Author Archives: MarshalledThoughts

How to Join Virtual PubSci Tomorrow (With or without Zoom)

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Our very first Virtual PubSci goes live at 7:30 pm on Weds 3rd June
and we’re delighted to welcome Dr Caspar Addyman, director of the InfantLab at Goldsmiths, University of London with the talk that was originally scheduled for 1 April: Life Lessons from Laughing Babies.

The Zoom meeting will be active from around 7pm so you’ll have plenty of time to make sure you’re up and running before the talk begins. Those who have registered on Eventbrite will be sent an email with the Zoom link details before 5:30pm. It’s a pain to have to do it like this, but since Zoombombing became a problem for online events – and friends have had their events horribly interrupted – we need to make sure that everybody who joins the Zoom meeting is bona fide. Hope you understand.

However, not everybody wants to use Zoom, even in a browser window, so we will also be streaming the event live on YouTube. I’ve set up a PubSci YouTube channel where anybody can view the event without having to register on Eventbrite or use Zoom.

Just go to our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday and look for the livestream under VIDEOS > LIVE STREAMS. AT the moment there is just a test stream which you can watch to make sure your speaker settings are correct. It also has some notes that might be useful. When the stream goes live (around 7:15pm) it should appear on the list but you might need to refresh the page to see it. We will have chat active on YouTube (though moderated) so you can submit questions in the break.

All times are BST (GMT+1)

Finally, in case you want to make a small donation towards our web and Zoom hosting costs or contribute towards PubSci’s support of the wonderful Metafact science fact-checking project, we now have a PayPal “Money Pool” where you can do that, administered by PubSci host Richard Marshall.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Richard

Announcing Virtual PubSci, Weds 3rd June

On Wednesday 3rd June we’re excited to welcome Dr Caspar Addyman, director of the InfantLab at Goldsmiths, University of London as our first ever speaker for Virtual PubSci. Caspar will give the talk that was originally scheduled for 1 April: Life Lessons from Laughing Babies. The talk will be streamed on Zoom and other channels.

Laughing Baby

In this talk Dr Addyman will survey the reasons why babies have such a great time being babies and why understanding baby laughter is key to understanding ourselves.

Joining Instruction: Please register for the event in advance by following this link to Eventbrite (opens in new window). Registered attendees will be sent joining instructions before the event start time. This is to minimise the risk of “Zoom Bombing”. Caspar will take questions after the talk via chat or Zoom.

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Caspar LargeCaspar Addyman is a lecturer in psychology and director of the InfantLab at Goldsmiths, University of London. His Baby Laughter project has surveyed families all over the world to find out just what causes all those little giggles and he is interested in how laughter helps babies bond and learn.

Caspar worked with Grammy winner Imogen Heap to create a song scientifically designed to make babies happy. He has a written a novel, Help Yourself, about a retired psychologist and a failed comedian and his popular science book, The Laughing Baby, published by Unbound in April 2020, is available from Amazon and all good book stores.

 

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Join us on Zoom/YouTube/Facebook Live this coming Wednesday 3rd June for our first ever Virtual PubSci. The links will be open from 7pm for a 7:30 start.

As usual the event is free, and it is free to register with Eventbrite. If you wish to support PubSci and help cover the costs of our monthly Zoom Pro hosting account you have the option to make a donation when registering.

To keep up to date with new events, please check our Future Events page where you can also subscribe to our iCal feed.


NB The events may be virtual but the science is real! Sadly we don’y know when we’ll be back in the Old King’s Head, but we send our best wishes to Craig and the team who have hosted us for so many years.

Feel free to get yourself a pint of  Doombar or a glass of Malbec before the talk, but please ignore the event location on the website. For the time being, PubSci is in your living room not in the pub! “DID ANYBODY ORDER FISH AND CHIPS?”

PubSci is postponed until further notice

Dear friends, apologies for the lack of earlier communication. It will, however, come as no surprise that all PubSci events are suspended for the time being.

Of course the implications of the current pandemic are more serious and far-reaching than the mere suspension of our events but we will miss our monthly gatherings in the Old King’s Head.

We hope to reschedule the planned April and May talks for a later date, but we will only restart when scientific, medical and government advice recommend that it is safe and sensible to do so.

As the lockdown and ban on social gatherings continue, we are looking into the possibility of hosting events online and will explore other ways to give you your monthly science fix through the internet.

Please watch out for announcements and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@pubsci) and on the PubSci Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PubSci/).

In the meantime, all of us in the PubSci family wish you all the very best over the coming months.

Good health.

Richard and the London PubSci team.

Be Reasonable! (How to engage with anti-science conspiracies) – Michael Marshall

On Wednesday 4th March we’re excited to welcome Michael Marshall of the Good Thinking Society, to talk about anti-science beliefs and how to combat them.

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Is it possible to have a rational conversation with people who believe in a flat earth? New Scientist recently asked the same question. Image © Josie Ford / New Scientist

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Once considered harmless fringe beliefs, anti-Science and conspiracy thinking have reached the cultural and political mainstream thanks to YouTube and Twitter. Michael Marshall has spent over a decade conversing with proponents of pseudoscience to better understand their thinking, hosting them on his podcast and even attending a Flat Earth convention in the USA. Drawing on these experiences, Michael will share techniques for constructively engaging with people caught in pseudoscientific thinking, to help unweave conspiracy theories and connect with the people behind anti-science ideas. He also has some very funny stories.

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Michael Marshall (Image courtesy of Centre for Inquiry)

Michael Marshall is Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast (all links opens in new page).

As the UK’s only full-time sceptical activist, Michael’s work has seen him organise international homeopathy protests, go undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, spend a weekend embedded in the flat earth movement and co-found the popular QED conference.

Michael has written for the Guardian, The Times, New Scientist, New Statesman and The Skeptic.

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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.

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As usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses. We aim to keep PubSci accessible for all, although it is unsuitable for under 18s as we meet in the upper room of  a pub.

Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access.

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

Professor Malcolm Fairbairn – The Search for Dark Matter

PubSci is back from the winter break…

On Wednesday 5th February we’re very excited to welcome Professor Malcolm Fairbairn of Kings College London.  He will be talking about what dark matter is, how we find it, and why it matters. 

universe-883419 Image courtesy of Getty ©

Dark matter cannot be directly observed but is understood to account for nearly 85% of the matter in the universe. It is passing unimpeded through each of us constantly and acts as a cosmic support for galaxies in the Universe, including the one we call home. Despite this we cannot see it or touch it. Malcolm Fairbairn is a leading figure in the search for dark matter, and we are delighted to start our 2020 season with this talk.

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Prof Malcolm Fairburn Potrait

Prof Malcolm Fairbairn

Proffessor Fairbairn is a member of the Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology Research Group at KCL, working at the intersection of particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology to study dark matter and particle physics in the early Universe.

For much of the last decade he focused on dark matter, but Malcolm has also worked on dark energy, early universe cosmology and its relation to Higgs physics as well as applications of machine learning to astrophysics and particle physics.

Originally from Wigan, his career took him to live in four different countries. He left CERN to take up a permanent position at King’s College London in 2007.

In 2019 Malcolm was scientific advisor to the Science Museum’s season of exhibitions and events exploring the nature of dark matter.

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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.

As usual the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover speaker’s expenses. We aim to keep PubSci accessible for all, although it is unsuitable for under 18s as we meet in the upper room of  a pub. Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access.

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

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

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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.

MillwallTeamPhoto

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.

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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 Metafact.io 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 thinkable.org 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.

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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! PubSci.info 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: https://pubsci.info/pubsci-events-calendar/

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.: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/londonpubsci%40gmail.com/public/basic.ics

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.