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How can we thrive in the 21st century?

Dark green leaves

Unfortunately How can we thrive in the 21st century? – originally scheduled for 6 and 7 July – was POSTPONED due to the NSW Health restrictions on public events. As the current COVID-19 situation develops we will endeavour to reschedule this event and will be in touch as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

Whilst we endeavour to reschedule these events, we encourage you to register your interest below so that you can be notified about event updates.

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We have begun the 21st century hurtling full speed towards a future that feels deeply uncertain. One of global pandemics, climate emergencies, and deeply divided politics. It’s easy to feel the odds are stacked against us. So as we confront massive disruptions in our environment, in technology and in the world in which we live, what can we do to equip ourselves to face the future and thrive in the 21st century?  

Across two evenings of short talks, discover the science behind quantum computing, the secret to unlocking the brain, the dark side of renewables, and how weeds could save the world, as UNSW brightest minds challenge us to think about how we might not just survive, but thrive in this time of uncertainty. 


Felix Aplin | Building better brains

Isabella Dobrescu & Alberto Motta | Education reloaded

Kate Faasse | This talk may cause side effects

Bernardo García Pola | Think local, act global

Danielle Holmes | The quantum leap in artificial intelligence

Tema Milstein | Nature freaks

Bronwen Morgan | Legal imagination

Matthew Priestley | Why a smarter grid is key to a renewable future

Fiacre Rougieux | The solar energy future is already here...

Andy Symington | The fight for sustainable renewables

Joyce Wu | Ending violence against women

Zoe Xirocostas | What we can learn from weeds


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