Are you ready to meet socially-adept dinosaurs, to learn about the opportunities and challenges of gene editing, to climb the Tree of Life? You need a single ticket for this science adventure – a ticket for Ratio Forum!
We’ll see you on June 3 at Sofia Tech Park! There, you’ll meet international speakers with captivating talks full of inspiration and awe. Of course, even the most complex topics will be presented in an entertaining simple language.
From the tiny genes that make us who we are to the ongoing thread that connects all living species – the topics of Ratio can be small or massive, but they are always interesting. The schedule features four talks that we will present here to you in time.
All talks will be held in English.
Everything that is alive, or has even been alive, is connected by a shared history and shared ancestors. This can be seen in the tree of life; its leaves represent species; its branches represent the evolutionary connections between those species. The tree of life is the fundamental fabric of all life on earth.
You will experience a dramatic visual flight through the complete tree of life. Buckle in as we explore an object that would stretch across the whole solar system if we printed it on paper! You will visit the dusty corners of the tree of life and hear about the lives of some extraordinary animals and plants that are not part of mainstream media shows about nature! We’ll aslo look at the future – how the tree of life can be used to measure up biodiversity on earth and help us decide where to focus our conservation efforts.
For the last 50 years, new genetic techniques have transformed science – but is this a dream or a nightmare for humanity?
New genetic techniques have transformed science, giving us new technology, putting food in our fields, and healing bodies. But every development has been counterbalanced by fears of disaster. What if scientists wanted to swap DNA between species, mixing up genes without any idea of what might happen? What if scientists wanted to make viruses even more transmissible and dangerous? And what if scientists wanted to edit and implant human embryos?
All of these scenarios have happened – find how how and why with Matthew Cobb’s lecture. You will also hear how science reacts to these scenarios in order to preserve potential beneficial applications and lower the risk of disaster.
The behaviour of dinosaurs has long been a subject that was either ignored by palaeontologists or was simply a place for idle speculation. The very incomplete nature of the fossil record in general for things like skeletons, together with the fact that direct evidence behaviour is almost impossible to preserve meant this was an overlooked or often unscientific area of study. However, in recent years it has become a much more rigorous field and is developing rapidly. Applying principles of animal behaviour to new fossil finds had allowed us to create enormous new insights into the lives of dinosaurs. In particular, the idea that many dinosaurs were living in groups, potentially with social interactions and cooperation has become well-established. Here we will look at some of the fossils and studies that are opening up our understanding of dinosaurs as animals with complex social lives every bit comparable to their descendants, the birds.
Nature is extremely creative. Her creations range from the classics like ferns and mushrooms to modern evolutionary hits such as octopuses, dolphins, bats, and bears. Yet there are recurring motifs in this varied oeuvre. There are no creatures with an odd number of legs. Birds, however, varied their plumage may be, never have teeth. Animals on wheels only exist as kids’ toys, not in the wild.
Matthew Cobb, James Rosindell, and Dave Hone will discuss what might be the reasons why evolution follows strict rules. Why can’t certain traits exist in nature? What traits would logically have evolved among living organisms but haven’t? And thanks to a series of live visuals, we’ll also see what some of these creatures would look like. Come into the realm of forbidden phenotypes!
We’ve set two exhibition areas that were specially prepared in collaboration with James Rosindell and the Natural History Museum Sofia. In them, we’ll introduce the superb diversity of the living world.
Look in the mirror. Do you look like a banana? The answer is almost certainly “no,” but things are not as simple as they seem to be – in fact, you share 50% of your genes with a banana. In Evolution’s Playground you will see the surprising connections between different living things. You will see what animals are we closer to – way closer than you think. We will also give you a thematic virtual tour of The Tree of Life thanks to the One Zoom platform.
Everything has its end. Sadly, this phrase is also true when we’re talking about the existence of different species. And although extinction is a fact of life, the dynamics of environmental changes is much higher and its effects – much more substantial. What’s left? In Echoes of Existence, you will see up close some endangered species and you will learn what their extinction might mean for bigger ecosystems. You will also learn how a better understanding of extinction can better focus our concervation efforts.
Matthew Cobb is a British zoologist and professor of zoology at the University of Manchester. His research is focused on studying the sense of smell, as well as olfactory communication between species. He also explores science history. He has a Ph.D. in psychology and genetics from the University of Sheffield. He has authored many popular science books, including The Egg & Sperm Race: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth; Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code; The Idea of the Brain: A History. His latest book is titled The Genetic Age: Our Perilous Quest to Edit Life.
Dave Hone is a palaeontologist, writer, and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. His research focuses on the behaviour and ecology of the dinosaurs and their flying relatives, the pterosaurs. He also does a lot of science communication, outreach and engagement. He has written about dinosaurs for leading publications such as National Geographic, The Guardian, The Telegraph and HuffPost. He has his own podcast called Terrible Lizards. He’s acting as a scientific consultant for various media and TV productions. His first popular science book, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles came out in 2016 and his new book The Future of Dinosaurs is out now.
|11:00-11:45||Dreams and Nightmares of the Genetic Age - Matthew Cobb|
|12:10-12:55||The Tree of Life - James Rosindell|
|15:10-15:55||Jurassic Park Social Club - David Hone|
We’re looking forward to seeing you at Sofia Tech Park!
Sofia Tech Park has multi-level parking with a capacity of 500 places. Parking is paid, but there’s a new lower tariff on weekends – 1 lev for every 2 hours of your stay. The first 15 minutes are free of charge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although we have a full day packed with activities and interesting talks, you can join us later, too. The registration is open throughout the whole day, so you can come whenever you like.
Although your ticket has your name on it, that is solely used for our administration. We don’t check names at the door, so you can give the ticket to another person and you don’t need to write to us to change it. For Concession tickets we will need to verify that the ticket carrier has active student rights or has a senior card.
No, you can just download your ticket on your mobile phone and let us scan the QR code at the entrance
Sofia Tech Park’s parking is paid, but there’s a new lower tarrif on weekends – 1 lev for every 2 hours of your stay. The first 15 minutes are free of charge. You will need to validate your parking ticket at the machines in the parking building and pay your parking fee before leaving.
Since the program spans several hours and most of it is happening inside, we will not be able to let in pets at the event.
Every ticket holder has access to a lunch pack provided by our partners from CoKitchen. There are vegetarian and vegan options, too. If you have other dietary requirements, please, ask the team at the lunch tables for the full list of ingredients. You can also grab a cup of coffee during our coffee breaks. Water will be available at the premises, too.
If you want to catch up on breakfast or satisfy your sweet tooth, we will have a stand with some pastries available for you to purchase. There will also be a beer bar from lunch time onwards.