|The Old Cooperage Bar
|The third Tuesday of each month whenever possible, 7:30 (prompt!) to 9:30pm|
Our very grateful thanks, as always, to Jennings Brewery for sponsoring our programme by opening and staffing their bar especially for our café sci.
Call Jane Summerscales on 01900 827407 to reserve a place. Booking opens ONE WEEK before the date of the Café. Please also note that you may only reserve places for a maximum of 4 people, and that a minimum age limit of 16 years old applies.
If you can’t take up your reserved place please let us know as a waiting list operates when we fill the maximum of 47 places.
FRIDAY 22 March 2013 CANCELLED DUE TO UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A FRIDAY MEETING
The Quantum Universe
Professor Jeff Forshaw
Tuesday 16 April 2013
Making the most of your genes
Professor David Elliott
David is professor of genetics at Newcastle University, and was brought up in Cockermouth (he went to Cockermouth Grammar School in the 1980s, and his mum still lives in Cockermouth). He is interested in gene expression, and particularly in RNA. He works in the Institute of Medical Genetics, in the International Center for Life, Newcastle University
He will be talking the really fascinating subject of how human genes are thousands of times longer than they really need to be, how this came about and why it is important for making our bodies work.
Tuesday 19 February 2013
Sap rising: how trees spring to life
In this talk, we explore one of the wonders of Nature - the leafing out and regeneration of trees after winter dormancy and the heralding of spring. What seems so simple and intuitive is in fact the product of myriad processes, interactions and stimuli working in a highly ordered and coordinated manner. This has largely been accomplished through evolution, which has equipped trees with an ability to "fine tune" to their local environment. Our understanding of the physiology of trees is still emerging, but is critical at a time of dramatic climate and environmental change.
Ted Wilson is a forest biologist and a lover of trees of all types. He is director of Silviculture Research International, a consultancy dedicated to forest science and sustainable forest management. He works throughout the UK, in the EU and in Canada. Previously he held academic appointments at the University of Toronto and the University of Central Lancashire. He is the author of many technical and scientific publications and is an associate lecturer in silviculture at the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria. Ted currently sits on the regional advisory committee for the Forestry Commission. Outside forestry, Ted is involved in the community, especially in relation to health and social care, and pursues a variety of interests, including photography, classical music, swimming and railway travel.
Tuesday 15 January 2013
The male and the female brains: same or different?
Dr Laura Nelson
Dr Laura Nelson is going to talk about what is a taboo and controversy to many people: men's and women's brains. As she dissects the landscape of science underlying the gender debate, she'll be unpicking the myths that have strong influences on how you perceive yourself and others. Do you feel de-motivated in your work or creativity, lacking in confidence or just a little bit irritable, lonely or miserable some of the time? Imagine being able to train your brain so you never have a bad job, a bad relationship or even a bad day again in your life. Laura gives people the tools to understand and overcome the negative emotional patterns that curb their success and happiness; her unique specialty is the powerful influence of gender stereotypes and their link with deep-rooted psychological limitations. Laura is a professional speaker and entrepreneur and has a PhD in neuroscience. She has spoken and inspired hundreds of people up and down the country on this topic and she has been featured in the media throughout the world. Her website is here: http://drlauranelson.com, where you can sign up to receive free material on what you can do to break free of your own gender stereotype limitations to live a happier and more fulfilled life. Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/DrLauraNelson.
Tuesday 18 December 2012
Judith Brown and Cockermouth Cafe Scientifique
THE CAFE SCI CHRISTMAS QUIZ
No charge. Bring Christmas nibbles. Be prepared to join in.
Tuesday 20 November 2012
Meditation in the lab: The mind from without and from within
The scientific investigation of meditation and mindfulness practices is currently exploding. A growing number of studies show beneficial effects of regularly engaging in mindfulness practices, evident in various measures of wellbeing and psychological functioning. The talk will introduce some of the main research strands of current meditation research and discuss some of the latest findings. What do scientists discover when analysing meditators with their empirical, third person methods? And how does the process of meditation look from the perspective of the meditator?
In his talk Dr Malinowski builds on his own expertise in psychological and neuroscientific research combined with more than 20 years of first-hand meditation experience and many years as international meditation teacher.
Peter is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a leading mindfulness researcher and founding director of the Meditation and Mindfulness Research Group, based in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology. In his research he focuses on questions relating to the effects of meditation and mindfulness practices on mind, brain, body and behaviour.
Beyond his work at University, Peter is a lay meditation teacher and has been teaching meditation internationally since 1994.
Combining his academic and personal expertise of meditation and mindfulness practice he developed the mindfulness @ work programme, which brings a mindful approach into the workplace. Since 2005 mindfulness @ work has been running successfully at LJMU as staff development programme with so far around 250 participants.
Tuesday 16 October 2012
Fracking : the price of shale gas extraction
Professor Rutter works in the University of Manchester’s Rock Deformation Laboratory and is an expert on earthquakes, landslides and natural rock deformation. He made frequent media appearances during the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami to explain the tragic events. He has made major contributions to the field of structural geology and the physics of natural rock deformation over four decades. In April 2011 he was awarded the Louis Néel Medal from the European Geophysical Union for his pioneering work in natural rock deformation. The award, which has been running since 1993, rewards the scientists who achieve outstanding results in ‘the fertilization of the earth sciences by the transfer and application of fundamental theory and/or experimental techniques of solid state physics.’
Tuesday 18 September 2012
Northern lights and space weather
Jim Wild studies the space environment and the links between the Sun, the Earth and other planets.
Jim studied for a degree in Physics with Space Science and Technology before completing a doctorate in solar-terrestrial physics at the University of Leicester. He is now a Reader in Space Plasma Physics at Lancaster University’s Department of Physics.
His research investigates the physics behind the aurora borealis (sometimes known as the northern lights), the impact of space weather on human technology and the interaction between the Martian atmosphere and the interplanetary environment. As well as exploiting an international flotilla of satellites, Jim’s research has regularly taken him to the high arctic to carry out experiments.
Jim has established himself as a popular speaker for public audiences and he also contributes to print and broadcast media. In 2010, he was awarded a Science in Society Fellowship by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. Jim is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the European Geosciences Union and American Geophysical Union. He lives in North Yorkshire with his wife and enjoys running and curry in all its forms.
Tuesday 17th April 2012
The neuropsychology of love and fidelity
Sonia will introduce the psychology of love by briefly explaining the process responsible for attraction and romantic love, then focus on some findings that relate to neurological mechanisms behind monogamy and fidelity.
Although trained in medicine, since obtaining her MD, Sonia Tucci has pursued a career in academic research and teaching, with a strong emphasis in recent years on behavioural neuroscience and psychopharmacology. She has been actively engaged in research, and obtained specialist training in modern skills for analysing the neurochemical correlates of behaviour. She obtained an MSc in Molecular Biology, worked on in vivo microdialysis with one of the pioneers of the field, and obtained a PhD in Psychopharmacology at King's College London. Most recently, she has been applying these skills to the analysis of brain cannabinoid function in relation to appetite and body weight regulation. She is based in the School of Psychology at Liverpool University.
Tuesday March 20th 2012
The science of epigenetics
The discovery of the double helix, and the more recent mapping of the human genome were major scientific breakthroughs, yet they have left more questions than answers. Why, for example, does one set of genes (DNA) express itself as a caterpillar, yet exactly the same set of genes also express itself as a butterfly? Why can genetically identical cells perform functions as different as a brain cell and a liver cell in a single organism?
Geneticists study the gene. However, for epigeneticists, there is no obvious 'epigene'. Nevertheless, during the past year, more than 2,500 articles, numerous scientific meetings and a new journal were devoted to the subject of epigenetics. It encompasses some of the most exciting contemporary biology and is portrayed by the popular press as a revolutionary new science — an antidote to the idea that we are hard-wired by our genes. So what is epigenetics?
Adrian Bird is Buchanan Professor of Genetics at the Bird Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh, and Director of the University’s welcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, which hosts 16 world-class research groups. Discoveries made by his laboratory have paved the way for research into treatment options for the autism spectrum disorder Rett Syndrome. He received the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 1999 and the Charles-Léopold Mayer Prize of the French Academy for Sciences in 2008. He was a governor of the Wellcome Trust from 2000 to 2010 and is currently a Trustee of Cancer Research UK. He has recently been awarded the prestigious Canada Gairdner International Award for “pioneering discoveries on DNA methylation and its role in gene expression”
Tuesday 21 February 2012
The language of Babel
What do we know about the origins of language? Is language encoded in our genes, or is it just that humans are better than any other species at learning? What is the variety in the world's languages today, and are there any commonalities across all languages? Padraic will describe how modern psychology and linguistics are beginning to provide answers to these fundamental questions about the development of human communication.
Tuesday 17 January 2012
Experimenting with extreme cold
The pursuit of extreme cold is a never-ending quest towards the “infinity” of the absolute zero of temperature at a very chilly -273.15 degrees Celsius. The element helium plays a pivotal role in this conquest. Initially discovered as a mystery spectral line in the sun (“Helios”), it was later isolated on Earth as a rare gas and first liquefied just over 100 years ago, at 4 degrees above absolute zero. When cooled further by forced evaporation rather than solidifying, a completely new state of matter appeared. The helium had undergone a phase transition from a regular liquid into one that flows without any friction: a “superfluid”.
January 18TH Gareth Browning: Bears, cattle and a sense of wildness - managing for a Wilder Ennerdale
The Wild Ennerdale Partnership has been managing the Ennerdale Valley for 7 years with a vision of allowing it to become a wilder place for the benefit of people, whilst relying more on natural processes to shape its landscape and ecology. Gareth will talk about the valley's history, its future, and the insights it is giving into working with natural processes. You will also have the opportunity to share in developing the review of the valley's management plan.
March 15TH Ian MacKenzie: 'Stem cells and medicine'
Stem cells - ultimately the source of all of our tissues and organs - have now been in the news for several years but genuine scientific hope that stem cell manipulation can ameliorate a wide range of medical problems is sometimes undermined by a potential for hype and misrepresentation. However, as a result of research with stem cells and tissue-engineering, some burns victims are still alive, some of the blind can now see, and some of the lame can now walk. More is yet to come and two recent developments seem to be of great importance. Firstly, personalized stem cells can now be made without using embryos, a development that by-passes many ethical issues, if not the issue of the expense of medical care. Secondly, the stem cells that underlie cancer spread have now been identified. One in five of us dies of cancer, and therapies successfully targeting cancer stem cells may provide a major clinical benefit of stem cell research.
April 12TH Michael Otsuka: ‘Trolleyology’
Most people regard it as seriously wrong to kill one person in order to transplant his vital organs into the bodies of five who will otherwise die. Most also think it permissible, however, to divert a trolley (a.k.a. tram) that is hurtling towards five people onto a side-track where it will kill one person instead. The ‘trolley problem’ is that of explaining why it is permissible to save five at the cost of killing one in the trolley case but not the transplant case. Several philosophers have proposed moral principles to distinguish these cases. But some psychologists who have monitored the brain activity of people when they think about trolley cases have come to the conclusion that these principles are simply rationalizations of unjustifiable emotional responses.
September 27th John Macfarlane: The use and abuse of antibiotics in the community: who’s to blame and what can we do about it?
Each year millions of courses of antibiotics are prescribed in primary care, many for acute respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, ear ache, coughs, colds, bronchitis and ‘chest infections’, which are the commonest reasons for GP consultation in the UK. In spite of good evidence that they do little to influence the natural history of such symptoms for most people, up to three quarters of adults who consult with acute chesty symptoms may receive an antibiotic prescription, even when the doctor feels it is not clinically indicated. Excess antibiotic use relates directly to increasing bacterial antibiotic resistance (which is now a huge problem in some countries) and antibiotic failures, cost, side effects and allergy, as well as encouraging a cycle of dependence on the antibiotic prescription for both the patient, the doctor, and the wider community. Does the right of the individual patient to have an antibiotic ‘just in case’ override the responsibility to the community for antibiotic ‘stewardship’? Why are we in this situation and what we can do about it?
October 25th Pat Monaghan,The sands of time: how fast do they run?
Why do some animals have much longer lifespans than others? Is it simply a matter of size, or is there more to it than that? Well yes there is, a lot more. It is certainly true that big animals like elephants tend to have longer lifespans than little ones like mice. But some groups of animals seems to have evolved the capacity for long life. Birds for example live on average around three times as long as mammals of the same body size, and even some very small birds can live upwards of 50 years. And this is despite their physiology being geared for living in the fast lane. How do they do it? Furthermore, even within the same species, potential lifespan varies greatly. What makes the difference? It is not just genes that are responsible – early life conditions play a major role in influencing the rate of deterioration in old age.
November 15th Hardy Radke: Biogas from Anaerobic Digesters as an energy source
Dryholme Farm at Silloth is the site of a new Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant, built by Lancashire firm Farmgen. Hardy Radke is the Operations Director of the company, which hopes that the Cumbrian scheme will provide a much-needed boost to the rural economy, as well as helping Britain reduce carbon emissions and increase its future security of energy supply. The plant will use animal slurries, grass silage and other crops from fields surrounding the farm to create biogas, which is then used to generate electricity.
January 19th Jeff Warburton: Rain on the fells – fells in the Lake
The Northern Lake District has been affected by several memorable floods in recent years. However, do we know the impact of these events on the fells and are the mountains being washed into the lakes? In this session we can discuss this question and explore how changes of the recent past and likely future impacts might influence erosion on the mountains.
February 9TH Jeremy Taylor: We're not chimps!
The chimpanzee genome differs from that of humans by a relatively small amount, they show emotions similar to our own, make and use tools, and are capable of some degree of empathy and altruism. As a result many people have argued that we are "the third chimpanzee" and, more controversially that "chimps are people too!" Jeremy Taylor will, however, describe how recent comparative genomic research has widened the gap between us and the other great apes, and that there are many aspects of our cognition that are unique in the animal kingdom. We are not chimps.
March 16th Lewis Dartnell: Astrobiology - the search for alien life
April 13th: Lisa Ranford-Cartwright: Malaria - mankind's biggest enemy?
A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. The disease kills over a million people every year, and affects 40% of the world's population, mainly in the tropics and subtropics. Malaria was also widespread in Europe in the last century, and in the UK was common in the Thames and Medway estuaries and the Fens (Oliver Cromwell was a sufferer). Today there are a few thousand cases in the UK every year, contracted by people visiting countries where malaria is rife. How likely is malaria to come back to Europe and the UK? Can we ever eradicate this disease from the world, and how would we do this?
September 14th Nigel Catterson: Capturing tidal energy from the Solway
Nigel Catterson has been promoting and working on developing the concept of tidal energy capture from the Solway Firth for the past four and a half years. During that time much has changed in the
October 12th Ken Macleod, University of Edinburgh: The Synthetic Kingdom
November 16th Bronislaw Szerszynski: New technologies and risk: when experts and publics disagree
January 20th Katja Wiech: Neuroethics – new answers to old questions?
Traditional ethical theory has centered on philosophical notions such as free-will, self-control, personal identity, and intention. The emerging field of neuroethics investigates these notions from the perspective of brain function. As an example we will look at the brain bases of moral cognition and its social and legal implications. How are decisions made in the brain? How are values represented? How are ethical decisions similar to or different from other types of decisions? How could a better understanding of the biological basis of moral cognition and behaviour modify our legal system? Will judges and juries in the near future be asked to make decisions based on “beautiful pictures” of people’s brains? We will discuss pros and cons of Neuroethics!
February 17th Graeme Laurie: The forensic DNA database and ethical issues
Fingerprinting and DNA profiling are increasingly valuable tools in the fight against crime. However, in the UK, there is a debate about whether current police powers to take and use bio-information – powers that can affect the liberty and privacy of innocent people – are justified. II
GaGraeme Lauire in theiminal justice system.
March 24th William Ritchie: Sea level changes, erosion and flooding, with special reference to North West England
Professor Bill Ritchie is Director of the Aberdeen Institute for Coastal Management, and was formerly At this Café, the factors that underlie most coastal ‘problems’ will be examined and applied to what is known at present about the northern corner of Northwest England.
September 22nd Phil Dyer: Knowing Me, Knowing You - The Essence Of Transplantation
Phil's talk will focus on how the body differentiates between self and non-self and how immune reactions can be modified to allow successful transplantation. He will set his talk in the context of clinical transplantation and will review cases which raise ethical concerns.
October 13th Jamie Taylor, Edinburgh University: Wave Power
One of the major forces shaping our coast is the action of waves (think Dubmill Point!), yet this power is almost completely wasted in smashing up rocks to make sand. Finding a way of harnessing this power would seem to make more sense than building windmills or barrages – but the engineering challenges are significant.
November 17th Carole Mundell: ‘Cosmic Indigestion – Or Things That Go Bump In The Night’
Carole writes: “I aim to introduce some of my research interests, namely astrophysical phenomena that are driven by black holes, big and small, i.e. active galactic nuclei and gamma ray bursts. These two classes of objects share many physical processes, but change their observed properties on vastly different timescale - millions of years vs seconds or minutes. I'll compare and contrast what we know (and more of what we don't know) and I'll try to give a flavour of how it is to be an observational astronomer in the modern era of robotic telescopes and real-time discoveries.
December 8th Michael Welland: Granular Matters – The Strange Behaviours Of Sand
Sand plays a surprisingly active role in our lives and that of our planet. But sand, like all granular materials, behaves in bizarre and unpredictable ways that are the subject of intense research by physicists, engineers, geologists and other scientists around the world. Through demonstrations (magic tricks?) with sand, a glimpse into this fascinating and extraordinary world will be provided, and the exciting realm of all that we don’t know about sand will be discussed.
January 22nd Dr Calum MacKellar: Assisted Dying: A Good Death?
February 19th Professor Sarah Randolph: Tick-borne disease increases due to climate change or politics?
April 8th Professor Alex Gardner and Bruce Fummey: The psychology of humour and of laughter
Alex will introduce the concept of laughter and humour before Bruce Fummey (www.brucefummey.co.uk) , a physics teacher by day, sets the stage with a short rendition of his infamous The Greek, the Apple and the Time Machine comedy show which will take you from Aristotle to Einstein with laughter all the way. Alex will then explore the psychological and emotional sides of laughter, suggesting why laughter seems to be a universal primitive response. There are many different varieties of laughter and we respond to all signs of laughter at a very basic level. We can use laughter to mend broken relationships, maintain emotional equity and promote healing. Alex will briefly describe how laughter is used in therapy and why many practising physicians employ laughter. One important function of laughter is to act as a system cleaner. Laughter clears the constipation of the soul! Laughter is an important, renewable, cost-effective human resource- no evidence is available that people have died laughing!
September 16th Professor Marian Stamp Dawkins, 'Farming for Animal Welfare'
The Food Animal Initiative (FAI) aims to show that putting animal welfare and environmental protection at the heart of farming still enables farmers to make a living. The talk will describes the unique partnership between FAI and the University of Oxford that provides a link between research and practical farming.
October 14th Dr Peter Tiplady (formerly Director of Public Health for Cumbria): ‘Public Health: Rise or Fall?’
November -- had to cancel because speaker was sent to USA at the last minute
December 9th Mr Jeremy Pettman, Jennings Brewery: ‘The science behind brewing’
A brewery tour, instead of an introductory talk, followed by sampling in the usual venue and a discussion of the science that lies behind the brewing. Jennings regards itself as a traditional brewer using water drawn from the brewery’s own well, and only the finest natural ingredients, including malt made from Maris Otter barley, Golding hops from Kent and Fuggles hops from Herefordshire.