Professor Winston speaks at Westfield lecture
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Leading scientist and broadcaster Professor Robert Winston warned of the speed of scientific change and argued that some major technological advances have brought downsides for humankind. He made the comments at the third annual Westfield Health lecture, held at Sheffield Hallam University.
Speaking to a packed auditorium, Professor Winston said: "The pace of technological change is so rapid we don't know where we'll be in five years' time and this will be a challenge and a threat to overcome."
Despite being a major breakthrough in the development of humans, Professor Winston argued that widespread agriculture had brought new health issues like arthritis and warned that modern breakthroughs could also bring problems.
Professor Winston also said that scientists need to engage more effectively with the general public, to improve understanding amid rapid change.
He said: "Scientists' sense of wonder can lead to a lack of objectivity. We must be much more ready to listen, and must have a pact to communicate with the public. We also have to have more outreach programmes, to improve science literacy.
"Sheffield Hallam has a very important role to play in this. Something that this university does very well is public engagement. Universities are often seen as mysterious, elitist places that you don't just walk into, but Sheffield Hallam does a lot of outreach work with local schools and colleges."
Westfield Health Chief Executive Jill Davies said: "We were delighted to welcome Professor Winston to Sheffield to deliver the third annual Westfield Health lecture.
"He gave a fascinating talk which focused on issues of global and historical importance that matter to us all.
"It was a pleasure to welcome such an inspirational and well-known figure to the city and to have the opportunity to hear such a thought-provoking and entertaining lecture."