Friday, 10 September 2010

Provisional list of speakers for X-change events

It’s less than a week to the British Science Festival, and things are really shaping up! 

The X-change events, presented by BBC journalist, Sue Nelson, are like a highlights package at the end of each day of the festival, featuring the most controversial, interesting or downright hilarious people. The events take place from 18:15-20:00 in the Blue Room of the Aston Student's Guild, with around 5 or 6 speakers. You don't need to book in advance, just come along!

The British Science Association and X-change Team have been hard at work putting together a list of great speakers for 2010. You can watch some of the best bits from the 2009 festival here. To whet your appetite, here’s a list of some of the people we’ve get so far and the latest details of their talks. If you would like to attend the proper event for each speaker, there are also links to the ticket booking page. 

18:15 – 20:00 Tuesday 14 September 

Professor Mike Hulme: Why we disagree about climate change 

Professor Hulme will be talking about a few themes from his book Why We Disagree About Climate Change, including how knowledge of climate change is constructed and the interactions between climate change, knowledge and policy.

Dr Elizabeth Moores and Emma Birkett: Discovering Dyslexia

Dr Moores and Emma Birkett will talk about task development in cognitive psychology using examples of spot the difference tasks and recognising impossible objects. Members of the audience will also be able to volunteer to take part in an interactive example of timing problems in dyslexia.

Dr Tim Grant: Forensic Linguistics

Dr Grant will talk about how Aston's Centre for Forensic Linguistics has helped the police investigate crimes including murder and terrorism.

Dr Craig McAllister: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation 

Dr McAllister give a live demonstration on how powerful magnets can be used to manipulate brain activity and behaviour and help us investigate how the brain works.

18:15 – 20:00 Wednesday 15 September 

Dr Anthony Hilton: Grime Scene Investigation

You might have seen Dr Hilton on the Grime Scene Investigation BBC 3 show. He will talk about the hidden world of organisms living all over our bodies in order to examine how they survive, what impact they have on us and what purpose, if any, they serve.

18:15 – 20:00 Thursday 16 September

Dr Caroline Witton: Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Dr Witton will talk about how MEG is being used at Aston to investigate how the brain works, and the exciting new scanner that is being built especially for research with children at the Aston Brain Centre.

18:15 – 20:00 Friday 17 September

19:00 to 19:15 Brother Guy Consolmagno, one of the Pope’s 12 astronomers. 

Brother Consolmagno’s research explores the connection between meteorites and asteroids, along with the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system. Here he is talking about science and religion. This is a real coup for the X-change team and is definitely an event for your diaries!

Professor Frank Close and Stephen Brown: Lasers 

Lasers are used in many different areas form medicine to communication and there are a number of laser-  related events during the festival. Professor Close and Stephen Brown will talk the relevance of lasers in topics as diverse as fusion energy, quantum computing and disease diagnosis.

Matt Prichard aka Johnny Façade: Something about nothing: Magic, comedy and science

Johnny Façade specialises in close-up magic, mentalism and stand-up comedy. His comedy show will attempt to fill in the empty gaps and explain almost everything there is to know about nothing.

Here are some more speakers (in no particular order) that have kindly volunteered their time for the event, but we’re still working on confirming the dates.

Lucy Moorcraft Solar Sparks: The future of solar technology.

This will be an exclusive talk for the Xchange event as it’s not actually part of the Science Festival program.

Professor Gina Rippon: Neurononsense and Psychobabble

Dr Rippon will talk about how brain sciences are being used in research into sex differences – follow the road to neuro-nonsense, learn how to spot brain bloopers and scoff at neuro-trash.

Lorelly Wilson: Chemistry of Cabbage

Lorelly will talk about experiments you can do at home using common household products, and maybe even give some live demonstrations. Highlights of the full talk includes a great lava lamp, toothpaste for your elephant, novel uses for constipation remedies and why your mum tells you to eat your greens.

Chemistry of Cocktails with the Jekyll & Hyde

The manager of The Jekyll & Hyde (which apparently does 50 different types of gin!) will be talking about the art of pousse-café – spirit and liqueur layering that requires knowledge of gravity and liquid density.

Professor Nadrian C. Seeman – Kavli Prize winner

The Kavli Prize is presented every two years to scientists in the fields of Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience. The 2010 prize winner in Nanoscience Professor Nadrian C. Seeman will talk about his work in the field of DNA nanotechnology.

Dr Nick Lee: Neuromarketing  

Dr Lee will provide a whistle-stop tour of recent findings in the brain sciences, and their link to consumer decisions, exploding myths about both advertising and the brain along the way.

Professor Kevin Kendall: Fuel cells in Birmingham

Professor Kendall will talk about fuel cell science and technology, especially for domestic houses.

Please note, that the times and dates are subject to change. The best way to keep up-to-date is to check out this blog, follow #BritSciFest, @tulpesh and @TheXchangeTeam on Twitter, and keep an eye out for posters and flyers during the week.

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