Numbers: Their Human Aspects. Perspective from Indigenous Cultures

Presented by the Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology (CHAST)

Speaker: Dr Helen Verran, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne.

Many people spend a lot of time looking at numbers, or more to the point, looking through numbers at something else.

In this talk, Dr Helen Verran will take a look at numbers as such. How can we ‘see’ numbers? And why would we want to?

Dr Verran will tell of the experience of working with teachers in primary school classrooms in Nigeria. This made Dr Verran recognise that if we are going to understand how science might come to life as a significant cultural element in places like Nigeria, we need a way to see the cultural lives that things like numbers have.

Having done some preliminary thinking with the help of Nigerian primary school children, Dr Verran turned to her experiences of working with Yolngu Aboriginal Australians who own lands in northeast Arnhem Land.

Dr Verran will make a rather surprising analogy which she suggests can help us better understand the sorts of things numbers are.

Dr Helen Verran is a Reader in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. She has a PhD in metabolic biochemistry. For most of the 1980s she worked as a science lecturer in the Institute for Education at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. Her book Science and an African Logic (2001) was published out of this experience. Since she returned to Australia she has worked with Yolngu Aboriginal communities in northeast Arnhem Land. An early product of this work was the small book Singing the Land, Signing the Land now available online. The website: provides background for her CHAST Lecture.

Free admission, no bookings. All welcome. More info here!

When 8 November 2011, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Where Eastern Avenue Auditorium, University of Sydney
RSVP None!! Just turn up!

Time, Einstein and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe

Professor William D. Phillips (National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland)

At the beginning of the 20th century Einstein changed the way we think about nature. At the beginning of the 21st century Einstein’s thinking is shaping one of the key scientific and technological wonders of contemporary life: atomic clocks, the best timekeepers ever made. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science; they are the heart of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which guides cars, airplanes, and hikers to their destinations.

Today, atomic clocks are still being improved, using atoms cooled to incredibly low temperatures. Atomic gases reach temperatures less than a billionth of a degree above Absolute Zero. Super-cold atoms are at the heart of Primary Clocks, accurate to better than a second in 100 million years. Such atoms also use, and allow tests of, some of Einstein’s strangest predictions.

Professor William D. Phillips, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, will give a lively, multimedia presentation, including experimental demonstrations and down-to-earth explanations about some of today’s most exciting science.

When 6:30pm-8:00pm, Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Where The Seymour Centre
Cost FREE for USYD students (SID required)
$20 Adult/$15 Concession
RSVP Please click here

The Green Deal

In an era marked by deep global recession on one hand and the spectre of climate change on the other, the pursuit of so-called green jobs could become a key economic driver in sectors like energy, transportation, buildings, and infrastructure.

A portion of many national economic stimulus programs contain environment-friendly investments, and additional momentum toward a low-carbon global economy could be gained with the help of a so-called “Green New Deal.” In addition to greening production technologies, skill-building will be critical both for new employment and for transforming existing jobs.

When 6:00pm-6:00pm, Thursday, 27 May 2010
Where New Law School Foyer

Pitch Your Ideas!

Innovative science and technology often means business. However, the scientists who develop these innovations often lack the resources and funding to bring their ideas into the business world.

So you think you’ve got a great idea? Science House is giving you the opportunity to pitch it to a panel of New York angel investors.

Five pitch slots are available and the best applications will be selected. Please send a summary of your idea, its business model and a trial presentation to Dalibor Frtunik.

A sample presentation and other helpful material are here.

When 9:00am, Friday, 23 April 2010
Where New Law School Lecture Theatre 104

Science House is an organisation with the mission of bringing together scientists, entrepreneurs and investors to promote and advance science and technology.

Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation Presentation

This presentation will introduce ANSTO’s 2011 Graduate Development Program.

ANSTO is seeking high quality final year science students who are interested in a diverse and challenging career in the fast growing sector of nuclear science and technology. Applications close on 26 April.

More information

When 12:00pm-1:00pm
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Where Carslaw Lecture Theatre 173

Strategies for A Climate-Friendly Life

Dr Saul Griffith (inventor)

Dr Saul Griffith has multiple degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering. He has received numerous awards, including the National Inventors Hall of Fame Collegiate Inventor’s Award and a MacArthur Genius Fellowship.

Come and hear award-winning inventor Dr Saul Griffith examine strategies for a climate-friendly life.

When 6:00pm-7:00pm, Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Where New Law School, Lecture Theatre 101
RSVP Please click here

Google Tech Talk: Wave and Go

Nigel Tao (software engineer, Google)
Pamela Fox (developer advocate, Google)

Come and find out more about the wave of popular interest generated by Google Wave, a new online tool for real-time communication and collaboration.

Learn about Go, a compiled, garbage-collected, concurrent programming language developed in-house by Google.

Hang around after the talk to mingle over free pizza!

When 4:00pm-5:00pm, Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Where Carslaw Lecture Theatre 273
RSVP Please click here