Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings

By M@ Last edited 158 months ago
Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings

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

Bio-Bling: Bone jewellery, at the Dana Centre

This one really is as creepy as it sounds.

You can't give the one you love your heart. But you can grow him or her a ring from your bone tissue!

At least it would be more pleasant than giving your loved one a bone made from your ‘ring’ tissue.

Although it sounds like something from the mind of Philip K Dick, this is a genuine project whereby couples can exchange rings made from excised portions of each other’s mouths. And it’s being showcased at the Dana Centre tonight, so if you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for, like, Alice Cooper...

Here’s how it works. Bone cells are collected from the jaws of donor couples undergoing standard wisdom tooth removal. A ‘porous, bioactive ceramic scaffold’ called bioglass, shaped like a ring, is then seeded with the cells. By bathing the bioglass in nutrients at an ambient temperature the cells proliferate, and a ring of bone begins to take shape, eventually replacing the scaffold. Finally, the rings are mated to jewels and precious metals so they can be proudly sported by the original donors.

Tonight, you can talk to the surgeons, materials engineers, designers and the couples involved. The project is an interesting example of the fruitful cooperation of scientists and artists from very different fields. Meanwhile, any whiney moralists who question whether human tissue should become just another material for designers to play with should come and view Londonist’s prize earwax and bogie sculptures.


Next Tuesday, the Dana Centre asks: Are Students Wasters? Alas, not the provocative debate it seems. The titular question instead uses London’s students as a sample population to discuss recycling schemes. Strange, we seem to remember reading once before about undergrads and their recycling habits.

Talking of (or at least linking to) plagiarism, we’d like to paraphrase an old BBC theme tune to introduce the next talk: ‘Tessellation’s what you need. If you want to be a decorator…’. Gresham College presents a lecture by Prof Robin Wilson (son of Harold, no less) today on the geometry of wallpaper patterns and buckyballs.

Just two more lectures over the coming week, both of which are free to attend. Tomorrow, the Dana Centre hosts a talk on ‘smart materials’, though their website annoyingly lacks any smart material to give further detail. And finally, Professor Tito Scaiano examines the latest breakthroughs in fluorescence, and its uses in medicine, at the Royal Society on Monday. Should be illuminating.

When and Where?

Bio-Bling, Tonight, 7-8.30, FREE

Wallpaper patterns and buckyballs, today, 1pm and 6pm, Gresham College, FREE

Smart Materials, Thursday, 7-8.30, Dana Centre, FREE

Photochemistry and Fluorescence, Monday, 6.30, Royal Society, FREE

Are Students Wasters?, Tuesday, 7-8.30, Dana Centre, FREE

Last Updated 18 January 2006