Pint of Science is a non-profit organisation that brings some of the most brilliant scientists to the local pub to discuss their latest research and findings.
Pubs have a long history of being a cultural centre for communities. When we go to comedy, music, poetry, quiz nights or other events in pubs, we feel far more comfortable and at ease than we do when we're at the theatre or a large music venue.
It's as if we are part of the making, creating an atmosphere in a contained space which bounces and resonates very quickly between the performer and audience. For a good few hours, an alliance is formed between everyone involved, making the night feel special.
Having been a scientific researcher in nanobiology, I know that this atmosphere is exactly what scientists crave for. Our passion about the science of black holes or how the brain is wired is matched only by our craving to talk about it with anyone who will listen and share our enthusiasm (or maybe even challenge us!).
Scientists have long used the pub to socialise or discuss new ideas with colleagues – famously the Eagle pub in Cambridge was where scientists Francis Crick and James Watson used to go to chat science. In 1953, they interrupted lunchtime to announce that they had "discovered the secret of life" after they had come up with their proposal for the structure of DNA, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize.
This is why, five years ago with my good friend Dr Praveen Paul, we founded Pint of Science - science talks in the pub.
This idea has been around a long time; our twist was to run events in multiple pubs across the country at the same time, making it an annual three-day festival of science in May.
Our drive to kick-start Pint of Science was partly fuelled by the realisation that our non-scientist friends didn't know that growing brain cells in petri dishes was possible and also that many researchers were passionate about volunteering to put the events together. In the process we have come across some really interesting pubs and have found them to be very accommodating.
Everyone has a fascination about a certain scientific subject, whether it's driven by Star Wars or a friend with a medical condition, we all have a thirst to understand more and to discuss it down the pub. The internet can be very confusing if you trying to understand current research, so why not hear it from the source itself - the scientist!
Pint of Science provides an incredible opportunity for anyone to come listen to and chat with current researchers in their local pub. Rather than an overview on a scientific subject, we get researchers to explain what and why they are doing it.
If your interest is in stem cells, the cosmos, climate change or why we fall in love, we have found research scientists in the field.
During 15, 16, 17 May 2017, we will hold 450 events in pubs across 26 cities in the UK (the idea has also spread across more than 10 countries and 150 cities). We will have more than 1000 speakers so you're sure to find a topic that you're interested in.
We hope to see you there and quench your thirst for knowledge.
- When: 15-17 May 2017
- Where: 26 cities and 150 pubs across the UK
- Get involved: pintofscience.co.uk