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Science Week 2015

Monday 23 March - Thursday 26 March

Subjects under the microscope in this year's Science Week, range from how we recognise faces and protect our water supplies, to investigating our immune defence system and revealing what goes on in our brains as we watch a film.

On Tuesday 24 March we have our Women in Science Evening. The talks will be given by two leading Birkbeck scientists: Professor Helen Saibil from Biological Sciences and Professor Karen Hudson-Edwards from Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Whether you've got a background in science, or you’re fascinated by one of these topics, book your place to attend these free Science Week events. Use the booking link below each event - booking opens on January 5 2015.

 

Monday 23 March

Film screening with Q&A: Attention Machine: the science of cinematic perception - sold out

  • How do movies move us? How do they tell a story by projecting flickering lights on to a screen and immersing us in sound?
    In this live experiment you will become both scientist and subject investigating how we perceive movies. As you watch The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, 2006) your responses will be monitored allowing us a glimpse into the cognitive processes involved in film viewing.
    This event will involve a screening of The Fountain (certificate 12A) and a discussion afterwards. All attendees must be 12 or over.
    The event will be led by Dr Tim Smith
    When: 6-8.30pm
    Where: Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD
    Booking details: places are free but you need to register with this form.

 

Tuesday 24 March

Electron microscopy lab tour - now fully booked

  • This lab tour is now fully booked (places were limited because of lab space restrictions). If we're able to run a waiting list or add places we'll update this page with the information.
    In the electron microscopy demonstration, you will see how macromolecular machines are imaged, either on their own or in their cellular environment. The images are used to determine their 3D structures at different stages of their operation, revealing their movements and mechanisms of action. Electron tomography is used to view the internal structures of cells and tissues in 3D.
    When: 3-4.15pm
    Where: Electron Microscopy (EM) Lab, Birkbeck main building, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX
    Meeting point: please come to Malet Street reception in Birkbeck main building where you will be collected for the lab tour.

Women in Science Evening

Talk: Protein machines in the arms race between man and pathogen

  • Speaker: Professor Helen Saibil
    Pathogens, the viruses, bacteria and microoganisms that infect us, have evolved weapons to invade and damage our cells, and our immune system has evolved defences against these attacks. Among the weaponry used by both sides in this continual war are proteins that punch holes in cell membranes. These actions enable the pathogens to take over our cells for their own replication, or else our immune system to kill the pathogens.
    When: 5.30-6.30pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: places are free but you need to register with this form.

Talk: Water: precious, polluted, protected

  • Speaker: Professor Karen Hudson-Edwards
    All human life depends on water. Although water occurs almost everywhere on Earth, only a very small proportion is available to humans for drinking and other uses. Water can become polluted with potentially toxic elements such as arsenic and lead by both natural and anthropogenic processes. This talk will examine examples of these processes and discuss ways in which precious water resources can be protected.
    When: 7-8pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: places are free but you need to register with this form.

 

Wednesday 25 March

Talk: How the brain recognises faces

  • Speaker: Professor Martin Eimer
    We encounter many different faces every day, and most of us can easily recognize the faces of familiar individuals. In fact, face recognition is a complex achievement which involves several different cognitive and brain mechanisms. In this talk, Professor Eimer will examine how the brain processes faces and discuss why some people find face recognition very difficult.
    When: 5.30-6.30pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: places are free but you need to register with this form.

Talk: Visualising the inner workings of the living cell

  • Speaker: Dr Alan Lowe
    One of the most striking features of living cells is their ability to self-organise. Recent advances in optical microscopy enable us to probe the molecular environment of the cell, and observe all the parts, on a single-molecule and single-cell level in real-time, giving unprecedented insight into the molecular mechanisms of life. In this lecture we will examine the mechanism of a molecular transporter using data from state-of-the-art dynamic microscopy.
    When: 7-8pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: places are free but you need to register with this form.

 

Thursday 26 March

BUCNI lab tour - waiting list full - no further places

  • If you joined the waiting list you'll be emailed if/when a place becomes available.
    Functional and structural MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is an extraordinary tool for human neuroscience because it allows us to image the activity in the brain as well as its structure without any kind of invasive surgery or radioactive materials. In this tour, we will discuss the basics of how MRI works and will run an experiment to demonstrate how we can visualize and understand neural activity related to different perceptual, motor, and cognitive processes.
    Please note: Safety requirements in the lab and reception room mean that anyone with a pacemaker, cardiac or neural stimulator cannot attend this lab tour.
    In addition, you are advised that for your safety you should not attend the tour wearing jewellery or metal accessories that are hard to remove, since you may be required to remove them.
    Lab tour (up to 10 places on each tour) will be led by: Dr Fred Dick and Dr Iroise Dumontheil
    When: 2 sessions: first session 3.15-4pm and second session  4.15-5pm
    Meeting point: Please meet at the Birkbeck Malet Street entrance (Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX) where you'll be collected and taken across to the lab.
    (Lab location: BUCNI Lab, 26 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AP)

Talks from Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (CBCD)

Since we have three speakers for this evening's talks they are scheduled in a slightly different way. You book per session, with two in the first, 5.30-6.30pm and one in the second session at 7.15-8pm.

What can babies possibly tell us about Dementia?

  • Speaker: Dr Esha Massand
    Down syndrome involves three copies of chromosome 21, on which the APP-gene is located. This gene contributes to the development of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s dementia. By age 30-40, all individuals with Down syndrome have Alzheimer’s brain pathology, yet not all go on to develop dementia. Why? By studying babies with Down syndrome, we aim to uncover both risk and protective factors for dementia, with implications for early intervention.
    When: 5.30 - 6.00pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: book your free place for first session talks

The development of human curiosity: a few baby steps

  • Speaker: Katarina Begus
    Why do children never stop asking questions and some adults struggle to find anything interesting? How do we develop and nurture a curious mind? In this talk I will present our research looking into first expressions of curiosity in babies, what is happening in babies’ brains when they explore their environment and how does responding to babies’ interests affect what they learn.
    When: 6 - 6.30pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: book your free place for first session talks

The surprisingly serious science of baby laughter

  • Speaker: Dr Caspar Addyman
    The laughter of little babies is infectious, enchanting and may play an important role in their early development. Yet it was largely overlooked by science. Dr Addyman has conducted a large global survey of new parents to discover what makes their babies laugh (http://babylaughter.net). In this talk he will present the results of his research and show how it reveals a serious and important purpose to this delightful behaviour.
    When: 7.15-8pm
    Where: Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
    Booking details: book your free place for second session talk.