Author Archives: MarshalledThoughts

Weds 4th December 2019 – PubSci’s End of Year Quiz: “Let Them Eat Cake Too!”


Okay Einsteins (and Lovelaces), it’s time to dust off your brain cells, put down your mobile phones, put on your thinking caps and team up to play the Science In The Pub End of Year Pub Quiz.

It’s in a pub. It’s about science (sort of). And it’s a Quiz… like no other.

6:30 for 7pm, Weds 4th December 2019, upstairs at the Old King’s Head

Ours is a level-playing-field quiz for Pub Scientists and their friends.  There will be no pointless questions on celebrities or sport – but we do have questions that challenge the senses and aren’t in any quiz books.  Sometimes they’re weird, but at least we write them ourselves.

The drinking will be peer reviewed. The cake will be boozy. There will be cash prizes!

Come as a team or come alone and join a team on the night. It’s more about fun than prizes but there are cash prizes and spot prizes too!

Max 6 in a team. £3 per player.

6.30 pm for a 7pm start.

Bonus points may be awarded for Christmas jumpers

Prof. Alison Leary – Maths, Football and Crowds: How data science helps keep us safe

Football is coming home on Wednesday 6th November when we’re delighted to welcome Professor Alison Leary, Chair of Healthcare & Workforce Modelling at London South Bank University to discuss how maths can improve crowd safety.


Millwall FC crowd medical services team on match day

How can maths make watching football safer? Alison Leary is the match day lead for crowd medical services at Millwall FC and an expert in healthcare and mathematical modelling. In this talk about maths, crowd safety, and league football, Alison will discuss the vital issues of risk, safety planning and what it’s like to change the rules.


Prof Alison Leary

About Our Speaker

Professor Alison Leary is Chair of Healthcare & Workforce Modelling at London South Bank University. Her research includes: complexity & healthcare; knowledge discovery through data mining (big data); stochastic methods & workforce modelling. She provides consultancy to the NHS, government and commercial organisations. 

Prof. Leary holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine. After ten years in biomedical science she qualified as a Registered Nurse, and in 2014, was named an inspirational woman in healthcare by Health Service Journal. 

Alison was made a Fellow of the Royal college of Nursing in 2015 and of the Queens Nursing Institute in 2016. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, and Visiting Professor at Canterbury Christchurch University. She sits on multiple trustee boards and judging panels and writes regularly for the general, trade and academic press. In 2016 she was made  a Winston Churchill Fellow studying high reliability organisations such as NASA.

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

Please check our Future Events page where you can also subscribe to our iCal feed.

Climate science in the Age of Unreason

On Wednesday 2nd October we’re very pleased to welcome Climate Scientist Dr Ben McNeil, from the University of New South Wales, to talk about climate science misinformation and how to tackle it.

Global heating trend 2014-2018 (NASA)

Global temperature anomalies (vs long term trend) 2014-2018. Source: NASA

Science communication frequently fails in the click-bait driven media environment and social media has weaponised mistrust. With a group of medical researchers and journalists, Ben set out to tackle the spread of online misinformation by founding in 2018. In this month’s talk, Ben discusses these important issues and explains the evolution of Metafact as a scientific approach to evidence-based information to help individuals and societies in the post-truth era.

Ben McNeil UNSW (crop)

Ben McNeil is an Oceanographer and Climate Scientist in the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, with a Masters in Economics.

As a senior Research Fellow, he seeks to advance scientific understanding of the processes and effects of climate change. He has been a passionate science communicator for over 20 years and is the author of “The Clean Industrial Revolution” which makes the economic and scientific case for a low carbon economy.

In 2013 he founded to support the transformative potential of bold, scientific blue-sky thinking in solving global challenges.

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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.

Please check our Future Events page where you can also subscribe to our iCal feed.

Simon Kaufman: Hyperloop UK – The Next Transport Revolution?

On Wednesday 4th September we’re delighted to welcome architect and urban designer Simon Kaufman, to talk about the groundbreaking Hyperloop UK transport project.

Public railways have been with us since 1825 and mass-produced motor cars since 1909. Is it time for a new transport revolution?

Hyperloop is a futuristic and green transportation system, championed by Space-X founder Elon Musk, that moves people and freight through frictionless tubes at airliner speeds on demand. In 2016 a UK consortium bid to host the world’s first Hyperloop route, supported by Friends of the Earth and the Department for Transport. Simon, who led the engineering team behind the Hyperloop UK proposal, will present the case for a Hyperloop network in Britain and discuss the challenges and opportunities of pioneering such a cutting edge transport technology here.

Hyperloop UK image

How a Hyperloop tube might look alongside a motorway. (Image ©Hyperloop UK)

Simon Kaufman is a chartered Architect and urban designer, who has worked in public realm design, civic planning and transport orientated development alongside residential and commercial buildings for most of his professional career. Notable projects in London include the renewal of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, Archway Gyratory, Lots Road power station in Chelsea, Paddington Basin, Regent’s Place near Euston amongst many others. His planning work includes involvement in the regeneration of town centres such as Manchester, Hull, Newcastle, Coventry, Leeds and Preston; and he has also worked internationally in Russia, the UAE, South Africa and elsewhere.



In 2016, Simon led a multi-disciplinary engineering team to create a proposal for a Hyperloop route in Great Britain, “Hyperloop UK” which received the support of Virgin Trains, Friends of the Earth, the DFT, Catapult TS and other UK authorities and entities.

The proposal was entered into a competition run by Hyperloop One in 2017 to select the first global Hyperloop routes. Out of some 4,000 international entries, Hyperloop UK was chosen as one of twelve finalists.

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.

PubSci has a calendar of future events

Amazing news! now has a calendar of future events.

It’s got it’s own page on our website, so you can plan up to 6 months ahead:

You can subscribe to it so it appears in your own compatible calendar. You need never miss PubSci again. Just click on the following link.:

NB: The advance calendar only names the speaker and talk title, as specific details sometimes change in the intervening months. We omit academic titles from the advance calendar to save space but include them in the full event description.

To avoid confusion, we normally create our events with full descriptions on Facebook, Twitter and our website no more than a month in advance. By subscribing to the calendar, you will be notified of new events as soon as they have been booked.

PS Don’t forget next week’s fascinating talk by Prof Chris French in which he introduces us to Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring the science behind paranormal belief and experience.

Chris French – Weird Science: An Introduction to Anomalistic Psychology

On Wednesday 7th August we’re privileged to welcome Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Chris will talk about the remarkable field of anomalistic psychology – the psychology of strange experiences and behaviours.

According to polls, over half the UK population believes in paranormal phenomena, and statistics suggest interest is increasing. Indeed, every ancient society we know of had some kind of supernatural belief system. But can belief in, and reported experience of, paranormal phenomena be explained in terms of psychological factors?


Is the truth “out there” or is closer to home? Image courtesy of BBC

Professor Chris French heads the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths. In this talk Chris will introduce the sub-discipline of anomalistic psychology, the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to explain the weird and the paranormal in terms of known psychological and physical factors.


Professor Chris French © Bill Robinson

Chris is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. His main area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims.


Chris is deeply involved with Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub, which normally meets the same day as PubSci, so it’s a rare delight to welcome him to PubSci this month.

His most recent book , Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience,  will be on sale after the talk.

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.

Not all in your head – What if a simple skin test could diagnose depression?

On Wednesday 3rd July we’re very excited to welcome Dr Parry Hashemi, Senior Lecturer in Bioengineering at Imperial College, London. Dr Hashemi will be speaking about her work towards developing a physiological test for clinical depression.


Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter, sometimes called “happiness molecules” (Image: Shutterstock)

Serotonin is the primary target of antidepressants, yet they only work for 30% of patients. And, since we don’t fully understand the roles serotonin plays in depression, antidepressants have barely improved in 5 decades. The prevailing theory is that low levels of serotonin in the brain indicate clinical depression but we’ve not been able to measure it – until now.

Dr Parry Hashemi has worked with the serotonin molecule for 15 years, developing exquisitely sensitive techniques to measure serotonin levels in vivo and in real time while also studying conditions that suppress serotonin levels such as neuro-inflammation.

Now Dr Hashemi’s work has led to a groundbreaking proposition: that our physiological response to depressive triggers is written into our DNA, and by knowing where to look, a skin sample can be developed to objectively diagnose depression, finally removing the social stigma of this all-too common condition. Maybe it isn’t just in your head after all.


Parry Laughing

Dr Parry Hashemi. Image courtesy of

Parry Hashemi is an award-winning scientist working at the nexus of analytical chemistry, bioengineering and neuroscience. After 12 years establishing a highly regarded research lab in the USA ( she recently accepted the role of Senior Lecturer in Bioengineering at Imperial college, London, where she completed her PhD in 2007.

Dr Hashemi remains an Associate Professor with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, and continues the work of HashemiLab in the UK.

Parry has not only been recognised for her scientific achievements, she is a powerful advocate of women in STEM subjects and received the UNC Women’s Advancement Award in 2010.

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.