Tag: technology

  • Envisioning Harvest 2050 and Beyond

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham
    Scientist working in the field
    Copyright: Rothamsted Research

    On Friday 22 September 2017 the UK officially bid farewell to summer and welcomed in the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ – epitomised by Keats in his poem ‘Ode to Autumn’. The arrival of the new season is signalled by changes in the environment around us – chlorophyll breaking down to reveal the gold and red hues we associate with autumn. And so, with thoughts of harvest in the air, the recent completion of the Hands Free Hectare caught my attention.  This project, a collaboration between Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions, is the first ever in the world to plant, tend and harvest a crop via autonomous vehicles and drones. It provides a glimpse of how innovative technology can transform current approaches to agriculture, including harvesting, and stimulates thoughts on what our food production systems might look like in 2050. […]

  • Blueprints for life and synthetic biology

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    During my formative years, I recall reading Stephen Rose’s Penguin paperback The Chemistry of Life. While providing inspiration for me to pursue a career in biochemistry, the text opens with an interesting analogy between cooking and biochemistry. I have often recalled this line when experimenting in the lab (and also when cooking up a culinary storm!) and I was reminded of it again when reading the most recent paper from Craig Venter and colleagues reflecting that we actually have rather a long way to go before we fully understand all the essential ‘ingredients’ (in the form of the DNA) that provide the ‘minimal’ blueprint for life. […]