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Lent Internal Symposium 2009

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  • UserJoshua R. Cook, Will Smiley, Oleksandr Poplavskyy, Joseph C. Bonneau, University of Cambridge
  • ClockSunday 01 March 2009, 16:00-18:00
  • HouseGates Common Room, Cambridge.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Luise Marion Frenkel.

Recording of the lecture is available from: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~pb400/GatesInternalSeminar.mp3

Joshua R. Cook, Why Fat Matters: How Adipose Tissue Maintains Metabolic Health

Abstract: Adipose (fat) tissue plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolic set point in the body, largely in two ways. First, adipose tissue acts as a safe storage depot for fats circulating in the body, which otherwise can wreak havoc on other tissues. Second, adipose tissue secretes signalling molecules called adipokines that modulate a range of metabolic parameters both in the brain (such as food intake and energy burning) and in the periphery (such as insulin sensitivity). Dysfunction of adipose tissue, therefore, sets the stage for the development of type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and a host of other health problems. As a result, understanding the biology of fat is a key step in combating the mounting global metabolic syndrome pandemic.

Will Smiley, Contact through Captivity: Russian Prisoners and Ottoman Reforms

My paper deals with Russian prisoners of war in the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the late eighteenth century, and their relationship to reforms undertaken by the Ottomans in that period. I suggest that prisoners’ changing treatment can be seen as a barometer of the “Europeanization” of Ottoman foreign policy, even as prisoners themselves took part in these reforms. Thus prisoners offer a unique way to examine Ottoman reforms, focusing on the “little people” who were affected by, but also helped shape, the reform program emerging from the governing elite of “modernizing” nation-state.

Oleksandr Poplavskyy, Walking through the quantum world of electrons in two dimensions.

Quantum electron systems in two space dimensions and at low temperatures provide a fertile source of bizarre quantum phases of matter, which completely defy our common-sense expectations based on the classical laws of physics, and which are often the consequence of strong Coulomb interactions between electrons. In such systems and in strong magnetic fields, one observes a remarkable phenomenon called the fractional quantum Hall effect. I will speak about the different quantum phases arising in the quantum Hall regime such as the incompressible quantum liquid with fractionally charged excitations, and the Wigner crystal of electrons.

Joseph C. Bonneau, Privacy implications of Social Networks

Social networks are here to stay, despite repeated security incidents and a poor privacy model. Ten years ago, the same was said of the internet, yet we’ve muddled along without catastrophe. However, social networks are fundamentally different. The stakes are higher and the incentives are more poorly aligned. This talk will examine the threat environment of social networks, the market failures which prevent a serious effort to address privacy, and the psychological problems which make it difficult for cryptographers to improve the situation.

This talk is part of the Gates Distinguished Lecture Series series.

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