Tag Archives: Pubsci

Dr Henry Nicholls – From Narcolepsy to Insomnia

At PubSci on Wednesday 4th May (aka Star Wars Day) we’re delighted to welcome journalist, author and full-time narcoleptic Henry Nicholls, who will reveal what it’s like to live with narcolepsy, a rare and much misunderstood neurological disorder.

Most people who’ve heard of it know it’s a sleep disorder that involves pathological levels of sleep. What few people realise is that its onset is triggered by the flu (or similar infection) and that it often involves a host of other fabulous symptoms, including collapsing fits during moments of high emotion, sleep paralysis, terrifying hallucinations and – paradoxically – insomnia. On account of the amphetamines that Henry takes, he is unlikely to doze off during the talk, but video clips of fainting dogs and excerpts from his forthcoming book will pave the way for a lively discussion of the true value of sleep.

henrynew

Henry Nicholls

Henry is a science journalist, author, broadcaster and narcoleptic. He is the author of three books: Lonesome George, The Way of the Panda and The Galapagos. His latest literary adventure, provisionally entitled “ZZZ” and due to be published next year, will examine the funny, puzzling, troubling lives of those with pathological patterns of sleep.

Join us from 6pm for a 7pm start at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. As usual, the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover costs – we hope to see you there!

Gail Austen – Citizen Science: What Makes An Expert?

On Wednesday 2nd March we’re pleased to have Gail Austen speaking about the important and evolving  role of citizen science.

Gail is studying towards a PhD in Biodiversity Management at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent. She has an MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity from Imperial College, having been swayed by the course being hosted at the Natural History Museum, where she also volunteered. Prior to this (overlooking a stint in finance), she worked for a Local Records Centre and become involved in local conversation, including spending the last six years as Chair of the Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group (KRAG). Gail has a passion for UK wildlife and is an advocate of amateur naturalists and citizen science.

Gail_Austen-Price

It is generally accepted that there has been a decline in field biology skills, with some drawing a parallel between the ability to identify flora and fauna with ‘traditional country skills’. There are a number of specialists concerned with the naming and cataloguing of live, dead, extant and extinct specimens, both as part of their job and in a recreational capacity. However, there have been questions raised over the accuracy of the data collected in a ‘non-scientific’ manner, but in order to answer questions about the natural world, the reliance on citizen science and volunteer collected data is increasing.  Using established methods used in face recognition studies in psychology, my research investigates accuracy in visual species identification, what makes an expert, and whether we can improve these skill sets as a legacy for generations to come.

Join us from 6pm for a 7pm start at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. As usual, the event is free, but we will have a whip-round to cover costs – we hope to see you there!

PUBSCI NEWS

New venue for monthly PubSci

After nearly two years of PubSci in the Upstairs bar at the Ritzy in Brixton, we have decided to move on. The Ritzy was a great place to run the events thanks to the helpful staff, but noise from the downstairs bar was an ongoing issue and we are moving on in search of slightly quieter pastures (we were also keen to find a venue with more ales than lagers).

The new venue for PubSci is the Albert Arms, which is a traditional boozer (with some proper beers) located in Southwark, just a short walk from Elephant & Castle tube.

The Albert Arms. Photo by Ewan-M

Starting with a BANG!

The first event at the Albert will be Claire Benson telling the stories of fire and explosions from the 19th century that captured imaginations, changed the face of the planet and the very way we see the cosmos.

So, if you want to know how spontaneous combustion led to the London Fire Brigade creation, how explosives actually saved many lives, and how the development of 1 small piece of laboratory equipment lead to us understanding the very makeup and expansion of the universe, then join us at 6:30pm on Monday 14th January (yes, the day before the pub quiz – our last event in Brixton).

We hope you like the new venue!

January PubSci: Pub Quiz

Science Pub Quiz

Happy New Year from PubSci! We will be starting 2013 with another sciencey pub quiz on Tuesday 15th January.

Darwin-pub-quiz

Doors of the Upstairs Bar of the Brixton Ritzy will open at 7:30pm for an 8pm start, so bring your brains and gather your team members (max of 5 per team) for a mixed bag of science, pseudoscience and sci-fi questions.

We will be asking for £2 per person to go into the prize pot, so be prepared and spread the word – the more people that come, the bigger the the prize!

November PubSci: Museums and Science

Why museum collections are vital to life on Earth

On Tuesday 20th November we will have museum curator and regular PubSci host Paolo Viscardi talking about museum collections and their value to science, society and species survival.

Continue reading

Ada Lovelace PubSci Special

Celebrating Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths)

On Tuesday 16th October we will have a PubSci special celebrating women in STEM hosted by Dr Rebekah Higgitt.

Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women in STEM subjects who have been inspirational. Ada was born in 1815 and became a mathematician, writer and arguably the world’s first computer programmer over 100 years before the first electronic computer was invented. Talk about being ahead of her time!

We will celebrate by having a variety of women at different stages of their STEM careers talking about what they do, their experiences as a female in STEM and the female figures that have inspired them. Then the floor will open for the usual exchange of ideas and quaffing of appropriately alcoholic beverages until time is called at the bar.

Join us at the Brixton Ritzy Upstairs Bar from 18:45ish for food, drink and a chat, ready for an 19:30 start.

Oh yes, and as always entry is free!

September PubSci: Physics Special

Symmetry, singularities & string theory

On Tuesday 18th September we will have PubSci regular Dr. John Hamilton guiding us on a tour of why physicists always bang on about symmetry, and how it fits in to theoretical physics.

A simulated event in the CMS detector, a collision in which a micro black hole may be created.

You may have encountered John if you’ve been to PubSci  before, he’s the one who has clearly explained the answers to really interesting questions like “what are the LHC and the Higgs Boson all about?” and “what does it mean if neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light?”

John will be talking mainly about symmetry, touching on singularities and string theory (and why it’s probably wrong) along with all sorts of exciting concepts that we’ve heard about thanks to the enthusiastic outpourings of Prof. Brian Cox.

In short, it’ll be an evening of really complicated science made really interesting and understandable. Plus beer.

So why not join us at the Brixton Ritzy Upstairs Bar from 18:45ish for food, drink and a chat, ready for an 19:45ish start?

Oh yes, and as always it’s free!

August PubSci: Pub Quiz

Science Pub Quiz

On Tuesday 28th August we will be making the most of the new expanded floor space Upstairs at the Brixton Ritzy by holding a science pub quiz. Ten rounds of questions intended to put your general scientific knowledge to the test.

You won’t need to be Einstein to have some fun and maybe win some prizes, so why not join us for a fun evening of fun science facts and a light smattering of science fiction?

We suggest you try to arrive by 7pm to get food and drink ready for a 7:30pm start. Don’t worry if you don’t have a team to bring, there’s a friendly crowd and there will be other people happy to join forces. We look forward to seeing you on the night!

July PubSci: Terrible Table Manners

The Feeding Habits of Carnivorous Dinosaurs

On Tuesday 17th July Tuesday 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

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!

Oh yes, and it’s FREE!

PubSci SciPubQuiz

Science (Quiz) in the Pub

For December’s Science In The Pub there will be a science-themed pub quiz hosted by Kash Farooq and James Longstaff. The usual PubSci hosts Paolo and James get a night off – as they will be taking part in the quiz.

And, thanks to our good friends at the British Science Association, there will be some appropriately geeky/sciencey prizes that we will dish out as we see fit!

We suggest that you form teams of 3 or 4 people. Don’t worry if you don’t have have enough people – just turn up. We’re a friendly bunch and we’re sure we can get everyone into a team.

It might also be a good idea to “mix disciplines” when forming a team – each round will have questions from various areas of science. We’ve been busy thinking up questions for a few weeks now and have come up with a fairly wide variety.

To give you a clue of the sort of questions to expect, here are the categories we came up when we were thinking up questions:

  • Chemistry
  • Scientists
  • Geology
  • Astronomy/Space
  • Physics
  • Biology

See you on Tuesday 6th December from 7:30, upstairs at the Brixton Ritzy!