Pint of Science
Pint of Science Podcast - Dr Raia Hadsell - Artificial Intelligence researcher [Episode 10]

Pint of Science Podcast - Dr Raia Hadsell - Artificial Intelligence researcher [Episode 10]

May 20, 2019

Episode 10 – Dr Raia Hadsell

In this final (sniff) episode of series 1, we were lucky enough to catch up with Dr Raia Hadsell, senior research scientist with world-renowned artificial intelligence research company DeepMind. DeepMind describe their mission as being ‘to push the boundaries of AI, developing programmes that can learn to solve a complex problem without needing to be taught how’. Artificial intelligence is an increasingly important part of our day to day lives and, whatever your feelings on it, it’s only going to become more important over the coming decades. So we were pretty chuffed that Raia was up for a chat!

Due in no small part to the Terminator films, there are sci-fi myths aplenty surrounding the world of AI research. We decided to use today to demystify the subject and get a better insight into what day to day AI research actually looks like for those carrying it out. What we found was that, in many ways, working with AI is like working with a clever and slightly mischievous child… Happy listening, and we’ll be back later this year with series 2!

Welcome back to the Pint of Science podcast. Each week, we meet scientists in pubs around the UK to find out about their lives, their universe, and everything. From *how* fruit flies love to *why* humans love, via jumping into volcanoes, winning Olympic medals, where we came from and more!

Like what we do? Let us know using the hashtag #pintcast19. And be sure to subscribe to us and rate us on your favourite podcasting platform!

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The Pint of Science podcast is a part of the Pint of Science Festival, the world's largest science communication festival. Thousands of guests and speakers descend on pubs in hundreds of cities worldwide to introduce science in a fun, engaging, and usually pint-fuelled way.

This podcast is made possible with the help of our sponsors Brilliant.org. Do check them out, and visit www.brilliant.org/pintofscience/ where the first 200 people who sign up will get 20% off a Premium plan! 

About Raia Hadsell, this week's guest:

Originally from California, Raia’s undergraduate degree was in religion and philosophy, but she made the transition to computer science at PhD level, with a thesis entitled ‘Learning Long-range vision for off-road robots’. She worked as a postdoc at Carnegie Mellon University and a research scientist at SRI International, both in the US, before moving to London in 2014 to join the DeepMind team. Follow Raia on Twitter (@RaiaHadsell)

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Pint of Science Podcast - Prof. Jeff Forshaw - Particle Physicist [Episode 9]

Pint of Science Podcast - Prof. Jeff Forshaw - Particle Physicist [Episode 9]

May 13, 2019

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Episode  - Professor Jeff Forshaw

There’s stuff everywhere. It’s there when you look out the window, it’s there when you’re doing your groceries, it’s even there when you look up into the night sky. But where did all the stuff come from, and what is it made of? What would happen if you broke something down into it’s constituent parts, and then broke those down, and then broke those down? How far could you go?

No, this isn’t a Philomena Cunk episode, this is particle physics with Jeff Forshaw, Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester. His research sees him crunching the data from some of the world’s most fascinating particle physics experiments, and looking for hidden gems of information about the tiny building blocks of our universe.

We found ourselves in the Salutation Pub in Manchester yet again for a lovely chat and a pint (or three) with Jeff, trying to answer the question of whether matter really matters, or if we were quarking up the wrong tree… We talked about whether the Large Hadron Collider could create a black hole (spoiler alert: no), becoming a professor at the tender age of 36, and what it’s like to write books with Brian Cox.

Welcome back to the Pint of Science podcast. Each week, we meet scientists in pubs around the UK to find out about their lives, their universe, and everything. From *how* fruit flies love to *why* humans love, via jumping into volcanoes, winning Olympic medals, where we came from and more!

Like what we do? Let us know using the hashtag #pintcast19. And be sure to subscribe to us and rate us on your favourite podcasting platform!

The Pint of Science podcast is a part of the Pint of Science Festival, the world's largest science communication festival. Thousands of guests and speakers descend on pubs in hundreds of cities worldwide to introduce science in a fun, engaging, and usually pint-fuelled way.

This podcast is made possible with the help of our sponsors Brilliant.org. Do check them out, and visit www.brilliant.org/pintofscience/ where the first 200 people who sign up will get 20% off a Premium plan! 

About Jeff Forshaw, this week’s guest:

After his teenage years in the Northwest building his own golf rankings, Jeff Forshaw took his considerable talents to Oriel College, Oxford, where he earned a first class degree in physics, followed by a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Manchester. His PhD thesis was on ‘the parton content of the photon and photon-induced minijets’, and no that’s not about Dolly Parton or tiny planes, we checked.

Following his PhD, Jeff found himself back in Oxfordshire as a postdoctoral researcher under renowned particle physicist Frank Close. A move back to Manchester saw him becoming professor of particle physics at the young age of 36, where he now looks at data from some of the world’s most important particle physics experiments, including the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. Jeff met fellow Manchester prof Brian Cox when he lectured Brian on Advanced Quantum Field Theory (despite being around the same age), and they have since written a series of critically-acclaimed popular science books together, including Why does E=MC2?, The Quantum Universe, and Universal: a guide to the cosmos.

He’s also consulted for a host of TV programmes. His public engagement work earned him the Kelvin Medal and Prize for outstanding contribution to public understanding of physics in 2013. For a glimpse of Jeff in action, here’s a clip of him on Newsround explaining why the Higg’s Boson is like cosmic treacle (let’s face it, a children’s news show is about our level for particle physics).  

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Pint of Science Podcast - Professor Saiful Islam - Materials chemist and renewable energy enthusiast [Episode 8]

Pint of Science Podcast - Professor Saiful Islam - Materials chemist and renewable energy enthusiast [Episode 8]

May 6, 2019

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Episode 8 - Professor Saiful Islam

The world is facing an energy crisis – our current energy storage and conversion technologies must continue to evolve to cope with an ever-growing population, but to avert a climate catastrophe science needs to meet those demands in a green and sustainable way. Well, thanks goodness then for people like Saiful Islam, Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Bath and our guest for episode 8!

We caught up with Saiful at The Assembly Inn, Bath, to hear about his upbringing in Crouch End (apparently not as cool in the 70s as it is today), his optimistic outlook, his penchant for 3D glasses and how he likes to model... We also got to hear some behind-the-scenes stories from Saiful’s excellent Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (see below for videos), including tales of baking with GBBO star Selasi Gbormittah and nearly taking Richard Dawkins' head clean off with a cannon ball. Be sure to listen right to the end to hear Saiful’s extremely impressive performance in our inaugural ‘Periodic Table Music Quiz’.

Welcome back to the Pint of Science podcast. Each week, we meet scientists in pubs around the UK to find out about their lives, their universe, and everything. From *how* fruit flies love to *why* humans love, via jumping into volcanoes, winning Olympic medals, where we came from and more!

Like what we do? Let us know using the hashtag #pintcast19. And be sure to subscribe to us and rate us on your favourite podcasting platform!

The Pint of Science podcast is a part of the Pint of Science Festival, the world's largest science communication festival. Thousands of guests and speakers descend on pubs in hundreds of cities worldwide to introduce science in a fun, engaging, and usually pint-fuelled way.

This podcast is made possible with the help of our sponsors Brilliant.org. Do check them out, and visit www.brilliant.org/pintofscience/ where the first 200 people who sign up will get 20% off a Premium plan! 

About Saiful Islam, this week's guest:

After a youth sound-tracked by The Stranglers, The Jam and of course The Smiths, Saiful Islam decided to further his scientific education, and bagged himself a BSc and PhD from University College London, under the supervision of Professor Richard Catlow. An exciting post-doc in New York, investigating oxide superconductors, cemented Saiful’s passion for research and he returned to the UK in 1990 to become a lecturer and later reader at the University of Surrey, before eventually making his way to Bath to take up his current position in 2006. He now researches new classes of compounds for rechargeable lithium batteries and next-generation solar cells, with a view to meeting our growing energy demands in a green and sustainable way.

His academic work and his public engagement work have earned him a health list of accolades. Perhaps his highest profile public engagement work was delivering the Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer in 2016, a clip from which you can view right here:

You can also follow Saiful on Twitter (@SaifulChemistry) and contribute to his impressive page of albums and hit singles with chemistry references.

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