Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings

cave pic.jpg

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

Seeing as M@, the Cogito Ergo Master, is sunning himself on a beach right now, us temps called in from the inkycircus felt the time was right for a slight break from tradition – this week’s Event of the Week is a TV programme. But not just any programme, it’s David Attenborough’s Planet Earth on BBC1. The reigning king of nature documentaries has spent 5 years making his latest series and his dedication is apparent in every frame. Well worth an hour of your Sunday night starting 9pm on BBC1. Plus it’s free. And in your own living room. This week it’s all about caves, including the Cave of Swallows in Mexico which is big enough to engulf the 102 storey Empire State Building, and weird and wonderful beasties such as cave angel fish, cave swiftlets, and cave salamanders. Not to be missed. Even if only to find out what a snotite is.

Elsewhere

The Dana Centre kicks off the science events for the coming week with a dinner and discussion all about decoding the mind tonight. A lecturer of ours once described an Electro Encephalogram or EEG scan thus – it’s like standing outside a busy, fun cocktail party with your ear pressed to the door. You can hear activity, but you don’t really know who’s in there or what they’re doing. Well, inside that metaphorical shindig lies the most powerful computer on earth, and this debate centres around how to find the keys to get in.

The Royal Institution throws its hat into the bird-flu ring on Thursday, in a talk titled Plagues and People – Planning for Pandemics. Bird-flu hopped from winged creatures to humans back in 1997, and has not been kind to the humans who’ve caught it. Drawing on lessons learned from the SARS outbreak in 2003, Prof Roy Anderson will explain whether we are now or can ever hope to be adequately prepared should HN51 crack human to human transmission.

George Bernard Shaw once said that America and England are two countries separated by a common language. The same could be said of Science and The Media. Both want to get the science out of the lab and into your life, yet miscommunications are rife. Alun Anderson draws on his extensive experience of pop science in his lecture titled Frankenstein Researchers Create Bunny Monster at the Royal Institution on Friday.

There’s the usual fare of free lunchtime talks at the Natural History Museum this week. On the menu tomorrow is the ill-fated bottlenose whale who got lost in the Thames. Not literally on the menu, of course – her remains have a date with the NHM in the near future. The following day the plight of the world’s coral reefs is up for debate. Tuesday brings an insight into the Chernobyl disaster, with a free talk at lunchtime and, later on that same day, an hour long lecture from Polish-born Mary who’s visited the site several times since the reactor exploded to such devastating effect.

Cogito Ergo Summary doesn’t normally cover TV, but we figure we can’t be the only science buffs out there who are occasionally tempted to stay in on a cosy sofa rather than venturing out into town. A favourite of ours is Crime Scene Investigation or CSI. It does pretty much what it says on the tin – it’s a medical/police drama usually featuring some nifty reconstructions and highly inventive story lines. There are 3 versions, Las Vegas, Miami & New York – all on Channel 5, and all ace. If you’re more into psychology than blood and guts and guns, maybe Derren Brown and his spooky mind games are more up your street. If so, forgo our event of the week for Derren’s Trick of the Mind on Channel 4 on Sunday.

Also. For those of you who are inclined to be green but prettily so, go check out Well Fashioned: Eco Style in the UK, the Crafts Council Gallery’s next exhibit that opens this Saturday. There, 21 fashion labels use hemp, recycled plastic, and other earth-friendly materials to make a smaller but nevertheless well-heeled ecological footprint for the consumer. Three words for you: compostable wedding dresses.

When and Where?

Dinner @ Dana – Decoding the Mind: 6.30pm, Wednesday, Dana Centre, £13

Plagues and People – Planning for Pandemics: 7pm, Thursday, KCL via the RI, £8 or £5 RI members.

Frankenstein Researchers Create Bunny Monster: 8pm, Friday, UCL via the RI, £13 or FREE RI members.

Wormwood Forest – A Natural History of Chernobyl: 7pm, Tuesday, NHM, Members only.

All Natural History Museum lunchtime lectures take place at 2.30pm with additional slots at the weekend, last an hour, and are FREE.

Well Fashioned: Eco Style in the UK. Crafts Council Gallery. Open March 23 – June 4 2006. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 5.45pm, Sunday 2pm to 5.45pm, closed Mondays. FREE.

TV Listings

CSI: Las Vegas 9pm Tuesday, Miami 10pm Tuesday, New York 9.10pm Saturday, all C5. David Attenborough’s Planet Earth: 9pm Sunday, BBC1. Derren Brown’ Trick of the Mind: 9pm Sunday, C4.