Science Lunchtime Talk – Thursday 1 November 2007


You are welcome to attend these monthly Lunchtime Science Talks
organized by the Faculty of Science. These talks aim to provide a general
introduction to important areas of scientific research and are suitable for
both researchers and undergraduates. They will be given by prominent
Faculty of Science staff who have won recognition for their work or who
have been recently promoted.

SPEAKER: Professor Peter Ng Kee Lin Department of Biological Sciences
TOPIC: Life as a sanctioned Professional Killer
DATE: 1 November 2007 (Thursday)
TIME: 12 to 1 pm
VENUE: LT31, Block S16, Level 3, National University of Singapore

In the field of biodiversity science, the killing and preservation of
animal specimens for research is an integral part of the discipline. This
is all the more so in systematics, which is my forte. In the 25 years I
have been in this field, thousands of crustaceans, fish and other animals
have been killed in the name of ‘science’, and as a university professor, I
have given the ‘blessings’ to dozens of students and colleagues to kill
even more. Does that make me a ‘mass murderer’? And what has this ‘killing’
achieved in my discipline? How does this scale of ‘scientific killing’
correlate with the so called ‘biodiversity crisis’ facing the planet in
which thousands of species are under threat of extinction? If a biologist’s
desire is to conserve ­ how we rationalize with this need to kill? In a
wide ranging talk, these seemingly conflicting aspects will be discussed
and hopefully parsimonised.

Prof Peter Ng did his PhD in the National University of Singapore as a
part-timer when he was still an education officer in the Ministry of
Education in the 1980s. He joined NUS in 1990, and has been involved in
biodiversity and systematics research, primarily with crabs and fish over
the last 17 years. He also works on a wide variety of different
biodiversity issues, an in recent years, has become deeply involved in
environmental and conservation biology. He is on the editorial board of
over a dozen international journals, as well as being a member of numerous
international biological organizations, notably the International
Commission for Zoological Nomenclature.

** Sandwiches will be provided for the first 100 attendees **

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