Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings

By M@ Last edited 214 months ago
Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings
meeting of minds red.jpg

Photograph based on actual events.

These listings appear every Wednesday. If you want to let us know about any upcoming science or technology events, you can contact us on

Event Of The Week

Beautiful Minds Mingle at the British Library

Cuddle a chemist and see the reaction.’ Remember that? If you’re of a certain vintage, you might recall this somewhat ill-advised campaign by a well-known chemistry society. The aim was to coax youngsters into studying science, but in practice it got hormonal teens everywhere to embrace their chemistry teachers. The promised reaction was, we imagine, some dangerous after-school experimentation involving vacuum pumps and residue extraction.

For sure, science and love are not traditional bedfellows. Thank god. Eiderdowns that reek of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide are OK for the occasional sexual adventure, but you wouldn’t want to make it a permanent facet of your soft furnishings. But scientists, to paraphrase Morrissey, are human and they need to be loved, just like everybody else does.

So kudos, then, to the British Library who are holding a ‘mingling’ event on Monday for singles with an interest in science. This is a chance for any free radicals out there to engage in some dative bonding and snuggle up as lone pairs. If you understand that joke, then you’ve probably already got a ticket.

So, to recap, that’s a gathering of scientists, who lack partners and want to make friends, in a library. Would it really be so disingenuous to say ‘be there AND be square’?

Those who do choose to go along will get a preview of the library’s new Beautiful Minds exhibition, which runs from December 7 to March 15. Sounds like a genius idea to us. A celebration of the Nobel prizes and their most famous recipients. And it’s free.

Competition: name any five of the six 'beautiful minds' in our photo and win a fiver.


The quark is many things to many people. A soft, spreadable cheese, a nefarious sci-fi barman, a waning piece of publishing software. More fundamentally, though, quarks are tiny particles at the heart of almost everything. They make up the protons and neutrons your cuddly chemistry teacher told you about, as well as many other exotic particles. Most people who bother to read this column will know that much already. But when it comes to the nitty gritty of these little fellows, public understanding is as weak as the tug of a graviton. Learn more by visiting the Royal Society on Tuesday for a free lecture by Prof Christine Davies on ‘the quandary of the quark’.

The Dana Centre does another tour of its comfort zone this week with evenings devoted to drugs and the brain (tonight) and Punk Science’s now-familiar take on aliens (Tuesday).

The slightly more heavyweight Royal Institution has a couple of intriguing shows for us. If you’ve never been along to this outstanding venue before, you might want to consider going tonight. It’s not very often they put on free events, but this evening you can explore the future of surgery without paying a penny. Londonist was priviliged enough to spend some quality time with a surgical robot a few months back. And, good god, you need to see this technology in action.

Following on tomorrow, the RI reminds us of the great debt modern science owes to the Islamic world. After the Romans, Europe went a bit stupid. Any inquisitiveness was limited to tedious debate on just exactly how cool Christ was. Or something. The muslim world, meanwhile, kept the flame of ancient Greece alive, preserving and building on the lessons of the great philosphers. Baroness Susan Greenfield chairs a discussion on this little-appreciated part of scientific history.

The future of surgery, Royal Institution, tonight, 7-8, FREE

Drugs and the brain, Dana Centre, tonight, 7-8, FREE

Science and learning in Islam, Royal Institution, Thursday, 7-8.30, £8

Beautiful minds mingle, British Library, Monday, 6.30-9, FREE

The quandary of the quark, Royal Society, Tuesday 6.30, FREE

Punk science: aliens, Dana Centre, Tuesday 7.30, FREE

Last Updated 30 November 2005