Dr Simon Hayley – How Behavioural Economics Shapes Your Choices

On Wednesday 6th March we’re very pleased to welcome Dr Simon Hayley, Senior Lecturer in Finance at Cass Business School in London. Simon will examine how the comparatively new field of behavioural economics is used to shape the choices we make, often without our knowledge.

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Do we make rational choices, or are we driven by emotion, culture and society? Can economic behaviour be manipulated through neuroscience and psychology?

Behavioural economics is a rapidly growing field, in which insights from psychology are adopted into mainstream economics. Dr Simon Hayley will discuss some of the advances in this field and the practical issues they raise. Should we, as scientists, worry that behavioural biases will affect our work? More generally, should we be worried about behavioural insights being used to influence our decisions? Ultimately, what leads to a happy life?

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Simon Hayley is Senior Lecturer in Finance at Cass Business School. His research concentrates on investor behaviour and the misconceptions that sometimes drive it.

Dr Hayley has published in leading journals and his teaching has earned multiple awards. He co-wrote Economics: A Primer, published last year by OUP.

Simon previously worked in The City as a market analyst and quantitative risk manager and was an economic forecaster at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and an adviser to HM Treasury. He has made numerous TV and radio appearances.

Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start and as usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses.

Dr Yasemin J. Erden – Why Your Brain Is Not A Computer

PubSci is back after the January break, and we start our new season with a topic that is sure to get everyone talking.

On Wednesday 6th February we’re delighted to welcome Dr Yasemin J. Erden, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, with interdisciplinary research interests. In this month’s talk, Yasemin tackles the popular belief that human brains are essentially “wet computers”.

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Intel-ligence Inside…? The brain has been likened to a binary computer since the dawn of the digital age – but are we right to do so? (Image courtesy of mporady.pl)

Dr Erden argues that the brain is not a computer, nor even much like one. Drawing on both philosophy and psychology, she demonstrates how metaphor can trick us, and language can seduce us into accepting mechanistic models of the brain. Join us for the first PubSci of 2019 to learn why paying attention to this kind of detail is central to understanding our meaning-centred, meaning-structured brains, and why purely mechanistic accounts inevitably fail.

We look forward to a wide-ranging discussion after her talk.

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Dr Yasemin J. Erden. (Image courtesy of SMU, Twickenham)

Yasemin is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at St Mary’s University with interdisciplinary research interests from science and technology to philosophy of language, aesthetics, and ethics. She is Vice Chair of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB) and a member on the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. In her spare time she is unavoidably committed to watching too many disappointing football games.

Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start and as usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses

No PubSci in January

Happy New Year!

To give everyone a chance to recover from the festive excesses we’re holding off on having PubSci in January, although we plan to start again in February, so we hope to see you then!

Science in the Pub Quiz

On Wednesday 5th December we have our annual PubSci quiz. As usual we will have homegrown questions that don’t involve soaps, sports or “celebrities”, but they may involve cake. The fun of taking part aside, we will also have cash prizes, spot prizes and of course peer-reviewed drinking.

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It’s just £3 to enter and with a maximum team size of six, although you can come on your own or in smaller groups and join up with others on the night. So join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near the Borough Road exit from London Bridge station. Doors open at 6:30pm for a prompt 7.30pm start – we hope to see you there!

James Maclaine – The dark, warped world of deep sea fishes

On Wednesday 7th November we’re excited to welcome James Maclaine, Senior Curator of Fish at the NHM, London. James will be talking about some of the bizarre fishes he has encountered at the NHM and their adaptations for life in extreme environments.

James Maclaine with Great White Shark jaws, via Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Twitter

James Maclaine with Great White Shark jaws, via Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Twitter (@NHM_WPY)

James Maclaine studies the fishes found in the some of the deepest parts of the ocean. In over 20 years curating the Fish Section at the Natural History Museum, James has assisted scientists, artists and Hollywood megastars access the huge research collection at South Kensington, and he recently assisted with the NHM’s current Life In The Dark exhibition with regard to deep sea species.

Humpback Anglerfish, by Javontaevious, 2011

Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start and as usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses.

Luís Tojo – Psychedelic Drugs as Antidepressants

On Wednesday 3rd October we’re delighted to welcome Luís Tojo, grants adviser in neuroscience and mental health for the Wellcome Trust, who will be talking about current research on the use of psychedelic drugs as antidepressants. We expect this event to be extremely popular based on previous talks about related topics, so please reserve your free place using this link as we will need to limit numbers on the night for the sake of comfort and safety.Luis2

Luis has previously published an extensive review on novel psychoactive substances (aka legal highs), and researched the fast-acting effects of ketamine on human stem cells (specifically IPS cells) and the effects of conventional antidepressants and fatty-acids on neurogenesis and as anti-inflammatories.

Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start and as usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses and you will need to book to ensure a place.

Dr Rebecca Nesbit – Honeybees or Hairworms?

On Wednesday 5th September we’re pleased to welcome Dr Rebecca Nesbit, who will be asking the question “Honeybees or Hairworms – which would you save?” to explore conservation priorities and the nature of “Natural”. Ecologist and writer Rebecca Nesbitt trained honeybees to detect explosives before starting a career in science communication. She currently works for Nobel Media, visiting universities around the world with Nobel Laureates. She published her first novel in 2014, and a popular science book ‘Is that Fish in your Tomato?’ in July 2017.

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‘Save the Honeybee’ stories are never far from the news, but is the species really under threat? Given that they are managed by beekeepers, should we see them as livestock not wildlife? Parasites such as the hairworm, on the other hand seldom attract attention – would they be a better use of conservation funds? This PubSci, Dr Rebecca Nesbit will examine how we set conservation priorities, and whether the arguments for protecting nature really stack up. Expect lively debate!

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Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start and as usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses.