24 Nov 2022 16:00 - 19:30 Pippard Lecture Theatre, Bragg Building, Cavendish Laboratory, JJ Thomson Avenue, CB3 0HE



Karishma Jain (Deputy Director, NanoDTC)

The present and impending environmental crises and resulting social crises require approaches that can grapple with the very complex nature of the problems we face. More specifically, they require researchers in scientific, technological and socially oriented disciplines to come together to explore and understand these complexities, and reflect on how socially oriented, non-technical approaches can work together with technical approaches to address the challenges we face. As a step towards creating spaces for these cross-disciplinary conversations, CRASSH and the NanoDTC are organising a joint event, with an intentionally provocative statement ‘Technology can Save the World’ as the primary subject of discussion.

The event will start with short contributions from PhD students from technologically as well as socially oriented disciplines, before the floor is opened up more broadly. A panel of more senior academics will be invited to comment on some of the points raised in the debate, and there will be time for reflection on opportunities to carry on cross-disciplinary conversations, and initiatives for joint work on the subject that can be referred to as ‘sustainability’.

At present we are looking for expressions of interest from PhD students for making opening statements of up to 3 minutes at this event. Please see the call for paper.

All forms of opening statements are welcome, including those talking about technologies that hold immense promise, the unintended impacts of the materials required to create technology, what ‘saving the world’ might mean in different contexts, the simultaneous emancipatory and controlling potential of technology, and so on.

Participation is encouraged from all disciplines across the University of Cambridge and beyond.

Supported by:

CRASSH grey logo

Nano Logo




If you have specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.





Welcome and Introduction

Karishma Jain (Deputy Director, NanoDTC)


Opening Statements by PhD Scholars

  • Meg Groom (Department of Physics)
  • Gabrielle McClymon (Department of Biochemistry)
  • Aishwarya Venkatramani (Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology)
  • Arvind Pujari (Department of Physics / Institute for Manufacturing)

Q&A and comments

  • Aisha Sobey (Department of Architecture)
  • Tomi (Department of Physics / Department of Electrical Engineering)
  • Robbie Spiers (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics)

Q&A and comments

  • Nathaniel Cooke (Centre for the Study of Existential Risk)
  • Jennifer Hawkin (Department of Engineering)
  • Ana Luiza Nicolae (Department of History and Philosophy of Science)
  • Joanna Symonowicz (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy / Department of Physics)

 Q&A and comments 




Reflections on discussion by senior panellists

  • Louise Hirst (Departments of Physics and Materials Science)
  • Nicky Dee (Carbon 13)
  • Claire Barlow (Institute for Manufacturing)
  • Shailaja Fennell (Centre of South Asian Studies)
  • Joanna Page (Director, CRASSH)
  • Stephan Hofmann (Director, NanoDTC)
Q&A and comments

What next for more engagement between AHSS and the sciences and engineering?


Closing remarks

Joanna Page (Director, CRASSH)
Stephan Hofmann (Director, NanoDTC)


Drinks and nibbles


Event closes

Call for papers

Technology can save the world – an interdisciplinary debate?

Call for contributors for a debate organised jointly by the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NanoDTC).

We are looking for expressions of interest from research students (PhD or Masters) for making opening statements of up to 3 minutes at this event. Participation is encouraged from all disciplines across the University.

Please complete this form by Friday 28 October to express interest in making an opening statement.

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Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk