Falmouth Cafe Sci
...............Please note: all Cafe Sci events held at the Poly are free - unless for special events - but there is a £1 'voluntary' admission charge for use of the building - a small contribution to the Poly's fund for restoration and development of the building.
Autumn 2018 Season
Maths, friend or foe?
For the autumn and winter of 2018/19, our programme of talks is entirely given over to one area whose pervasive influence on all our lives has lately become ever more apparent: mathematics.
Over this season, the Cornwall Branch of the British Science Association brings you five interconnected discussions in the Cafe Sci format on the growing role of algorithms, big data and mathematics in our lives.
From algorithms in art to maths in everyday life, to questions over the safety in use of personal data: to big questions over the very nature and possibility of mathematics in a world that evolution has brought about; the ambivalent impact of endless targets on the culture of public services; and finally, the magic of pattern versus the challenge of numeracy.
October 17th, 7.45pm
in the Library Room at the Falmouth Poly
Fractals - Nature's Beauty Hidden in Simple Mathematics
with Tariq Rashid
Nature has some of the most beautiful forms and intricate patterns - from the intriguing self-similarity of the humble cauliflower, to the impressive branching of lightning, from the gentle fluffiness of clouds to the architecture of the human vascular system.
It might surprise you that mathematics, even simple school mathematics, contains within it similar intricate forms, from regular self-similar to the hauntingly beautiful Mandelbrot forms.
In this talk, we'll take a tour of these patterns, and see how even simple mathematics can craft intricate and even organic infinitely-detailed forms.
Tariq Rashid runs the Algorithmic Art group, has established a children's code club (coderdojo) and has just launched Data Science Cornwall (https://www.meetup.com/datasciencecornwall/) for professionals and individuals interested in machine learning, data mining and artificial intelligence.
November 7th, 7.45pm
in the Library Room at the Falmouth Poly
'Real World Maths',
with Stuart Townley
Professor of Applied Mathematics, Exeter University
Stuart Townley aims to show how you can get from pen & paper calculations to scientific computing, to show how high level Maths can be used for coding and to explore issues such as: how do diseases spread, what is 'high risk' flooding, how does Amazon minimize its delivery costs?
NB: This talk is an introduction, one of a series of free short courses, held on the Penryn campus over 2019, which are designed to give those who haven't studied at degree level a taste of what it can be like.
For more on Stuart's work, see:
Research - http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/mathematics/research/mathematics-environment/
Webpage - http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/people/townley/
November 21st, 7.45pm
in the Library Room at the Falmouth Poly
Should we be sharing health data?
With a panel of speakers - details t.b.c
A national discussion, this year's series of Future Debates, hosted by/courtesy of the British Science Association in partnership with Genomics England. This round of Future Debates will consider the benefits and risks of a medical system that uses genomic data.
How should it be stored and who should have access? Should everyone's genome be analysed at birth? And is there a duty to donate your genome, like we do with blood and organs?
The British Science Association believes that science is a part of our everyday lives and that everyone should feel confident to talk about and be included in these topics. We want to empower everyone– not just scientists – to engage in conversation over science’s role in their own lives, their local economy, and the UK as a whole.
To make sure these conversations are happening at a local level, the BSA nationally is working with Genomics England to run this series of debates across the country, looking at specific topics relevant to today.
December 5th, 7.45
Venue to be confirmed
How is mathematics even possible?
A panel discussion, brought to you in conjunction with the Philosopher's Hat group, exploring the thinking of Ian Hacking, analytic philosopher of science and mathematics, and winner of the prestigious Holberg International Memorial Prize - which has been described as the Nobel prize for the humanities..
For an introduction to some of Ian Hacking's thinking, in place of our customary 20 minute live presentation, we will ask our audience to do some homework, and watch a video, an hour long, in which Hacking raises the issues he is concerned with, in a lecture on 'The Mathematical Animal', which is HERE.
Hacking's topic touches on many of the otherwise seemingly disparate subjects that the Philosopher's Hat group has/have discussed over the past 6 months; and members of the group will be invited to share their thinking, as respondent to Hacking's lecture; and then face a grilling, not just from each other, but from the participating audience.
Date and venue yet to be confirmed
"What counts is what's counted"
Exploring the impact of a culture of measurement on social production.
In the past 30 years, there has been a revolution in the 'delivery' (sic) of public services and public goods, from schools and universities to health and social care, housing and homelessness, prisons and railways.
Cost centres and contracts, internal markets, commissioning, targets and outcomes and other business models - we now all talk a language never heard at the origins of the welfare state, or the university expansion of the 60s and later, when t was assumed that professionals could be trusted to do their best for their charges, whether students, patients, clients, tenant - now all 'customers' - and swathers of accounting and tiers of management were not needed.
For good or ill, what happened? And why was no-one asked to vote for this?.
With a guest speaker ( not yet revealed), we will be asking: is there an alternative?
NB: Matt Creasey's talk is now postponed until later in 2019
It's who you know...
With writer and researcher Mathew Creasey. Mathew's research focusses on individual differences in personality and cognition among individuals within cooperative groups.
Going with the flow
On the mixture of fluid dynamics and psychology in traffic management, with Andrew Archer, and Bert Biscoe, former policy holder for transport, Cornwall County Council.
Bert and Andrew will be discussing the science of flows, conflicts, urgencies and capacities.
About Falmouth Cafe Scientifique
Meanwhile, if you are not quite sure what a cafe sci is all about, check the description here; or try the excellent international Cafe Sci community site.
If you might be interested in attending, let us know. If you might be interested in speaking - or know someone who might - then it's best to read first the Advice for Speakers ( so that they/you have a good idea of what to expect) and then contact us.
The most significant development currently is the decision to regard the Falmouth Cafe Sci henceforth as being a wing of the (still quite new) Cornwall branch of the
British Science Association
BSA[Cornwall] now has its own website, which is HERE
The video above shows the BSA's view science, as "It’s not just a list of facts – it’s a mindset owned by anyone who approaches the world in an open-minded, sceptical, logical, systematic, empirically-oriented, tentative and curious way.
(That is exactly the Cafe Sci view; a mindset not a method, and there is no subject that it can't cover - no subject area that is, or is not, suitable for 'science'.)
For more background on the British Science Association itself, you can also check out the (national) website: HERE
NB: This website site isn't interactive. This kind of (free) software is good for lengthy content, but not for discussion.
But you can follow developments, and comment on the idea, the programme, or individual talks, via theFalmouth Cafe Sci Facebook page.
(With apologies to all those who hate Facebook. But if you can suggest a better interactive web programme - please do!)
And we have now another brand new discussion group in this remarkably busy little town -
The Philosopher's Hat
Described as 'a place in spacetime to discuss what really matters (or doesn't)', this is a Falmouth-based discussion group aimed at providing people with a space and time to don their Philosopher’s Hat and chat about any topic they fancy over a pint in the pub
The group meets twice monthly on the 1st and 3rd Monday, at the Boathouse (pub), from 7pm.
More details from the website: HERE
and the Facebook page: HERE
Otherwise...... the National Maritime Museum have now launched a new website, which they intend to be far more accessible and interactive.
As they say:
" The brand new NMMC.CO.UK is part of an overall re-fresh of the museum’s digital brand which also includes social media, email and video.
"A new digital content strategy has increased the museum’s use of video content to communicate key messages and promote new events and exhibitions.... "
Check out their site, below.
Other local talks and events coming up:
Source Fm - Falmouth and Penryn's community radio - has a continuous programme of talks, music etc.
For their website and up-coming programme; see their website: HERE
At Redruth Cafe Sci
For details, see their own website: HERE
Launceston Cafe Sci
Independent School of Art:
At the Falmouth Polytechnic
The Poly is home to most of Falmouth Cafe Sci talks - and a lot else besides. The documentary talks programme is becoming fuller. For more details, see their own website: HERE
At the Maritime Museum
for details, see their own website: HERE
At Falmouth/Exeter Uni, Penryn campus
for details, see their website
Others? Just let us know.......
NB: Throughout October of 2015 we ran, in conjunction with the Poly on Tuesday afternoons, an experimental MOOC-tracking discussion group. With the advent of BSA Cornwall (see above), we might like to revive this idea.
What’s a MOOC, you ask (again)?
This link to a specific page on this site will tell you all you need to know: http://falmouthcafescientifique.weebly.com/what-is-a-mooc.html .
But in short, think: internet book club: watch a video, or take a whole course of weekly reading - and come and discuss it with similarly -enthused people. Simples.......
There is the possibility of making this a more regular feature of MOOC, BSA and Poly life, in 2017......
We are always open to suggestions for topics....