The Spark of life

Thursday, 12th March 2015 at 6pm - 8pm

Location: Te Papa

This event is in the past.

2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Distinguished Speaker

Professor Frances Ashcroft FRS

The Spark of Life

Ever wondered what makes us human?

Electric signals in our cells drive everything we think, feel or do.  These signals are produced by amazing proteins – the ion channels – that are found in every cell on Earth and govern all aspects of our lives from consciousness to sexual attraction, our ability to see and hear and the beating of our hearts.

Can someone really die of fright? Why do chilli peppers taste hot? How do cocaine, LSD and morphine work? 
Frances weaves real-life stories with the latest scientific findings, including an account of her own discoveries, to explain the fundamental role of ion channels in our bodies and why they truly are the ‘spark of life’.

Wellington | 6pm Thu 12 March | Te Papa | Buy tickets
Nelson | 7pm Tue 17 March | Rutherford Hotel | Register now
Dunedin | 6pm Wed 18 March | St David Lecture Theatre | Register now
Wanaka | 6pm Fri 20 March | Presbyterian Church Hall, Tenby St | Register now
Auckland | 6pm Tue 24 March | Auckland Museum | Buy tickets

Frances Ashcroft is a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford and director of OXION, a training and research programme on the physiology of ion channels. Her ground-breaking research has shown how changes in blood glucose levels regulate insulin secretion from the pancreas and how this process is impaired in type 2 diabetes. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1999.

Bookings: To ensure a seat and to purchase tickets (Wellington and Auckland only), visit our website.
Note: tickets for Wellington and Auckland are general admission $10, RSNZ members free. Tickets for all other venues are free.

Enquiries only: 04 472 7421 or


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