Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings

By M@ Last edited 153 months ago
Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings
Science speed dating.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

Event of the Week

Speed Dating: Laws of Attraction, at the Dana Centre

What is it with trying to pair off sciency types? First we had that shindig over at the British Library, now the Dana Centre have decided to see if cupid’s arrow obeys Newton’s First Law. On Valentines Day, they’re organising a speed-dating session for (we presume heterosexual) 20-35 year-olds.

Where’s the science? Details are sketchy, to say the least, but it sounds like Dr Harry Witchell will be boffinating proceedings by analysing the body language of those taking part.

So not only will you have to go through the trial of trying to chat up 30 complete strangers, you’ll also have your every movement scrutinised. Which circle of hell was that again?


A couple more events at the Dana, starting with the next instalment in what is becoming something of an Icelandic invasion. Despite being at the frozen edge of civilisation, Iceland is also at the cutting edge of sustainable energy research. Tonight’s discussion, tying in with the ongoing exhibition at the adjoining Science Museum, looks at that country’s plans to switch to 100% renewable energy in the near future. The following night, the message wanders to the linked topic of global warming. The Dana offers another chance to catch a discussion on the risks associated with populating flood plains. Is it as plainly foolish as might first appear?

What’s all this talk of no book readings in London? Tonight, Jean-Claude Carrière talks to Guardian science editor Tim Radford about his new novel, Please, Mr Einstein. The book is another attempt to enthuse the masses about the wonders of physics, and sports on its cover that mandatory picture of Einstein with his tongue out. What sets this one apart is Carrière’s background as a cartoonist, screenwriter and actor. With such a CV, this should make for a refreshing take on subject. Can he pull off a Jostein Gaarder, so to speak?

More bookishness tonight (well, it’s in the British Library), with a talk on the life and science of Max Born. The Nobel-winning physicist is discussed by his biographer, Nancy Greenspan, and his son, Prof Gustav Born.

The Royal Society put on another heavyweight science talk on Monday, when Tony Crowther presents images of viruses in rich detail. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and even electron microscopy struggles to get any meaningful results. Dr Crowther uses a cunning technique involving rapid freezing and computer jiggery probery to provide more detailed images.

This week’s afternoon talks at the Natural History Museum cover the usual broad range of topics. Tomorrow, they take a close look at the very best tool for taking a close look: the electron microscope. On Friday, there’s a glimpse of the modern side of Chinese medicine, with a talk about a new anti-malarial compound extracted from a Chinese plant.

For those who can’t make it on weekdays, Saturday and Sunday bring the chance to revisit the magic of bananas and celebrate Darwin’s 197th birthday.

Next week opens with an intriguing, if ultimately pointless exploration of how humans would fare if competing against animals at the Winter Olympics :

Who would win in a ski-jump, human or snow leopard? Who is faster on the ice, human or reindeer? What about cold endurance, human or the ground squirrel?

Cold endurance? Now that would be an event worth watching.

Finally, on Tuesday, the NHM also gets in on the valentine's act by looking at some of the more unusual mating rituals from around the animal kingdom.

When and Where?

Book launch: Please, Mr Einstein, 6.30, Tonight, Institut Francais, (price unknown)

The Life and Science of Max Born, 6.30, tonight, British Library, £6

The Things We Do for Energy, 7.00, tonight, Dana Centre, FREE

Flood Plain Building - Plainly foolish?, Thursday 7.00, Dana Centre, FREE

Microscopy goes cold, Monday, 6.30, Royal Society, FREE

Speed Dating: Laws of attraction, Tuesday, 7.30, Dana Centre, FREE

All Natural History Museum events are free and take place at 2.30 on the days mentioned, with occasional performances at 12.00.

Last Updated 08 February 2006