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Extreme Threats - GL Brown Prize Lecture 2015, The Physiological Society

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This talk is jointly hosted and kindly sponsored by the Physiological Society.

70% of Earth is covered in water. Only 15% of its surface is not water, desert, ice or mountain. Most of our planet is therefore hostile to life.

While humans can acclimatise to heat, cold and altitude, constrained by these capacities we would inhabit a very small portion of our planet. Instead, it is our behaviour that has allowed us to recreate our desired macro and microclimates.

The technologies we rely on to colonise our planet have also limited our physiological adaptation. In the face of threats – such as in hypoxia, drowning, hypothermia, cold injury, hyperthermia and barotrauma – we often fall back on primitive and unevolved physiological defences. These problems arise everywhere, from mountaintops to outer space. What are their consequences and solutions?


This event is suitable for members of the public, and we especially welcome Physiological Society members residing locally. A site map for external guests can be found on . The talk venue is wheelchair-accessible.

This talk is part of the Foster Talks series.

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