Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings

By M@ Last edited 154 months ago
Cogito Ergo Summary: Your Weekly Science Listings
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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

Are you comfortably numb?, Royal Society of Medicine, Friday

The nature of consciousness is one of the great unanswereds. For scientists, it’s right up there with tapping cold fusion, curing cancer and understanding exactly why TV units insist on filming their labs with moody purple backlighting.

How can an unappetising clump of sodden meat give rise to the thoughts, fears and creativity of our species? It’s amazing that we can even think about it, when you think about it.

Some people who have given consciousness a good deal of thought are the experts who will gather at the Royal Society of Medicine on Friday. They’re going to be stuck indoors all day discussing recent insights from studying the awareness of people under anaesthetic; an unconscious state much deeper than sleep.

In the evening, they’re opening the show up to the general public, with a presentation organised by the currently peripatetic Royal Institution. In the chair is their Director, Baroness Greenfield, herself one of the world’s most eminent neurobiologists.

Londonist is going to be in the audience, so say hello if you see us.


You can’t move for science lectures over the next week. The Dana Centre’s got three. Most intriguingly, tonight, they’re putting on a kind of informal workshop for budding science writers. You’ll get to chat to four scientists from diverse fields and arrange site visits to their labs (hopefully minus the purple backlighting). You can also enter a science short-story competition, the winner of which will appear in the Guardian. The Dana Centre should be applauded for this inventive way of bringing science to the people and vice versa.

Military robots might seem like a concept from a Philip K Dick story, but they’re already out there, in a limited sense. The Dana brings you up to date tomorrow. One for the lads.

I’ll be back’ is perhaps the most famous quote from a military robot. And apt for our purposes too, as the man-machine interface is revisited on Tuesday in a short film called ‘Creative cyborgs’.

There’s another free lecture at the Royal Society tomorrow (and hopefully it won’t be as mishandled as the Steve Jones talk a few weeks ago, where angry crowds were turned away after queuing in the rain for an hour with no warning that they wouldn’t be getting in). Plagues and parasites tackled the gamut of emerging infectious diseases (SARS, bird flu, etc.) and efforts to control the old enemy malaria.

Finally, science meets politics meets economics on Monday, when Jackie Law presents Big Pharma: Corporate Wealth versus Public Health. Does the power and wealth wielded by the drug industry have a detrimental effect on our health?

When and Where?

Subtle science short story challenge, 7.30, tonight, Dana Centre, FREE

Plagues and Parasites, 6.30pm, Thursday, Royal Society, FREE

Military Robots, 7pm, Thursday, Dana Centre, FREE

Are you comfortably numb?, 7pm, Friday, Royal Society of Medicine, £8

Big Pharma: Corporate Wealth versus Public Health, Monday, 6.45, the Gallery, Cowcross Street, £3

Creative cyborgs, 7pm, Tuesday, Dana Centre, FREE

Last Updated 10 May 2006