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After seeing his own cells used to grow clumps of new neurons that assembled themselves into a ‘mini – brain’ in a dish, Philip Ball began to examine the concept of identity and how it is rooted in our flesh and cells. Join Philip as he discusses the new technologies of cell reprogramming that were used to make his “brain in a dish”, and how these reveal the astonishing plasticity of our flesh, enabling one body part (or perhaps an entire body?) to be grown from a scrapping of another. Whether or not these methods will indeed lead to new ways to ‘grow a human’, they already raise profound questions about who we are and how we came into being.

Philip Ball is a freelance science writer. He worked previously at Nature for over 20 years, first as an editor for physical sciences (for which his brief extended from biochemistry for quantum physics and materials science) and then as a Consultant Editor. His writings on science for the popular press have covered topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.

The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7pm.

This event will be filmed and on the Ri’s YouTube channel within a few months.