Cafe Scientifique

Cafe Scientifique

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Forthcoming events:

Using lasers to watch molecules dance

Monday 3 September

Lasers are pretty cool and are everywhere in our lives: from our DVD player to space exploration. In this short presentation I will show how we can use the latest technology in high power lasers to watch, learn and even control chemical reactions. Yes, today playing around with laser light allow us to enter the world of molecules, where all is infinitely small and ultrafast. Once immersed in this world of molecules, we can to “see” what the eye cannot otherwise perceive. In brief, I will share some of my lab experiences where I literally shine light on some of nature’s most important phenomena.


Dr. Adrien Chauvet did his bachelor in Strasbourg’s Louis Pasteur University (France). He then went abroad and obtained his Master and PhD in Biophysics from Purdue University (USA, 2012) in ultrafast spectroscopy, working on photosynthesis. He then moved to Switzerland in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) under a Marie-Curie postdoctoral fellowship followed by a senior postdoc position at the University of Geneva (2015), working on new techniques to control ultrafast photo-chemical processes. He joined the University of Sheffield in 2016 as a lecturer in physical chemistry; currently working in Chemistry’s brand-new laser lab.

AI – is it intelligent?

Monday 1 October

Does the I in AI really stand for intelligence, when applied to what we currently describe as AI technology? In this talk I will explain a little about the techniques that have led to recent very high-profile advances in machine performance, such as deciding if internet images contain cats or not, and playing 1980s video games. I will ask if this really constitutes intelligence or not, and whether our jobs and even our lives are really threatened. I will also consider other routes that might lead to a genuine ‘artificial intelligence’.

James Marshall is Professor of Theoretical and Computational Biology at the University of Sheffield. Based in Sheffield Robotics, he runs the Brains on Board project which aims to reverse engineer the honeybee brain, and use the lessons learned to design AI controllers for small flying robots. His work has featured extensively in national and international media including New Scientist, the BBC, and the Discovery Science Channel.



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