Science Cafés

Thursday 16th September, 7.30pm – the “back to normal” Science Café

After our socially distanced in-the-room (and on Zoom) June Science Café for September, as long as there are no steps back, we will be back to our normal format in Otley Courthouse.

As ever, this evening we will have three great speakers on diverse topics and time for Q&A after every presentation. The topics for the 16th will be:

  • Covid-19 vaccines – access, equality and success
    • Dr Liz Breen, Director of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone, University of Bradford
    • The advent of the Coronavirus pandemic in late 2019 created pandemonium throughout the world, challenging every aspect of our society. Overnight we became experts in vaccine production and logistics and engaged more with our NHS as a matter of urgency. Access to vaccines locally and globally became the ultimate priority, one that seemed to be very difficult to achieve in a transparent and sustainable manner. We invested huge levels of hope in our vaccines working as our way out of the pandemic and to reduce the pressure on our NHS. The Digital Health Enterprise Zone at the University of Bradford hosted the Novavax vaccine trial and currently supports the Covid-19 vaccine booster trial. My personal interest in this vaccine supply chain has led to the delivery of multiple articles with global coverage and associated media engagement. I invite you to join a discussion on vaccine access/equality and the success of our Covid-19 vaccination programme.
  • Pachyderms, parrots and Polynesian tree snails
    • Dr Mark Stidworthy, Principal Veterinary Pathologist, International Zoo Veterinary Group
    • We know autopsies help solve human murder mysteries and surgical biopsies guide our medical treatment, but what can veterinary pathologists teach us about zoo animals and wildlife? Illustrated with examples from my work I will show how comparative pathology (from invertebrates to elephants) can control disease outbreaks and support conservation programmes, even keeping human populations healthy.
  • Why BUY? The science behind consumer behaviour
    • Dr Alessandro Biraglia, Leeds University Business School
    • No matter how much or how little, how consciously or not, we all consume goods in our daily lives. But why do we buy what we buy? Using examples from recent research (bothmy own and others), in this talk I will embark on a short journey looking at what individual factors and environmental drives lead to consumption development and evolution.

Further information and tickets:

The Science Café will start at 7.30pm on Thursday September 16th.

As usual, tickets for the Café are £5, but free for under 18s (though a ticket is still required)

Tickets are available from the Courthouse or you can click/tap here

Otley Courthouse Arts Centre
Courthouse Street
Otley
West Yorks
LS21 3AN

01943 467466

You can email Otley Science Festival here: info@otleysciencefestival.co.uk
or follow us on Twitter @otleyscience


2021 Science Café Schedule

We have scheduled the Science Café dates for 2021:

  • March 18th
    • Because of the uncertainties we have decided this will be on-line only
  • June 17th
    • We are planning that this will be back in Otley Courthouse, but also available on Zoom
  • September 16th
  • Plus a Festival week Science Café (w/c November 15th)

We have left information on earlier Science Cafés below.


Thursday 17th June, 7.30pm – the “back in the room” Science Café

We remained optimistic and it happened. We welcomed people back into Otley Courthouse for this Science Café for the first time since March last 2020. We also provided the facility to join on-line, our first “blended” event. We had the speakers and socially distanced audience in the Courthouse and shared the presentations on Zoom, not without some challenges! But we got there (mostly).

Our topics on the evening were:

  • Weaving with DNA
    • Dr Andrew J. Lee, Centre Manager, Bragg Centre for Materials Research, University of Leeds
    • We have all heard of DNA, but how much do you really know about it? No doubt you have learnt that DNA holds the instructions for life, used to make everything from a lemon to a lion. But can you use it to make shapes, robots or even archive every meme on the internet? In this talk I will re-introduce you to DNA, the material, and explore how we can repurpose its chemical properties to create tiny self-assembling machines. Forget Biology, this is DNA nanotechnology!
  • Drawing to Remember – beyond Encoding?
    • Janet Love, Committee Member, Otley Science Festival
    • Drawing is a powerful tool and is particularly associated with Art Therapy. Beyond this, the power of drawing is increasingly being investigated in other fields of psychology including stroke recovery, eye-witness testimony and especially education. However, there is a gap investigating drawings potential to actively and accurately retrieve object names whilst drawing alone….Janet Love presents tentative results of such an investigation conducted during her MSc in Cognitive Development and Disorders at the University of Leeds, 2019-2020.
  • Wastewater in the Wharfe
    • Professor Rick Battarbee FRS, Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London
    • Following concerns about the frequency of untreated sewage spills into the River Wharfe from the Ashlands Sewage Treatment Works in Ilkley the Ilkley Clean River Group was formed. Its campaign to clean up the river has helped to raise awareness about the health hazards faced by wild swimmers and other recreational users of rivers throughout the country. This talk explains how citizen science was used, and is being used, to underpin the campaign on the Wharfe.

Thursday 18th March – our first Science Café of 2021

It seems we called this one correctly as we made the decision a while back that this would be an on-line only event.

However it’s going to be an excellent evening with, as ever, a great line up of three speakers. Don’t miss your chance to hear from and then fire questions at top scientists from around the region* as they set out to encapsulate a key idea in just 10-15 min.

(* you may spot our wide definition of “region”: we are delighted to have one speaker who would normally be well beyond the borders of Yorkshire, but in these strange times…)

  • What has the LHC ever done for us?
    • Dr. Duncan Leggat, Institute of High Energy Physics, Beijing
    • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN facility in Geneva, Switzerland has been smashing atoms together for more than a decade now, and has made countless measurements including the discovery of the Higgs Boson, for which Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013. But what does this mean for our everyday lives? Far beyond the scope of carrying out research ‘just for research’s sake’, the technology and methodology developed at CERN and for the LHC have had a marked impact in wider society. This talk will explore just exactly what ‘the LHC ever did for us’.
  • You are never alone – the hidden living world inside you
    • Prof. Philip Quirke, Professor of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Leeds
    • Phil will change the way you look at yourself. He will describe the intimate and important relationship you have with the life forms that live with/in you and how we are starting to understand the complex interactions that exist and how they contribute to health and disease with a particular emphasis on bowel cancer.
  • Science with a telescope ten miles across
    • Dr. Katherine Johnston, Research Fellow, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds
    • How do astronomers use telescopes many miles across to observe at wavelengths much longer than our eyes can see? And what do they uncover? I will introduce a “telescope” just like this: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and give you a glimpse of what I have discovered using this cutting-edge observatory.

2020 Festival Week Science Café – Tuesday 10th November

Following announcement of the new lockdown the 2020 Science Festival Week Science Café went ahead as an on-line only event.

  • A brief history of biopharmaceutical – scientific drivers for adoption of large molecule therapeutics
    • Siân Estdale BSc, MPhil, PhD, Head of Scientific Affairs, CTTS, Covance Laboratories Limited
    • This presentation will look briefly at the historical context for large molecules, the current market of approved large molecules, modalities and therapeutic targets. It will explore the mechanism of action of some block buster molecules and compare with small molecules. The major differences will be highlighted and finally the drug development pathway and probability of success.
  • Ecological risk assessment for biopesticides
    • Dr Mark Whittaker, Managing Director, Applied Insect Science Ltd
    • Biopesticides are low-risk crop protection products based predominantly on naturally-occurring bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are approved for use in Europe under the same regulatory framework as conventional pesticides, for which the assessment of environmental safety is one of the most significant aspects of the evaluation. This presentation will outline the use and benefits of microbial biopesticides in commercial horticulture, and the role of safety testing on pollinators and other non-target organisms.
  • Bragg Centre Creative Labs: Innovation through collaboration
    • Professor Lorna Dougan, Professor of Physics, Director of Research & Innovation, EPSRC Fellow
    • In 2019 and 2020 ten teams of artists and creative professionals were paired with Bragg Centre for Materials Research members to explore collaborations and create ideas together. With no expectation of an output, the process allowed partners to establish the focus of their engagement with each other from the outset. In this talk I will share our motivation for undertaking this endeavour, what we learned along the way and next steps.

September 2020’s Science Café went virtual

We didn’t manage to go ahead with a Science Café in June but for September we decided to go ahead and have an on-line only event. We had two great speakers and this was what was covered on the night:

  • Education for the 4th Industrial Revolution (e4i4)
    • Professor John Baruch, Visiting Professor Leeds Beckett University, Tsinghua University
    • The 4th Industrial Revolution will replace about 50% of UK jobs with robots using AI control systems either for talking to people and answering questions or for driving vehicles and everything in between.  Close human support tasks are impossible to robotise such as nursing or teaching but many others will go. The cost of goods will continue to fall but the key challenge is developing the new economy with its new jobs and new types of work based on technological innovation and creativity. The talk will focus on how the under 28 year olds can rebuild their lives, and opportunities exploiting the unique situation they now find themselves in with the Tsunami of Covid 19.
  • Baby Talk – How connection in infancy supports connection throughout life
    • Dr Vivien Sabel, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University
    • Psychotherapist, Author, Lecturer, Filmmaker and Artist, Dr Sabel is attending the Science Café to share her learning regarding how understanding the language of infants has supported the development of a non-verbal communication model for use in clinical and everyday settings. Her ‘back story’ and educational journey are key to understanding the development of the model and have proved fascinating to audiences in both nationally and internationally.

2020’s first Science Café was on Thursday 12th March

Before everything closed down our topics for that evening were:


2019 Festival week Science Café was on Wednesday 13th

On this enjoyable evening we covered:

  • A civic plan for a climate emergency
    • Professor Paul Chatterton, School of Geography, University of Leeds
    • The climate emergency is a huge threat, but also a huge opportunity. Many people feel powerless in the face of huge global changes out of our control. At my talk I will be discussing how we can organise and take meaningful action to create liveable affordable, green and climate safe neighbourhoods. I’ll be talking about car free cities, biophilia, blue green infrastructure, community led housing, civic energy, and how we can build common wealth. This is a huge opportunity to change our places for the better. We have to think big, start small and act now.
    • Paul is the author of “Unlocking Sustainable Cities”  http://unlockingsustainablecities.org/
  • My memory and me – the importance of remembering our own life
    • Dr Jelena Havelka, School of Psychology, University of Leeds
    • Jelena investigates the impact of life changes and transitions on our sense of self and how major public events play a role in organising autobiographical memory.
  • The Analogue Moon
    • Mr Mark Wrigley, Chair of the Yorkshire Branch of the Institute of Physics
    • Mark’s interest in science and technology stemmed from watching the first moon landing live on television as a schoolboy. He filmed the screen with a Super 8 camera, in the days before domestic TV recording technology existed, and his footage of the 1969 event forms part of a display at the Science and Media Museum.
    • A session in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and in anticipation of tomorrow night’s film, Apollo 11

The September 2019 café was on Thursday 26th

The topics for this café were:

  • Molecular music: the sound of chemistry
  • Sugar, fat, alcohol… what’s worse for the liver?
    • Dr J. Bernadette Moore, School of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Leeds
    • She will be presenting her recent research on sugar versus fat in non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease pathogenesis
  • Caricatures and Dancing Homers: The maths of shape
    • Dr Kevin Houston, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds
    • Discussing using mathematics to animate shapes to move in time with music. You may have seen Kevin at the Bradford Science Festival on a stall representing MathsWorldUK (dedicated to establishing the first maths museum in the country)
All-four-1500

The June 2019 Science Café was held on Thursday 13th

That night the discussions covered:

  • What can dirty teeth tell us about the past
    • Dr Anita Radini, Department of Archaeology, University of York
  • Drowning: how science can help us avoid it.
    • Dr Martin Barwood, School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University
  • Blockchain – What’s all the fuss about?
    • Andy Thomas, CTO, Aprexo Ltd and Codel Ltd

The first Science Café of 2019 was on March 14th

On that evening the sessions covered:

  • Phage Display: why the Nobel prize went viral
    • Dr Christina Rauber, Senior Scientist, Avacta Life Sciences
  • Jumpers for goalposts or is there more to football science?”
    • Prof. Mark Russell, School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University
  • Decontaminating my grandfather’s chemical legacy
    • Prof. Mark Lorch, School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Hull
    • This was a surprising, interesting and entertaining tale of a (literally) dangerous family legacy. If you’d like to read it or share it with friends, you can find it on line here

Earlier Science Cafés

For the record we have also left available information about our Science Cafés from 2017 and 2018. This can be found here.


September ’17 Café follow up: local air pollution

Professor Pilling C.B.E. (Emeritus Professor, School of Chemistry, Univ. of Leeds) provided the following links related to local air quality issues for us to share here.

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