Event of the Week
Structure and the Living Cell, Royal Society tonight
The cell, despite its microscopic nature, is a vast, multiscale subject. Over the past 350 years, we've found increasingly tricksy ways of probing into cells at ever-deeper levels. Starting with a basic understanding that God's creatures are made of these little fuzzy circles, we moved on to catalogue all kinds of subcellular bits and blobs that function a bit like organs in a body. Then, last century, we began teasing out the important cellular molecules - proteins, nucleic acids and the like - and the ways these interact to keep the cell shipshape. Now, we're in a position where we can work out the precise shapes of these molecules, muck about with their structures and play all kinds of exciting tricks and games.
Prof Iain Campbell of Oxford University tonight gives an expert's insight into the techniques used to probe the molecular world, when he delivers the Croonian Prize Lecture: Structure and the Living Cell. As usual with the RS, it's free entry, but get there early to ensure a seat.
Another busy week at the Dana Centre. Tonight, be prepared to be baffled by The Manchester Science Group's 'You know it makes sense!' as they recreate the Little Red Riding Hood tale whilst promising to 'stimulate, startle and deceive your senses'. We're confused already. Tomorrow, a 9-hour Cybersalon warms up the consoles for you to 'discover how the alternative gaming community is going to change your game playing future'. That'll cost you a fiver, but includes (non-virtual) food. Then, on Tuesday, there's a rare double-whammy. Power predicament is a theatrical look at our future energy needs, where you get a say in the course of the drama. Straight afterwards, Chimps are People Too contains a short film discussing our genetic similarities to our closest cousins, followed by debate with the editor of Horizon (Doom!) and Danny Wallace (who's just made a show about the hairy blighters).
OK, to finish off, a round-up of daytime lectures at the Natural History Museum, which seem to be back from summer hols. Most interestingly for Londoners, there's a chance to catch up with everyone's favourite dead whale, on Friday and Saturday. NHM scientists will be picking over the bones of the recent Thames intruder, and discussing their wider collection of whale and dolphin remains. On Sunday, the action switches a little further from home, with a look at life in the field for museum scientists working in Thailand.
On Monday, the focus is on exotic British mammals from the last interglacial era - the period before the last ice age. That means beasts such as hippos, bison and giant bears - but strangely no horses or humans. Maybe a few hobbits. Finally, Tuesday sees the return of Desert Island Specimens, in which a resident scientist picks his or her favourite item from the museum's staggering archives. We wonder if a Galapagos coconut would count as an island dessert specimen?
When and where
Mathematics in the modern age, today, 1pm & 6pm, Gresham College, FREE
Structure and the living cell, tonight 6.30, Royal Society, FREE
You know it makes sense!, tonight, 7.00, Dana Centre, FREE
Cybersalon: Artful Gaming, Thur, 1-10pm, Dana Centre, £5
Wonders of the Collections: The Thames Whale, (Fri, 2.30; Sat 12, 2.30), NHM, FREE
Life in the Field: Thailand, Sun 12, 2.30, NHM, FREE
British Island Fauna in the Last Interglacial, Mon 2.30, NHM, FREE
London's Ecology - Managing for biodiversity in London’s Royal Parks, Mon, 1pm, Gresham College, FREE
Desert Island Specimens, Tue, 2.30, NHM, FREE
Forum Theatre: Power Predicament, Tue, 7.00, Dana Centre, FREE
Chimps Are People Too, Tue, 8.45, Dana Centre, FREE