Author Archives: MarshalledThoughts

Important: April PubSci Event Change

Please note that Michael Byford’s talk on Bacteriophages has been postponed until Weds 1st May due to unforeseen circumstances.

The PubSci team apologises for the late notice – however, we won’t leave you at a loose end this evening. Please come to the Old King’s Head as usual, 6:30pm on Weds 3rd April.

In Part 1 the team behind PubSci will present a series of short talks on our favourite scientific topics. After the break we discuss the question: “Does the media have a duty to accurately report on Science or Is Climate Change Denial protected by Freedom of Expression?”

See this recent case for the current context:

Dr Michael Byford – Bacteriophages: Even bacteria get viral infections [Postponed]

PLEASE NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Michael Byford’s talk has been postponed and will now take place next month, on Weds 1st May. Please see our latest blog post for news on the alternative PubSci event we are hosting tonight.

On Wednesday 3rd April [edit: now moved to Weds 1st May] we’re delighted to welcome back microbiologist Dr Michael Byford, one of our most popular past PubSci speakers. Michael will talk about bacteriophages and their potential for combating antibacterial resistant infections.



One of the earliest micrograph images of a bacteriophage alongside a diagram of its structure.

Bacteriophages (phages for short) are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. They are ubiquitous and the most abundant biological entities on Earth. They have major applications in basic research and offer hope in fighting bacterial infections in the face of the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance.

Dr Michael Byford

Dr Byford was until recently Senior Lecturer in biochemistry and microbiology at London South Bank University.

He previously worked at the University of Oxford for Professor, Sir Jack Baldwin FRS on antibiotic biosynthesis and for DEFRA on a number of research topics including mad cow disease.

He was Senior Research Fellow at the University of Washington, before returning to Southampton, where he gained his degrees, to incept their ongoing work into neuroblastoma, an aggressive paediatric cancer.

Michael currently teaches microbiology at the University of Portsmouth

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 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.


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?

SGH whiteboard

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”.


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

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.


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