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Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique Manchester

Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.

Cafe Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.

Where: Kro Bar on Oxford Road

When: 6pm on the last Wednesday of every month

Calendar of events

Date 26 February 2014
Title Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound
Speaker Professor Trevor Cox

Trevor Cox has been hunting for the sonic wonders of the world. A renowned professor who engineers classrooms and concert halls, Trevor has made a career of eradicating bizarre and unwanted sounds. But after an epiphany in the London sewers, Trevor now revels in exotic noises – creaking glaciers, whispering galleries, stalactite organs, musical roads, humming dunes, seals that sound like alien angels, and a Mayan pyramid that chirps like a bird.

With forays into archaeology, neuroscience, biology, and design, Cox will explain how sound is made and altered by the environment, how our body reacts to peculiar noises, and how these mysterious wonders illuminate sound's surprising dynamics in everyday settings – from your bedroom to the opera house. Trevor encourages us to become better listeners in a world dominated by the visual and to open our ears to the glorious cacophony all around us.

Hearing

Date 26 March 2014
Title The Possibility of Preventing Psychosis
Speaker Professor Bill Deakin

I'm an academic psychiatrist interested in the neurobiology of common psychiatric disorders. It's an exciting time because we are beginning to get some answers to big questions. I'll summarise where it's at in psychosis along the following lines.

What happens in the brain in psychosis when someone starts to hear derogatory voices discussing them, to experience their innermost thoughts leaking out for all to pick up, and to live in dread of violence when there is nothing to fear? Genetics has something to do with it because schizophrenia is about 65% heritable. At last, more than a decade after cracking the genetic code, we have gone from no genes for psychosis to many over about 4 years. They point to several mechanisms such as brain inflammation as contributing to the illness process. Modern brain imaging methods are checking out these possibilities and revealing what may be going on as psychosis develops. A new class of drugs may be emerging that only work if given early because they prevent the changes that lead to enduring symptom and psychosocial decline.

Schizophrenia

Date 30 April 2014
Title Archaeogenetics and Human Ancestry
Speaker Professor Martin Richards

The past twenty-five years have witnessed the birth of a new academic discipline. Archaeogenetics stems from the realisation that we each carry a record of our evolutionary history within every cell in our bodies, written in the language of DNA.

We inherit our DNA from our parents, and they from their parents, back to time immemorial, with tiny changes called mutations gradually building up over time. We can use these mutations as genetic markers to trace our ancestry back into the past, tracking the lineages back to humanity's source in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago.

I will introduce how we do this, both by drawing conclusions from the patterns in present-day populations, and by looking more directly at ancestral lineages, by means of ancient DNA, and discuss some of the conclusions.

Archaeogenetics

Date 28 May 2014
Title Particle Physics: what use is it?
Speaker Professor Thomas Edgcock

Particle physics is the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces that act between them. It has resulted in a theory, called the Standard Model, which describes pretty much all the observations made. The latest contributions to this come from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Although this is very important scientifically, it is often asked, what use is all this?

This talk will address this question by showing how both the technology developed for particle physics and the knowledge gained have brought improvements to healthcare in the UK and are looking to bring further improvements in the future.

Particle physics

Contact: Penny Lewis, Deborah Talmi

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