Friday, April 28, 2006

Dana Centre events in May

There is a particularly rich selection in May of medicine-related events at the Dana Centre (located next door to Imperial College on Queen's Gate). Events are free and open to over-18s only. Places must be booked by calling 020 7942 4040 or by emailing

'Games' are the latest trend in trying to involve the public in decision-making on matters of science policy. DECIDE is the latest of these. It is a card-based game in which teams negotiate positions. The results are reported back to the real policy makers in Europe. To participate in a game on stem-cell policy, turn up on 3 May, 18.30 to 20.30. More details here.

A very hot topic at the moment is 'personalised medicine'. On 9 May, 19.00 to 20.30, there will be a discussion on the implications of tailoring pharmaceuticals to people's genomes. Imperial's own Katharina Wulff is one of the speakers. More details here.

This event is not specifically medical, but will hopefully be of interest to aspiring writers: the 'subtle short story competition'. It aims to inspire scientists to put their research into fiction. Winners will have their stories published in GuardianUnlimited. You have to attend the event on 10 May, 19.30 to 21.30, to be able to register for the competition.

On 17 May, 19.00 to 20.30, the links between madness and creativity in the life and works of Van Gogh will be explored. An actor playing Van Gogh will be attending, in character. I think we may need a doctor on hand to sew back his ear! Find out more here.

For the event on 18 May, 19.00 to 21.00, there is a warning on the Dana website: 'Please note that as sharp instruments may be handled, no alcohol will be served this evening.' You can practise being a brain surgeon. Unfortunately not on real brains (I had a few in mind!), but it does sound like fun. A panel of experts from KCH will talk about neurosurgery before the hands-on bit. More information here.

On 31 May, 19.00 to 20.30, there is a discussion on synaesthesia (that curious phenomenon where some people 'see' sounds and 'hear' colours). A recent collaboration between musicians and scientists has resulted in an animation of the way synaesthetes react to music. More information here.

You can't help admiring the Dana for coming up with lots of interesting talks and events (their full programme features 14 events in May). I've been to three or four in the past and it's always been an enjoyable evening. If anyone managed to go to any of the events, please let us know what you think.

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