Author Archives: PaoloViscardi

CANCELLED-Dr Mike Shanahan – How fig trees can save the planet

Unfortunately tonight’s planned talk has been rescheduled to August due to disruption following the recent terrorist attack in nearby Borough Market. However, the Old King’s Head should be reopened today and some of the PubSci regulars will be there to socialise.

On Wednesday 7th June we’re delighted to welcome Dr Mike Shanahan, a freelance writer and illustrator with a research background in rainforest ecology, who will be talking about the ecological and cultural importance of fig trees.

FigTree

Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles in the dawn of civilisation. They feature in every major religion, starring alongside Adam and Eve, Krishna and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. This is no coincidence – fig trees are special. They evolved when giant dinosaurs still roamed and have been shaping our world ever since.

And all because 80 million years ago these trees cut a curious deal with some tiny wasps. Thanks to this deal, figs sustain more species of birds and mammals than any other trees. As Mike will explain, fig trees could help restore lost rainforests, conserve wildlife and tackle climate change. In a time of falling trees and rising temperatures, their story offers hope.

Mike’s book Ladders to Heaven: How fig trees shaped our history, fed our imaginations and can enrich our future was published in 2016 – copies will be available on the night if you fancy getting the detailed inside scoop.

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 costs – we hope to see you there!

Barbecue, roasts and toast – how humans evolved a nose for cooked food

On Wednesday 3rd May we’re pleased to welcome Tom Husband who will be talking about the chemistry of cooked food and how (and why) we’ve evolved to want it.

TomHusband

Tom Husband

Tom Husband is a science writer and teacher who is fascinated by the chemistry of the every day. This talk combines his twin passions for the chemistry of food and of life. His book The Chemistry of Human Nature was recently published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is aware that the word “chemistry” has been over-used during this introduction.

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 costs – we hope to see you there!

Fireproofing an iconic building

On Wednesday 5th April we are delighted to welcome Dr Fiona Nairn Scott who will be talking about fireproofing an iconic building. Fiona has a background in Materials Engineering and is now a Principal Consultant with a major Built Asset consultancy firm, with experience in the automotive, aerospace and rail industries, in both the UK and overseas.

An iconic building. Photo by Mike Gimelfarb, 2008

An iconic building. Photo by Mike Gimelfarb, 2008

Fiona’s last project was part of a major refurbishment of an iconic building with national significance. She will discuss issues around maintaining and retaining historic features, while at the same time making the building fit for the 21st Century’s needs – which is no small undertaking!

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 costs – we hope to see you there!

 

Dr Ross Piper – Deceivers, Doppelgangers and Degenerates

On Wednesday 1st March we’re delighted to welcome zoologist, entomologist and explorer Dr Ross Piper to PubSci.

piper

Animals are dazzlingly diverse, yet we know next to nothing about them, from how many species there are on Earth to how they live. Why is this? Ross will explore this question in his talk and offer some answers that may surprise you and even provide a whole new perspective on how much we still have to discover.

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 costs – we hope to see you there!

Anne Gare -Death, Dying, and Death Awareness in Our Culture & Society

On Wednesday 1st February, Anne Gare, who is an embalmer and funeral director at Midcounties Co-operative Funeralcare will be joining us to discuss the topic of death and how we consider it. She has the unique experience of the funeral industry across two countries, with a particular interest in alternative burial such as green burials.

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Anne Gare

Society isn’t keen to talk about the most inevitable part of life – death. Anne wishes to address this and answer your questions on death and mortuary science. Mortuary Science isn’t often thought about, but it covers a wide range of topics from art (such as reconstruction), chemistry and biology of embalming down to some psychological aspects of grieving.

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 costs – we hope to see you there!

PubSci Annual Pub Quiz

On Wednesday 7th December we have our annual level-playing-field quiz for Pub Scientists. NO celebrities, sports, nor pop music questions. But we do have questions that challenge the senses and aren’t out of the quiz books. Sometimes they’re weird, but at least we write them ourselves. And we have cash prizes, spot prizes, cake and of course peer-reviewed drinking.

Darwin-pub-quiz

You can come as a team or make up a team from other PubSci regulars when you arrive.

Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start.

Robson & Viscardi – Dead or alive?

On Wednesday 2nd November we will have a talk by the founders of PubSci, James Robson and Paolo Viscardi. Both work with animals, but James curates live collections, while Paolo curates dead ones: so which collections are the most interesting – dead or alive?

James Robson is the new Curator of the Sea Life London Aquarium, bringing experience of working with a huge range of live animals from all over the world to London. While he’s busy ensuring the health and welfare of his aquatic charges, he’s also undertaking a PhD on jellyfish. He will be explaining why he thinks live collections are so awesome.

Sarlac Jellyfish by James Robson

Sarlac Jellyfish by James Robson

Paolo Viscardi is currently the Curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology, but is about to depart for the Emerald Isle to become the Curator of Zoology at Dublin’s Dead Zoo. He’ll be arguing why he thinks dead collections are even more awesome than the living ones.

Dublin's Dead Zoo by Paolo Viscardi

Dublin’s Dead Zoo by Paolo Viscardi

This will be the last London PubSci hosted by the original organisers, but a team of enthusiastic regulars are planning to keep things running in 2017 and an end-of-year quiz is ready for December, so fear not!

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 costs – we hope to see you there!