• Question: why do you think your topic is important?

    Asked by jackbodd to Alan, Caspar, Diana, Murray, Sarah on 16 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Caspar Addyman

      Caspar Addyman answered on 15 Mar 2011:

      Hi Jack..
      Hopefully this reply will answer your question.


      If not please feel free to ask me to say more in the comments.

    • Photo: Murray Collins

      Murray Collins answered on 16 Mar 2011:


      Cutting down tropical forests releases a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is the most important gas is lading to climate change. So managing these forests better could mean a reduced impact on climate change.

      Also, these forests are home to many different species of plants, animals, fungi and bacteria! These species are interesting in their own right. But some of them may have beneficial uses for us humans too. Did you know that a chemical which came from a plant from forests in Madagascar, called the Rosy Periwinkle, has been used to help treat leukimia?

      So, there is now a big scheme to pay tropical countries to manage their forests better so that they can continue to store and absorb (sequester) carbon in the future, and also so that they can continue to be home to lots of different species, which may be of use to us in the future. (In economics, keeping something that might be of use to you in the future is called an ‘option value’).

      Thanks for the question!

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 16 Mar 2011:

      I think that Cancer Research is important because millions of people die because of cancer ever year and in this country cancer causes about 20% of all deaths. It affects everyone: men, women, children and the elderly. Even tiny babies can get it and there’s still no real cure.

      I’m trying to create a blood test that will help diagnose cancer early because one of the biggest problems is catching it early. A lot of the time people do not realise that they are very sick. And because there are so many different types of cancer (>200), it can be very difficult for doctors. If you catch it early, it is much easier to treat and the survival rates for the patient are so much higher.

      I hope that my research will help save lives.

    • Photo: Alan Winfield

      Alan Winfield answered on 16 Mar 2011:

      Yes Jack I do. That’s not because I’m big headed or arrogant – it’s just that if I thought my work was useless or unimportant then I just wouldn’t do it. In fact I definitely wouldn’t be doing it because I wouldn’t have been awarded the money to do the robotics work I do.

      Having said that – I don’t think robotics research is more or less important than other fields of research. The problems facing humanity are huge and need lots of scientists and engineers to work on a vast range of topics to solve them. Many problems in society are too complex to be solved by one science alone, so the really big questions, like sustainable energy, climate change and healthcare are things that need many different scientists and engineers to work together – bringing their different research topics together – to solve.