Past Talks

The Shocking History of Phosphorus

Tue09
Jan

18:15

The Shocking History of Phosphorus

Dr John Emsley, Science Writer
18:15, Tuesday 9 January 2018

This is the biography of a terrifying chemical element, one that was discovered long before humans were capable of controlling its awesome power. Born of the age of alchemy, and harbouring a kind of mysterious power, it brought wealth to a few and misery to many. For more than 300 years, phosphorus maimed, killed, polluted and burned–sometimes on terrifying scale. Yet such were its perceived benefits that doctors prescribed it, every home contained it, and whole industries were dedicated to its manufacture. It also provoked a reaction among young women workers that is today seen as the start of the feminist movement.

Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Experience

Tue16
Jan

18:15

Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Experience

David Luke, University of Greenwich
18:15, Tuesday 16 January 2018

Otherworlds the talk is based on the book; a psychonautic scientific trip to the weirdest outposts of the psychedelic terrain, inhaling anything and everything relevant from psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, anthropology, neuroscience, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, biochemistry, religious studies, cultural history, shamanism and the occult along the way. Staring the strange straight in the third eye this eclectic exploration of otherworldly entheogenic research delivers a comprehensive and yet ragtaglledy scientific survey of syanaesthesia, extra-dimensional percepts, inter-species communication, eco-consciousness, mediumship, possession, entity encounters, near-death and out-of-body experiences, psi, alien abduction experiences and lycanthropy. Essentially, its everything you ever wanted to know about weird psychedelic experiences, but were too afraid to ask…  ​ 

Dr David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including seven books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2017). David is also director of the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 200 invited public lectures and conference presentations, won both teaching and research awards, organised numerous festivals, conferences, seminars, retreats, expeditions and pilgrimages, and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites, but increasingly has more questions than answers. 

Ketamine, Glutamate and Brain Imaging

Tue23
Jan

18:15

Ketamine, Glutamate and Brain Imaging

James Stone, Kings College London
18:15, Tuesday 23 January 2018

The recent interest in the potential for ketamine as an antidepressant has led to speculation about the possible mechanisms that might underlie this effect. Although they do not permit the study of intracellular mechanisms, neuroimaging methods allow the study of biologically relevant changes in brain function and neurochemistry, which may help to elucidate the processes underlying the therapeutic benefit of ketamine in patients with depression. In this presentation, I will discuss current theories about the biological underpinnings of the antidepressant effects of ketamine. I will discuss the acute and subacute effects of ketamine on brain glutamate levels, as measured using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. I will also discuss ketamine effects on functional connectivity, blood flow and neuroreceptor binding, and consider how these might be related to its antidepressant properties. 

From Star Trek to Medical Imaging – the Physics of MRI

Tue30
Jan

18:15

From Star Trek to Medical Imaging – the Physics of MRI

Prof. Penny Gowland, Nottingham University
18:15, Tuesday 30 January 2018

MRI is a highly versatile non-invasive medical imaging technique. It is commonly thought of as a method of detecting anatomical abnormalities in radiological diagnosis. However it is also a fantastic technique for studying dynamic changes in physiology and metabolism in both health and disease. This makes it very useful for experimental medicine studies, aiming to better understand and characterize disease and to investigate the mechanisms of different treatments. This talk will explain briefly how MRI works and explain how it can be used across of range of conditions from neurology to obstetrics. 

Analytical techniques to determine material properties of a Tudor Collection

Tue06
Feb

18:15

Analytical techniques to determine material properties of a Tudor Collection

Eleanor Schofield, The Mary Rose Trust
18:15, Tuesday 6 February 2018

The Mary Rose Trust is home to Henry VIIIs warship and many associated artefacts. The collection has a range of artefacts in terms of size, material, degree of degradation and function. It comprises items needed for everyday survival in Tudor times, an impressive array of weapons and also personal items such as clothing, combs and playing dice. This talk will explore some of the analytical techniques used to determine material properties and how this information is used to inform future conservation strategies and ensure this unique collection is kept stable for years to come. 

The Black Stuff: Bitumen and Asphalt

Tue20
Feb

18:15

The Black Stuff: Bitumen and Asphalt

Dr. Fred Parrett- Technical Developments and Chairman SCI London group
18:15, Tuesday 20 February 2018

We drive on it, walk on it, it waterproofs and protects buildings and structures, but many never realise the science, engineering and chemistry behind asphalt and bitumen. A very large number of organic molecules are found in bitumens ranging from the simplest organic molecule, to large polymeric molecules having molecular weights in excess of 15,000. Hundreds of organic molecules representing paraffinic, olefinic, aromatic and heterocyclic structures with various functional groups have been identified. The ever-increasing demands to improve the material properties of this complex material has resulted in interesting developments. It's not just about roads and paving - bitumen itself is used in a whole range of materials.

 

Presidential Lecture: Nano-bots: movie fiction or scientific innovation?

Tue06
Mar

18:15

Presidential Lecture: Nano-bots: movie fiction or scientific innovation?

Dr. Gemma-Louise Davies
18:15, Tuesday 6 March 2018

Gemma-Louise graduated from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) with a Degree in Natural Sciences (Mod. Chemistry) and remained there to undertake a PhD in Inorganic and Materials Chemistry, which she was awarded in 2011. Following a brief industry-supported Postdoctoral position in Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Gemma-Louise moved to the University of Oxford as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for 2 years. In 2013, she joined the University of Warwick as a Global Research Fellow, where she began her independent research career. In July 2017, Gemma-Louise joined the Department of Chemistry at University College London (UCL), UK, as a Lecturer in Materials Chemistry. Her research focuses on designing and developing materials to understand and solve current healthcare challenges, overcome obstacles in important industrial processes and assess the fate of nanomaterials in the environment

A Dead Cert? – Can VOC measurements of decomposition be used to enhance victim recovery detection dogs?

Tue13
Mar

18:15

A Dead Cert? – Can VOC measurements of decomposition be used to enhance victim recovery detection dogs?

Dr Jonathon Brooks, University of Leicester
18:15, Tuesday 13 March 2018

The breakdown of biological tissue during mammalian decomposition results in the production of both gases and liquids.  The majority of these gases are inorganic of nature, e.g. CO2 and NH3, however a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also present. These volatile substances are intermediate products of decomposition produced when large macro-molecules such as proteins, are broken down. Victim recovery dogs can be trained to detect this unique mixture of volatiles to allow their use in victim recovery.  Currently there exists no standardised method of police dog training across the UK, with different police forces implementing diverse training techniques using a variety of sample types. With the current lack of scientific basis to the training and a deficiency in funding, the effectiveness of police dogs has been met with criticism. The University of Leicester is currently applying a variety of analytical techniques to identify and quantify the volatile profile of decomposition in real life scenarios.

Wine is a Solution 2018

Tue20
Mar

18:15

Wine is a Solution 2018

Dr Stephen Potts, UCL
18:15, Tuesday 20 March 2018

Come and join us as we take an interactive and scientific view on what’s in our glass. We will go through the correct tasting technique before experiencing the key flavours in wine by creating our own “blend”, before looking at the compounds responsible for certain flavour characteristics. We will taste examples of wine from three different grape varieties and discover that where the grapes are grown and how the wine is prepared can significantly affect the style and flavour. You will then test the knowledge you’ve gained by identifying a mystery wine.

Places are strictly limited and if you are interested in attending please email oliver.vas.15@ucl.ac.uk

This event is strictly CPS members only.

Please note: due to the methods used for wine clarification, this event may not be suitable for vegetarians. Please email s.potts@ucl.ac.uk if you’re not sure.