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School talks and shows

Spark passing between fingers

Prof Paul Curzon and other members of the cs4fn team give free talks and shows for schools in the UK on interdisciplinary computer science (Details below). Our aim is to enthuse students about the subjects, challenging stereotypes and raising awareness about the major role they play in our lives.

Currently our main focus is on providing resources and giving workshops to teachers about the activities and topics that these talks are based around so that you can deliver them yourself. We do this through our cs4fn sister project 'Teaching London Computing'. For more information about those workshops visit the Teaching London Computing website.

The wider Queen Mary University of London computer science and electronic engineering team also give talks - see our School lectures page.

The topics of the cs4fn talks (described below) are based around research topics going beyond school syllabuses so give deeper insight into the subject. Many also are centred around the links between computing and other subjects, showing the interdisciplinary nature of modern science.

The talks and shows are suitable for students at all levels, with the presentations adaptable according to the age and interests of the group. We give the talks to a wide range of audiences, including whole year groups. We want to spread our enthusiasm for the subject to anyone who will listen! We also hope to give the audience an idea of why we personally got hooked.

"Not just thinking oustide the box, tearing it up!" - participant at AI lecture.

If you would like one of our team to visit your school then email schools@eecs.qmul.ac.uk

Women in Computing

Although people often think Computing is only for men, women have played a pivotal role in the subject and continue to do so. This talk covers past, present and future. We show that women like Ada Lovelace were among the pioneers who kick-started the computing revolution. Women are also leading players now in academia and industry, with modern technology such as search engines only possible because of the ideas of women. Finally we show that female students are amongst the most successful and so will be driving the revolutions to come. We hope to inspire girls to become those future pioneers, but whether it is the career for them or not believe all students should understand the role women have played.

Linked articles from the cs4fn archive

The mind of the machine: Artificial intelligence?

We all know the movie plot, evil robots and computers taking over the world, but what is the reality? This talk looks at artificial intelligence research, the field of science that tries to build 'thinking machines'. How are they built? What can they do? And, as importantly, what can't they do? We will also ask some interesting questions about a particularly well-known 'thinking machine', you!

This talk is one of our most interactive, including building a brain to play snap from members of the audience. It is suitable for all ages. We range across subjects from biology and psychology to computer science and philosophy, showing how scientists and engineers work across subject boundaries.

Linked articles from the cs4fn archive

Computational Thinking: Searching to speak

Locked-in syndrome leaves a person totally paralysed other than being able to blink one eye, but otherwise being able to think, see and hear as normal. How can an understanding of some basic computer science help a person with locked-in syndrome communicate? How have engineers built devices that not only transform the lives of disabled people but have potential to give us super-human powers. What this talk is ultimately about is an introduction to computational thinking and how computer science is not just about understanding gadgets but about understanding people too.

Linked articles from the cs4fn archive

The Magic of Computer Science

Our interactive 1-hour magic show is a real magic show where we not only teach the audience the tricks (after they have tried to work out how they work) but also use them to explain a range of computer science ideas. The show appeals to a wide audience, and highlights how maths and computer science make the 'magic' of modern technology work. This show is also available in a longer more challenging 2-hour format for suitable audiences.

Linked articles from the cs4fn archive

The magic of Harry Potter!

Can we make Cloaking a reality? Harry Potter can make himself invisible just by pulling on a cloak. Science Fiction? Even in Harry's world it takes powerful magic. Could it ever be made a reality? This talk is about the work of the electronic engineers who are applying their physics and engineering skills to create new kinds of materials that make objects invisible. Invisibility may even be a possibility for humans too. With the help of electronic engineering, Harry Potter's style of magic may one day be science fact.

Linked articles from the cs4fn archive