Free events at Café Scientifique
Each month, academics explore different science and technology themes starting with a brief informal presentation followed by discussion and the opportunity to share ideas with the general public.
Come and join us!
- When: On the second Wednesday of the month from 19:30 - 21:30.
- Where: Hatfield Social Club, 76 Great North Road, Hatfield AL9 5ER (near Hatfield Station)
- Admission: FREE
Events for this academic year
8 January 2020
Dr Silvio Carta, Head of Art and Design, School of Creative Arts
Title: Our personal digital space
This presentation will discuss how ubiquitous computing, big data and the Internet of Things are changing the form of personal space, where public activities exceed the physical space of the built environment and extend to larger urban and global scales. Any action in the public space corresponds to an increasing amount of data collected by computers about people and their activities. These data are invisible and, at the same time, ubiquitous. But how and where are these data in the public space? To what extent do they surround us? How do they spatially relate to each individual and her personal space? Finally, how is the public space changing as a consequence of this increasing deluge of data pertaining to each individual? This talk addresses all these questions by providing simulations for everybody to visualise the data surrounding us every day.
12 February 2020
Dr Lindsay Bottoms. School of Life and Medical Sciences
Title: Exercise and inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a long-term inflammatory condition of the digestive tract and affects over 300,000 people in the UK. People with IBD often have unpredictable and debilitating symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fatigue. In addition, they require long-term treatment with frequent negative effects and often need surgery and hospitalisation. Finding ways to improve the quality of life is therefore important. Exercise might be a simple, safe and low-cost treatment option because it has the potential to improve several aspects of physical, mental and social well-being simultaneously.
We are pleased to welcome Lindsay back to the Café to share experiences of living with the disease and discuss the findings of a recent research study funded by Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
11 March 2020 - Cancelled
Dr Ben Burningham. Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire
Title: Dissecting dots: exploring the diversity of alien worlds
The last decade has brought an explosion in the number of planets beyond the solar system that are known to science, revealing an incredible diversity of alien worlds and planetary systems which continue to surprise and intrigue scientists. Dr Ben Burningham will take you on a tour of this planetary zoo and bring you up to date on the hunt for oases of habitability in the harshness of the cosmos.
8 April 2020 - Cancelled
Dr Caroline Formstone, Dept of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Title: Not covering up with skin: a route to birth defects?
The skin provides a protective layer for the body against desiccation and external assault. How skin is built in the embryo has been long studied but little is known about how it encompasses the body and how failure of this process impacts foetal development. My research has shown that the skin emerges in mouse embryos just over half-way through gestation. The skin appears as a thickened tissue at the mid-flank of the embryo which thins and spreads towards the front and the back eventually enclosing the embryo trunk 2-3 days later. I will be discussing this process and how failure to enclose the embryo body with skin may underlie some common birth defects of dorsal and ventral closure.
Future cafes are suspended until further notice due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Forthcoming sessions will be held on 11 September; 9 October; 13 November. More details on these to follow.
Dr Laura Abbott - Senior Lecturer in Midwifery School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire "The experiences of pregnant women in English prisons" Approximately 600 women a year are thought to be pregnant in prison in the UK although accurate figures are not kept. Until now, there has been very little research which looks specifically at women’s experiences of pregnancy in prison. I spent time observing three English prisons and interviewed women and staff. I found that women experienced frustration which impacted upon their emotional wellbeing. Being unable to access basic comfort and adequate nutrition was commonly expressed by women. A threat of violence was often perceived and women were frightened about the potential harm to their unborn. The fear of separation from their baby was an underlying stress and 50% of women separated soon after birth. The woman’s experience of being pregnant in prison suggests a deep-rooted psychological pain which appears to punctuate all aspects of her incarceration.
Dr Alex Bateman, Head of Protein Sequence Resources at the European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge - “The Origami of Proteins and DNA” How proteins fold is one of the greatest challenges in biology. We’ll explore how computing science is coming very close to cracking the problem. We’ll also have some origami challenges on hand for you to impress your friends with! Alex studied in Cambridge for his PhD in the structural studies department at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology before moving to the Sanger Centre where he started to develop data resources for molecular biology, as well as take part on the analysis of the draft human genome sequence. He is a scientific stamp collector who loves to create collections of molecules. He’s particularly interested in proteins, their sequences, structures and functions and how they have evolved. These collections of information such as Pfam, Rfam and UniProt are available freely to all on the Internet and are used by hundreds of thousands of scientists. Alex also has a love of origami and has invented many designs including for DNA and proteins.
Dr Maria Dimitriadi, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics - “What can a roundworm tell us about a human disease?”
Jeff Lewis - "The structure of subjective experience: An initial exploration": What kind of world fo you live in? Come along and explore some ideas based on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and find out how we make sense of our world. Make sure you bring a pen/pencil. You will have an exercise or two to do!
Theo Spencer - "A winning formula": Battling the laws of physics in the competitive world of motor sport, UH has one of the oldest Formula Student teams across the UK. Hear the challenges from all disciplines; from engineers to drivers. https://racing.herts.ac.uk/about/
Ray Wilkinson - "Using the third dimension: Taking photographs from the air." Flying in small aircraft gives the opportunity to see the towns, villages and countryside around us. Using paragliders and light aircraft, Ray photographs the south east of England and combines both his passions in so d
14 November 2018
Dr Phil Porter: Inside the glacier: Extreme science at the top of the world!
10 October 2018
Dr Matthias Tesche: Green laser beams in the sky - Observations of atmospheric pollution and clouds with laser instruments
Wednesday 12 September
Dr Mike Page: The Cube Project and Greentown: Pro-environmental Behaviour by Design
13 June 2018
Dr Amira Guirguis: New psychoactive substances - A recent phenomenon?
9 May 2018
Dr Marc Sarzi: Supermassive black holes: the DNA of galaxies.
11 April 2018
John Meredith: The A word: Making the case for animal research.
14 March 2018
Dr Keith Davies, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences: Can we use synthetic biology to develop alternatives to pesticides?
14 February 2018
Andrew Palmer, Institution of Civil Engineers: Surface water management in a changing world.
10 January 2018
Robyn Rhule-Samuel, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences: The rise of ready meals: Investigating the micronutrient quality of convenience foods.