Pudding Seminars 2021-22

Pudding Seminars take place on a Friday and are an excellent opportunity to unite two of life’s great things: new research, and pudding!

Pudding Seminars are led by members of the College (undergraduates, graduates, Senior Members and staff), who give a brief 20 minute talk on their current research, followed by informal discussion.

Pudding Seminars in Michaelmas Term will take place on the following dates:
29 Oct and 5, 12, 19 and 26 Nov.

Seminars start promptly at 1.15pm and end by 1.50pm. Tea, coffee and cake are available from 1pm.

In Michaelmas Term 2021 our Pudding Seminars will be returning to their usual in-person format, and will take place in the Jane Harrison Room.

If you are interested in giving a pudding seminar, or would like further details about the series, please contact Jessica Sklair (js222@cam.ac.uk) or Hana D’Souza (hd425@cam.ac.uk).

29th October 2021: Claire Riordan (MCR) - Structures that mend their own cracks: how capsule-based self-healing lets engineers build safer, more sustainable structures

Concrete and cement-based infrastructure has and continues to be integral to societyToday’s engineering demands endlessly taller, larger structures. Bridges and roads allow us to cross long distances with ease, while skyscrapers let us live and work amongst the clouds. However, despite concerte’s popularity, it is vulnerable to cracking and natural degradation, causing instability and loss of structural integrity. New engineering technologies allow these buildings to ‘heal themselves’ – a remarkable way of extending a structure’s lifespan, reducing hazards, and increasing sustainability. This talk will discuss the benefits and challenges of one of these self-healing approaches, capsular additions.

Claire Riordan (she/her) is a current Engineering PhD candidate at Newnham College, Cambridge. Previously, she studied at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland, as well as the University of Maryland in College Park, M.D., earning both her B.E. and M.E.. Her current work is part of the EUH2020 ITN SMARTINCS, looking at capsule based self-healing and how it can be optimized and scaled to suit the cementitious industry. Claire is currently based at Micropore Technologies in Redcar, U.K.

5th November 2021: Jerome Viard (Newnham Gardener) - Rat tales: The success story of a rodent eradication on the subantarctic island of South Georgia.

The subantarctic island of South Georgia is an extraordinary and magical place. It is known for its dramatic landscapes, abundant fauna, unique flora and an interesting history. But these last ten years or so South Georgia has become internationally renowned for being a leader in environmental protection and habitat restoration. From the end of the 18th century up until 3 years ago, this paradise island was infested by brown rats and house mice that decimated the local and endemic bird population, pushing some species to the fringes of extinction. This talk will be a short story of an incredible achievement, that saw a small UK charity called South Georgia Heritage Trust taking on the largest rodent eradication in the world so far, succeeding in removing a devastating invasive species and restoring a fragile habitat for millions of birds. I will talk about the problem, the methodology and the result of this incredible habitat restoration project.

My name is Jerome Viard and I currently work as a gardener at Newnham College. I have had the privilege to participate in this significant habitat restoration project 5 years ago and I feel very passionate about it. I previously worked as a museum assistant on South Georgia for the charity South Georgia Heritage Trust, promoting and helping protect the natural and cultural history of the island.

12th November 2021: Emily Kinder (JCR) - Righteous Vaccine Nationalism? The case for nuance in the vaccine distribution debate

Debate about vaccine distribution tends to focus on pitting the ethical case for vaccine cosmopolitanism (distribution patterns which aren’t based on nationality) against the unfortunate and pragmatic case for vaccine nationalism. In reality, however, there is an ethical defence to be made both for some forms of vaccine nationalism and for some kinds of vaccine cosmopolitanism. Understanding potential motivations for either position helps us to develop a more accurate picture of this ethical debate, and this talk will use the ethical case for both to help debunk the polarised framework often offered in mainstream media.

Emily Kinder (she/her) is a current student at Newnham College Cambridge, and is a third year philosophy student (JCR). Her primary research interests lie in applied ethics, feminist philosophy and political philosophy; more specifically, the relationship between philosophy and policy formation. This talk is based on her research undertaken at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics in Oxford.

19th November 2021: Asma Ibrahim (JCR) - Taiwan: Renegade Province or Independent Country?

Since the end of the Chinese Civil War, Taiwan’s position on the international level has been controversial and fraught with sensitivity. If you´ve kept an eye on the headlines, you may have noticed that recent relations between China and the US have not been positive. Central to this relationship is the status of Taiwan. While China claims Taiwan to be a renegade province that it intends to recover in the future, Taiwan´s leadership argues that it is a fully-fledged democratic nation and should be recognised as such. Having spent my year abroad in Taiwan, I hope to be able to share some insights from my time in the country and describe some of the changes that have occurred over the past 12 months.

Asma Ibrahim is completing her final year of Chinese Studies at Newnham. Her dissertation research is focused on East Asian geopolitics, and she hopes to pursue a Master’s in International Politics after graduation.

26th November 2021: Laura Dennis (Newnham Curator) - Curating the Art Collections at Newnham.

Newnham’s art collections began in the earliest days of the College. The collection continues to grow through gifts and bequests, as well as commissions and acquisitions. Art can be seen throughout the College including College Hall, meeting rooms, the Buttery and Iris Cafe, and along Newnham’s famous corridors. Additionally, some sculpture is placed outdoors. The cases in the Entrance Hall and Supervision Room Corridor also show changing displays from the collection.

In this Pudding Seminar, Newnham’s Curator Laura Dennis will introduce the College’s art collections and her work with the Valuable Possessions Committee.  The Seminar will focus on some of the highlights of the collection and will reveal the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the care and display of art in College.

Laura Dennis joined Newnham as Curator in 2018 having previously worked in galleries and museums. The exhibitions she curated explored diverse subjects such as Edwardian radicals and the Garden City movement, the abstract painter Richard Smith, and animals in craft in an exhibition aimed for children. Prior to this she worked for ten years curating contemporary art commissions for architecture and public spaces, including St John’s College Oxford, the London Olympic Park, Guy’s Hospital, the Crown Estate, and Transport for London. Laura studied History of Art & Architecture (BA) at the University of Bristol, and Curation (MA) in her hometown at Norwich University of the Arts. Laura’s MA exhibition Afteryears was drawn from the Arts Council Collection and considered the British art scene in the ‘Age of Austerity’ that followed WW2.