Thursday 11 October 2007 A Lousy Tale of the Naked Ape, Professor Robin
Weiss, (UCL Immunology & Molecular Pathology) Although human DNA is
98 per cent similar to that of the chimpanzee, the infections we catch are 80
per cent different. Most are new acquisitions that we have picked up as humans
spread across the world. In fact, pandemic infections like smallpox and
influenza only date from the last 12,000 years or so after we formed settled
farming communities and later developed large colonies known as cities. Does the
history of infectious diseases help to predict future epidemics?
Tuesday 16 October 2007 Science in an Age of Delusions: Some Examples from Scientific Fraud, Quackery, Religion and University Politics Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Pharmacology) We have seen a progressive erosion of the enlightenment values which form the very basis of science. The fashion for delusional thinking is already widespread among the general public and
politicians. It has penetrated even into universities as power inexorably moves
from academics to managers. Francis Wheen has suggested that this step backward
towards the dark ages started to become fashionable in about 1979. The more
interesting question is, when will it end?
Robin Weiss is undoubtedly one of the greatest scientists alive, revered and rewarded for his outstanding contributions to the field of HIV research - in particular his elucidation of how the virus docks with T-cells (white blood cells) of the immune sytem using the CD4 protein, and his subsequent work on AIDS-related malignant disease such as Kaposi's sarcoma. This blogger was fortunate enough to be have lectures from Prof. Weiss as a third year undergrad, believe me it'll be worth coming along to this.
As for Prof. Colquhoun, what can I add to what members of the badscience.net community already know? This Fellow of the Royal Society (no less) is a heroic campaigner against all things woo and all things quacky, as readers of his Improbable Science blog will testify. His lecture promises to be a triumphant call-to-arms for us sceptics in the battle against bad science!!
so come along, although as space is usually criminally limited, come along early!!