Future Talks


As we are moving our activities online, we are incurring new costs. Your donation helps support our new channels.


Our YouTube Channel has recordings of past talks.

Regrettably, the public health situation still means it is likely to be some time before we can resume live meetings.  We may continue to broadcast talks from the Discovery Centre so that if people prefer not to be in a room with a large number of people they can still join in.

To keep numbers manageable, you will need to book via Eventbrite. Information about using Zoom will be supplied with your booking. You will need to install the Zoom app to your computer, tablet or Smartphone. You only need to book one place for each computer, so if you are sharing a screen with someone in your house, you only need one. We are keeping the allocation of tickets quite small to keep it manageable, so please book yours asap to avoid disappointment. If you book but are unable to attend, please use the link in the confirmation email to cancel your ticket. Otherwise you might deprive someone who can join on the day.

We will open the Zoom meeting from 7pm to give people ample time to get connected and settled in. Please arrive by 7.25pm

Book your place on Eventbrite. – Coming soon

Only one ticket needed per screen. If you are sharing with someone, they don’t need a separate ticket.

A recording will be available after the event on YouTube.

Mon 20th July 2020 “Languages of the World: Identifying the Language of Text” Alan Ratner. – Rescheduled

This talk is in the field of Computational Linguistics which analyzes the bit patterns of human language. It is at the intersection of Computer Science and Linguistics and is closely related to Information Theory.

There are 3 kinds of language: spoken (sequences of phonemes), written (sequences of graphical characters), and text (sequences of characters encoded for computers). This talk will focus on the languages of the world, especially in the form of text. Say you have some text such as a web page or email in a language you do not recognize. Of the many thousands of languages which one is it? Identifying the language may allow you to forward it to someone who knows the language or to the appropriate automatic translator. Difficulties include: a) some text will contain few words or may be contain more than one language, b) the ratio of linguistic information to web formatting may be quite small making everything look like English, and c) speed requirements may limit you to extremely simple algorithms (if you wish to perform this task on billions or trillions of web pages or real-time on rapidly streaming text) . This talk will provide a brief introduction to the world’s scripts (alphabets, etc.) and the languages encoded using those scripts and how languages can be identified.

Alan graduated from the Massachusetts Insititute of Technolgy and Yale University. Specializing in radio propagation in plasmas, Alan responded to a job ad placed by the US National Security Agency looking for someone to study radio propagation in the ionosphere and worked there for 35 years as a communications engineer, with 7 of those years stationed in England. As analogue communications were replaced by digital communications his interest in the physics and engineering of communications was repaced by the linguistics and computation of communications. After Alan retired from the government he became Chief Knowledge Engineer at Northrop Grumman Information Systems using parallel computing to make sense of vast data sets including text, images, audio, video, network traffic, network security and financial transactions. He retired to England in 2017.

Mon 3rd August 7.30pm “Reading the human skeleton” – Dr Heidi Dawson-Hobbis

This talk will discuss the techniques that can be used to gain an insight into individuals and populations from the past by analysing their skeletal remains. Using examples from her research Dr Dawson-Hobbis will discuss how biological anthropologists interpret information from the skeleton to determine identity information such as sex and age-at-death, as well as details of the lived experience including pathological lesions. How the discipline utilises evidence from scientific sampling to aid in determining how long ago an individual died (radiocarbon dating), and evidence for migration and diet (stable isotope analysis) will also be discussed.
Case studies will be drawn from her recent work on the Winchester Cathedral project ‘Kings and Scribes: the birth of a nation’, her appearance on the Channel Four programme ‘The Bone Detectives’ detailing some of her work on nineteenth century skeletal collections from Bristol, and research on medieval collections from Somerset and Winchester.
Dr Heidi Dawson-Hobbis is a Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at the University of Winchester and an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Bristol where she completed her PhD titled ‘Unearthing Late Medieval Children: health, status and burial practice in southern England’. She has published papers in International Journal of Paleopathology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and Trends in Biological Anthropology.

Mon 17th August 7.30pm WinCafeSci Online Science Quiz!

Mon 7th September 7.30pm “Modelling medicine and calculating cancer: using mathematics to describe disease” –  Dr Joshua Bull

Mathematicians have studied patterns in nature for generations, but the idea of using maths to model biological systems is a relatively recent one. Since Alan Turing described how simple chemical interactions could give rise to complex biological patterns in 1952, mathematicians have deployed a vast range of techniques to help comprehend the intricate interactions observed in nature.

This talk will highlight how mathematics can be used to help understand modern medical problems, particularly in the fields of cancer research and immunology. We will consider how differential equations can be used to simulate tumour growth and treatment, examine how ideas from fields as diverse as topology and spatial statistics can be used to help target novel immunotherapies, and ask whether in the future mathematics could be at the heart of how doctors treat disease.

Dr Joshua Bull is a postdoctoral researcher in the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology, part of the University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute. His research focuses on developing mathematical and statistical tools to describe immune cell interactions with cancer, and on integrating these techniques with medical imaging software to provide practical tools for medical researchers and pathologists. His work sits at the intersection of mathematics, computer vision, statistics, immunology and oncology.

Mon 5th October 7.30pm “Where the arts meet science: Keeping the Mary Rose shipshape“. Prof Eleanor Schofield – Mary Rose Trust.

The Mary Rose, a flagship of Henry VIII’s, sank off the coast of Portsmouth in 1545. Rediscovered in the 1960s, the following years saw the excavation of over 19,000 objects, culminating in the excavation of the hull in 1982. Materials vary from leather, wood, human remains to iron, bronze and lead, with items varying in size from minuscule dice to gun carriages capable of transporting 2-3 tonne cannons. The conservation techniques and strategies employed over the last three decades will be discussed, alongside new materials and methods being developed to ensure the long term protection of this important cultural heritage.

Prof. Eleanor Schofield is the Head of Conservation and Collections Care at the Mary Rose Trust. After completing her PhD in Materials Science at Imperial College London in 2006, she completed research posts at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and the University of Kent. She joined the Mary Rose Trust in 2012 and is now responsible for the conservation of the Mary Rose hull and associated artefacts, the care and management of the collection and research into novel conservation treatments and characterisation methods.

Mon 2nd November 7.30pm “Rewilding” Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust