Past Talks

Why We Must Change the Drug Laws to Liberate Research and Treatment

Tue08
Jan

18:15

Why We Must Change the Drug Laws to Liberate Research and Treatment

Professor David Nutt, Imperial College London
18:15, Tuesday 8 January 2019

Professor Nutt will argue that the drug laws as codified in the UN Conventions are the worst censorship of research in the history of science. For over 50 years, they have denied many opportunities for innovative treatments, many of which were established in the 1950s and 60s. Worse, they have probably increased rather than decreased the harms of drug use. He will give examples of all these and show how himself and others are beginning to move the field forward with neuroscience research.

Dr. Lizzy Ostler, University of Brighton

Tue15
Jan

18:15

Dr. Lizzy Ostler, University of Brighton

Will Red Wine and Chocolate Really Keep You Young and Healthy?
18:15, Tuesday 15 January 2019

There is growing evidence that many of the deleterious processes of ageing, such as heart disease, dementia and arthritis, could be prevented or remediated by simple chemical compounds. Recent work has demonstrated that the removal or alteration of phenotype of senescent cells has the potential to reduce multiple age-related pathologies. The development of orally-available broad-spectrum anti-degenerative medicines is now a realistic goal. A wide variety of polyphenolic natural products, often isolated from “super-foods” including grapes and cocoa beans, have long been identified as potential lead compounds for anti-ageing therapeutics. However, many such compounds have multiple biological activities, and may be poorly absorbed. We have established simple, robust and high-yielding syntheses to facilitate access to a broad range of structural variants of compounds based on Resveratrol, and subjected this panel of “Resveralogues” to a wide variety of in vitro assays, with a particular focus on activities related to cell growth and senescence. A subset of our compounds is able to “rejuvenate” cultures of senescent cells by altering RNA splicing patterns, lengthening telomeres, and enabling a significant fraction of cells to re-enter normal cell cycle. The implications of this novel mechanism for the design of future anti-degeneratives will be presented.

Perfume = Chemistry + Artistry: An Interactive Talk

Tue22
Jan

18:15

Perfume = Chemistry + Artistry: An Interactive Talk

Ruth Mastenbroek, Ruth Mastenbroek Fragrances
18:15, Tuesday 22 January 2019

(Perfume smelling interactive talk). Ruth will show some key synthetic ingredients that have changed the world of perfume, and talk about how she went from being an Oxford Chemistry graduate to the only independent perfumer in Britain today.

The Science of Climate Change – and what we can do about it.

Tue29
Jan

18:15

The Science of Climate Change – and what we can do about it.

Professor Joanna Haigh, Imperial College London
18:15, Tuesday 29 January 2019

Since the industrial revolution the surface temperature of the Earth has increased by about 1°C and climate scientists are overwhelmingly of the opinion that this largely due to the effect of gases released into the atmosphere by human activities. How can we be sure that this is the case?  Does it matter?  What can we say about the future? In this talk Jo Haigh will outline the evidence for climate change, in temperature and other measures, globally and regionally in the context of natural variations in climate, and she will discuss what is well known and what less certain. She will describe how the climate reflects a delicate balance between the energy coming in from the Sun and the heat energy leaving Earth for space, and how this can be disrupted by increasing concentrations of “greenhouse gases”, especially carbon dioxide (CO2).  She will show how basic physical science can be used to construct computer models of the climate which can then be employed to investigate how climate processes work and what increasing CO2 may mean for the future. The talk will conclude with a discussion around different approaches to tackling climate change and where the world is heading following the recent United Nations climate conferences.

 

The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again?) of Probiotics

Tue05
Feb

18:15

The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again?) of Probiotics

Dr Linda Thomas
18:15, Tuesday 5 February 2019

The talk describes how the probiotic concept developed and was commercialised. It will explain how probiotics became popular and why the word ‘probiotic’ started to disappear from commercial use. It will finish by explaining why Linda believes this type of product will re-emerge, because of the critical effects of the gut microbiota on health, throughout life.

The First Prize Medal for Science: The Origin of the Royal Society’s Copley Medal

Tue19
Feb

18:15

The First Prize Medal for Science: The Origin of the Royal Society’s Copley Medal

Dr. Rebekah Higgitt, University of Kent
18:15, Tuesday 19 February 2019

It has become common for exceptional achievements, including within science,​ to be rewarded with a prize medal. The ubiquity of prize medals for science today means that the history of the first, the Copley Medal, has been overlooked. Rather than simply noting the exploits of famous winners - such as Franklin, Priestley and Herschel - this talk explores the creation of a novelty and the meaning of medals to the Royal Society's 18th-century fellows. The scheme required an investment of time, money, thought and skill, and the creation of a design that borrowed from contemporary ideas about experimental philosophy, antiquarianism and Freemasonry. The Copley Medal did not arrive fully formed as a reward system, but accrued meaning and value from its associations.

3D Printing and its Applications Across Pharmacy and Chemical Synthesis

Tue26
Feb

18:15

3D Printing and its Applications Across Pharmacy and Chemical Synthesis

Dr Stephen Hilton, University College London
18:15, Tuesday 26 February 2019

This lecture describes the use of 3D printing and its applications in the fields of Chemistry and Pharmacy. This lecture covers our experience of 3D printing and how it changed our research in chemical synthesis and drug delivery. The implications for this and its facilitation of cross-disciplinary research will be described.

Measuring the Dark Web

Tue05
Mar

18:15

Measuring the Dark Web

Cerys Bradley, University College London
18:15, Tuesday 5 March 2019

The Dark Web is a hidden part of our world populated by anonymous users and unknown to search engines. How then, do researchers understand this space? PhD student Cerys Bradley will discuss their research on Dark Net Markets and their role in the online drugs trade and describe how you conduct research on a population deliberately trying to remain hidden. This talk is intended for an audience with little to no prior knowledge of the Dark Web and contains a small interactive element for willing participants.

In Vino Veritas (et Moleculis)

Tue19
Mar

18:15

In Vino Veritas (et Moleculis)

Dr Stephen Potts (Presidential Lecture)
18:15, Tuesday 19 March 2019

Some might say wine is a solution to problems, but in truth it is simply just a solution. Many of the flavours and textures in the glass come from what chemists know and love: molecules! This talk will take you through the molecules responsible for the acidity, sweetness and flavour of wine, including aromas that are typical of specific grape varieties, the production process itself and wine faults. There will be an opportunity to sniff some of the molecules in question, so come with a clear mind and nostrils!