Professor Chuck Fisher is one of the world’s experts on life that flourishes around hydrothermal vents in the sea and deep on the ocean floor. He tells us about unique communities that are so far under the surface that they don’t get any sunlight and yet are able to feed off minerals that would be toxic to most other animals. He also explains what impact deep-sea mining might have on these environments.
Leading German conductor Alexander Liebreich describes what it was like working with music students in North Korea who had been so isolated from the rest of the musical world that, in the early 21st century, they were performing 19th and early 20th century masterpieces, such as Mahler Symphonies, for the first time in their lives. But he also suggests that all musicians need some solitude in order to really understand the works they are studying or creating.
Photo Credit: © Thomas Rabsch
ML Stedman’s debut novel, The Light Between Oceans, is set in the 1920s on a remote island off Western Australia, inhabited only by a lighthouse keeper and his young wife. The key event in the novel is the decision they make when a baby, and a dead man, wash up ashore in a boat. Isolation is a pervasive feature of the story: the lighthouse is such an isolated place that after a while it could easily start distorting people’s thinking and values.
60 SECOND IDEA TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Chuck Fisher says we should develop the ability to convert sunlight directly into food inside our bodies, as sea corals do for instance. Photosynthetic symbiosis is the way to go: if we implanted tiny photosynthetic algae under human skin, we could then simply hang out in the sun to get much of the food we need. The hassle of cooking would vanish, and it might even help solve the problem of world hunger!
ON NEXT WEEK'S PROGRAMME
What’s the way forward in education? In the second of a series of special programmes about the big challenges of our age, presented by leading thinkers, renowned astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees asks education experts Alexandra Draxler, Alison Wolf, Conrad Wolfram and an audience at the University of Cambridge.