The appliance of science – March 2007

Know your HSP90 from your Diagrid? Or your OLED from your RFID? No we didn’t either until we gathered again for the seventh at abrahams event, an evening of creative scientific investigation and performance in the unique setting of the former Georgian Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury.

The evening kicked off with Sarah Angliss, sound artist and engineer who instantly wowed the audience with a quick performance on the musical saw before introducing her duet partner – the weird and wonderful Clara 2.0, the world’s first dolly thereminist making her debut appearance. The haunting sound of the theremin combined with an android in a self-initiating act of play prompted an astounding response from the audience.

Representing medical science, DNA boffin Prof Laurence Pearl of The Institute of Cancer Research walked us through the nitty-gritty of genetic code and drug trials, recounting the breakthrough discovery of the molecular structure of HSP90 – one of the most exciting new anti-cancer drug targets to greatly help in developing treatments for a range of cancers.

With our hearts warmed and optimism restored Dr Simon Roberts, researcher at Arup’s foresight, innovation and incubation group brought us back down to earth, describing the drivers of change which affect our future, including climate change, depleted fossil fuels and an ageing population – the key challenges of today’s global climate that are forcing us to design more dynamically.

Product designer David Tonge, co-founder of The Division followed with an astute critique on the design industry. Working with some of the worlds leading global brands including Panasonic, Nissan and Brother he advocated for user driven design to make work that has the noble aspiration to inform and improve the quality of everyday lives.

Lynn Hatzius illustrated the event and Francesco Foroni took the photographs. Our resident DJ Simon White spun some sci-fi soundtracks and highlights of the talk were aired on The Glue Peter Show, Resonance 104.4fm.

The evening concluded with a debate on the search for truth and everyone took home fantastic goodie bags including copies of the science and style zine super/collider and a limited edition artist book by Abrahams, an A-Z of letters that now features in the Tate collection.