18A - Globalization and InequalityJoint University of Warwick and Monash University South Afircs
Economic Inequality around the globe is on the rise as the gap between the poorest and richest has increased. Global trade-facilitating institutions appear to be failing in their function of promoting global economic security and cooperation and even appear to perpetuate this inequality rather than tackling it. Thus it remains apparent that there is a clear need for reform of the existing framework of tacking global inequality that arises out of trade as the problem is truly endemic and effects people around the globe.
My research focuses on potential reforms for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by identifying the system’s deleterious impact on equality and suggesting how it can be changed to prevent this from occurring. By focusing on potential changes and failures in the past to prevent crises, including the role of the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the predecessor of the WTO), which resulted in further economic injustice, the research plans to diagnose where the Organisation has failed and identify ways of how it can change its approaches to be more effective.
This is not a call to completely dismantle the WTO as doing so could potentially unravel the framework of tackling inequality completely. However, by questioning and illuminating potential reforms, the research hopes to indeed take on an almost epidemiological approach in order to provide an incentive for an effective dialogue on governing global trade; pathing the way to a more economically just world.
18B - Pushing the Boundaries University of Warwick and University of North Carolina, Greensboro
If two coherent sounds with slightly different frequencies are presented to different ears, the brain integrates them and creates a third - “binaural beat”. ABB are linked to alpha brain waves, which are electrical patterns from within the brain ranging from 8 to 14 Hz. Previous research by Kraus & Porubanova (2015) demonstrated their enhancing effects on working memory. If our hypothesis, that the performance in the ABB condition will be significantly greater than in the silence condition when memorizing words, if supported, ABB would have a positive effect on long-term memory and learning.
Therefore pointing to a whole range of new implementations like tackling learning and memory deficiencies. The research aim is to investigate whether alpha brain waves used in alpha binaural beats, presented to an individual, enhance their long-term memory and learning effectiveness in a naturalistic setting. The sample used was opportunistic – only University of Warwick students were allowed to participate. Furthermore, the method had an experimental design where a total of 63 participants were divided into two groups: the experimental “ABB” condition (consisting of 30 participants) and the control “silence” condition (consisting of 33 participants); both memorized a list of 50 English words. Performance was assessed through the amount of words correctly recalled – this was done in silence. The findings were inconsistent with previous research or the hypothesis. The conclusion is: ABB had no effect on long-term memory performance. Klimesch (2012) demonstrated ABB are accountable for the retrieval process. Therefore, another condition should be introduced, where individuals memorize words with ABB and recall them also with ABB.
18C - Enviornment, Evolution and Systems University of Warwick, Baruch College, CUNY, and University of Leeds
The notion of habitability, or the ability of a planet to sustain life, has historically been applied to planetary systems utilising data from exoplanet Astronomy. More recently it has been expanded to include the influence of galactic structure over the age of the Universe, extending the question of habitability into the realms of Cosmology. Philosophical questions like these, as well as the search for extra-terrestrial life, have placed cosmic habitability firmly in the public interest, often dominating popular-Science.
Rather than focus on the specific properties of particular star systems, we will ask how the cosmic history of star formation affects habitability from the earliest epochs of the universe - up until now. This will inevitably include the effects of highly energetic events such as gamma ray bursts, and the evolution of energetic explosions such as supernovae, on the ability of the Universe to host life. We hope to place constraints on the genesis and lifetime of the first civilizations, and on the wider environment of galactic structure.
This will be achieved using high resolution Cosmological simulations of galaxy formation, extending current models of habitability to larger length scales for the first time. In particular, these simulations will follow the evolution of metallicity in galaxies, subject to constraints on hazardous radiation, mapping the time-evolution of Galactic Habitable Zones (GHZs). This will probe the cosmic evolution of life alongside the evolution of the Universe itself, providing genuine insight into the origins of life in all galaxies, throughout all of time.