August 1999

No 146

Scientific mysteries will be explored in a series of probing lectures, film shows and discussions sponsored by the Royal Society Millennium Commission.

Science Futures is the title of a programme of free events over three months, beginning on September 23, which will look at, among other things, how much of science fiction may become science fact.

Best-selling author Jack Cohen, whose work includes The Science of the Disc World, is among those lined-up for the programme.

University of Leicester scientist Dr Derek Raine, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has received a Fellowship Award from the Commission and is producing the programme of events in association with the Leicester Branch of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Phoenix Arts Centre.

Said Dr Raine: At the turn of the last century we had the development of relativity and the beginnings of quantum theory, to take just two examples from the area of physical science. These developments were unpredictable in 1899, but the problems that led to them were known.

The general theme of the series of lectures in our Science Futures programme will be to outline for the general public the present climate regarding developments in a range of branches of science as we approach the next Millennium.

They will address some of the current problems that keep scientists awake at night! Subject areas dealt with include psychology, information technology, astronomy and space, the nature of matter, medicine, mathematics and the nature of science.

Each lecture will be discussed informally on the following Sundays in the Science Cafés, which the BAAS holds regularly at the Phoenix Arts in Leicester. In these discussions we hope to address some of the issues raised in the lectures and particularly the implications for society.

Two of the Sunday discussions will be preceded by films, which raise interesting scientific issues in mathematics and the nature of reality.

The events will also generate information packs and internet resources for teachers and educationalists in the region. The full programme of events in Science Futures follows.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Dr Raine on 0116 252 2075.



23rd September 7.30pm: Rita Carter - MAPPING THE MIND

Rita Carter is a medical writer, twice winner of the Medical Journalist's Association prize for outstanding contributions to medical journalism. Her latest book Mapping the Mind draws on the latest in brain imaging to give extraordinary and accessible insights into how the brain works. Leicester New Walk Museum

7th October 7.30pm: Jack Cohen - THE SCIENCE of DISC WORLD, THE MAGIC of ROUND WORLD

Dr Cohen is at Warwick University; his work bridges the Ecosystems Unit of the Biology Department. and the Mathematics Institute. One of his many books, The Science of the Disc World (with mathematician Ian Stewart and author Terry Pratchett) takes a new look at science. It has been in the bestseller list since its publication earlier this year. Fraser Noble Building, University of Leicester

19th October 7.30pm: Rodger Hake - SCIENCE FUTURES and the FUTURE of COMMERCE

Dr Rodger Hake OBE was director of research at IBM (UK) and is now technical director of the British Computer Society. He is a Fellow of the Society and has been involved with the FORESIGHT panel. Leicester New Walk Museum

29th October 6.00pm: PI - the film (£4.00), followed by a discussion

Obsessed with numbers, Max is seeking patterns in p, the stock market and the Universe, regardless of the cost. Will the maths of the next century really be like this? Leicester Phoenix Arts Theatre

9th November 7.30pm: Malcolm Longair - THE ASTROPHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Professor Malcolm Longair, Jacksonian Professor and Head of Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, is currently Institute of Physics Fellow in the Understanding of Physics. He gave the 1990 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Leicester University Fraser Noble Building

21st November 6.00pm: Blade Runner - the film (£4.00), followed by a discussion

Harrison Ford as the cop in 2019 Los Angeles (a cross between Hong Kong and a 200-storey Metropolis), hunting mutinous androids that have escaped from the off-world colonies. Leicester Phoenix Arts Theatre

22nd November 7.30pm: Nancy Rothwell - KILLERS IN THE MIND

Professor Nancy Rothwell is Professor of Psychiatry at Manchester University, investigating the relation between the brain and the body's response to disease. She gave the 1998 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Leicester New Walk Museum

7th December 7.30pm: Frank Close - LUCIFER'S LEGACY: What's the matter with Matter?

Professor Frank Close is now at CERN (The European Laboratory for Particle Physics). He is author of The Cosmic Onion and gave the 1993 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Leicester New Walk Museum

Admission by ticket available free from Jean Collins, Space Research Centre, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH (telephone 0116 252 2675, Fax 0116 252 2464 or e-mail jeancollins@compuserve.com or at the door.

On the Sunday following each lecture there will be 'TEA at the PHOENIX' an informal discussion hosted by the BAAS. These discussions are a chance to reflect on the substance of the previous lecture, an opportunity for you to put your views and comments whilst enjoying a glass of wine or cup of tea. The discussion session is free. Refreshments are on sale. Everyone is welcome.

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