OLD Hampstead Scientific Society Programme 2022-23
Extra Information

Date Subject (Standard Info) Speaker
Thurs 15 Sept 2022
8:15 pm
Biofabrication Techniques in Organ and Tissue Engineering
because of transport strikes
There is a significant shortage of donor organs for transplantation, and ∼50% of all transplanted organs are rejected within 10 years. To address this, the field of tissue engineering seeks to fabricate lab-grown organs and tissues, using biological scaffolds and patient-derived cells. This talk will describe some recent developments, including the fabrication of the complex blood vessel networks present in all organs; vascular grafts for treating cardiovascular disease and for haemodialysis; and organoids – miniature, self-organised, multicellular structures which replicate much of the complexity and function of real tissue, and which hold significant promise for the future of medicine.
Dr. Alex Justin
(University of Cambridge)
Thurs 20 Oct.
8:15 pm
Is a Common Cold Vaccine Possible?

Prof McLean is a research scientist with over 25 years of experience in monoclonal antibody generation and recombinant antibody expression in academic settings and has developed significant ties with biotechnology and vaccine companies. His scientific training has led him from New Zealand to British Columbia, Canada where he produced and used monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy; New York, USA where he studied antibody gene diversification; and Texas where he continued studies using monoclonal antibodies as antiviral agents. He is currently based in London UK where his research now focuses on monoclonal antibody guided vaccine design for human viruses.
Prof. Gary McLean
(London Metropolitan University)
Thurs 17 Nov
8:15 pm
How Seriously Can We Take the Prospect of Interstellar Travel
Man has through history expressed the wish to fly. Even in ancient times we dreamed of that and even looked up at astronomical bodies like the Moon and wanted to go there. As our technology developed, the ability to fly in the earth's atmosphere became a reality and our ambitions moved even further ahead of that. The moon landings were preceded by technical discussions about its feasibility, and even in Britain before the second world war, where rocketry was prohibited by statute, we had aero-engineers suggesting the technology that might make that feasible. As we then conquered the Moon and reached the other solar system bodies, ambitions once more moved ahead of our capabilities and we looked to the stars. The British Interplanetary Society in the mid-70s carried out a ground-breaking study to look at the feasibility of interstellar travel using believable technology. We will look at their conclusions and where we have reached since then, and look at this in the context of one of the most interesting scientific questions that has always fascinated man.
Prof. Alan Aylward
(University College London)
Thurs 8 Dec
8:15 pm
The Social Intelligence of Bees
Most of us are aware of the hive mind – the power of bees as an amazing collective. But do we know how uniquely intelligent bees are as individuals? In The Mind of a Bee, Lars Chittka draws from decades of research, including his own pioneering work, to argue that bees have remarkable cognitive abilities. He shows that they are profoundly smart, have distinct personalities, can recognize flowers and human faces, exhibit basic emotions, count, use simple tools, solve problems, and learn by observing others. They may even possess consciousness. Taking readers deep into the sensory world of bees, Chittka illustrates how bee brains are unparalleled in the animal kingdom in terms of how much sophisticated material is packed into their tiny nervous systems. He looks at their innate behaviours and the ways their evolution as foragers may have contributed to their keen spatial memory. Chittka also examines the psychological differences between bees and the ethical dilemmas that arise in conservation and laboratory settings because bees feel and think. Throughout, he touches on the fascinating history behind the study of bee behaviour. Exploring an insect whose sensory experiences rival those of humans, The Mind of a Bee reveals the singular abilities of some of the world's most incredible creatures.
Prof. Lars Chittka
(Queen Mary College)
Thurs 19 Jan 2023
8:15 pm
Science on Ice: The U.S. Antarctic Program
Mike Lucibella is the former editor of The Antarctic Sun, the official newspaper of the U.S. Antarctic Program. He's travelled as far south as the South Pole multiple times to report on the science and research carried out across the frozen continent. Drawing on his six years' experience, he's sharing some of the research highlights from his time with the program.
Mike Lucibella
(University College London)
Thurs 16 Feb
8:15 pm
Insects to Feed the World:
Black Soldier Fly as a Sustainable Protein Alternative

Traditional proteins like soy and fishmeal are killing our planet. Raising animals and producing the protein-rich feed they eat require significant natural resources, and are major contributors to deforestation, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. As the global protein demand grows, there is urgency in finding a sustainable, scalable alternative that doesn't cost the earth. Insect protein, especially Black Soldier Fly larvae, uses less land, less water to farm, and can feed on a wide range of organic waste to grow. In this talk, Vivien Lee from Entocycle, a Black Soldier Fly biotech startup in London, illustrates how we can harness the power of nature's best up-cycling machines to revolutionise the way we farm and feed the world.
Vivien Lee
Thurs 16 Mar
8:15 pm
Is It Possible to Live a Carbon-Zero Life?
There is no more important question facing us – collectively and individually – than how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And if it’s not possible to live individual lives without emitting carbon dioxide, then our collective commitment to ‘net zero’ is unlikely to be achieved.
In this talk, Dr de Podesta will briefly describe the nature of the problem of global warming, and then discuss the role of three of the key technologies that over the coming decades will change the way we live: solar PV, batteries, and heat pumps. Are they enough to enable us to live lives without emitting carbon dioxide?
Michael de Podesta retired in 2020 after a career as a Physics lecturer (Birkbeck and UCL) and a measurement scientist (NPL). Since retiring he has devoted his time and life-savings to attempt to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide he emits each year. He writes a blog at http://protonsforbreakfast.org.
Dr. Michael de Podesta
(Protons for Breakfast Blog)
Thurs 20 Apr
8:15 pm
The Thames Tideway Tunnel
The Tideway Tunnel is the largest UK water infrastructure projects which will substantially improve the Thames River. Whilst unseen to most Londoners the Tunnel is now 25km long and 7.2 metres in diameter and snakes along under the River Thames at a cost of around £5bn. The tunnel will be commissioned by 2025. This talk will first consider the history of the London drainage network and drivers for this massive project, with extensive diagrams and photos the tunnelling technology and operation will be presented. A number of the issues and challenges encountered will be discussed and modelling demonstrated. The speaker, David Watts, has been Construction Assurance Engineer for The Tideway Tunnel Project since 2015.
David Watts
(Thames Water)
Thurs 18 May
8:15 pm
Air pollution in London, Past, Present and Future
From the regulation of sea coal to limit smoke in 1307, to the 17th century observations of John Evelyn and John Gaunt of the potential impacts of London's air on the health of the population, London has been centre stage and world leading at both identifying the hazards of air pollution and legislating to protect the public's health. In this lecture Ian Mudway will review the impact of air pollution on London and Londoners over the last 700 years, from the responses to the London smog's 70-years ago, all the way through to current debates around the ULEZ expansion and woodburning.
Prof. Ian Mudway
(Imperial College, London)
Thurs 22 June
Thurs 24 AUG
8:00 pm
AGM: Wine & Cheese £zzz + scientific entertainment

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Last updated  07-Sep-2023