Week In Geek: 7-13 September 2015

M@
By M@ Last edited 25 months ago
Week In Geek: 7-13 September 2015
Royal Observatory Greenwich screens sci-fi classic Westworld. See Thursday.

Our weekly roundup of London events to tickle your brain.


TICKET BALLOT: Today (Saturday 5 September) is your last chance to enter the ballots for certain buildings in the Open House programme. This also includes an Open Debate on Wednesday 9 September entitled 'What can London’s built environment experts do to help clean up our city for good?', organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers.


Monday 7 September

TO THE LIBRARY: Learn about the Library of Alexandra — not the famous ancient one, but the new institution that is already "the key driver in re-invigorating literature and learning in Arab world". A talk at the British Library explains. FREE, prebook, 6.30pm

BAT FICTION: Bats are wonderful creatures, but often misrepresented. Kate Jones is at London Skeptics in the Pub (The Monarch, Camden Town) to tease out fact from fiction. £3, prebook, 7.30pm

Tuesday 8 September

ANIMALS: Ever heard of Charles Jamrach's animal emporium? It's most famous for an escaped-tiger incident, enshrined in this sculpture in Wapping. A talk at the Hunterian Museum looks at the history of the menagerie, and the exotic animal trade in general. FREE, prebook, 1pm

CONSTITUTIONS: So what do we think about the US Constitution? Better than our own unwritten constitution? Linda Colley is at the British Library to contrast the two and reflect on British attitudes to matters constitutional over history. £8, prebook, 6.30pm

ZOMBIES: William B Seabrook sounds like quite a character. His adventurous ways led him to "attempt to eat human flesh in West Africa, experiment with witchery with Aleister Crowley [and] pay Man Ray to photograph Lee Miller in bondage". He also has a claim to introducing the idea of zombies to popular culture. A talk at Conway Hall examines his life. £5, prebook, 7.30pm

Wednesday 9 September

FRANKLIN: Remember at school how we all learnt about Benjamin Franklin flying a kite in a storm, to see if it would get hit by lightning? A talk at his former home in Charing Cross will look at the facts and fiction surrounding that experiment. £5, prebook, 11.30am

THAMES BARRIER: A lunchtime talk at Guildhall Library explores the threat of flooding to London, and the engineering behind the Thames Barrier, which keeps us safe. £5.93, prebook, 1pm

ENGINEERING ECONOMIES: What can a biomedical engineer teach economists and policy makers? A good deal, according to Guru Madhavan, who's at LSE to teach us all how to think like an engineer. FREE, just turn up, 6.30pm

OUTSIDER LECTURES: Billed as 'alternative TED talks', the Outsider Lectures present a challenging series of presentations on issues of alienation and exclusion. The event takes place at Union Chapel, and is organised by the charity SHP. £15, prebook, 7pm

CONVERSATION: This month's Salon event at Concrete in Shoreditch is fronted by Oxford scholar Theodore Zeldin. He'll discuss how to use conversation as a way to identify your own personal drivers. £12, prebook, 7pm

Thursday 10 September

ECLECTIC TALKS: Goldsmiths College presents an afternoon of geeky fun, with talks on cryptography, precognition, intuition and non-Newtonian fluids. The afternoon serves as a taster for the European Skeptics Congress (see Friday), but anyone is welcome. £5, prebook, 2.30pm

FAILURE: As the great sage Nick Berry once sang, "every loser wins". A modern disciple of that philosophical school is Matthew Syed, author of Bounce. He's at the Royal Institution to reveal ways we can learn from mistakes and turn failures into success. £12, prebook, 7pm

ROBO-COWBOYS: Catch the 1973 sci-fi film Westworld, in which Yul Brynner plays a malfunctioning cowboy robot. Royal Observatory Greenwich screens the film, followed by a short talk on the science behind the fiction. It's a good time to rewatch the film, as everyone will be talking about the star-studded TV series starting next year. £8, prebook, 7pm

UNIVERSITIES: Should institutes of higher education be 'intellectual safe spaces', immune to boycotts, protests and censorship? An event at Conway Hall discusses this particular flavour of pragmatism versus idealism. £5-£10, prebook, 7.30pm

MORE SKEPTICS: Hear about the growth of skepticism in the UK, and perhaps ask why the movement insists on the US spelling. Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub is at Goldsmiths, as part of the European Skeptics Congress (see Friday). £5, prebook, 7.30pm

Friday 11 September

SKEPTICS: Rational thinkers get their own conference, as the European Skeptics Congress comes to Goldsmiths College. Three days of talks take a critical eye to the supernatural, alternative medicine and other topics of dubious evidence. Speakers include such notables as Jim Al-Khalili and Simon Singh. £135 (for three days), prebook, Fri/Sat/Sun

BRIDGES: For most of its history, the City of London only had one bridge. Now it has five. A talk at Guildhall Library reflects on the history of these spans. £5.93, prebook, 1pm

LONDON NIGHT: London Transport Museum opens late to show off its new exhibition on night transport. Into the mix, hear from Daniel Greenwood about the city's nocturnal wildlife, and Londonist's Matt Brown with tales of the after-dark city from history. £12, prebook, 6.45pm

MAGIC: Yet another Skeptics event sees the Greenwich Skeptics host a talk on the science of magic. Dr Gustav Kuhn reveals the techniques of misdirection and manipulating attention. £5, prebook, 7.30pm

SCIENCE SHOWOFF: The regular science/comedy gig is squeezing into Bloomsbury Studio, thanks to some over-running work in the main theatre. Expect the usual mix of UCL researchers showing off their science with a slice of humour. £8.50, prebook, 7.30pm

Sunday 13 September

THE TIME TRAVELLER'S SCALPEL: Here's a scary combination: immersive live theatre and surgery. Cutting-edge stuff, truly, as the Time-Travelling Operating Theatre comes to the Science Museum. Three performances will show how surgery has evolved from 1884 to 1984 to 2014. Adults only. FREE, prebook, 11am/1.30pm/4pm

EMOTIONS: How many emotions can you name? Tiffany Watt Smith has catalogued over 100. She'll share her anthropological research at Kings Place. £6.50, prebook, 12.45pm

SCANDAL: Hear intriguing and salacious stories from the Georgian era courtesy of Adrian Teal (author and illustrator of the superb Gin Lane Gazette), then learn how to make 18th century inspired fascinators with Jillian of Feather and Flask. It's all at Dr Johnson's House. £40 (including G&T), prebook, 1pm

Got a talk coming up? Email matt@londonist.com to be considered for listing in Week in Geek.

Last Updated 04 September 2015