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Organised by John Palmesino & Ann-Sofi Rönnskog (Territorial Agency); Tim Lenton (Global Systems Institute, Exeter)

Session 5: What is a revolution?

Series: Open Seminar - Plan the Planet
Date: Monday 11 November 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 81 mins

“It has been long considered possible to explain the more ancient revolutions on […] the Earth's surface by means of these still existing causes; in the same manner as it is found easy to explain past events in political history, by an acquaintance with the passions and intrigues of the present day. But we shall presently see that unfortunately this is not the case in physical history: the thread of operation is here broken, the march of nature is changed, and none of the agents that she now employs were sufficient for the production of her ancient works.“

— Baron Georges Cuvier, Essay on the Theory of the Earth

Timothy Lenton is Professor of Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter. In April 2013 he was awarded the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. He graduated with a first-class degree in natural sciences from Robinson College, Cambridge in 1994 and completed his PhD under Andrew Watson at the University of East Anglia in 1998. Lenton has taken an interest in the Gaia Hypothesis for much of his career. Early in his career, in the journal Nature, Lenton addressed a concern that the Gaia Hypothesis was incompatible with the theory of natural selection by demonstrating that a model based on Daisyworld was strengthened by incorporating natural selection. Lenton, with Andy Watson, co-authored the book Revolutions that Made the Earth; it expands on the ideas of James Lovelock on the Gaia Hypothesis, by highlighting mechanisms by which the Earth system has been stabilised by negative feedbacks throughout Earth history.

Selected readings:
Revolutions that Made the Earth by Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson
Terra Forma by Frédérique Aït-Touati

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.