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.

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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!

Dr Ruth Siddall – Pigments of our imagination

On Wednesday 5th October we’re delighted to have Dr Ruth Siddall of UCL talking about the colourful topic of pigments.

Ruth is a co-author of The Pigment Compendium and works on the characterisation, synthesis and history of use of pigments, particularly in Roman period painting.

Photomicrograph of the pigment Indian Yellow in cross-polarised light

Photomicrograph of the pigment Indian Yellow in cross-polarised light

Pigments are the materials which give colour to paints. We’ve all heard about yellow ochre and ultramarine, but there are many weird and, to be honest, totally unacceptable materials used out there for pigments. Artists and painters have been incredibly resourceful in finding and creating new colours over the last 40,000 years of experimentation, and new pigments such as Vanta Black and YinMin Blue are still being introduced today. Pigments can be derived from minerals and also dyes extracted from plants and animals, but a number of more unexpected sources of pigments have been used. If it’s coloured, someone has painted with it.

This talk will explore the analytical techniques used to identify pigments in paintings and the stories behind paints such as Indian Yellow, Emerald Green, Turacine and Mummy Brown.

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 Steven Le Comber – Maths, murder and malaria

On Wednesday 7th September we’re delighted to welcome Dr Steven Le Comber from Queen Mary, University of London. Steve’s research covers a wide range of subjects within evolutionary biology, including mathematical and computer models of molecular evolution.

Much of this work focuses on the mathematics of spatial patterns, and in his talk he will explain how he has pioneered the introduction of geographic profiling – a statistical technique originally developed in criminology to prioritise the investigation of serial murders – to biology, for example, trying to find the breeding sites for mosquitoes that spread malaria.

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In a talk spanning mathematics, Jack the Ripper, great white sharks and the Gestapo, Steve will explain how he used geographic profiling to investigate the identity of the artist Banksy and how he reanalysed a Gestapo case from the 1940s that formed the basis of a famous novel.

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 Helen Mayfield – can artificial intelligence save the rainforest?

On Wednesday 3rd August we’re pleased to welcome Dr Helen Mayfield, who has a PhD in mapping science and comes from an IT background, with an active interest in conservation and environmental issues. Her broad research interests are in how computer science and technological advances can help us solve or better understand environmental problems.

Helen Mayfield

We are entering the Anthropocene, a new geological age characterised by mass extinctions and unprecedented pressures on our natural resources.  At the same time technology is progressing at full speed, providing us with a whole new set of tools to help us navigate this brave new world. Yet many environmental management practitioners still rely on the tried and trusted methods that they’re comfortable with.

Helen’s work looks at how we can use machine learning to help us solve environmental management problems. We aim to shed some light on artificial intelligence and demystify a few of the common machine learning techniques, discussing  how they might serve us better than the standard statistical models that are so commonly used (no formulas, promise!). To keep the balance we will also look at some of the pitfalls of techniques such as artificial neural networks to help us consider when NOT to use them.  Being both one of the biggest environmental threats we face, as well as a terribly complicated issue, deforestation analysis provides the perfect case study for doing this.  By taking advantage of the plethora of free datasets that are becoming increasingly available (just look at Google Earth!) we can test out some of these methods to see whether computers can indeed help save the rainforest.

Join us upstairs at theOld 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!

 

Dave Hone – Tyrannosaurs: Fact vs Fiction

On Wednesday 6th July we’re pleased to welcome back palaeontologist, lecturer and writer Dr David Hone, who will be sifting the facts from the fiction about everyone’s favourite dinosaur – Tyrannosaurus.

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Dave with Tyrannosaurus in Tokyo

Dave is a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, writer for the Guardian and author of the recently published Tyrannosaur ChroniclesHe’s worked on dinosaurs and pterosaurs all over the world and is a great proponent of scientists engaging the public with their work – especially when it comes to how we know what we we know and how that changes with new evidence.

So unleash that 7 year old inside and revel in the terrified joy that only a gigantic, prehistoric, meat-eating monster can bring and 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!