Past Events

November 2008’s 2nd Alchemist Cafe

Use it or Lose it: can we improve our brain function?
A revolution in understanding of brain function has happened over the last 20 years, where the old assumption that the adult brain could not be ‘rewired’ and that the only course after adolescence is a slow decline in mental functions.

Ian Robertson, Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, describes how the brain at all ages can be sculpted by experience and how we can improve our mental functions in a similar way to that of developing our physical strength and skill.

Ian Robertson’s popular books on the subject are; Mind Sculpture (Bantam), the Mind’s Eye (Bantam) and Stay Sharp (Ebury).

Date: Wednesday 26th November 2008
Location: Mercantile Pub, Dame Street
Time: 8.00pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

Thanks again to our friend Marek we have a video of this cafe (in two parts)
Part 1, The Lecture:

Part 2 (Q&A):

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November 2008’s 1st Alchemist Cafe

Alternative Medicine-Do the Benefits Match the Claims?
Speakers on the night will include Dr. Simon Singh, a popular science and mathematics broadcaster and writer, and co-author with Prof. Edzard Ernst (the world’s first professor of complementary medicine) of “Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial”. In addition,
April Danann, a complementary medicine practitioner for over 20 years, will be introducing the topic. April also teaches and works in the promotion and regulation of complementary and alternative medicine in Ireland. After the speakers have launched the theme from their point
of view on the night, an inclusive open audience discussion will follow which promises to be stimulating!

Date: Wednesday 12th November 2008
Location: The Gingerman, Fenian Street
Time: 8.00pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

Thanks again to our friend Marek we have a video of this cafe:

Simon Singh: Alternative Medicine – Do the Benefits Match the Claims? from DOCUMENTAVi on Vimeo.

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October 2008’s Alchemist Cafe

10 Ways to Win a Maths Bet in the Pub
What’s the point of maths? To help you to win bets in the pub of course. The best bets are ones where your opponent thinks the odds are in his favour. Author and Broadcaster Rob Eastaway (as heard on the Ray D’Arcy and Pat Kenny radio shows) will be showing his favourite examples, ranging the newspaper bet to ‘special’ poker where you choose the cards, and giving the audience a chance to win some money off him.
Rob Eastaway graduated in Engineering at Cambridge University, but his real love was always maths. He has written a number of bestselling books, including ‘Why do buses come in threes?’ and ‘How many socks make a pair?’, and is regularly to be heard on radio talking about the maths of everyday life – including recent appearances on the Ray D’arcy and Pat Kenny shows. He has given maths talks to all age groups across Britain and Ireland.

Date: Tuesday 14th October 2008
Location: Mercantile Bar, Dame Street
Time: 7:30pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
In association with Maths Week, CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

Thanks again to our friend Marek we have a video of this cafe:

Rob Eastaway at Alchemist Cafe, Dublin, October, 2008. from DOCUMENTAVi on Vimeo.

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September 2008’s 2nd Alchemist cafe

Electrical Stimulation of the brain can give relief from Parkinson’s disease

Annraoi de Paor, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at University College Dublin describes how Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) can bring dramatic relief from the tremor, frozen gait and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and hints at how he is trying to explain what is happening.

Date: Wednesday 17th September 2008
Location: Mercantile Bar, Dame Street
Time: 7:45pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering
Thanks to our friend Marek we also have a complete video of this cafe:

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September 2008’s 1st Alchemist cafe

Grids: The LHC and Future Of Scientific Computing
James Jackson of Bristol University talks about the computing challenges being faced by the Particle Physics community with the turn on this week of the LHC. The solution seems to be the Grid but can it solve all of science’s computing problems?

Date: Thursday 11th September 2008
Location: The Piazza, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral , Mount Pleasant, L3 5TQ, UK
Time: 17:30
Poster for the event here.
In association with GridPP and The Royal Academy of Engineering

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August 2008’s Alchemist cafe

Enhancing Global Health with Advanced Diagnostics
Prof. Brian MacCraith, Director , Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, Dublin City University will discuss the future of the tools used to diagnosis disease.
The future of healthcare in both the developed and developing world will be altered dramatically by the advent of innovative diagnostic devices. These devices will draw on remarkable recent developments in a range of convergent sciences and technologies, such as nanotechnology, microfluidics (lab-on-a-chip), photonics, genomics and proteomics. In the developed world, these devices are expected to lead to a healthcare approach which is more personalised (customised to the individual), predictive and preventative, thereby leading to a better quality of life and greater life expectancy. More significantly, the deployment of such devices, appropriate to low-resource environments, in the developing world could yield dramatic benefits in the efforts to deal with rampant diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. This presentation will give an overview of the underlying science and technology, the expected impacts and the issues involved, illustrated throughout by examples.

Date: Thursday 7th August 2008
Location: Mercantile Bar, Dame Street (downstairs bar)
Time: 7:45pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
Poster for the event here.
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

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May 2008’s Alchemist Cafe

Human Nature: A Concept Whose Time Has Come – Or Gone?

There has been undoubtedly a recent rise in interest in biological approaches to understanding the human condition. Many, if not, most of these efforts attempt to reinvigorate the idea of ‘human nature’. But is this idea feasible in light of recent developments in the biological and social sciences? Regardless of the answer one gives, the question raises the larger issue of whether ‘the human’ is itself a category worth defending for scientific or even political purposes. I shall argue that ‘the human’ is indeed worth defending but that much recent thinking and research challenges rather than aids such a project.

Date: 15th of May 2008
Location: Science Gallery, Trinity College, Pearse Street
Time: 7:30pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
Poster for the event
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering
Thanks to our friend Marek we also have a complete video of this cafe:

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April 2008’s Alchemist Cafe

Solar disinfection of drinking water: Saving lives with sunlight
Dr. Kevin McGuigan of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland will discuss how something as simple as sunlight could help solve the problem of contaminated drinking water in developing countries.

Date: 9th of April 2008
Location: The Mercantile, Dame St
Time: 7:45pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
Poster for the event
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering
Thanks to our friend Marek we also have a clip from the cafe:

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March 2008’s Alchemist Cafe

From Web to Grid. The future of scientific computing?

Professor David Britton of Glasgow University’s Physics and Astronomy department will discuss the latest computing technology being used by the scientific community, Grids. Some sciences have moved from the laboratory bench to computer desktop and the need for greater computing resources has increased. One solution to this problem in the late 1980s gave us the world wide web. Do Grids offer the same potential?

Date: 12th of March 2008
Location: The Mercantile, Dame St
Time: 7:45pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
Poster for the event
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering

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February 2008’s Alchemist Cafe

Up in smoke? Humanity’s quest to explore the solar system

Dr Peter Gallagher of Trinity College Dublin’s Astrophysics Research Group will discuss the science and cost of ESA and NASA’s plans to explore the solar system in the next 20 years, and ask is it worth it?

Date: 6th of February 2008
Location: Flux Cafe, Science Gallery, Trinity College, Pearse Street
Time: 7:45pm
Admission: Free-All Welcome!
Complimentary Food will be provided
Poster for the event
In association with CPL and Discover Science & Engineering
Part of the Lightwave Festival running in the new Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin

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