These listings appear every Wednesday. If you want to let us know about any upcoming science or technology events, you can contact us on LondonistSciTech@Gmail.com
STOP PRESS: The Royal Institution have kindly offered free entry to Londonist readers for tonight's (Thursday 27th) Headline Debate (see below). Just turn up and mention Londonist and they'll waive the £8 entry fee.
Event Of The Week
A Briefer History of Time: Stephen Hawking
Or should that be 'Event Horizon of the Week'? Well, here’s a scientist everyone’s heard of. Hawking is a household name thanks to his famously impenetrable ‘Brief History of Time’. In reality (whatever that might be – ask Hawking), the ultimate coffee table book is a gentler read than many other works of so-called popular science. Try getting your head round the output of Hawking’s sometime collaborator Roger Penrose, for example.
The mileage Hawking has got out of that tome would get you to Alpha Centauri and back 18 times, with enough spare propellant for a quick jaunt around the asteroids. As well as the original, we’ve had the Illustrated BHoT, the BHoT Reader’s Companion, and the Universe in a Nutshell, which, according to Amazon, ‘attempts to address the relative difficulty of Hawking's first foray into popular science’.
And now the Master of the Universe is back with his latest release: ‘A Briefer History of Time’. You can probably guess the theme.
Money for old superstrings? Find out at the Logan Hall (Institute of Education, Bedford Way) on Tuesday, when Prof Hawking will talk about his new/old book. Expect a graphic novelisation sometime around 2007. Meanwhile, enjoy this old (and slightly sick) chestnut.
Lasers. Is there nothing that they cannae do? Play discs, fix eyes, make holograms, shoot stormtroopers. They’re the radiation equivalent of Rolf Harris. For a stimulating lecture (we can pun for nerds too, you know) Professor Wilson Sibbett talks about the latest ‘ultrafast lasers’ and their uses, at the Royal Society tomorrow. Hang on. We thought laser beams routinely move at the speed of light? How can you have an ultrafast laser? Stephen – we need you! Come back, all is forgiven.
Over at the Royal Institution tomorrow, Sheena McDonald chairs a discussion on the latest scientific headlines (bird flu, then). Next Tuesday, you can attend a curiously niche discussion on seed development, at the same venue. There may be a few plants in the audience.
Gresham College gets surprisingly little attention, despite pumping out free world-class lectures on a regular basis. Tonight, you can join them in enquiring ‘Who invented the equals sign?’. We’d expand on this further, but we can’t get our heads round their confusing blurb. They follow this tomorrow with a discussion on the differences between the two halves of the brain; and, more intriguingly, how these differences differ in different sexes. So, are men truly from Mars, and women from Venus? Prof. Hawking, can you help us again, please?
Where and When
Alien intrigue, Wednesday 7-8.30, FREE
Who invented the equals sign?, Gresham College, Wednesday 1pm and 6pm, FREE
Optical science in the fast lane, Royal Society, Thursday 6.30, FREE
Headline debate, Royal Institution, Thursday 7-8.30, £8
Peering into seeds, Royal Institution, Tuesday 6.30-8, £5
Alien contact, Dana Centre, Tuesday 7-8.30, FREE
A Briefer History of Time, Logan Hall (Institute of Education, Bedford Way), Tuesday 7.00, £5. No website; call 020 7636 1577 for tickets.