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Public Lecture: Niki Athanasiadou - Science Everyday: Simple Rules to Critical Thinking

Niki Athanasiadou - Science Everyday: Simple Rules to Critical Thinking

When: November 21, 2015 @ 3PM

Where: Jefferson Market Library (425 Ave of the Americas at 10th Street)

Over centuries of experience, breakthroughs, and setbacks, science has developed an approach that aims to eliminate the proliferation of error in thought. Viewed this way, the (quest for the) scientific method has been a driving force in shaping human history.Today we seem at crossroads. New information is bombarding us daily, demanding from each of us to take a stance in order to secure our future. Is climate change really threatening us? Are vaccines more harmful than good? Using knowledge gained from science, we will attempt to codify this set of cognitive skills so that everyone has the tools to address these important questions..

Niki Athanasiadou (PhD), is a research scientist in NYU. Her work focuses on the molecular mechanisms that regulate the timing and amplitude with which specific genes pass their instructions to the cell. She combines classical molecular biology techniques, high-throughput DNA sequencing technology, and computational approaches to build a comprehensive model of how these mechanisms are orchestrated. Niki writes for the on-line magazine BiteSize Bio on issues relating to the latest DNA sequencing technologies and the discoveries they have facilitated in the recent years. She was a guest on the podcast “Data Skeptic” discussing how personalized medicine and big data have revolutionized bio-medical research. Niki graduated from the School of Biology in Aristotele’s University of Thessaloniki (Greece), has a Master of Research, awarded with distinction by the University of York (UK) and received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Edinburgh (UK). Her work has been published in multiple scientific journals, and she has been awarded the Promega UK Young Scientist Award for Biochemistry, by the British Biochemical Society, alongside other fellowships and awards..

This event is free and open to the public.

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Save the Date for NECSS 2016

May 12-15, 2016, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City

Join us for the Eighth Annual Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism!

We are thrilled to announce that the eighth annual Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticismwill take place May 12-15 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City!

Over 500 attendees will gather for four full days of presentations, panels, and workshops featuring over thirty speakers from the world of science and skepticism.

Joining us again as conference co-sponsors are both the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe and the Society for Science-Based Medicine. Members of both organizations, as well as New York City Skeptics members, will enjoy discounted registration at the conference. Please consider joining!

NECSS weekend will also feature evening performances and social activities available to conference attendees as well as the general public. Already confirmed are the full Skeptics' Guide to the Universe Rogues, who will present their "Skeptical Extravaganza," as well as the renowned Richard Wiseman, who will present a special exhibition of his work "Experimental."

The Hilton Fashion District, located one block from the main conference hall, will offer discounted rooms to conference attendees. Details will be available shortly, but the number of discounted rooms will be limited, and we encourage everyone to book their reservations as soon as possible.

Early bird conference registration will open in just a few weeks. Until then, you can stay updated by liking the NECSS Facebook page or following us on Twitter.

See you in May!


An Evening with Lee Cronin - The Evolutionary Genesis Engine

When: Thursday October 22, 2015 @ 7PM (reception starts at 6PM) 
Where: The City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center, 85 St Nicholas Terrace New York, NY 10031

What is life? How did life start on planet earth 3.5 billion years ago, and which molecules / chemical systems lead to biology? Could evolution be the ultimate creationist? Is there are general theory of evolution that extends to all matter? Can we make or evolve life from scratch in a matter of hours? These are fantastically interesting questions but in this lecture, rather than look back into the past, we will look to the future and discuss how chemists may go about creating new types of truly synthetic (artificial or inorganic biology). In embarking upon this quest we will be asking the question “What is the minimal chemical system that can undergo Darwinian evolution?” and in doing so looking towards the concept of ‘adaptive matter’ and evolvable materials and chemical systems. The aim is inorganic biology, or more simply, a living system that does not the current chemical infrastructure utilized by biology.

Lee Cronin FRSE. Professional Career: 2013-Regius Professor of Chemistry. Alexander von Humboldt research fellow (Uni. of Bielefeld); 1997-1999: Research fellow (Uni. of Edinburgh); 1997: Ph.D. Bio-Inorganic Chemistry, Uni. of York; 1994 BSc. Chemistry, First Class, Uni. of York. Prizes include 2015 RSC Tilden Prize, 2013 BP/RSE Hutton Prize, 2012 RSC Corday Morgan, 2011 RSC Bob Hay Lectureship, a Wolfson-Royal Society Merit Award in 2009, Election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2009. The focus of Cronin’s work is understanding and controlling self-assembly and self-organisation in Chemistry to develop functional molecular and nano-molecular chemical systems (including solar fuel systems); linking architectural design with function and recently engineering system-level functions (e.g. coupled catalytic self-assembly, emergence of inorganic materials and fabrication of inorganic cells that allow complex cooperative behaviours). Much of this work is converging on exploring the assembly and engineering of emergent chemical systems aiming towards ‘inorganic biology’. This work has been presented in over 320 papers and 280 lectures worldwide. It is also worth pointing out that the expertise in the Cronin group (which numbers over 50 people and > £10 M in funding) is unique bringing together inorganic / synthetic chemists, chemical engineers, flow chemistry, digital chemistry, complex system modelling, evolutionary theory, robotics and AI.

This event is free and open to the public. Presented by ASRC and NYCS

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