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Brain events at the Cambridge Science Festival - Week 2!

Leading scientists at the forefront of neuroscience discuss the latest research into hallucinations, dementia, autism, OCD and eating disorders as part of a series of events examining the brain at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival.

 

The Festival runs from 9th – 22nd March and presents a programme loaded with over 390 events, most of which are free. Other areas covered include the development of self, perceptions of reality, the adolescent brain, and the effects of music on the brain. Read more in the University of Cambridge press release here

 

The adolescent brain

Monday 16 March: 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Babbage Lecture Theatre, (Through the Pembroke Archway), New Museums Site, Downing Street, CB2 3RS

Cambridge Neuroscience Public Lecture

Adolescence is a period of life often characterised by behaviours that can seem irrational, such as excessive risk-taking and impulsivity. Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Department of Psychology, suggests that these behaviours can be interpreted as adaptive and rational given that a key developmental goal of this period of life is to mature into an independent adult, while navigating a social world that is unstable and changing. In adolescence, social influence is an important determinant of decision making and social cognitive processes, involved in navigating an increasingly complex social world, continue to develop. In addition, areas of the social brain undergo reorganisation during adolescence, which might reflect a sensitive period for adapting to the social environment.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is Professor of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her group's research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the human adolescent brain, and adolescent mental health. Her group runs behavioural studies in schools and in the lab, as well as neuroimaging studies, with adolescents and adults. You can read more about the group and their research here.

Professor Blakemore is a member of the Royal Society Public Engagement Committee, and Chair of the Royal Society of Biology Education and Science Policy Committee. She was Founding Editor-in-Chief of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience until 2019. Professor Blakemore was awarded the British Psychological Society (BPS) Doctoral Award 2001, the BPS Spearman Medal for outstanding early career research 2006, the Annual Lecturer Award 2011 by the Swedish Neuropsychology Society, the Young Mind & Brain Prize 2013, the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award 2013, the Klaus J Jacobs Prize 2015 and the BPS Presidents' Award 2018. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/adolescent-brain

Pints and Puzzles

Monday 16 March: 8:00pm - 10:30pm

Cambridge Science Centre, Unit 44, Clifton Road Industrial Estate, CB1 7ED

Enjoy a pub quiz without the annoying competitive aspect. Solve puzzles rather than answer general-knowledge questions - use problem-solving skills instead of fact-hoarding. Join puzzle-mad mathematicians Katie Steckles and Ben Sparks for a brain-teasing selection of mathematical puzzles, with plenty of hints and clues if you get stuck, and some surprising answers along the way.

Arrive at 7:45pm for a 8pm start.

Dr Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops and writes about mathematics. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio and TV, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She currently lectures part-time at Sheffield Hallam University.

Ben Sparks is a mathematician, musician, and public speaker. He gives maths talks and workshops around the world, to students, teachers, and the general public. He’s part freelance and part time with the Advanced Maths Support Programme and he’s based at the University of Bath. He taught secondary maths for 10 years in various schools in England, and now his performances include regular work with the Numberphile YouTube channel and shows with the Maths Inspiration and MathsFest projects run by Rob Eastaway, and Matt Parker.

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/limited-tickets-available-door-pints-and-puzzles

UK drug and alcohol policy: ten years of going backwards

Tuesday 17 March: 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Babbage Lecture Theatre, (Through the Pembroke Archway), New Museums Site Downing Street, CB2 3RS

Professor David Nutt, Imperial College, reflects on the backwards direction of UK drug policy in the decade since he was sacked as chief drugs advisor. Examples such as the rising death rates from fentanyls, synthetic cannabinoids and alcohol all betray policy failures and he argues a wilful disregard of evidence. He demonstrates examples of good policy and other sensible ways forward.

DAVID NUTT DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FMedSci, DLaws
David Nutt is a psychiatrist and the Edmund J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology in the Division of Brain Science, Dept of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London. He has published over 500 original research papers, a similar number of reviews and books chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 35 books, including one for the general public, Drugs: without the hot air, that won the Transmission Prize in 2014. He was previously President of the European Brain Council, the British Association of Psychopharmacology, the British Neuroscience Association and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is currently Founding Chair of DrugScience.org.uk and holds visiting Professorships at the Open University and University of Maastricht.

David broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television. In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine voted him one of the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist in the list. In 2013 he was awarded the John Maddox Prize from Nature/Sense about Science for standing up for science and in 2017 a Doctor of Laws hon causa from the University of Bath
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Nutt
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6170/478.full
http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/departmentofmedicine/divisions/brainsciences/...

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/uk-drug-and-alcohol-policy-ten-years-going-backwards

Myself and my brain

Wednesday 18 March: 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, CB1 1PT

How can a lump of fatty tissue – our brain – create our sense of self and identity? In this talk, Dr Jane Aspell, ARU, discuss neurological and psychiatric conditions – including depersonalisation disorder, phantom limb pain and xenomelia - in which the experience of self and body is radically altered. She shows how the scientific study of these rare and distressing disorders can help us better understand how the brain generates a self.

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/my-self-and-my-brain

Artificial intelligence, the human brain and neuroethics

Wednesday 18 March: 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Babbage Lecture Theatre, (Through the Pembroke Archway), New Museums SiteDowning Street, CB2 3RS

Cambridge Neuroscience Public Lecture

When you think of artificial intelligence (AI), do you get excited about its potential and all the new possibilities, such as driverless cars, interactive games, and robots who can perform surgery, clean up the environment or make life easier for us at home or work? Or instead, do you have concerns about the future of AI and how it will change the world as we know it ? Discuss with us and tell us your views.

The Panel includes: Mr Tom Feilden, Science and Environment Editor, Today Programme, BBC Radio4, Joao Medeiros, WIRED and Professor Barbara Sahakian, Department of Psychiatry.

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/artificial-intelligence-human-brain-and-neuroethics

Imaging and vision in the age of artificial intelligence

Thursday 19 March: 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Mill Lane Lecture Rooms , 8 Mill Lane, CB2 1RX

In partnership with Cambridge University Press

How does the brain process the visual information from an image, and how do we recognise a cat or a dog? Can this process be done equally well by a computer, and if so, could for example a doctor be replaced by an artificial intelligence (AI) device that could give you a diagnosis? These questions may seem science fiction like, however, they are not. The automated doctor is already here. The US Food and Drug Agency has already approved AI for automated diagnosis in medicine without any interference with a human clinician. By letting a computer see images of a particular body part of the patient, the AI decides the diagnosis.

Dr Anders Hansen, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, discusses these fascinating new developments and demonstrate how AI systems designed to replace human vision and decision processes can behave very non-human like, and make decisions that are nonsensical and, so far, inexplicable. This raises many fundamental questions in the sciences, but also initiates an ethical and philosophical debate.

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/imaging-and-vision-age-artificial-intelligence


Music therapy, social neuroscience and clinical applications

Saturday 21 March: 2:00pm - 6:00pm

Anglia Ruskin University, Young Street, CB1 2LZ

Open day at the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, ARU

Join us for a music therapy research show case with talks and live demonstrations of our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, ARU, (CIMTR) research activities into the use of music in dementia treatment, neurorehabilitation and mental health. Watch brains in action during an interactive music-based stroke intervention, learn about how social neuroscience helps us to understand how music therapy works and observe a live therapy session involving imagery and music listening.

https://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/events/music-therapy-social-neuroscience-and-clinical-applications

Defeat dementia in Down’s Syndrome: celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

Saturday 21 March: 12:00pm - 4:00pm

Downing College, Howard Building, Regent Street, CB2 1DQ

Why do some people with Down’s syndrome have memory problems when they get older? Sometimes this is because they have Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists think that Alzheimer’s dementia is caused by abnormal proteins in the brain called amyloid and tau. The Down’s Syndrome Research Group is interested in looking at how these abnormal proteins might cause memory problems for people with Down’s syndrome, and how they may change over time.

Come and join the Down Syndrome Research group us as we celebrate World Down’s Syndrome Day (21 March 2020). We will then share the various techniques we use to study the way the brain changes over time; methods include brain scans, brain electrical activity recordings and cognitive tests. We will have posters to share our group’s ongoing research, exhibits and activities (quizzes and puzzles) for all.

To learn more about our research, https://www.psychiatry.cam.ac.uk/ciddrg/
Twitter: @CIDDRG, @WorldDSDay, @psychiatry_ucam, @camscience, #BrainAwarenessWeek

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Posted on 19/02/2020

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