Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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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?

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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.

No PubSci in January

Happy New Year!

To give everyone a chance to recover from the festive excesses we’re holding off on having PubSci in January, although we plan to start again in February, so we hope to see you then!

Dr Anne-Maria Brennan – Silk Road Science

On Wednesday 7th February we’re delighted to have Dr Anne-Maria Brennan speaking at PubSci about Silk Road science – the ideas, knowledge and technology that made their way from East to West along with trade goods along the old Silk Road.

Caravan on the Silk Road. Cresques Abraham c.1380 from Atlas Catalan

Caravan on the Silk Road. Cresques Abraham c.1380 from Atlas Catalan

Anne-Maria is Director of Education and Lecturer in Professional Practice at the Centre for Professional Practice at the University of Kent, her area of interest is public engagement with science, particularly the interface between science, technology, culture and the arts. Past winner of the British Science Association’s Sir Walter Bodmer Award and Freeman of the City of London, Anne-Maria is dedicated to bringing hidden stories of science into the light. In her own words “science not communicated is science not done!

With Islamophobia becoming increasingly rampant in Europe and with the divisiveness of Brexit encouraging a whitewashing of British history and culture, it is useful to remember the long history of cultural and intellectual exchange that has existed between East and West. As Anne-Maria has commented in the pastEurope is inundated with links to Islamic culture, yet many still see the two as worlds apart. Take a closer look and we see castles, fountains, books, ceramics, artefacts, tools and many other things throughout Europe – all beautiful reminders of a Golden Age of Islam.” This enriching of European culture, science and technology through links with the East owes a great deal to the old Silk Road.

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!

‘Does it Fart’ – the follow through…

On Wednesday 1st November we were delighted to have Dani Rabaiotti talking about farts in the animal kingdom.

On the evening Dani explained how our understanding of animal farts is far from complete and it relies on input from researchers and animal enthusiasts all around the world. If you want to see the database of animals that fart (and puke and sneeze) then you can see it all here and if you want to let Dani know about any animal not on the list that you know the fart status of, drop her a tweet at @DaniRabaiotti

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Of course, there’s more detailed information in Dani’s book and if you missed the talk you can catch Dani in this Brains on! podcast – check it out!