Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Winchester Science Festival


Dave Hughes and I have been successfully running Winchester Skeptics in the Pub for 2 and half years now. We’ve tended to book speakers that reflect our personal interests and have predominately ended up with science based talks from the likes of Simon Singh, Chris Lintott, Adam Rutherford and Lewis Dartnell. Indeed this pro science agenda seems to have resonated well with the good folks of Hampshire and as a result we’ve outgrown our original pub and moved to a bigger venue at the Winchester Discovery Centre. Not technically a pub I know, but they do have bar.

Last Christmas James Thomas kindly offered to organise our Christmas event and came up with “Skeptics in the Planetarium” featuring Shelia Kanani, Helen Arney, Helen Keen and Robin Ince. It all turned out rather well. In fact it turned out so well that James embarked on an even more ambitious project and has pioneered the inaugural Winchester Science Festival.

Although all the details of the talks are all up on the Winchester Science Festival website, I just wanted to list the main talks here and provide some simple links to enable you to buy some tickets.

So here’s is the amazing main line up for the first ever Winchester Science Festival:



Friday 20th July 2012
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10:00

Simon Watt:
Dissections Uncut
On Channel 4's 'Inside Nature s Giants', scientists went under the skin of some massive animals to figure out what made them tick. Join presenter Simon Watt as we look at some of the fascinating science that didn’t make the final cut.

Cost £3
11:00

Dr. Karen L. Master and Alice Sheppard:
The Zoo of Galaxies
Dr Karen L Masters from the University of Portsmouth will present a thrilling account of the ongoing discoveries that regular citizens are making within the Galaxy Zoo project. This is real science carried out by everyday people who have a love of astronomy.

Cost £3
12:00

Helen Clarkson:
CSI: Winchester
Helen Clarkson from University College London leads us down the murky path of forensic Human Identification. This talk will act as an introduction to the basic techniques used by forensic scientists to identify human remains in Human Rights violations, mass disasters and gang crime scenarios. It will outline the job of a forensic anthropologist and how they tackle difficulties in the field, but also how the role varies depending on the scenario.

Cost £3
14:00

Shelia Kanani: 
Saturn’s Family Portrait
Saturn is known for being Lord of the Rings but what about its plethora of incredible moons? Saturn has over 60 moons, each amazing in its own right but if you were to take a family portrait you would be forgiven to thinking they were not related to Saturn at all as they vary in size, shape, composition and colour. Join Sheila as she takes a flying tour through Saturn's mini 'solar system', visiting moons such as 'the one spewing out water', 'the one that looks like the Death Star', the one that is bigger than Mercury' and 'the one that really does have a 'dark side'.

Cost £3
15:00

Prof. Jon M Butterworth:
Electoweak symmetry & the LHC
Professor Jon Butterworth, member of the High Energy Physics group on the Atlas experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, demonstrates some of the underlying concepts and gives the latest news from the experiment - whatever it is by then!

Cost £3 
16:00

Prof. Jim Al-Khalili:
Paradox: The 9 Greatest enigmas in science
Professor Jim Al-Khalili will consider some of the most famous paradoxes in science. Is Schrödinger s cat dead or alive? Why does it get dark at night, and where are all the aliens? He will explain how these enigmas can be resolved with a little thought, and demonstrate how each can tell us a profound truth about how our Universe works.

Cost £3
17:00

Helen Keen, Shelia Kanani, Stephen Slater:
Destination Titan
It's a voyage of exploration like no other – to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and thought to resemble our own early Earth. For a small team of British scientists this would be the  culmination of a lifetime's endeavour - the flight alone, some 2 billion miles, would take  a full seven years. This is the story of the space probe

Cost £3
19:00

Timandra Harkness and Matt Parker:
Nature:Fail Engineering and Maths to the Rescue
Nature is a mean mother, limiting us with darkness, gravity and hay-fever. But we have engineering for the win! Also: robots. A comedy from the creators of the sold-out success "Your Days Are Numbered: the maths of death".

Cost £15
Helen Keen:
The World of Tomorrow
Fresh from recording the second series of 'It IS Rocket Science!' for BBC Radio 4, Helen brings her paen to the glories of science fiction to Winchester Science Festival. Revel in the enduring power of science fiction to bring us hope of a newer, better and fairer world! And er.. temping?


Saturday 21st July 2012
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09:00

Peter Harrison:
The Science of Lucid Dreaming
Have you ever heard of lucid dreaming? Would you like to learn how? In this fascinating and brilliantly funny lecture, the audience will learn what lucid dreaming really is (since there is much confusion among the general public), the scientists and research that have got us to where we are today in our understanding of the phenomena, and unique insights about how our brains work that we’ve only gleaned through this research.

Cost £3
10:00

Dr. Lewis Dartnell:
Alien Evolution
'Astrobiology' encompasses research into the origins and limits of life on our own planet and where else this marvellous phenomenon might have emerged. On some worlds the conditions could be stable enough to allow life to progress beyond microbes. These alien plants and animals would be subject to the same physical constraints as life on Earth, and so certain features might be universal throughout the galaxy, whereas other alien features would have evolved as ingenious solutions for survival in environments very different to Earth. So what might an alien actually look like? Building on firm scientific foundations, where evolutionary biology, astrophysics and planetary science overlap, we ll see just how plausible are the aliens that populate our sci-fi films and TV shows.

Cost £3
11:00

Simon Watt:
Sperm Warfare (Over 16’s only)
So you've found a healthy, fertile mate, you've fought off your rivals and you've convinced them that you are what they were looking for. Sorted! But the reproductive race is far from over, my friend. We have entered the realms of Sperm Warfare. Join evolutionary biologist Simon Watt (Inside Nature's Giants) to learn about the devious tricks used by cells, organs and bodies to win the race to fertilisation.

Cost £3
12:00

Dr. Andrew Pontzen and Dr. Tom Whyntie:
Dark Matters
No-one s ever seen dark matter, not even a single particle. So why do astronomers insist that it s all around us? Is it just a figment of their imagination? And how come particle physicists are so excited by it when they don t even know what they re looking for? Cosmologist Andrew Pontzen (BBC Stargazing Live) and LHC physicist Tom Whyntie introduce this mysterious stuff and its wider implications for science.

Cost £3
14:00

Dr. Jenny Rohn:
Science is Vital: A grassroots campaign to protect British Science
Britain has a proud history of scientific research, an activity that fuels the economy and spurs on the development and innovation that keeps it healthy. In these times of austerity, scientists are coming increasingly active as grassroots campaigners to help persuade the government to keep up its commitment to science. Science Is Vital, formed in 2010, successfully campaigned for the settlement that saw a cash freeze for research funding, using social media to mobilize over 35,000 supporters in just over a month. With the next Comprehensive Spending review on the horizon, scientists are gearing up to make their voices heard once again.

Cost £3
15:00

Dr. Stephen Curry:
X-Rays light up a viral life
Viruses are pathogens germs that afflict all forms of life. All they want is to reproduce but in doing so they cause diseases that vary enormously in severity. How do they work and what can be done to stop them? My research focuses on one small family of viruses that includes foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), a germ that is well known in Britain because of the devastating outbreak in 2001. Though too small to see, even with a powerful microscope, my research used X-rays to reveal viruses in fantastic detail. My talk will describe how zapping viruses with X-rays helps us to understand the workings of FMDV and to figure out how we might tackle the disease that it causes.

Cost £3
16:00

Dr. Sylvia McLain:
Research Uniterrupted: are there any ladies in the house?
Science never stops. Unlike a business report, research doesn't come to a finite ending and no result is ever complete. From the popular mythology of "Eureka!" moments to the media reporting that science has 'solved' things - do you really know how scientists work day to day?

Cost £3
17:00

Dr. Milton Mermikides, Bridget Mermikides and Ned Evett
String Theory

Join internationally reknowned guitarists Milton, Bridget and Ned as they guide you through the science of sound, the art of tuning and explain just how much maths are involved in a demon riff.
Cost £3
19:00

Ned Evett:
Treehouse (Live set)
An evening of music, stand-up and songs
Cost £15
Eleanor Curry:
The Corduroy Revolution
Helen Arney:
Voice of an Angle


Sunday 22nd July 2012
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09:00

Dr. James Dyke:
Global Challenges: Multidisciplinary Solutions
The Earth s population has reached 7 billion. By the middle of this century it will hit 8 billion. This will drive a perfect storm of rising food and energy costs, biodiversity loss, increased migration and conflict. All under the influence of global climate change. How will you and rest of humanity not only survive but prosper? Today s undergraduates did not cause these problems. It was previous generations who over-consumed and over-polluted. But it is current and future generations that will have to fix these problems. In that respect our University has something of a moral responsibility to give students the skills and knowledge that will put them in a better situation to respond to these challenges, and who knows, maybe even solve them. A truly inspiring talk about a new initiative by the University of Southampton.

Cost £3
10:00

Dr. Paula Salgado
Art, drama and crystal puzzles
What do architecture, drama and x-rays have in common? For a curious, creative mind, everything! Join me to learn more and find out how I try to solve puzzles in the protein world.


Cost £3
11:00

Dr. Kathryn Harkup and Dr. Anna Tanczos:
Chemistry of the Human Body
What is the most abundant element in the human body? There are 92 naturally occurring elements but how many of them are necessary to humans? In this talk we will look at how some of the elements are used in the human body and what the effects of too much or too little could be.

Cost £3
12:00

Dr. Stuart Eves:
Sophisticated small satellites from Surrey (and Hampshire)
Stuart will discuss current and future missions using small satellites, with an emphasis on activities at SSTL and the space-science missions that are now becoming possible as small satellites become increasingly sophisticated.

Cost £3
14:00

Dr. Anna Scaife:
Exploring the low-frequency with LOFAR
The LOFAR radio telescope is currently the largest radio telescope network in the world. And the westernmost station of this vast array is located in Hampshire, a mere 10 miles from Winchester. Please join Dr Scaife for a fascinating journey into deepest space and deepest Hampshire as she discusses the truly amazing facilities we have on our very doorstep.

Cost £3
15:00

Jen Gupta:
The Extreme Universe!
Planet Earth is a pretty boring place to be. Thanks to our atmosphere, the temperature stays relatively constant and harmful radiation doesn t reach us on the ground. Get out in space and things get much more interesting. From wild temperature changes in our own solar system, to distant galaxies that are spitting out vast amounts of gamma-rays, via the glow left over from the Big Bang and the largest telescopes ever built, in this talk Jen will take you on a tour of the Extreme Universe!

Cost £3
16:00

Dr Jon Copley:
Life In The Deep
Dr John Copley is a lecturer in marine ecology. His research explores the biology of the deep ocean and he is a veteran of expeditions to undersea volcanic vents and other extreme environments in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans. This talk will look at some of the surprises from recent expeditions and where marine research is leading in the future.

Cost £3
17:00

Dr. Tori Herridge:
Mini-mammoths, Dwarf Elephants: What?! Where?! When?” Why?!
Tiny elephants once lived on islands all over the world. They evolved again and again, on many different islands, and at many different times. But what exactly is a dwarf elephant? Just how small were they? Why did they evolve to be so small? Where did they evolve? When did they evolve? And why do we even care? Join the Natural History Museums Dr. Victoria Herridge for an interactive, family-friendly lecture, to discover the latest research into all these questions.

Cost £3
19:00

Alom Shaha
Science Vs Magic
Unmissable. Science vs Magic is a live science show that combines stunning demonstrations of both magic and science, but ultimately aims to convince even the most avid Harry Potter fans that science can beat magic hands down when it comes to delivering excitement and wonder. As part of the show, Alom performs some of the most amazing illusions used by magicians, involving transformation, teleportation and mind-reading, and reveal how they can all be done for real using Science. The show also examines the parallels between magic and science which may explain why so many scientists are fascinated by magic and why, ultimately, science is a much more rewarding activity. In terms of curriculum content, the show is really about how science works and also features a lot of material relating to particles and the behaviour of light.

Cost £15
Robin Ince
The Importance of Being Interested
Robin will be bringing his new show, fresh from the BHA Voltaire Lecture and it is so fresh and new that we don't really know what it's about but I have been assured that it will contain many references to esteemed scientists Richard Feynman, Charles Darwin and Deepak Chopra (One of these is a lie).

In addition to the main talks listed above there is also a full Youth Programme of events.

I suspect that it's all going to be rather good. So I hope to see you there.
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