On Tuesday 17th JulyTuesday 24th July we will be finding out more about dinosaur behaviour with Dr. David Hone.
Understanding the diet and feeding habits of long extinct species is a challenge, but it can provide an insight into predator-prey relationships, ecosystem structure and animal behaviour in past environments.
Majungatholus atopus feeding. Artwork by Demetrios M. Vital
Dave is the founder of Ask A Biologist, he runs an excellent blog and he is one of the latest additions to the Guardian’s science blogging stable. He is also an active vertebrate palaeontologist involved in some really interesting research on dinosaurs, pterosaurs and birds. That means he isn’t just reporting on this topic – you’ll be hearing about the research, results and the fossils from the source.
Why not join him for an insight into the science used to explore the feeding habits of the mighty meat-eating dinosaurs – you may never see T. rex and Velociraptor in quite the same way again!
The talk will start around 7:45pm, but the venue (Upstairs at the Ritzy) will be open from 6pm for those who want food, a drink and a bit of geeky chat. Hope to see you there!
Anne-Maria is a Principal Lecturer in Bioscience and Forensic Biology at London South Bank University. One of her many activities (besides music and co-writing the definitive entry textbook on Ecology) has been to organise, chair and present at conferences for the British Science Association on the Muslim contribution to science.
Islamic heritage in the sciences is a fascinating area that has sometimes been the subject of a form of cultural amnesia – why not join us to find out more about the causes, consequences and cures?
Paolo Viscardi will lead the celebrations with a talk on Darwin’s life, his evolutionary ideas and their lasting legacy. Then we can get down to the serious business of discussion about some of the issues raised over a beer.
Join us from 6pm if you want to get food, drink and conversation. The more formal bit won’t start until 7:30pm and the talk will probably kick off at 8pm. Oh, and as always, PubSci is free!
On Tuesday 6th September Upstairs at the Brixton Ritzy starting at 7:30pm (although you can come earlier if you like) our Designated Scientist Alice Sheppard of Galaxy Zoo will give you a glimpse into the world of Astronomy and Citizen Science over a pint of something nice.
Astronomy has been the subject of wonder and speculation for as long as historical records exist (and probably for longer than that). As with all science, people got some things right and – even with the best methods available – some things wrong.
Since 2007 Alice Sheppard has run the Galaxy Zoo Forum, the discussion area for an online astronomy project with 300,000 members worldwide. Galaxy Zoo has so far produced 21 papers, whose authors and acknowledged contributors include several ‘ordinary’ citizens. Some of the findings were a direct result of questions or collections of objects created by users, who became “Citizen Scientists”.
Alice takes us through some of the best and worst of astronomical history and what ancient and modern mistakes have been made. We will hear about the questions people have brought to Galaxy Zoo, the ways in which biases have been found and dealt with by the scientists and participants, the beautiful and inspiring projects created by untrained people and the scientific thinking they have learned to apply for themselves.
We also take a look at citizen science in general, how Galaxy Zoo has taught large numbers of people to understand and use science and we will explore what this might mean for engaging the wider public.
By day Alice is an office superviser at a charity for disabled people; by night she writes about science and astronomy
After the talk you will get the chance (or be forcibly coerced) to be involved in a live experiment.
A chance to discuss the most recent issues in science, if you have something to get off your chest about science, now is the time to do it.
On Tuesday 2nd August Upstairs at the Brixton Ritzy (starting at 7:30pm although you can come earlier if you like) we’re going to give you a glimpse into the seedier side of sex in nature, with PubSci founder James Robson providing an entertaining talk on the subject.
Then we plan to open the floor to discussion about the role of observation in science, using an Ig Nobel-winning paper (pdf) on homosexual necrophilia in Mallards to get the conversation started.
Ducks are dirty rapists
As usual there will also be an experiment, this one is topical and will involve beer.
Sex, beer and science – what’s not to love? Unless of course you’re Brian Foy and his wife, who experienced the phenomenon of a normally vector-borne virus being transmitted sexually after some fieldwork… at least they got a paper out of it (pdf).
The June PubSci was a somewhat chaotic event as we tried an open-mic night. An edited podcast of the evening is available to hear at the Pod Delusion.
Our experiment for the evening was a simple reaction experiment that was meant to test the hypothesis that people’s reactions (measured by catching a ruler) would improve after one drink and then get progressively worse as they consumed more alcohol. Unfortunately the nature of the experiment made it difficult to keep track of exactly what was going on at times.
One factor that we failed to consider was the rate at which alcohol is metabolised (one unit per hour on average) so give the rate of alcohol consumption I’m not sure that many of our experimental subjects had actually increased their blood alcohol substantially over the course of the evening (sensible drinkers – who’d have thunk it?).
As a result, the averaged data from the evening looked like this (34 started the experiment of which 3 did not drink alcohol and 11 only had one drink, so were not included in the analysis, results are based on 20 drinkers – 9 female, 11 male) :
Not exactly unequivocal results, but at least they don’t contradict the experimental hypothesis.
Experiment aside, the open-mic format proved to be good fun and rather entertaining, but for July we plan to have a more structured evening hosted by our Designated Scientist Lizzie Crouch.
Lizzie is a self-confessed science geek who has spent 3 years working as a science researcher in factual television and is now studying Science Communication at Imperial College. She’s back from the Cheltenham Science Festival with a great booze-related experiment to get ideas (& the beers) flowing.
We’ll be starting at 7:30pm on Tuesday 5th July at the usual venue, Upstairs at the Ritzy. Come and join us for a free and informal evening of scientific thinking and peer-reviewed drinking.
The PubSci on 7th June 2011Upstairs at the Ritzy in Brixton will kick off with Jenny Rohn reporting back on the results of last month’s wine-related experiment, before we open the floor for our first open-mic session.
So if you have a science related bee in your bonnet that you want to set free, anecdotes from the lab or from life, or if you just want to share something you think is interesting – this will be the perfect opportunity.
Of course we will be conducting another experiment during the evening and there will be a friendly and informal atmosphere for those who just want to sit back and soak up the geekiness of it all.
The event will kick off at 7:30pm this week, but you are welcome to join us from 6:30pm if you fancy a bite to eat from the Ritzy’s tasty menu.