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06 July 2021

Sara Dahlen Wins Biotechnology & Society Essay Contest

Congratulations to Sara Dahlen, who has been announced as the winner of the inaugural Biotechnology & Society Essay Contest.

Biotechnology and Society Award Ceremony

The essay was open to current students and recent graduates of King’s College London, on the theme:

"In the future there will be no humans as we know them. So what?”

Her essay, “Notes to No-One”, explores a possible future in which there will be no humans as we know them. The essay is set up in London after an ecological collapse, where climate change, wildfires and endocrine disruptions have almost destroyed humanity.

Sara uses this to examine a range of themes often explored in bioethical and technological literature, including identity, nature, memory, and the true meaning of reality.

[The essay] raises questions that confront all of us as technology and ecological crises change the meaning of reality as we know it, and modify priorities and meanings of life in ways that might be as imperceptible as the changing of the seasons, as alluded by the protagonist, but might be as inevitable as the changing of the season.

Dr Silvia Camporesi

Entries were assessed by a panel of academics from King’s College London, chaired by Dr Silvia Camporesi, Dr Sara Bea and Professor John Harris, who assessed them on their quality, originality and distinctive writing.

My sincerest thanks to the panel, Dr Sara Bea, Dr Silvia Camporesi and Professor John Harris, and the Biotechnology & Society group at KCL for running this essay contest. I am still in disbelief at this honour, and very grateful. The essay theme, 'In the future there will be no humans as we know them. So what?' was brilliantly provocative. The question entered my imagination and repeated itself like an earworm, an invitation to put anxious speculation and catastrophising to some use, by writing it down as a story. It was quite therapeutic. I hope, of course, that everything in the essay remains in the realm of fiction.

Sara Dahlen

Sara Dahlen is a medical doctor and part time Bioethics & Society MSc student in the department of Global health and Social Medicine.

Dr Saha Dahlen