The Week of Monday 20th March

Science in a post-truth world, medicine in the Bible, the hidden world of the atom and the idiot brain – just some of the talks offered next week in a list which Mr Salmon has put together for your edification and enjoyment. Do ask him if you would like further information.

Monday 20th March

The Productivity Puzzle: Productivity growth has weakened across a number of economies over recent years, particularly in the UK. Does this reflect a slowing of innovation? What role can public policy play in supporting productivity growth?  Andrew Haldane; Chief Economist at the Bank of England.  LSE 18.30 Free. http://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2017/03/20170320t1830vOT/The-Productivity-Puzzle

Tuesday 21st March

Gastrophysics; the New Science of Eating: Prof Charles Spence.  Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with one more person, and 75% more when with three? Why are 27% of drinks bought on aeroplanes tomato juice? How are chefs and companies planning to transform our dining experiences, and what can we learn from their cutting-edge insights to make memorable meals at home? Charles Spence shows how our senses link up in the most extraordinary ways, and reveals the importance of all the “off-the-plate” elements of a meal: the weight of cutlery, the colour of the plate (his lab showed that red is associated with sweetness – we perceive salty popcorn as tasting sweet when served in a red bowl), the background music and much more.  Looks pretty odd. And he is an Ignobel Prize winner. [Sonic crisps anyone….?]. LSE 18.30 Free.  http://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2017/03/20170321t1830vSZT/Gastrophysics

 

Xtreme Everest: Medicine from Mountain to Bedside: In 2007, a team of doctors and scientists ascended to the roof of the world to understand more about how we adapt to high altitude – and why some of us adapt better than others. The Caudwell Xtreme Everest expedition was central to a fifteen year programme of research aiming to understand how humans adapt to low oxygen levels when critically ill. The researchers believe that changes in human physiology, that allow some humans to climb the highest mountains on earth, may also be of benefit when oxygen levels in the body are low because of illness.   This is pretty heroic research; taking blood samples of a doc pedalling an exercise bike at VO2max at 8000m……

Gresham at Museum of London 18.00. Free. https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/xtreme-everest-taking-medicine-from-mountainside-to-bedside#rT4xzA6jf37epgR9.99

Muslim identity and the global order:  Research in a variety of fields depicts Muslims as traditionalist adherents to an anti-modern meaning system that provides alternatives to global norms like democracy, religious tolerance, and trust in science.  Using a multi-method approach combining statistical analyses of cross-national values surveys, computational analyses of text data collected from Arabic-language internet messageboards, and in-depth interviews, this talk will explore how individuals construct Muslim identities vis-à-vis global norms and the actors that promote them.  Dr B Gorman.  6.00pm.  King’s College. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/mems/events/eventrecords/2017/Muslim-Identity-and-the-Global-Order.aspx

Street Drugs: Chemical and Physical Society President, Dr Caroline Knapp, will give a talk on Illegal Street Drugs. She will present ‘A Chemistry Undergraduate’s Guide to all Things Intoxicating’ and take a look at the chemistry behind alcohol and illegal street drugs and what dangers they may hold. She will discuss the moral and legal implications and what the future could bring. Good speaker.   SCI at UCL Chemistry Dept 1745 for 1815. Friendly bunch!

http://www.soci.org/news/london/london-group-spring-2017-lecture-series

Deep Life: Tullis Onstott is a geochemist who travels deep into the uncharted regions beneath the Earth’s crust to search for life in extreme environments. In his new book, ‘Deep Life’, Tullis explores new discoveries from the deep that are helping in the quest to find life in the solar system.  The book is good; this is cutting edge stuff. Life is turning up in some very strange places.  Royal Institution 19.00. Cheap; need to book.  http://www.rigb.org/whats-on/events-2017/march/public-deep-life

Wednesday 22nd March

Is there such a thing as medicine in the Bible? Prof Mark Geller. Was there ever such a thing as ‘medicine’ in the Bible? The identification of biblical ‘leprosy’ (Tzorat) has remained a perpetual problem for scholarship, since the ‘symptoms’ described in the Bible fit no modern patterns of illness, and certainly not leprosy or psoriasis. This lecture will view these passages from the point of view of contemporary medicine which is well documented in cuneiform tablets, to put biblical ‘medicine’ into its proper context within ancient healing arts.  AIAS at UCl. Fun bunch; they do some good archaeological stuff.  18.00 UCL Gower St. Free. http://aias.org.uk/lectures-forthcoming/

Science in a Post-Truth World:   Science is an evidence-based discipline and, in a post-truth society where trust in major institutions is being eroded, science and scientists should be a source of dependable information. Can public scepticism to science and technology be explained by a failure to understand the issues or should external factors be taken into account?  Prof Steve Rayner explores how personal beliefs may impact our views and affect how we engage with science.  SCI, Belgrave Sq; 18.30, free. Need to book; rather plush! They love school students. https://www.soci.org/Events/Display-Event?EventCode=MAC045

Thursday 23rd March

The Rise and Fall of Sourdough; 6000 Years of Bread: The lecture will cover the history of the western world as seen through the food that nourished builders for the Great Pyramids, free men of the Roman Empire, the expansion of Christianity and the development of Europe until modern science and technology replaced complex ecosystems of sourdough cultures with monocultures of fast, commercial, and comparatively tasteless yeast. I feel that I ought to be learning more about this…..  Gresham at Museum of London, Free. 18.00.  https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-rise-and-fall-of-sourdough-6000-years-of-bread#bV0J1wA1kI8TWz7o.99

Brama Grodzka: A Gate to a Shared Past: Polish actors moved into this rather derelict building and proceeded to renovate it, they had very little knowledge of the building’s history. Thus, they did not know that the huge empty space they overlooked, a huge parking area, was once built up with the houses, synagogues and streets of the Jewish quarter, which the Germans had razed to the ground before they left Lublin, destroying the material legacy and memory of the Jews who had lived there.  19.30 JW3 Cheap. Lovely venue.  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brama-grodzka-a-gate-to-a-shared-past-tickets-28944863867

Friday 24th March

Idiot Brain; A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really Up To: It’s common to hear just how amazing, powerful and beyond-our-understanding the human brain is. It’s seemingly implied that we should be grateful that such a thing would deign to inhabit our thick skulls.  But… what if it’s not perfect? What if it’s actually rather flawed?  Dean Burnett. Royal Institution 19.00, cheap, need to book.  http://www.rigb.org/whats-on/events-2017/march/public-our-idiot-brains

The Hidden World of the Atom; A Demonstration Lecture: One of the UCL Sixth Form Series.  Dr Robert Palgrave

UCL 18.30. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/phys/department/science_centre/tabs/programme

Weekend

Duke of Edinburgh Award Bronze Training. Wish me luck and no rain.

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