"Essential Science" - A series of talks by
London-based educator Dr Colin Frayn, aimed at explaining the most
important theories in modern science to anyone and everyone,
regardless of background or education.
Colin began his academic life with a top first-class degree in
Astrophysics from the world-leading Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
University. He followed that with a PhD on the evolution history of
nearby galaxies, under the supervision of Prof. Gerry Gilmore, a world
authority on stellar populations.
Since leaving Cambridge, Dr Frayn has pursued a diverse range of
research interests from artificial neural networks and evolutionary
computation through to financial modelling and game playing. He is the
author of an International Master strength chess engine, as well as
being a co-author of the world-record breaking ChessBrain project.
Outside academia, he has a great passion for music, being an
accomplished classical violinist and singer. He also enjoys cookery,
investing and travel writing. He is the author of several books, many
published for free download online. His latest, "The Polished
Savage", covers the interface between Darwinian evolution,
psychology and traditional self-help techniques; a comprehensive
operator's manual for our species' complex mind.
Dr Frayn has lectured on a range of topics from galaxy evolution to
animal communication. The unifying theme of all of his talks is that
the scientific world is one of intrigue and dynamic change, creating a
vast melting-pot of ideas and inspiration which can and should be used
to drive human society forward.
Learning can and should be a form of entertainment. Colin is a
passionate advocate of education, but not in the traditional approach
of dry, academic discourse. His research has shown him that humans
learn best when allowed to interact with the subject material, and
visualise the topic in question by means of analogy and creative
Dr Frayn is willing to lecture on any topic in science, with a focus
on the public (non-expert) audience. He firmly believes that there is
no subject in all of science so complicated that it cannot be taught
in under an hour, at least to a fundamental level of understanding. He
does not accept that the traditional measures of 'school smarts' and
IQ are an effective rating of an individual's capacity to learn. In
his experience, learning is limited only by an individual's desire to
absorb new knowledge and a teacher's ability to explain that knowledge
in a way resonant with the student's natural ability.
Dr Frayn has lectured on the following topics. He is always looking
for suggestions for new topics with which to expand his
repertoire. For specific enquiries, please contact the address
Mergers, Sabotage and Cannibalism The Gruesome Secrets of our Galactic Neighbours
Fifteen billion years ago, the Universe was born. And since that
fateful event, it has become a raging battlefield, witnessing clashes
of such dramatic magnitude that the entirety of human conflict pales
in comparison. In this talk I examine the vicious soap-opera that is
our local galactic neighbourhood and explain how, through
investigative techniques that would make Sherlock Holmes proud,
astronomers have been piecing back together the story behind the
Nature's Best-Kept Secrets Learning from Evolution
What can you do with three billion years and a lot of trial-and-error?
Well, that all depends on whether you learn from your mistakes.
Nature has done just that, and the fruits are all around us. The
power of the process of evolution is undeniable, yet rarely
appreciated. So what lessons can we learn from nature, and how has
science stolen these highly-polished techniques in order to vastly
improve our own lives?
Why Do Honeybees Dance? How Communication in Nature Achieves the Incredible
Communication in the natural world can take many forms, only some of
which are based on sound. Ants lay chemical trails to alert their
colleagues to sources of food, and bees communicate through a series
of elaborate dances. Simple communication can lead to extremely
complex and efficient behaviour, from the construction of immense
termite mounds, to the operation of the world's financial markets. By
learning the secrets of nature's most ingenious communicators, we can
harness their power to improve our world.
32,000 Heads are Better Than One Why Distributed Computation Isn't Just for Detecting Aliens
The 21st century has heralded the birth of "phone a friend"
culture. There is no need to know everything, so long as you can find
someone else who does. The internet has allowed anyone to find the
answer to nearly any question, at the touch of a button. But it does
much more than that - it allows humans to do what they're best at - to
cooperate. The history of human dominance on planet Earth shows how
cooperation can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. And we're all
familiar with the efficiency of 'strength in numbers'.
Distributed computation is all about pooling our resources to tackle
the largest problems that face humankind. It has been used to decode
the human genome, to help cure cancer and to explore the working of
many chemicals fundamental to life. But how exactly does it work, and
how is this revolutionary technology going to impact the world of you
If you have any further questions, please contact Dr Frayn at firstname.lastname@example.org.