UK: Guildford

The Keystone
3 Portsmouth Road,
t: + 44 (0)1483 575089
3rd Monday of the month, 7 for 7:30pm


Café Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. It is a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.


Everyone who wants to is welcome to ask a question or make a comment. You don’t need to be a scientist to enjoy the evening - just come with an open and enquiring mind.


 Respect people//challenge ideas


If you are new to cafe sci but are unsure if it is for you (it is) then please do email and we can buddy you up.

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Twitter @cafescigld



Monday 18th July


Peckish Genetics with Maia Elliott


We know that our nutritional status impacts our health. We know that our DNA impacts our health. But did you know that your DNA impacts your nutritional status? And that your nutritional status impacts your DNA? Welcome to the field of Nutrigenomics! Join us for a chaotic introduction to the science that picks apart the interactions between nutrition and genes, revealing how broccoli can prevent cancer, and why your DNA craves clams.

Maia Elliott is PhD student in nutrigenomics at the University of Surrey. Her research investigates how genetic and environmental factors can affect our health in later life, with a particular focus on vitamin B12 metabolism and the brain.


Recent speakers   

Monday 16th May 2016

Sex in Britain

Soazig Clifton

What? Who with? How often? The British National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) have interviewed representative samples of the population about their sexual behaviour every 10 years since 1990. This talk will share the history and findings from this ground-breaking series of surveys, with data from more than 45,000 people aged 16-74, and discuss how you go about collecting reliable information about this very personal topic.
Soazig Clifton is a survey researcher specialising in sexual health, based at University College London. She is part of the core Natsal study team, and has taken the findings to festivals, museums, pubs, and other public venues around the UK. For more information and findings from Natsal see and For more on Soazig’s events and projects, follow her on twitter @soazigclifton.



Monday 18th April 2016

Origins and development of the wildlife Making-of documentary

Jean-Baptiste Gouyon

Making-of documentaries are a regular feature in wildlife television. Sometimes they are even more interesting than the film they are about! This talk will look at the history of this genre. We will find out that it is a fairly recent one, and that it appeared at a specific time in the history of wildlife television in Britain, the early 1960s. It then developed through the next decades to support the emergence of a specific kind of wildlife TV, the major Attenborough series. The talk will be illustrated with film clips.

Jean-Baptiste Gouyon is a historian of science in visual media (film and TV). He is particularly interested in British wildlife film. He teaches on science in the media at UCL, in the department of science and technology studies.

Jean-Baptiste Gouyon
UCL department of Science and technology studies
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Monday 15th February 2016

Smashing galaxies

Alfredo Caprineti


The Milky Way is more than a bright strip in the night sky. It is a complex system with over 100 billion stars and most likely 10 times more planets. It is an immutable friendly giant for us, but it is quite average when we look beyond its border to the realm of galaxies. There, gravity reigns supreme and over billions of years galaxies collide and change their shape, activating supermassive black holes so intense that they can make stars go supernova with their powerful winds. Alfredo will discuss the tumultuous life of galaxy mergers.


Are you sitting on a treasure trove?


Monday 19th October 7:30pm


Are you sitting on a treasure trove? The phone in your pocket contains many precious metals which would be very beneficial to recover and recycle. As they are in the phones in relatively small quantities, the answer to the question is probably not. But with mobile phones it’s the numbers game that counts. There are hundreds of millions floating around the UK and the environmental impact of producing them creates a burden which could be dramatically reduced. This talk will investigate the impact they cause, how we express it, how it could be mitigated and how business models may be changed to extract the value hidden within them. And if you have any old, unused phones at home, bring them along: they can be used as a demonstration of releasing value and you might be allowed to tear it apart! If you don’t have one to bring, there will still be the opportunity to play Operation on a giant phone.

Dr James Suckling is a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, where he works on the CLEVER Project (Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery). The multidisciplinary project investigates the environmental and social impacts of mobile phones as well as new materials and business models to improve metals recovery at end of life. His research focuses on the environmental assessment of the phones themselves and the other aspects of the project under development, with emphasis on understanding where the environmental impact may be reduced and the barriers to doing so.



Exploring the Invisible: a scientist's adventures in between microbiology and art


Monday 20th July 7:30pm


Microorganisms, and particularly bacteria, suffer from a serious public relations problem. In reality, and away from mostly damaging news headlines, many of these organisms are harmless and in fact vital for all other life on Earth. The exciting interface between art and science is being used to showcase the beauty, importance, and unexpected sophistication of these organisms. This talk will outline some of my own art projects, which portray microbes in highly unusual and sometimes provocative ways. Examples will include glow-in-the-dark bacteria, how bacteria can be taught to paint, and a microorganism that will solve mazes (this particular microbe will be available to take home as a pet at the event). 

Dr Simon Park is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey, where he teaches Microbiology and Molecular Biology. He also works at the fertile intersection between art and science and here, he has been involved in many innovative microbiology projects. A notable highlight includes a painting of John Millais’s Ophelia made completely out of living and pigmented bacteria (which for example come in blue, green, red, purple, pink, orange and yellow). Along the way, his work and workshops have featured on BBC television, widely in the international and national press, and at locations such as The Royal Institution, The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, and The Eden Project.

This event is part of Guildford Fringe Festival.




Why Do Whales Exist with Matthew Speight


Monday 15th June 7:30pm


"Why Do Whales Exist?

As odd a question as it might sound, answering it might give us valuable clues to fighting cancer. Huh? How's that?! It's long been known that the plant kingdom is a veritable treasure trove of medicinal goodies. More recently however, scientists have been investigating our fellow animals - from super regenerating salamanders to the most venomous of snakes, to the largest 200-year-old whales - for clues and inspiration to tackle many real-world problems. Meet some of the live animals and learn more as we embark on a medical safari through the animal kindgom!

Matthew is a postgraduate research student in zoology, and outreach academic leader, at Imperial College London. When not rummaging through the undergrowth after interesting critters, he spends his time navigating the boundaries between life science, mathematics and computer science - undertaking an interdisciplinary approach to solving evolutionary and ecological problems. Currently this involves research into cancer resistance in whales and dolphins, with the hope the results will prove useful in preventing cancer in human beings.


What does Art have to do with Science with Chiara Ambrosio

Monday 18th May 7:30pm

In an age of interdisciplinary collaborations, the idea that art and science should be working side by side is often pitched as the ultimate form of ‘cutting edge’ research. But what does really art have to do with science? In this talk, I will explore the long history of the collaborations between artists and scientists, and evaluate some of the different and often conflictual forms these collaborations take. I will try to use that history as a critical framework to think about the value we currently attribute to projects that cut across art and science, and reflect on the implications of the widespread assumption that any collaboration between art and science will inevitably lead to interdisciplinary (and inherently desirable) results.

Chiara Ambrosio is a Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL. Her research focuses on the visual culture(s) of science, especially in their relations with the visual arts. Her most recent publications explore this relation philosophically, through studies of the practices of drawing and the use of diagrams across art and science, and historically, with particular reference to the early history of photography and the relations between modernism and science.


The History of Rocketry with Jon London

Monday April 20th


“Setting off gunpowder in a fully licensed bar, what could possibly go wrong?”

A special evening of history, science, explosions and mayhem. This talk takes a look at the history of rocketry over the last two and a half thousand years, from Ancient Greece through China to the space race and the modern day.

Along the way we set off some gunpowder, show you how to make a 2000 year old steam engine, fly a rubber chicken and fire up a live hybrid rocket engine.

It’s equal parts history lesson and science lesson, with a bit of surreal comedy thrown in for good measure. (Not thrown in by us, it’s just that the history of rocketry is weird.)

Jon London is a science presenter who has been involved with several TV shows. He’s been a behind-the-scenes boffin on Braniac and Stargazing LIVE and is now creating chaos at Cambridge Science Centre. He’s one of the few people in the UK fully insured to bring gunpowder into primary schools.


The spicy science of pain with Fiona Russell

Monday 16th March 2015

Everyone has experienced pain at some point in their lives. It is vital to feel pain so you can move away from the painful stimulus to prevent any further damage. Normally, the feeling of pain does not last long. However, 20% of people suffer from chronic pain, defined as pain lasting for longer than three months. Current pain drugs are ineffective for many people or result in serious side effects. Thus, there is a huge need to develop better pain medication.

Fiona is a biomedical scientist at King’s College London and has been working in pain research for 10 years. She will talk about how chillies are involved in pain. We are all familiar with the burning mouth, red face and sweating that occurs after eating hot chilli peppers. But why do some people cope with eating hot food much better than others and how has this led to new pain drugs? This talk will explain all and feature a chilli tasting contest.


Sex Lives of Dinosaurs with Rob Knell

Monday 16th February 2015

We all know about the plates on the backs of Stegosaurus and the horns of Triceratops, but the function of many of the strange features of these iconic dinosaurs is still debatable. One explanation which has been becoming favoured in the last few years is that many of these horns, crests, plates and sails evolved via the process of "Sexual selection”.

Palaeontologists have traditionally avoided using sexual selection as an explanation for the exaggerated features found on many extinct animals because it is very hard to test ideas about the behavioural significance of such traits when we are unable to observe an animal's behaviour.

Rob will describe a variety of possible sexual selection examples in the fossil record along with some of the problems that need to be overcome if we are to be able to interpret these structures properly.

Rob Knell is Reader in Evolutionary Ecology at Queen Mary, University of London. His research is mostly geared towards animals which are actually alive, with a focus on how the environment can affect aspects of animal biology including aggression, immunity and mating behaviour. An interest in sexual selection and palaeontology has led to a recent series of publications on the controversial subject of sexual selection in the fossil record in collaboration with a number of “proper” palaeontologists in the UK and the USA.


New Year's Resolutions: A route to behaviour change or a load of old rubbish

Monday 19th January @ 7:30pm

About 30% of people regularly make New Year's Resolutions each year, many of them health-related. Given the huge amount of research into health behaviour change, the literature is remarkably quiet on the subject of resolutions: a time when a large proportion of people pause to reflect on their health and resolve to improve it. Is this due to the ‘common-sense’, taken-for-granted understanding of New Year’s resolutions as being quickly and flippantly set, and as easily and flippantly discarded?

Katy will discuss some of the research on resolutions, and the wider area of goal-related behaviour, using exercise as the main example.


The Unhackable Quiz

Monday 15th December @ 7:30pm

Come down and celebrate the geek mid winter with the Unhackable Quiz.

What is the Unhackable Quiz? Its an audiovisual feast for the terminally curious based on mysterious objects submitted by some of my favourite curators, researchers, artists and science practitioners. Expect tales of caddish nobel laureates and silver screen sirens, animal sculptors, an extremely unusual use for coat buttons and some live performances.

As always, Cafe Sci is free to attend and everyone is welcome.

Bring your sisters and your brothers and your nieces and your cousins.

Bring your game face.

Bring it on



Monday 17th November


WWI: The Medical Surprise with Nick Bosanquet

The Second World War is usually seen as the main war for medical innovation with penicillin the “wonder drug”  and blood transfusion—but in fact it was the First War that had the  biggest surprise  with new therapies and improved outcomes. It was a template for  the NHS.


Professor Nick Bosanquet Emeritus Professor of Health Policy Imperial College. Advisor to the Commons Health Committee 2001-10. Member of Govt Strategy Group on Cancer Services. Publications include : “Family Doctors and Economic Incentives” and” The Economics of Cancer Care.” Author of  “Our Land at War. Britain’s Key First World War Sites. “(History Press 2014.)



Monday 20th October 2014


Crime Scene Insects with Amoret Whitaker


As a Forensic Entomologist Amoret’s research has been conducted on still born piglets in the UK and donated cadavers at the famous Body Farm in the USA. Amoret is also a consultant to the police forces and forensic providers across the county, lending her forensic entomology knowledge to estimate time since death. Amoret will immerse us in the history of forensic entomology, its uses, current research areas and elaborate on a few of the cases she has worked on.

NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH: Please be aware this will be a frank and open discussion and may contain images and descriptions that people may be sensitive to. You may want to get there earlier and eat before the talk starts.




 Monday 15th September 2014


Babies and mud huts: an exploration of linguistic relativity with Ally Grandison


Ally is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey and is the Director of the Surrey Baby Lab. Much of her research has investigated a phenomenon known as linguistic relativity, which is the idea that the language we speak shapes the way we think about or experience the world. The notion of linguistic relativity has been hotly debated within the public and academic arenas and has been a topic of focus in recent television documentaries and radio discussions, in literary works such as George Orwell’s 1984 and in numerous research publications. This talk will take you on a journey over the rainbow, from the green hills of Surrey to the deserts of Africa and through the mind of an infant, to explore how language and thought interact and whether or not our views of the world are indeed influenced by the language that we speak.


Monday 21st July 2014


Geographic Profiling: The Maths of Murder from Malaria to Jack the Ripper with Steve Le Comber

“The first body was found in Rosso Road, the second in Stevenson Street and the third in Snow Avenue so we believe the killer lives in the Comeaux park area”

You have probably seen it on a crime drama and now you can see it live at Café Sci Guildford.

Geographic profiling is used to prioritise huge lists of suspects in criminal investigations by calculating statistical relationships between different locations. Originally developed to find a criminal’s “anchor point” – a location connected to them like their home or workplace – from the original crime locations, geographical profiling has become a powerful and routine tool used by law enforcement. Steve and his punk can-do attitude suspected it could be used in other biological situations and has successfully applied it to finding nesting sites, infected individuals and invasive species.

Steve will talk us through some examples ranging anywhere from sharks to the gestapo and then attempt a live demonstration. In the preceding weeks one Café Sci audience member will be committing (theoretical) crimes and recording the locations. Café Sci will also be collecting the postcodes of the non-criminal patrons. On the night Steve will run the calculation live and we will see if we have caught our criminal!

To be involved simply email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or direct message me on twitter or facebook with your postcode or drop it in the “science crime” jar in The Keystone. We need to collect the data before the night to convert them into coordinates. Postcodes will not be kept or linked to individuals and will not be used for any other purpose.  


Monday 16th June 2014

 Human Space Exploration with Adam Stevens

Adam is a planetary science researcher at the OU and obsessed with everything space. He has been doing research into space exploration for many years and looks forward to the day when humans finally make it to Mars. This talk will go through a brief history of space exploration up to the present day and look ahead to where we're going, explaining the things we need to solve along the way and hopefully convincing you that exploring space is something we need to do as a species.

Monday 19th May 2014

Ask For Evidence with Max Goldman

If you have ever read or heard a claim that you thought was dubious then this is the Café Sci for you.

“We hear daily claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, treat disease or improve agriculture. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not.”

Max Goldman will introduce and lead a discussion on the Ask for Evidence campaign and how it can support and empower you to compel any one from commercial companies to politicians to be accountable for the claims they present to the public.

Ask for Evidence wants to achieve a cultural shift in the public attitude towards evidence based claims. The campaign wants to show that you don’t need to have a background in science or be an expert to expect more.

Max joined Sense About Science in March 2013, working specifically for the Ask for Evidence campaign. Prior to working with Sense About Science, Max completed a Masters of Research degree at the London Consortium, a cross-disciplinary group of museums, galleries and academic institutions designed to bridge the gap between public and academic discussion. His dissertation explored the relationship between scientific progress and the public perception of science, and it is this that got him interested in the great work that Sense About Science does.

Monday April 14th

Through the Cooking Glass: The Wonderland of Flavours and Aromas

Human beings are one of the very few species that will eat anything they can digest, and we have developed the unique technical ability to transform raw food that is unappetising, sometimes indigestible and even toxic into something that is attractive in appearance, smell and taste, good to feel in the mouth and easily digested.

When raw foods are cooked or otherwise prepared a number of chemical changes occur, which result in desirable gastronomic and nutritional changes.

In this talk John will explore how we detect desirable aromas and tastes, the chemistry involved in their development during cooking, how tastes and aromas interact, how external signals affect our gustatory experience and how the molecular structure of flavour components changes the way we identify them. There will be an interactive element where John will attempt to demonstrate how sound influences smell!

Monday March 10th

Running up the down escalator: Food Security in the dry tropics.

One third of the global population residues in the semi-arid tropics where 42% of the children in Asia and 27% in Africa are reported to be malnourished. Research in to biotechnology, plant breeding, chemistry, soil, social and economic sciences are all part of the solution. Can these sciences keep ahead of the population explosion, climate change and all the other challenges faced by the farmers in this region? Nigel Poole will discuss.

Nigel is chair of ICRISAT (International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), lecturer at Aberdeen   University and consultant for ICI and Zeneca. He was also awarded an OBE for services to biotechnology and holds honorary chairs at Aberdeen and Liverpool John Moores Universities. 

Monday February 17th 2014

Shipwrecks and Global ‘Warming’

Submerged wooden shipwrecks are at the mercy of dynamic environmental variables such as strong currents and tides. But, when exposed to aerobic conditions, biological organisms such as shipworms attack wood and become the primary active biological ‘decomposers’.

This is a journey inside an old piece of wood…through a very small hole…

Speaker: Paola Palma: MSc Maritime Archaeology Programme Leader. Bournemouth University. With 25 years’ experience in archaeology Paola's specific focus is monitoring the degradation and preservation of underwater cultural heritage. 

Monday January 20th 2014

Bioinformatics captures and analyses the information that control and flow within all biological systems. Novel applications and technologies are providing powerful and exciting ways to handle these enormous quantities of data providing cutting edge insights into disease and evolution from the genetic level.

Speaker: Jan Kim. Head of Bioinformatics. Pirbright Institute. Current research areas include studies of viral and host-virus interaction dynamics. 

Monday 18th February 2013

Claire Benson

Claire Benson is a fire and explosions research scientist. She will be explaining the significance of advances in fire and explosion science in the nineteenth century and demonstrating safe fires and explosions.

Monday 21st January 2013

Life on Mars

Steve Cutts

Monday 10th December 2012

What happens when we run out of oil?

Chris Rhodes

Across the world, 30 billion barrels of crude oil are produced each year, not only for fuel but to make products ranging from plastics to pharmaceuticals. Nearly all our food also depends entirely on oil.

However, world oil production is set to decline within 5 years. If we continue as we are, Western civilisation will collapse. Our salvation requires a re-adaptation of how we live, from the global to the local; to a world of small communities far less dependent on transportation. Technology will not save us, unless we cut our energy use and particularly our demand for oil.

Monday 21st November 2012

The Galactic Guilder or the Guildford Groat? What is the future of money?

David Birch, Consult Hyperion

Monday 15th October 2012

Kathryn Harkup & Anna Tanczos

Kathryn and Anna will explore some of the more eccentric scientists from history, along with their crazy experiments that lead to extraordinary discoveries. Expect sword fights, alchemy and corpses.*

Saturday September 15th 2012

Science Showoff

Science Showoff is a new idea from some of the people who brought you Bright Club, The Geek Calendar and more.

Monday 16th July 2012

The Large Hadron Collider 

Nick Evans

The LHC is currently running beneath Geneva, smashing protons together with ten times more energy than ever before. Physicists hope to discover new particles, such as the Higgs Boson, that will shed light on the underlying theories of nature. Nick will review the basics of how the machine works, why we're doing it and what the current status is.

Monday 18th June 2012

David Jones 

David Jones is a tropical ecologist at the Natural History Museum

Monday 21st May 2012

Mathematical modelling

Tom Ezard

Monday 16th April 2012

Building stars: what the eye can't see 

Anna Scaife

Very young stars are typically hidden in dense envelopes of dust. The light they emit is often completely obscured, hiding them from view. Consequently it's very difficult to establish exactly what's happening during the earliest stages of a star's life - or even if they're there at all. However, although we can't see them optically, it's often possible to use radio waves to study young stars. This is fortunate, as it seems that these hidden objects may hold the answer to how stars like our own Sun formed in the first place.

Monday 19th March 2012

Forensic anthropology 

Helen Clarkson 

An introduction to the techniques used by forensic scientists to identify human remains in mass disasters and gang crime scenarios…  and how a tattooed pig fits in. Helen will also explain some of the difficulties faced in this field and the results of her own research into alternative methods of identification, focussing on examples when tattoos are or were present.

Monday 20th February 2012

Nanotechnology and Plastic Electronics 

Radu Sporea

Decades of progress taught us to expect smarter, slicker gadgets every year. But electronics as we know them are under threat. Find out why they (and we) are in trouble and what we're doing about it.

December 12th 2011


Anna Tanczos and Kathryn Harkup

Has your partner been asking about insurance? Does your tea taste funny? Do you have a rich relative tenaciously clinging to life? This is the talk for you!

November 21st 2011

Light Pollution

Bob Mizon, with the Guildford Astronomical Society

The problems of light pollution, how it affects everyone's quality of life, and how as astronomers how it ruins observing the celestial objects. GAS will bring along a few hefty telescopes for the patio to demonstrate the problems, and how only a few of the brighter stars that can be seen through Guildford's excess of street lighting. 

October 17th 2011

The Science of Zombies

Anna Tanczos

Examining the zombie myth(?) and an introduction to making your own.

September 19th 2011

Space at Surrey

Craig Underwood

Find out more about some of the satellite engineering and space technology work carried out at the Surrey Space Centre.

Monday 18th July 2011

The amazing honey bee: gateway to science, honey maker and pollinator

Francis Ratnieks

The honey bee is a common British insect, found in any garden or park near you. It is also one of the most important and amazing of all animals.

Monday 20th June 2011

Newton’s brain & the mind of God

Rob Iliffe

The second edition of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica (1713) contained an extraordinary addition, which he named the 'General Scholium'.  This was an excursus on God's relationship to his Creation, in which Newton argued that God was effectively an omnipotent and omnipresent Lord of all he surveyed.  Although he stated that God was a living and intelligent being, he cautioned against attributing human qualities to an entity whose nature was utterly unknown to us.  Seven years earlier, in the 'Queries' added to the Latin edition of his great work Opticks, Newton had been more incautious.  

Monday 16th May 2011

The adolescent brain

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Monday 18th April 2011

Food matters

Sian Astley

Food labelling - what's it all about? Supplements - do we need them? Food allergies and intolerance - what's the difference and are there more people with them? Personalised diets - can we tailor diets to individuals or should we all be eating less and moving more?

Monday 21st March 2011

The evolution of senescence - why things grow old

Robert Stovold

February 21st 2011


Kathryn Harkup

Ever wondered if there is more to vampires than myths and lots of fake blood? This is a chance to find out about the science behind the fangs and folklore of our blood sucking friends!

Monday January 17th 2011

Bad science – the method, the media, the message

Phil Uttley

One of the most important things science has given us is the scientific method, which since its first rigorous application in the 16th and 17th centuries has pushed our understanding of the universe and our place in it to previously unimaginable levels. And yet, the majority of the population are completely unaware of these simple principles which underpin human progress. Much of this ignorance is down to the bad reporting and presentation of science by the media, which tends to portray science as arcane information handed down from on high, not a path to knowledge which most people can tread. At worst, the media actively pushes stories as 'science' when they are really based on pseudoscience or a basic misinterpretation of scientific data. 

Monday 13th December 2010

End in fire: the ultimate fate of the Earth?

Robert C Smith  

In 7,590 million years, the Sun will have evolved to become a red giant star, whose radius will be comparable to the current radius of the Earth's orbit around the Sun: Robert will discuss what that will do to our Earth. The Earth will actually be too hot for habitation much sooner than that - but still some 1,000 million years into the future from purely astronomical considerations. We shall also look at some of the problems that humanity needs to overcome to survive for even 1,000 centuries.

Monday 15th November 

Making sense of screening

Stephen Halloran 

Screening has become an emotive and politicised subject with increased demands for screening programmes and frustration at the lack of funding available. Though there are high expectations of the benefits of screening, there is debate about the merits among scientists and policy makers centred on: What is a screening programme and how can it save lives? Can everyone benefit from screening? Is screening always the best option? Could screening cause more harm than good? Why don’t we screen more people for more diseases?

Monday 18th October

Alcohol and the brain: why a drink is more risky than we think

David Nutt

Monday 20th September 2010

Synesthesia and the mixing of the senses

Jamie Ward

Synesthesia - a fascinating condition in which music can have colour, words can have taste, and time and numbers float through space.  Everyone will be closely acquainted with at least six or seven people who have synesthesia but you may not yet know who they are because, until very recently, synesthesia was largely hidden and unknown. Now, science is uncovering its secrets and the findings are leading to a radical rethink about how our senses are organised. 

Monday 19th July 2010


Anil Seth

How do conscious experience, subjectivity and free will arise from the brain and the body? Even in the late twentieth century, consciousness was considered by many to be beyond the reach of science. Now, understanding the neural mechanisms underlying consciousness is recognised as a key objective for twenty-first century science. Powerful new combinations of functional brain imaging, computational modelling and basic neurobiology bring real hope that human ingenuity can resolve this central mystery of life. I will discuss recent progress in the science of consciousness, focusing on the challenging question of how we can characterise consciousness - or its absence - in non-human animals, infants, and clinical cases such as coma and the vegetative state.

Monday June 21st 2010

Human cloning: should we be scared? Is it immoral or necessary; science fact or science fiction?

Johnjoe McFadden