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
Distilled lives: anatomy museums in Georgian London, at the Royal College of Surgeons
(To the tune of These are a few of my favourite things)
Jars of whole foetus and bright pickled rectum, brain stems in hazchems and coke-snorter’s septum, tangled white fibrils that tie up like strings, these are a few of our favourite things.
Ah, anatomy museums. Endless, macabre fun. While their Mayfair pad is refitted, the Royal Institution are taking their events program on the road and tonight they arrive at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincolns Inn Fields. The home of the Hunterian Museum is an appropriate setting, for the talk concerns the anatomy museums of Georgian London.
Long before the world had heard of Gunther von Hagens there was a frenzied appetite for slicing into dead folk. After centuries of religious oppression, the new spirit of scientific enquiry during the Georgian era breathed fresh life into a field that was dead in every sense. Dissection was big business, with lectures, courses and museums open to professionals and public alike. The fear of ending up on the anatomist’s slab was even used as a criminal deterrent. A trip to the Tyburn tree or Newgate’s noose would often be followed by a close encounter with the dissection kit – a fate considered shameful at the time.
Tonight’s talk focuses particularly on the various anatomical museums and private collections housed in Georgian London. But best of all, the lecture will be followed by a tour of the College’s recently tarted-up Hunterian Museum, where you can (possibly) find some of the favourite things from our song. A Brownie point for each one you spot.
Over at the Dana, there are three scheduled events this week. Tonight, there’s another chance to take part in that speed dating for sciencey types thing, which we featured as our Valentine’s event of the week. Tomorrow, the pros and cons of knowing our genetic predispositions to illnesses are examined. Such discussions have been going on for years, but genetic testing is now feasible for a growing number of illnesses. The Dana Centre breath some fresh life into the debate with a bit of theatre, a lot of discussion and a live-webcast. Finally, on Tuesday, the Dana let YOU decide what should be done about nanotechnology through the medium of a card game. If only it were that simple.
The Dana do a great job of making science more accessible, but there’s still an awful lot of work to be done. Kathy Sykes, talking at the British Library on Monday, argues that improving these communications
also involves helping scientists develop their humanity, to explore their own ethical views on their work and to listen better to what the public's perceptions are – so that this might also help us, as a society, to make wiser choices about how we use science.
For those without jobs, or ‘working from home’, there’s another selection of daytime talks this week over at the Natural History Museum. First up, Seven Deadly Colours (today and Saturday) explores the bounteous colour on display throughout the natural world. Afterwards, there’s a chance to buy the book of the same name by speaker Andrew Parker. Tomorrow, in an evening discussion, ‘Are We Eating Away the Rainforest?’ makes us all feel guilty by highlighting the dangers to the rainforest posed by consumer demand for cash crops. We then go on something of a world tour with lectures on animals under the Antarctic ice, disturbing revelations about the plight of Hawaii’s wildlife, and a look at Indian fossils that detail the evolution of small mammals during the Mesozoic era.
When and Where?
Distilled lives: anatomy museums in Georgian London, Wednesday, 7.00, Royal College of Surgeons, £8
Speed Dating: Laws of attraction, Wednesday, 7.30, Dana Centre, FREE
Meet the Mighty Gene Machine, Thursday, 7, Dana Centre, FREE
Making Science More Accessible, Monday, 6.30, British Library, £6
DECIDE: Our nano-future, Tuesday, 6.30, Dana Centre, FREE
All Natural History Museum talks take place at 12 and 2.30 unless otherwise stated.