For information about attending a Salisbury Cafe Scientifique event, see the Attending an Event section; there is also more general information in the Frequently Asked Questions section and help on making the most of this calendar in the Calendar Help section. If you fancy a night of science outside but close to Salisbury, there is also this filtered list of nearby events.

Contact Tracing – Learning from Other Diseases –
Jun 1 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Title to be confirmed – Elena Boto, University of Nottingham
Jun 1 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Abstract not available

Computational Neuroscience Journal Club – Mate Lengyel (Engineering Department) @ Online on Zoom
Jun 2 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Please join us for our fortnightly journal club online via zoom where two presenters will jointly present a topic together.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 873 7060 3771

Password: 732070

The next topic is ‘probabilistic representations’ presented by Mate Lengyel and Wayne Soo.

Mate will begin by introducing and comparing different types of neural representations of uncertainty. Wayne will then present a very recent paper that delves into such representations by analysing monkey V1 recordings: Representation of visual uncertainty through neural gain variability

Wayne will then discuss a new and rapidly evolving research direction that makes use of the advent of AI in the context of probabilistic representations for constructing neural network models: Efficient probabilistic inference in generic neural networks trained with non-probabilistic feedback

and analysing neural data:
A neural basis of probabilistic computation in visual cortex

ATLAS Calorimeter R&D – Prof. Iacopo Vivarelli (University of Sussex) @ Ryle Seminar Room (Rutherford 930)
Jun 2 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract not available

How to compute spectral properties of operators on Hilbert spaces with error control – Matthew Colbrook — DAMTP @ Zoom
Jun 3 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Computing spectra of operators is fundamental in the sciences, with wide-ranging applications in condensed-matter physics, quantum mechanics and chemistry, statistical mechanics, etc. While there are algorithms that in certain cases converge to the spectrum (e.g. Bloch’s theorem for periodic operators), no general procedure is known that (a) always converges, (b) provides bounds on the errors of approximation, and (c) provides approximate eigenvectors. This may lead to incorrect simulations. It has been an open problem since the 1950s to decide whether such reliable methods exist at all. We affirmatively resolve this question, and the algorithms provided are optimal, realizing the boundary of what digital computers can achieve. The algorithms work for discrete operators and operators over the continuum such as PDEs. Moreover, they are easy to implement and parallelize, offer fundamental speed-ups, and allow problems that before, regardless of computing power, were out of reach. Results are demonstrated on difficult problems such as the spectra of quasicrystals and non-Hermitian phase transitions in optics. This algorithm is part of a wider programme on determining what is computationally possible and optimal for spectral properties in infinite-dimensional spaces. If time permits, we will also discuss extensions to compute other spectral properties such as measures. The main paper for this talk can be found here and more details on this programme can be found here

The mechanical side of artificial intelligence – Dr Rob Wood, Harvard @ Meeting ID: 814 9226 3459
Jun 3 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Artificial Intelligence typically focuses on perception, learning, and control methods to enable autonomous robots to make and act on decisions in real environments. On the contrary, our research is focused on the design, mechanics, materials, and manufacturing of novel robot platforms that make perception, control, or action easier or more robust for natural, unstructured, and often unpredictable environments. Key principles in this pursuit include bioinspired designs, smart materials for novel sensors and actuators, and the development of multi-scale, multi-material manufacturing methods. This talk will illustrate this philosophy by highlighting the creation of two classes of robots with unique hardware challenges: soft-bodied robots and bioinspired microrobots.
Professor Robert Wood is the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Chair of Bioengineering at Harvard, and a National Geographic Explorer. Prof. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the winner of multiple awards for his work including the DARPA Young Faculty Award, NSF Career Award, ONR Young Investigator Award, Air Force Young Investigator Award, Technology Review’s TR35, and multiple best paper awards. In 2010 Wood received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama for his work in microrobotics. In 2012 he was selected for the Alan T. Waterman award, the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious early career award. In 2014 he was named one of National Geographic’s “Emerging Explorers”. Wood’s group is also dedicated to STEM education by using novel robots to motivate young students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Ice streams: fantastic beasts and how to model them – Elisa Mantelli, Princeton University
Jun 3 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Flow organization into systems of narrow, fast-flowing ice streams, is a well-known feature of ice sheets. A quintessential aspect of these ice streams is that they can emerge spontaneously out of an otherwise uniform flow, self-organize in evenly spaced patterns, and switch on and off over time, with major implications for the mass balance of ice sheets. While these dynamics render ice streams fascinating, they are also deeply troublesome. In fact, our understanding of the physics driving them is far from complete, thus impeding attempts to model future ice sheet behavior numerically over timescales longer than a few decades. In this talk, I strip away much of the sophistication involved in `operational’ ice sheet models to look at the necessary ingredients to capture ice stream dynamics in minimal continuum models. I will first identify the basic feedbacks responsible for oscillations in streaming flow, and how natural variability in climate forcing affects them. I will then delve into the spatial dynamics of ice streams, outlining how ice flow localization into distinct ice streams may emerge as an instability of the transition in space from a frozen ice sheet bed, where no sliding can occur, to a temperate one, where sliding dominates the motion of the ice.

The clinical and biological basis of prostate cancer – from diagnosis to personalised therapy – Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam, Department of Surgery, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust @ Online
Jun 4 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am

This talk will be delivered remotely on Google Meet- “”:URL

The Truth about Suicide: the effect the death of a patient by suicide has on the clinician – Dr Rachel Gibbons, Director of Therapies for the Priory Group @ Webinar (via Zoom online)- link to follow
Jun 4 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Suicide is something that is at the back of our minds in a lot of our work with patients. Given its importance and the fear that it generates, it is surprising that there is very little known about its nature or aetiology. This talk aims to confront the ‘Truth’ about suicide. It will look at the psychoanalytic understanding of suicidal states of mind and test this by looking at real cases. What leads someone to take their own life? Can it be prevented? The profound effect the suicide of a patient has on the clinician working with them will be discussed. Knowledge gained about how to process and work with this trauma will be shared.

[Online talk] – Monosyllabic Salience in Cantonese: Facilitation of transference of monosyllabic English words (MEWs) into Hong Kong Cantonese-English mixed code – Prof David Li (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) @ Online
Jun 4 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Li et al. (2016) found a large number of monosyllabic English words (MEWs) in Hong Kong Cantonese-English mixed code, a tendency which is more marked for verbs and adjectives than nouns, the latter being subjected to a bisyllabic constraint (Luke and Lau 2008, cf. Li 2017). Monosyllabicity as a typological characteristic helps account for the transference of MEWs into Cantonese. In a corpus of informal writing collected from Hong Kong Chinese newspaper columns (mid-1990s), roughly one in 4–5 unintegrated insertions is monosyllabic. In a separate corpus of online data (facebook), roughly one in two MEW words is monosyllabic. Monosyllabic Salience is supported by five lexico-syntactic features: (a) truncation of polysyllabic English words (PEWs) to monosyllables; (b) shorter average word length compared with Mandarin; (c) truncation of the first syllable of a PEW embedded in an A-not-A question; (d) exploitation of bilingual homophony for punning; and (e) coinage of Romanized ‘mono’ Cantonese words like chok and hea. The findings support Michael Clyne’s (2003) theory of facilitation (cf. ‘triggering’), which explains why transference of linguistic (phonological, lexical, syntactic, semantic, etc.) features tends to be facilitated if such features are shared in the pool of linguistic resources within the speaker’s plurilingual repertoire.

Keywords: Code-switching, translanguaging, borrowing, facilitation of transference, monosyllabicity

References cited
Clyne, M. (2003). Dynamics of language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Li, David C.S. (2017). Multilingual Hong Kong: Languages, literacies and identities. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Li, David C.S., Wong, Cathy S.P., Leung, W.M. & Wong, Sam. T.S. (2016). Facilitation of transference: The case of monosyllabic salience in Hong Kong Cantonese. Linguistics 54(1): 1-58.

Luke, Kang-Kwong & Chaak-Ming Lau. (2008). On loanword truncation in Cantonese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 17(4). 347-362.

Cascaded quantum systems – strongly correlated transport and remote interactions – Prof. Klemens Hammerer, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Leibniz Universität Hannover @ Details of video conferencing will be distributed nearer the time.
Jun 4 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

When light is coupled sequentially to a chain of atoms – or any other type of scatterer with internal structure – the resulting dynamics of the chain of systems is described by the formalism of cascaded quantum systems. I will report on recent work on the many-body dynamics of cascaded quantum systems in connection with chains of atoms coupled to a 1D waveguide. I will show that even for weakly coupled atoms a strongly correlated photon transport can occur. The photon correlations result from an interplay of nonlinearity and coupling to a loss reservoir, which creates a strong effective interaction between transmitted photons. I also want to talk about the effective quantum dynamics that can be generated in cascaded systems when the waveguide is looped and coupled more than once to one or more emitters. While the lecture will mainly deal with theoretical aspects, I will also briefly discuss related experimental observations in the groups of Arno Rauschenbeutel (U Berlin) and Philipp Treutlein (U Basel).

arXiv:1803.02428 [PRL 121, 143601 (2018)],

arXiv:2004.14424 [Science (May 2020)].

System Identification of Neuronal Behaviors – Thiago Burghi, University of Cambridge @ Cambridge University Engineering Department
Jun 4 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

In order to estimate reliable models from noisy input-output data, system identification techniques usually require that the data be generated by a process with a fading memory. Non-equilibrium systems such as neuronal and chaotic models lack a fading memory. Their identification is challenging, in particular in the presence of process noise.
To approach the problem of neuronal system identification, we build on the fundamental observation that neuronal systems have a global relative degree of one, and a contracting internal dynamics. In particular, while a neuronal system does not have a fading memory, its inverse dynamics does; this allows endowing neuronal systems with fading memory by output feedback. Based on these properties, we first analyze the asymptotic behavior of the prediction-error method when applied to the identification of single-compartment conductance-based models subject to input-additive noise. We show that consistent estimates can be obtained by gathering data under voltage-clamp, when measurement noise (but not process noise) is neglected. We then approach the multiple-input-multiple-output problem of identifying a biophysical neuronal network from a black-box perspective. We propose identifying the MIMO system’s internal dynamics using a universal approximator model structure, given by a filter bank of orthogonal basis transfer functions cascaded with multilayer static artificial neural networks. We show that identification of single neurons and half-center oscillators is successful, and that the identified models capture the localized regions of negative conductance that are characteristic of biophysical neuronal systems.

The seminar can be accessed following the link:

Virtual Conversation: Central European Science in Perspective – See description @ Zoom
Jun 4 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Speakers: *Holly Case* (Brown University), *Michael Gordin* (Princeton University), *Richard Staley* (University of Cambridge)

If you would like to take part and you do not already have the Zoom link, please register here:

The partonic structure of the electron – Stefano Frixione (Genoa) @ Virtual Seminar
Jun 4 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

*The seminar will take place via vidyo “here”: .
The explicit url is: .*

Although the computation of a vast class of e+e− cross sections is fully doable in perturbative QED, the perturbative series is not well behaved unless a mechanism is devised that allows one to take into account, to all orders in the coupling constant, the effects due to multiple emissions of photons and e+e− pairs off the incoming particles. I shall discuss one such mechanism, that has a strict analogy with its counterpart in QCD and is based upon the so-called Parton Distribution Functions (PDFs) of the electron and the positron. I shall present recent results that have improved the accuracy to which these PDFs are known.

CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19 – TBC – Dr Alexandra Perovic (UCL)
Jun 4 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Tea Time Talk Poster Session – Speaker to be confirmed @ Online (Zoom)
Jun 5 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract not available

TBA – Patrick Forterre, Pasteur Institute
Jun 5 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract not available

Why can’t I get rid of this belief? – Dr Anabela Pinto @ Online
Jun 5 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Some beliefs seem to be more resilient to change and extinction than others. This paper argues that some of the strong beliefs held by humans have deep biological roots in our evolutionary past, and the neuronal pathways and structures that support them can be found in other species. This paper describes four basic universal criteria present in persistent beliefs: intuitibility, predictability, reliability and utility (IPRU). The paper argues that the study of belief as a modern scientific discipline will require consideration of the evolutionary context through which the neural pathways associated with belief formation, maintenance and endorsement have emerged. We also suggest that the study of religious belief has discouraged the adoption of an overarching framework for understanding our belief system in all its breadth. Our approach incorporates evolution-driven cognitive and affective biases, attachment mechanisms and reward expectation. Rather than operating as genuinely adaptive phenomena associated with evolutionary advantage, we suggest that belief systems emerge as a by-product of evolutionary pressures.

The Weddell Polynya: when will it come back? – Casimir de Lavergne, LOCEAN, Sorbonne University
Jun 9 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

In the mid 1970s, an area the size of Italy remained ice free for three winters in a row in the central Weddell Sea near Antarctica, despite atmospheric temperatures under -20ºC. This massive climatic anomaly, called the Weddell Polynya, has not recurred since. Recently, evidence for an impact of anthropogenic emissions on such climatic events, and furtive openings of the winter ice pack in the region, reignited interest in past and future occurrences of the Polynya. In this talk, I will discuss factors controlling polynya formation in the subpolar Southern Ocean and their projected evolution. Implications in the context of current observed trends in Southern Hemisphere climate will be evoked.

VHbb – Elisabeth Schopf (University of Oxford) @ Ryle Seminar Room (Rutherford 930)
Jun 9 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract not available

The promise of proton therapy in Paediatric tumours – Dr Thankamma Ajithkumar, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust @ Clinical School Lecture Theatre 2
Jun 11 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am

This lecture will be delivered as a remote talk on Google Meet- “”:URL

Integrating physical and mental health care in children’s services – Professor Isobel Heyman, Psychological Medicine Team, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children @ Webinar (via Zoom online)- link to follow
Jun 11 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Abstract not available

TBD – Ilario Cirillo, University of Cambridge
Jun 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm


The seminar can be accessed following the link:

Virtual Conversation: Citizen Science – See description @ Zoom
Jun 11 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Recent decades have seen pleas and initiatives for public participation in science as a way of increasing the trustworthiness of knowledge production and making it more accountable. Three speakers examine central issues surrounding citizen science, democratisation and trust from the perspectives of sociology, epistemology and philosophy of science.

Speakers: *Jennifer Gabrys* (University of Cambridge), *Axel Gelfert* (TU Berlin), *Inkeri Koskinen* (Tampere University)

If you would like to take part and you do not already have the Zoom link, please register here:

Charged leptoquarks (tentative) – Matthew Kirk (Rome) @ Virtual Seminar
Jun 11 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract not available

Title to be confirmed – Robin Ince, University of Glasgow
Jun 15 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Abstract not available

Cosmic Ray Muography – Prof. Ralf Kaiser (University of Glasgow) @ Ryle Seminar Room (Rutherford 930)
Jun 16 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Muons are fundamental, charged particles that form part of our naturally-occurring background radiation. They are produced in particle showers in the upper atmosphere from the impact of cosmic rays. These muons are incident at sea-level at a rate of about one per square centimetre per minute and with average energies of about 3 GeV — approximately four orders of magnitude more than typical X-rays. Muons are highly penetrating and can traverse hundreds of metres of rock, which has opened up the possibility to use them for challenging imaging applications.

Muography is an established technique in volcanology, it has been used to find a cavity in the pyramid of Khufu in Egypt and over the last years a wide variety of applications have been explored — ranging from cargo screening to nuclear waste characterisation and carbon storage monitoring.

Lynkeos Technology is a spin-out company from the University of Glasgow, founded in 2016 following a 7-year, £4.8M research programme funded by the NDA. The Lynkeos Muon Imaging System is the worldwide first, CE-marked muon imaging system for the characterization of nuclear waste containers. It has been successfully deployed on the Sellafield site in October 2018.

This talk will give an overview of muography applications worldwide and present the activities of Lynkeos Technology in detail, with a focus on the characterization of nuclear waste containers.

Role of cellular senescence in cancer and ageing: therapeutic opportunities – Dr Daniel Munoz-Espin, Group Leader, Department of Oncology. @ Online
Jun 18 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am

This lecture will be delivered as a remote talk on Google Meet- “”:URL

Symptoms of the Schizophrenia Treatment – Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea, consultant psychiatrist and associate lecturer, Clozapine Clinic Cambridge and University of Cambridge
Jun 18 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Schizophrenia is defined by psychosis but also presents a range of
other non-psychotic phenomena including behavioural, physical and
mental symptoms. Medication is effective for psychosis but might also
cause, unmask or worsen phenomena that resemble schizophrenia’s
non-psychotic symptoms. After decades of antipsychotic treatment,
distinguishing between the primary and secondary phenomena is crucial
for patient’s effective treatment and might also help in our
understanding of the illness itself. Here, I will explain our recent
work on the description, understanding and management of some of the
antipsychotic-induced symptoms.

[Online talk] – Iconic Plurals – Prof Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS / New York University) @ Online
Jun 18 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

In several sign languages, in some homesigns, and in some speech-replacing gestures, plurals can be marked by repetitions, with a distinction between punctuated and unpunctuated repetitions, which respectively come with precise and vague quantitative conditions (Pfau and Steinbach 2006, Coppola et al. 2013, Abner et al. 2015). Schlenker and Lamberton 2019 show that ASL plurals can have an irreducibly iconic component, e.g. an unpunctuated repetition of TROPHY arranged as a triangle may serve to refer to trophies with a triangular arrangement; but they took as primitive that repetitions serve to express plurals.

Here we provide an iconic semantics for the repetitions themselves, using the formal semantics for pictorial representations developed in Greenberg 2013. Simplifying somewhat: punctuated repetitions correspond to precise, ‘exactly’ quantitative conditions because they are easy to count; unpunctuated repetitions correspond to imprecise, ‘at least’ quantitative conditions because they are presented as hard to count and are blurry (vague) representations. Our analysis has three main modules: (i) a formal semantics for pictorial representations, (ii) a vagueness component (a simplified version of ‘tolerant’ approaches), and (iii) a mechanism of pragmatic exploitation (within a simplified RSA model), which is essential to obtain ‘at least’ readings for unpunctuated repetitions.