Taking science to the pub
City academics take part in world’s largest festival of public science talks
Twenty Five City academics will be taking part in Pint of Science, a three-day festival, where thousands of scientists across the country take to local pubs to share their research with the general public. Founded five years ago by two UK researchers, the international festival brings a unique line up of talks, demonstrations and live experiments . It aims to make science more accessible and gives the public a chance to meet the ‘real people’ behind the incredible research taking place in universities across the country.
The festival will be taking place from Monday 15th - Wednesday 17th May. City has three teams organising events in subjects ranging from physics to psychology, with each team focusing on a particular scientific area. They include:
Atoms to Galaxy
This team, comprised of PhD and Master's students from the Mathematics Department, have organised three events. Topics covered will include Physics (Theory of Chaos, Holography and String Theory) and pure Mathematics (Symmetries, Cryptography and Abstract Algebra). The events will be held at the Yorkshire Grey pub on Theobald’s Road.
Team two consists of PhD students from the Psychology Department. Topics of interest include perception, with events covering synaesthesia (Dr Elliot Freeman) and memory and vision (Maciej Kosilo); decision making, with talks on why people continue to believe in alternative facts (Saoirse Connor Desai) and making better decisions involving time (Dr Stian Reimers).
Topics also include neurosciences and psychiatry, with Dr Danai Dima discussing personalised medicine in psychiatry and Dr Corinna Haenschel speaking about identifying and treating working memory problems in psychosis to improve quality of life.
The talks will be held at the Horseshoe in Clerkenwell Close.
Tech Me Out
The events have been organised by a pool of PhD students and academics from Biomodical Engineering, Computer Science, Division of Language and Communication Science, Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design at City. The topics of the events are at the intersection between technology and biology/medicine. Events will be at the Artillery Arms in Bunhill Row.
City’s involvement in the festival was organised by Laura Alessandretti, PhD student in Applied Mathematics. She got involved in Pint of Science as a way of sharing her passion for her research with a much more diverse audience than usual in academia. She said: “At the festival, the audience gets the chance to learn about cutting-edge research and researchers get to see their work in a totally different light. It's a win-win.”
Pint of Science, Laura says, has made a difference for local communities.
It has connected scientists in different disciplines, departments and universities. It has also brought to the public an increased understanding of what is involved in scientific discovery and the people doing this work. For these reasons, it was recently awarded the Points of Light Prize by former UK Prime Minister David Cameron for finding a brilliantly innovative way to take science out of the lab and show thousands of people how interesting science can be.
Laure Alessandretti, PhD student in Applied Mathematics and Pint of Science Organiser for City
Laura is looking forward to repeating the success of last year when the festival kicks off in May. “City’s programme for this edition of the festival is extremely interesting, with topics ranging from Abstract Algebra, to Machine Learning and Neuroscience. We are looking forward to another good year.”
Dr Elliot Freeman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology will be hosting a talk during the festival entitled Synaesthesia: My visual ear. He says the festival gives scientists an opportunity to share scientific findings and breakthroughs with audiences who might not have access the research published in journals.
The people who come to the events are often highly curious and intellectual, with rich and diverse backgrounds. Public-science presentations like Pint of Science can inspire them to think of novel therapies, business developments or artistic expressions.
Elliot Freeman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Dr Freemans's presentation will explore his recent research about how the brain creates our perception of the world and whether others perceive the world in a similar way. Elliot says his research is driven by “scientific curiosity” and a motivation to understand more about his own “strange perceptions”.
“I often hear things that I see moving,” he says. “I wanted to find out whether others perceive the world like this, and what differences our brains might account for. Understanding how we mix our senses together may ultimately be of use to people with hearing impairments who might rely more than others on their vision, for example to do lip-reading.”
Tickets for the events can be purchased on the event webpage.