Category Archives: Events

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?”

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 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.

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.

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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.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Dr Parry Hashemi. Image courtesy of Hashemilab.com

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 (www.hashemilab.com) 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.

Science on the High Seas – What Lurks Beneath?

On Wednesday 5th June we’re very pleased to welcome back to PubSci James Maclaine, senior keeper of fish at the Natural History Museum, London, who recently returned from a research expedition around two of the remotest inhabited islands on Earth.

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Black Seadevil (Melanocetus johnsonii) – a juvenile female. Photo: James Maclaine (via Twitter)

Earlier this year, Discovery Expedition 100 carried out marine surveys of the ocean around Tristan de Cunha and St Helena in the South Atlantic. NHM curator James Maclaine was on board RRS Discovery to sort and identify the fish specimens collected as part of the UK government’s Blue Belt conservation program. James spent more than 40 days at sea, journeying over 5000 miles between Port Stanley in the Falklands and Walvis Bay in Namibia.  At June’s PubSci James will be talking about his experiences on the expedition and showing some of the amazing things he saw along the way.

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RSS Discovery – James’ home for 40 days during the expedition. Photo: James Maclaine (via Twitter)

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.

James Maclaine with Great White Shark jaws, via Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Twitter

James Maclaine with Great White Shark jaws, via Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Twitter