Author Archives: PaoloViscardi

Dr Erica McAlister – The Secret Life of Flies

On Wednesday 6th September we’re absolutely delighted to have Dr Erica McAlister joining us, with a talk relating to her excellent new book The Secret Life of Flies.

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Erica is a Senior Curator at NHM London and she’s a bit of an entomological megastar, dominating the airwaves with her humour and passion for tiny animals that most people think of as disgusting. Flies are seen as the nuisance species of the planet – hated, demonised and blamed for the worst of human suffering. But Erica will explore whether this is really the case (and once you hear about what some of them get up to you might still think they’re disgusting, but for very different reasons).

If you fancy picking up a copy of Erica’s book there will be copies available on the night and she’ll be happy to sign them for you.

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 Mike Shanahan – How fig trees can save the planet

On Wednesday 2nd August Dr Mike Shanahan will be making his second attempt to join us at PubSci, after the first was scuppered by disruption following the terrorist attack in Borough back in June. Mike is 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!

Jane Hallam – Fishtopia! An irreverent celebration of fish diversity

On Wednesday 5th July we have something fishy going on at PubSci.

Fish are great, and Jane Hallam loves fish. An aquarist with over fifteen years of experience in public aquaria, zoos, and billionaires’ private tanks, she’s here to talk about some of her favourite fish – the ugly, the misunderstood, the weird and the fabulous. From the mating rituals of deep-sea anglerfish to record-breaking sharks, there will be something for anyone with a passing interest in our watery friends.

Jane Hallam

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!

 

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.

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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!