August 11, 2022

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

It is British Science Week this coming week and there are a lot of things going on! From the Beauty of Geometrical Curves to Psychosis, the Neurosis of Sleep to whether we can bring animals back from extinction, there is just about something for everybody. Don’t miss the final week of the Amazônia exhibition at the Science Museum, Green Fashion at Somerset House, or True Crime with New Scientist!


12th March: Getting to Grips with the Climate Science at the Goethe-Institut | £0 – £5

“Climate change has become the defining issue of our times but it can feel vague, far away and confusing. Let’s be honest, climate science is hard. It weaves together geography, physics, chemistry, sociology, economics and politics. And new research is coming out all the time. Join a small-group of like-minded people, using a series of cards, to map out the systemic nature of climate change. You’ll be working through a visual version of the science reports produced by the UN (IPCC 6th cycle assessment, August 2021). More than 260 000 people have played this game worldwide. Sophia has delivered it more than 80 times. Over 3 hours we’ll cover the science – where no question is a silly one – and we’ll reflect on what it means for us and what we can do about it.”


12th March: Desire, love, identity – an LGBTQ tour of the British Museum

“Explore objects in the collection linked to the themes of desire, love and identity. Join our volunteer-led tour and discover a fascinating selection of objects with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) connections. The tour ranges from the ancient world to the present day, and includes some of the most famous artworks on display.”


14th March: The Beauty of Geometrical Curves by Gresham Lectures | Free

Attend in person or online

“A lecture by Sarah Hart. The path traced out by a given point on the rim of a circle as you roll it along a straight line is a beautiful curve called a cycloid, whose appeal to mathematicians has had it dubbed “the Helen of Geometry”. This curve is known in geometry as a roulette, which is a curve you get by rolling one curve along another, and there are many more with an amazing range of applications, from clockwork toys to nuclear reactors. This lecture will provide a guided tour of the beauty of geometrical curves.”


14th March: Into the abyss: exploring the deepest realms of the world’s oceans by The Royal Institution | £7 – £16

“Our oceans hide a myriad of worlds. From trenches that are deeper than our tallest mountains, to volcanoes and thermal vents teeming with life, how do we explore what lies beneath? Join oceanographer and renowned explorer Captain Don Walsh, undersea explorer Victor Vescovo and submarine engineer Patrick Lahey, as they recount their experiences of diving to the deepest points on Earth. In this conversation, discover the challenges of visiting such depths and the panel’s vision for the future of deep ocean exploration.”


14th March: Psychosis: Our Default Mental State? by Gresham Lectures | Free

“Psychosis is a mental state where people experience a ‘different’ world. If, as clinical psychiatry and neuroscience suggests, it is our ‘default mental state’ why isn’t everyone psychotic? Psychosis does not arise de novo; external sensory input and cognition actively inhibit its expression. It is important to understand: how thin the boundary is between sanity and madness and what leads from one to the other; and to appreciate the frailty of rational thought.”


15th March – Why Human Intelligence Still beats Algorithms by the Royal Institution | Pay what you can

Online Lecture

“From dating apps and self-driving cars to facial recognition and the justice system, the increasing presence of AI has been widely championed. But there are limitations and risks too. Join Gerd Gigerenzer as he draws on decades of research into decision-making under uncertainty to explore the enduring importance of human discernment in an automated world. In this talk, Gerd discusses how, when people are involved, trust in complex algorithms can lead to illusions of certainty that become a recipe for disaster.”


15th March: Earth versus Sun: a precarious relationship in space by the Royal Astronomical Society | Free

” Online event with speaker: Dr Jenny Carter, University of Leicester.

The intimate, yet turbulent relationship between the Sun and Earth dominates space around our planet. We are familiar with one consequence of this interaction, through the spectacular displays of aurora, and other effects include currents induced in long distance cables, or the loss of signals and damage to spacecraft. Collectively, we term these effects `space weather’. Understanding this space weather is paramount for our technology-dependent society. In this talk, we will explore how our Earth is protected from the Sun’s solar wind by its magnetic field. We will follow how the Earth’s magnetic field gets buffered and altered, as the solar blows stronger, weaker, or changes direction. We will see how the SMILE spacecraft will soon revolutionise our view of near-Earth space by taking the first images of the solar-terrestrial interaction. Space near Earth is highly dynamic and volatile, and this drama is played right above our heads.”


16th March: The Neuroscience of Sleep and its Disorders by Gresham Lectures | Free

“Online or In Person. A good night’s sleep is anything but quiet: a myriad of processes occupy our brains, crucial for every aspect of our waking lives. Our increased understanding of the neuroscience of sleep – that sleep may not affect the brain in its entirety – provides a window into the human experiences of sleep deprivation, lucid dreaming, spiritual visitations and a range of clinical sleep disorders, such as insomnia, dream enactment and sleep paralysis.”


16th March: Local solutions for global water security by Imperial College | Free

Online or In Person. “Join Professor Wouter Buytaert from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for his Imperial Inaugural.
Water security represents one of humankind’s major development challenges. Water scarcity affects around 3 billion people, and around 1.5 billion face flood risk. These numbers will likely increase as environmental issues such as land degradation, contamination, and climate change pressurise global resources. Local water management under such conditions is hard. Conventional, “grey” infrastructure solutions such as dams, canals, and levees, are often expensive and intrusive, and lack the flexibility to adapt to an uncertain future. We need a fresh look at how people interact with the hydrological cycle, and new approaches to global water security that support local livelihoods and build long-term resilience.”


16th March: Ageless: the science of getting old without getting older by The Royal Institution | £7 – £16

Online or In Person. “Ageing is not a biological inevitability. Scientists are studying every aspect of the body which could lead to treatments that could slow down, or even stop, the ageing process. Join Andrew Steele as he discusses what happens as we age, practical ways we can help slow down the process and the fascinating research being carried out today. In this talk, discover how understanding the scientific implications of ageing could lead to the greatest revolution in the history of medicine. One that has the potential to transform the human condition.”


16th March: Compassion in a Time of Covid: Bridging the Gap Between Opposing Viewpoints by Conway Hall Ethical Society | Optional donation of £3

“Central London Humanists (CLH) are pleased to welcome Dr Rebekah Honey as she attempts to answer the question: Can compassion bridge the gap between opposing viewpoints? Compassion-Focused Therapy is a means to improving mental health and contentment. What can this approach teach us about understanding and persuading others?

Dr Rebekah Honey is a Clinical Psychologist who has been practising for over 20 years. She shares ideas from compassion-focused therapy, discussing how these can be used to develop a kinder and more effective relationship with ourselves and others. She will consider how this approach can be applied to bridging the gap between different positions using covid vaccination as an example. Can this help us to move towards a place of greater understanding and compassion between people with conflicting views?”


16th March: Can we bring animals back from extinction? by the Royal Society | Free

This event will be live-streamed at 6pm

“This panel brings together scientists from across the world to discuss the topic of de-extinction and how far the field of genetics has grown. From dinosaurs to dodos, woolly mammoths to Tasmanian tigers, many species have become extinct with more likely to follow this path in the near future. Conservation efforts around the world are working hard to stop more species from joining this fate, but what about those that we have already lost? Has science progressed far enough that as well as preventing more from becoming extinct, we could bring these creatures back? Or perhaps more importantly, should we bring them back?”


16th March: True crime: The science of psychopaths and forensics by New Scientist | £27 – 40

“Join leading psychopath expert Mark Freestone, who helped create Killing Eve’s Villanelle and forensic chemist Niamh Nic Daeid, forensic advisor to crime writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, for a darkly compelling evening of true crime – plus special guest, Val McDermid will being joining Niamh for her talk on forensic science.

Talks: The Psychopath Spectrum, Mark Freestone & Forensic Science – stranger than fiction, Niamh Nic Daeid and Val McDermid.”


17th March: Clean Fashion 2022: aGREENculture at Somerset House | Free

“Clean Fashion 2022 will explore why we need to talk about farming and the future of fashion education post-pandemic. aGREENculture explores the link between fashion and agriculture, as clothing is the centerpiece of the industry, we trace the supply chain back to the origins and bring to light awareness of agriculture and farming as key topics in fashion whilst highlighting the developments happening in this field, from bio-materials, recycling plants to legislation.

Conversations around fashion education and practice need to catch up with science and the growing demand for an ethical and transparent supply chain. The summit will explore the link between fashion and agriculture and post-pandemic fashion education. Bringing together industry professionals, designers, students and academics together to discuss collaborative ways the industry can tackle climate change locally. We will also showcase a few exciting projects.”


17th March: How can therapeutics target cancer stem cells? by the Francis Crick Institute | Free

Hybrid event with a limited in-person audience.

“In this 9th edition of Medicine at the Crick, we will review our current understanding of Cancer Stem Cells, their role in initiation, progression and chemoresistance. We will also discuss new therapeutic avenues to eradicate these cells. Speakers include ​​​Prof John Dick (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto), Prof Axel Behrens (CRUK Convergence Science Centre, Institute of Cancer Research & Imperial College London), Prof Simona Parrinello (UCL Cancer Institute) and Prof Jeremy Rich (UPMC Hillman Cancer Center).”


17th March: Film Screening: The Martian + Q&A with Mars Scientists! by The Geological Society London | £7 – £10

“Join us in Mars Week, for a screening of the critically acclaimed film The Martian (2015) at The Geological Society, and have the chance to put all your questions about the science behind the scenes to our panel of planetary scientists working on the latest missions to Mars! Arrive at our historical venue on Piccaddilly for this exclusive event, take a seat in our intimate 150-person theatre, and settle in to watch a cinematic screening of The Martian. After the screening, we will be joined by a panel of planetary scientists, excited to answer your questions and explore the science behind the film!”


19th March: Faith Journeys In Science by St Bede’s Church

“Join us for this LIVE event in which scientists, theologians and others share their testimonies and how they have continued their faith alongside their careers. This event is suitable for ages 12+ years. There will be opportunities for discussion, networking, and refreshments.

Fr. Robert Gay – Fr Robert Gay teaches moral theology and bioethics at Blackfriars Hall and Studium. He is a Governor of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, and is a member of the Advisory Board for a Catholic Investment Fund. His academic interests include the ethics of persistent vegetative state, ethical issues at the end of life, and the use of Thomistic virtue ethics in bioethics.

Dr. Szmon Stelter – a research scientist working in the biotechnology industry in Cambridge. He obtained his PhD in Molecular Immunology from St George’s, University of London. Szymon is involved in many evangelising initiatives, like The Word on Fire Institute and Catholic Voices.”


Ending on the 20th March!: Amazônia at the Science Museum | £10

“Sebastião Salgado, winner of the 2021 Praemium Imperiale award for painting, presents Amazônia, a breath-taking photography exhibition that celebrates the indigenous peoples and varied landscapes of the Brazilian rainforest. Delve into stunning portraits of indigenous leaders and their communities, dramatic landscapes taken from intrepid river boat journeys and sweeping aerial shots of the immense waterfalls and stormy skies. Feel immersed in the Amazon rainforest throughout this exhibition by the accompanying soundtrack by renowned composer Jean-Michel Jarre.”


Until 17th July: The world ofStonehenge at the British Museum | £0 (members) – £20

“Shrouded in layers of speculation and folklore, this iconic British monument has spurred myths and legends that persist today. In this special exhibition, the British Museum will reveal the secrets of Stonehenge, shining a light on its purpose, cultural power and the people that created it.

Following the story of Britain and Europe from 4000 to 1000 BC, you’ll learn about the restless and highly connected age of Stonehenge – a period of immense transformation and radical ideas that changed society forever.

The human story behind the stones reveals itself through a variety of fascinating objects. Among these are stone axes from the North Italian Alps, stunning gold jewellery and astonishing examples of early metalwork including the Nebra Sky Disc – the world’s oldest surviving map of the stars. A remarkably preserved 4,000-year-old timber circle dubbed Seahenge also takes centre stage in the show, on loan for the very first time. All these objects offer important clues about the beliefs, rituals, and complex worldview of Neolithic people, helping to build a vivid sense of life for Europe’s earliest ancestors. 

Informed by ground-breaking recent archaeological and scientific discoveries, this landmark exhibition offers new insight on one of the world’s great wonders, bringing the true story of Stonehenge into sharper focus than ever before.”


Sofia Hurst is the Deputy News Editor for I,Science and is studying an MSc in Science Communications at Imperial College London