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
Event Of The Week
Tomorrow’s Tower Blocks: the Dana Centre
Here’s a strange thought. Many Londoners can recall a time, only a little more than 40 years ago, when nothing was taller than St Paul’s. Now, there are around 20 structures that outreach the cathedral, with many more on the way. And not just in the business sector. Residential tower blocks are back too…in a big way.
The first tower block was erected in 1949 on Blitz-ravaged land between Theobalds Road and Great Ormond Street. It’s still there, and looking surprisingly good for its age. But its many successors have become eyesores across the London skyline, particularly to the East. The backlash culminated, of course, in the partial collapse of Ronan Point, Newham in 1968, and it seemed the craze for high living would be permanently stymied.
But new materials, methods and social pressures are once again combining to unleash a fresh cry of ‘Resurgam’. Soon, we will see Europe’s loftiest apartments, rising from the once-swampy ground of Bankside. And many other plans are afoot, from Vauxhall to Greenwich, to build high-rise flats for ‘key workers’. Even some of the old concrete brutes – notably the Trellick and Barbican towers – are back in favour with many Londoners.
Who could live in a house like this? Dana Centre, it’s over to you. Tonight, you’re invited to ‘Come along to meet the people at the frontline of London's urban regeneration,’ including a representative of the Elephant & Castle project. If you’ve got any experience of tower-block living, or care to share your opinions on London’s re-found craving for tall buildings, feel free to leave comments below. And a special, make-believe prize for anyone who can correctly identify the uninspiring pile in our photo.
We thought that good magicians never revealed their secrets? So, either Richard Wiseman is rubbish, or he’s a bit of a rebel. Regardless, in what is billed as a ‘highly interactive event’, Dr Wiseman will divulge the tricks of the trade at the Royal Institution on Monday. It seems that the rabbit in the hat shares its cramped space with a good dose of science.
The Royal Society puts on one of its free, but all-too-infrequent public lectures tomorrow, when Prof RC Darton talks about ‘sustainability metrics’. Sounds like off-putting technical jargon? Simply stated, if we want to move to a more sustainable way of living – and, I think we’re all agreed, we do – how can we be sure we’re making the right decisions and perusing the best projects? Sustainability metrics are one way to quantify and compare.
The Dana Centre continues the theme next Tuesday, when a panel of speakers discuss the merits of sustainable housing. The centre also offers the latest of its brain-based evenings tomorrow night. This time, the focus is on whether we should make people with psychological problems ‘more normal’ through the use of medicine. Are the panel in two minds, and if so, which pill should they take? If you can’t make it along to find out, tune in via their live webcast.
Time for a bit of doom-mongering. Everyone’s talking about the seemingly unusual number of natural disasters the globe has suffered over the past year. The Natural History Museum crystallise the debate on Monday in their Annual Science Lecture.
Those of a philosophical bent might be interested in a lecture courtesy of Birkbeck College on Tuesday. Is Science Neurotic, presented by Dr Nicholas Maxwell, argues that the scientific world needs a revolution, and should move away from simply collecting information towards a paradigm of ‘promoting wisdom’. If you’d like to know more, you can ‘Join the friends of wisdom’ here.
Where And When
Tomorrow’s Tower Blocks, Dana Centre, Wednesday (tonight), 7-8.30, FREE
Drugs and the Brain: Pills to make you normal, Dana Centre, Thursday 7-8.30, FREE
Measuring our Future: the role of Sustainability Metrics, Royal Society, Thursday 6.30, FREE
Mind Magic, Royal Institution, Monday 7-8.30, £8
Global Catastrophes: A Punter’s Guide, Natural History Museum, Monday 7.30-9, £11
Going Green: Make it happen to your home, Dana Centre, Tuesday 7-8.30, FREE
Is Science Neurotic?, Birkbeck College, Tuesday 8.30, FREE