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
NODE.London, various events throughout March
For one week only, allow us to stray away from our scientific comfort zone towards the techy hinterlands of our remit. NODE.London (a somewhat contrived acronym for Networked, Open, Distributed, Events. London) comprises a string of events around the city devoted to the creative use of technology for art and inspiration.
Londons [sic] great scale demands more than the breath of any solo voice or collective chorus. So a concert of institutional, studio and maverick individual effort has been assembled to articulate the state of play.
Says the homepage. But once you get past the over-inflations, there’s a big box of delights waiting for you.
Two associated events at the Dana Centre will serve as examples. The Media Art Soapbox on Thursday will try to get the audience to consider our modern technologies artistically. Or at least we think that’s the point. The theme seems a trifle vague:
What if mobiles phones were instruments of torture inflicting pain every time we disturb others? And isn't it time children's stories were adapted to suit the computer age we're living in?
Hang on, haven’t we already reviewed this?
Then, on Tuesday, a subject we’re growing fonder of by the day. Modelling the world (and fantasy worlds) on computers. Where, exactly, are virtual environments such as Google Earth and all those massive online games taking us? Will we all be living in simulations in 20 years time, a la the Matrix? Who can say? Hopefully these guys.
Getting away from Dana, there are something like 80 further events on offer. Some selected highlights include using technology to provide new musical instruments, mapping the emotional topography of Greenwich, and a journey through obscure and forgotten remnants of early computer animations at the bfi. The complete calendar is here.
With NODE.London taking up a fair chunk of the Dana Centre’s program, and both the Royal Society and Institution not exactly firing on all cylinders, there isn’t so much else around this week.
One lecture that does sound rather sexy is Igor Aleksander’s Tuesday talk at Birkbeck College: Consciousness Beyond Living Objects. How’s this for a job description:
He currently heads a major British team applying engineering principles to the understanding of the human brain, and has built several pioneering machines, culminating in the MAGNUS neurocomputational system, which he calls "a machine with imagination".
It’s a controversial area, so this is bound to be a stimulating talk for both human and silicon minds.
In a vaguely related sphere, the Dana hosts an evening of creativity. Specifically, from whence does it well?
Speakers from the worlds of science and art, will discuss how the human brain achieves creative breakthrough, the role of genes and environment, the value of not having standard education' and the question of genius and insanity'
They’ll have to talk at enormous speed to fit all that into an hour and a half.
The eventsters at the Natural History Museum are also slacking this week. Only two talks, beginning on Thursday (2.30) with a welcome burst of spring. Bluebells have apparently been voted ‘the most popular wild flowers in Britain‘. (Dang, our money was on the tufted loosestrife.) Join the discussion to find out how you can help map the distribution of this vernal bloomer. The second talk, on Saturday, looks at ‘Mosquitoes, malaria and other diseases’. Come along for a primer on what may well become an increasingly widespread threat as global warming takes hold.
When and Where?
NODE.London, all over the place. See links above for more details.
National Bluebell Survey, 2.30, Thursday, NHM, FREE
Mosquitoes, Malaria and Other Diseases, 12.00, 2.30, Saturday, NHM, FREE
Creating Brains: the science of genius, 7.00, Monday, Dana Centre, FREE
Consciousness Beyond Living Objects, 8.30, Tuesday, Birkbeck College, FREE