Thinktank

Think Tank

Birmingham Cafe Scientifique

Cafe Scientifique

       
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Cafes Scientifique are informal and lively discussion events around contemporary science issues that take place in local bars, cafes and pubs.  Taking place on the first Tuesday of every month, we feature a variety of local scientists and engineers, talking about their work and how it affects the average person in the street.  Always fun, sometimes controversial, these events are a great way to get to the heart of the matter.

To discover more about Cafe Scientifique, please visit http://www.cafescientifique.org
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Join us as a member of the Birmingham Cafe Scientifique Facebook group to keep up to date with the latest discussions and events.

If you cannot make the evening, why not follow the live-tweeting using the hashtag #brumcafesci


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Tuesday 6th May 2014

Dr Adam Cunningham

University of Birmingham

People, pathogens and protection – what infections do to and for us and how we fight back

Until relatively recently up to 50% of people would die before the age of 20 because of infectious disease and pandemics such as the Black Death killed upwards of half of Europe’s population inside a few years. Even now 1 in 5 people die from a bacterial or viral infection, which is probably a gross underestimate. Microbes have therefore altered our genetics, our societies and our behaviour. In an age of increased travel and exposure to exotic organisms and where bacteria are becoming more resistant to anti-microbial treatments these agents now are casting an ever longer shadow on our lives again.

Adam will discuss what happens within our bodies when we have an infection, and also how our bodies react and fight these infections. In particular, Adam will discuss how his work with Salmonella infections is being adapted to create vaccines to protect those most at risk in Africa.

6.30pm for 7.00pm start

The Jekyll and Hyde (upstairs Gin Parlour room)

28 Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6BJ


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Tuesday 3rd June

Dr Trevor Sidery

University of Birmingham

What is gravity?

Join astrophysicist Trevor Sidery to discuss the nature of one of the most perplexing forces known to science. From Galilleo's famous experiment dropping balls from the Tower of Piza, to Newton's work that first described (and still does) the movement of the planets in the Solar System, gravity is a force that we all know of, but know very little about. 

Despite being a very weak force in relation to the others, gravity acts over cosmic distances and has always been the hardest of the forces to include within the standard model of physics. Trevor will share his work on gravity and gravitational waves and tell us from his perspective, what he thinks gravity is.

6.30pm for 7.00pm start

The Jekyll and Hyde (upstairs Gin Parlour room)

28 Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6BJ


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Tuesday 1st July

Dr Stuart Hogarth

King's College London

From Papanicolau to Papilloma – the corporatisation of diagnostic innovation

When cancer screening began in the USA in the early twentieth century it was a public health initiative driven by physicians, charities, government agencies and women’s advocacy organisations. By the late twentieth century it had become a billion dollar business dominated by large corporations. 

In this talk Stuart will use cervical cancer screening as a case study to show how growth in that commercial enterprise is now being fuelled by a new wave of molecular screening tests. He will contrast the development of the Pap smear in the first half of the twentieth century with the development of a rival molecular technology in the late twentieth century: DNA diagnostics for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). He will describe how the changing role of industry in diagnostic innovation is linked to the adoption of new business models and to commercial strategies characteristic of big pharma (including consumer advertising, funding of patient advocacy groups and the recruitment of key opinion leaders). This process of corporatisation poses important questions about what constitutes responsible innovation in diagnostics. 

6.30pm for 7.00pm start

The Jekyll and Hyde (upstairs Gin Parlour room)

28 Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6BJ


 
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