AMRA Talks: Be Inspired.
6 expert speakers presented 6 intriguing topics at the inaugural AMRA Talks on Sunday 16th October. The Platform Theatre in Central London was the venue, and the event was highly received by all those in attendance. The format was simple, each speaker had 12 minutes to present their specialist area, followed by 3 minutes for questions by the audience.
In what we aim to be a regular series, Ahmadi researchers were provided a platform to present and interact with attendees to deliver inspirational ideas. Ancient history, Islam and economics, neuroscience, solar power, planned obsolescence and quantum physics were all on the agenda, and MTA International were at hand to record proceedings.
All 6 talks will Insha’Allah be uploaded here soon, as well as on our youtube page so look out for updates. Here we present a short summary of each talk and what was presented.
The Neolithic Revolution
Speaker: Rizwan Safir (Middle Eastern Archaeologist and curator at the British Museum)
This talk focused on what the speaker described as ‘the most important revolution in human history’. The Neolithic revolution refers to the point at which humans in the Middle East, around 10,000 years ago, moved away from their hunter-gatherer lifestyle and eventually began to settle by adopting agriculture. This change had a profound effect on all aspects of life, and formed the basis for the origins of civilisation allowing us to create settlements, increase communication and develop language. However, Rizwan reminded us that this change must be considered in the current context. Environmental change is having a profound impact on agriculture, and we must not let the struggles of our early ancestors going through this revolution come to ruin.
The System of Zakat
Luqman Bajwa (Economy graduate from Cambridge University and Trader at Credit Agricole)
This talk discussed how Islam deals with the economy. A particularly important topic given the current economic climate and how it directly leads to social and political tension. Luqman discussed the key foundation to Islam and Economics, namely the institution of Zakaat. One of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat ensures that wealth is circulated in the economy, and does not sit dormant without purpose. By taxing savings, a stimulus is created for the wealthy in particular to invest their saved funds therefore continually stimulating the economy and creating opportunities for others. This, once again, is even more necessary in the current age where economic crises hit the poor hard, creating ever greater inequality.
A Beautiful Mind
Azhaar Ashraf (PhD student studying Alzheimer’s disease at Kings College London)
Most of us know of someone in our families who has been the victim of dementia or diseases related to the gradual deterioration of the brain. Alzheimer’s is perhaps one of the best known of these degenerative diseases, leading to severe memory loss and general cognition. Azhaar presented some of the latest findings in relation to this disease, but more importantly, discussed some of the methods we can employ to help prevent it happening to us. Basic things which we can all include as part of our daily lives such as staying physically and mentally active can have a dramatic impact. Exercise, avoiding unhealthy foods, keeping our mind active and the like all can make a difference.
Can sunlight and water fuel our future?
Andreas Kafizas (Phd student in engineering at Imperial College London)
The effect of climate change is clear to us all. Countless news articles and papers have been written on the effect greater carbon emissions have been having on our planet, but what are the potential solutions to this issue? Andreas referred to his research in the development of solar power as a potential solution to counteract this problem. Green energy and reliance on this form of energy is required to counter-balance the damage being sustained to the planet and Andreas illustrated how governments can begin to introduce this into our lives.
Break by date
Musawwar Ahmad (PhD student in automation systems manufacturing at Warwick University)
Ever herd of the centennial bulb? It is a bulb which has been on continuously for 115 years. In the current day where products die frequently and we are encouraged to buy more, the centennial bulb illustrates the concept of planned obsolescence. Musawwar showed how products are deliberately manufactured with reduced lifespans so that short-term consumerism is encouraged. TVs, phones, laptops and most electronics are instilled with an artificial expiry date to ensure that we as consumers continue to purchase more and part with our money. Whilst this is of course a problem for us individuals from an economic perspective, the broader damage is being sustained to the planet by the amount of waste being generated.
Mudassar Rashid (Postdoctoral researcher in physics at Southampton University)