brains, electronically enhanced humans, and new treatments for certain neural illnesses. All these possibilities are being advanced through research into the creation of an interface that can link a biological brain directly with computer technology – a breakthrough that would enhance both robotics and live organisms. In this presentation, Kevin Warwick will consider the future in which healthcare will be focussed much more on electronic rather than chemical medicines. A future in which robots will have biological, or part-biological, brains and neural implants will link the human nervous system bi-directionally with technology and the internet.

Safe Hydrogen Energy

Shani Elitzur - Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Hydrogen is an ideal fuel: water is its only by-product, and it has up to three times the energy content per unit of mass of fossil fuels. It can be used in fuel cells to produce energy at high efficiency and without pollution. Why is it not more widely used? It is difficult to transport and store, and is highly reactive.

Shani Elitzur will present a novel technology that enables the production of hydrogen at the point of use via the aluminium-water reaction. The main innovation stems from a patented process for aluminium activation to react spontaneously with water of any type, including tap water, sea water, and waste water, at room temperature.

This technology is characterized by compact energy storage, substantially exceeding that of batteries. It can be used for various applications including automotive, aerospace, and marine.


Innovation in cancer treatment: the hope and the hype

Professor Karol Sikora - University of Buckingham Medical School

Professor Karol Sikora is a world respected oncologist and campaigner for better universal cancer treatment. In his talk, he will present recent innovations in cancer treatment, helping us to distinguish between the hope and the hype.


Breakthroughs 2016: A round-up

Sophie Hackford

Sophie Hackford will highlight emerging technologies of the coming decade, and introduce troublemakers building the future, on- and off-planet.

Pervasive 3D

Mark Stanley - CTO Lift London,

Computing is about to make the big jump from a 2D screen to a 3D experience. It will change the way engineers design new products and artists work, how children learn at school, and how you work, shop and even perceive the world around you. Mark Stanley, CTO of Lift London, one of the leading studios in 3D computing, will take us on a tour of the most fascinating and impactful applications for this emerging technology. On the way, he will explain how 3D computing can change the world, and tell us how – and when – it will become as pervasive as the smartphones we use today.

Geolocation in three words

Giles Rhys Jones - What3words

What if you could pinpoint your location using only three words? Poor addressing is costly & annoying in developed countries, but around the world it hampers the growth and development of nations, ultimately costing lives. what3words is a multi-award winning system looking to change that by addressing the entire planet with just 3 words.

Information Storage in DNA

Nick Goldman - European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

The amount of information that humans produce and want to store is growing exponentially.  Nick Goldman will argue that at present, no long-term archiving — meaning storing safely, recoverably, for long periods of time with rare access and minimal maintenance requirements — of digital information is taking place. Recent advances in genome science led him and his team to look at the possibility of using DNA as a digital archive medium.  In a `proof-of-principle’ experiment, they used standard DNA technologies to store and recover approximately 750kb of digital information. DNA has numerous properties that are ideal for archiving, and this talk will describe work in “DNA-storage” and speculate on the future of DNA as a digital storage medium.

Made-to-Order Organs

Alexander Seifalian - Department of Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine, UCL

Professor Alexander Seifalian will explain the very latest developments in made-to-order organs, created in the lab with stem cells and nanomaterials.

A cellular implant to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Dr Aurélien Lathuilière - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

In the development of Alzheimers disease, neurons produce a protein called amyloid beta. Over time, this accumulates to form amyloid plaques in parts of the brain. These plaques are toxic to neurons, eventually killing them and leading to loss of memory and other brain functions.

A team of scientists at EPFL in Switzerland have been researching a method to prevent the build-up of these plaques. Their solution is to create an implant that produces antibodies which ‘tag’ amyloid beta for removal by the immune system, before they accumulate into plaques. Dr Aurélien Lathuilière from the team responsible will present data demonstrating the potential of this immunotherapy strategy for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.


Redesigning Life: How Genome Editing Will Transform the World

John Parrington - Oxford University

Rapid developments in the manipulation of genomes, including editing genes with ‘molecular scissors’ and the synthesizing of new lifeforms look set to transform our future, and perhaps that of life on Earth. John Parrington will explain the cutting edge science and its implications. He will describe how the discovery that bacteria have their own mini-immune system to combat attack by viruses led to the realisation that this system could be adapted as a revolutionary new form of genetic engineering. He will discuss the huge potential benefits of genome editing and creation of synthetic life forms for medicine and agriculture, and highlight some of the ethical dilemmas and the dangers that may lurk in this brave new world.

Digital disrupters in cities

Christopher Choa - Urban Land Institute

Christopher Choa outlines digital disrupters, autonomous movement, and hyper-cooperation in the emerging age of cities. 

Remaking The World

Prof. Lewis Dartnell - University of Wesminster

For the sake of a thought experiment, let’s imagine that the world as we know it ends tomorrow and your community of post-apocalyptic survivors must rebuild from scratch. What is the most vital scientific understanding and technological know-how that you would need to accelerate the rebooting of civilisation? Lewis Dartnell argues that it is by understanding how we got to here, and why we made particular choices in our own history of development, that we can best appreciate how to move forward into an uncertain future and change the world.

Change Your Genes

Tim Spector - Kings College London

What makes you so different to your siblings? Why do you vote a certain way, remain faithful for twenty years, believe in God, love salads, be heterosexual, get cancer or depression, dislike sport or never put on weight? Using fascinating case studies of identical twins, Tim Spector draws gems from his exhaustive research project that has spanned twenty years to demonstrate how you might be altering your genes through the way that you live.

Solar Energy Will Change Everything

Chris Goodall - Carbon Commentary

Solar has come of age. Solar panels are now being made that will last longer than ever hoped; investors are seeing the benefits of the long-term rewards provided by investing in solar; in the Middle East, a contractor can now offer solar-powered electricity far cheaper than that of a coal-fired power station. Chris Goodall, the leading expert in solar power, provides a positive solution to the climate change crisis, and looks to a brighter future ahead.

Remote-control brain cells

Gero Miesenböck - University of Oxford

Gero Miesenböck and his team are driving our understanding of the brain into a new era – by genetically programming brain cells that can be remote-controlled by light. Through the science of optogenetics (invented by Miesenböck), they use light to write patterns of neural activity in living brains, and observe how these patterns directly affect physiology and behaviour. Their research has the potential to revolutionise therapies for diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Plant Genetic Engineering: Leave or Let Dye? Solving Chronic Undernourishment with Green Synthetic Biology

Professor Asaph Aharoni - Weizmann Institute

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one in nine people on earth do not have sufficient food to carry out healthy and active life. This is not due to direct famine but rather a result of chronic, daily undernourishment. Asaph Aharoni will illustrate how advances in our understanding of the way plants produce food could play a vital role in ensuring that everyone receives proper nourishment. He will explain how synthetic biology, a young scientific field amalgamating biology and engineering could be indispensable in turning plants to sustainable factories for high quality nutrition. Aharoni will also discuss the current obstacles that prevent us from making use of these revolutionary technologies for the benefit of humanity.  


Royal Institution

21 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4BS ‎

Tube: Green Park, Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus
Bus: 9, 14, 19, 22 and 38

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