Tag Archives: talks

Jane Hallam – Fishtopia! An irreverent celebration of fish diversity

On Wednesday 5th July we have something fishy going on at PubSci.

Fish are great, and Jane Hallam loves fish. An aquarist with over fifteen years of experience in public aquaria, zoos, and billionaires’ private tanks, she’s here to talk about some of her favourite fish – the ugly, the misunderstood, the weird and the fabulous. From the mating rituals of deep-sea anglerfish to record-breaking sharks, there will be something for anyone with a passing interest in our watery friends.

Jane Hallam

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!

 

CANCELLED-Dr Mike Shanahan – How fig trees can save the planet

Unfortunately tonight’s planned talk has been rescheduled to August due to disruption following the recent terrorist attack in nearby Borough Market. However, the Old King’s Head should be reopened today and some of the PubSci regulars will be there to socialise.

On Wednesday 7th June we’re delighted to welcome Dr Mike Shanahan, a freelance writer and illustrator with a research background in rainforest ecology, who will be talking about the ecological and cultural importance of fig trees.

FigTree

Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles in the dawn of civilisation. They feature in every major religion, starring alongside Adam and Eve, Krishna and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. This is no coincidence – fig trees are special. They evolved when giant dinosaurs still roamed and have been shaping our world ever since.

And all because 80 million years ago these trees cut a curious deal with some tiny wasps. Thanks to this deal, figs sustain more species of birds and mammals than any other trees. As Mike will explain, fig trees could help restore lost rainforests, conserve wildlife and tackle climate change. In a time of falling trees and rising temperatures, their story offers hope.

Mike’s book Ladders to Heaven: How fig trees shaped our history, fed our imaginations and can enrich our future was published in 2016 – copies will be available on the night if you fancy getting the detailed inside scoop.

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!

Barbecue, roasts and toast – how humans evolved a nose for cooked food

On Wednesday 3rd May we’re pleased to welcome Tom Husband who will be talking about the chemistry of cooked food and how (and why) we’ve evolved to want it.

TomHusband

Tom Husband

Tom Husband is a science writer and teacher who is fascinated by the chemistry of the every day. This talk combines his twin passions for the chemistry of food and of life. His book The Chemistry of Human Nature was recently published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is aware that the word “chemistry” has been over-used during this introduction.

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!

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!

Katrina van Grouw – A Very Fine Swan Indeed: Art, Science & The Unfeathered Bird

On Wednesday 1st June we’re very pleased to have Katrina van Grouw speaking at PubSci.

KvG-Katrina van Grouw low res

Katrina inhabits that no-man’s land, slap bang between art and science. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, her formal education was in Printmaking and Natural History Illustration, but she’s also a dedicated ornithologist, a former Natural History Museum curator, a qualified bird ringer, and an experienced preparator of natural history specimens.

KvG-book cover

The book, The Unfeathered Bird, is a magnum opus twenty five years in the
making, and was originally intended as a manual for bird artists. It was only much later that it blossomed into something far more ambitious. A world away from textbooks and diagrams, this is a work equally intended for scientists and artists, indeed anyone with an appreciation of birds or an interest in their adaptations and behaviour. It includes no fewer than 385 illustrations of 200 species, all made from actual specimens, many of which are shown in lifelike positions. Virtually all the complete skeletons were prepared and reconstructed at home from specimens donated from zoos, wildlife hospitals and conservation charities.

KvG-budgie skeletonKvG-great hornbill skeleton small

Join Katrina as she explains her aims and inspirations, shares her insights about birds beneath their feathers, and relates how her home was turned upside down as more and more specimens joined the queue.

Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start upstairs 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!