Next PubhD – Monday 14th November

PubhD in association with our friends at Glasgow Skeptics are proud to announce the third collaborative event.

On Monday 14th November, at the Admiral Bar (7pm for a 7.30 start), we will have three speakers:

Sophia Ferreira is a fisheries biologist working at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) and based at the University of Strathclyde. Her main research topics focuses on the effects of environmental conditions on plankton and fish stocks under external pressures, such as climate change and fisheries. She is currently studying the copepod composition in the North Pacific using satellite ocean colour images.

Robert Insall is a Professor at the CRUK Beatson Institute.  He was recruited from Birmingham when CRUK realised that cancer metastasis involved cells moving.  Robert’s wife runs the lab next door and is paid more than him.  He uses microscopes, amoebas, cancer cells, very small mazes and maths, and tries to stick them all together to paint a picture of the signals that make cells migrate and where they come from. His talk will be called “Can cells be evil?”

William Rooney did his undergrad at the University of Glasgow in plant science. He then worked in the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich genetically modifying tomatoes to make them more disease resistance. William came back to Glasgow to do his masters in plant science, specifically looking at how plants see UV-B light.  In 2015 he was offered a PhD place at Glasgow working on engineering novel disease resistance in tomato against crop diseases.

See you all there!



Next PubhD – Monday 8th August

In association with our friends at Glasgow Skeptics, we are pleased to announce the second PubhD event.


Monday 8th August, 7pm for a 7.30pm start



The Admiral Bar, 72a Waterloo St, Glasgow, G2 7DA



Stephen O’Donnell is a third year PhD student in History at the University of Strathclyde. His research topic is ‘The Trans-Atlantic Slovak National Movement, 1890-1920’. It is a historical study of Slovak nationalism among Slovak-speakers living in Europe (in Austria-Hungary and then the state of Czechoslovakia after 1918) as well as among Slovak migrants who travelled to the United States for work and permanent settlement before the First World War. His research argues that the development of political nationalism among Slovaks happened through the interaction of these two groups of Slovaks on either side of the Atlantic.

Trevor Sloughter is an American first year PhD student at the University of Strathclyde. He is working on ecological modelling, specifically studying light responses in Arctic phytoplankton and trying to create a model to explain observed seasonality of populations and their adaptations. His research interests also include methodology, statistics, epistemology, and evolution.

Dr Stephanie Zihms is currently working as a postdoc in Carbonate Geomechanics in the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Her research tries to understand why rocks deform the way they do and what controls this deformation – grain size, grain shape, pore size or pore shape? Or is it the mineralogy or how the rocks formed in the first place? By deforming different rocks under different conditions in the lab she is trying to find some answers. This research and the findings are relevant for a range of subsurface processes like hydrocarbon extraction, geothermal energy production or Carbon Capture & Storage applications. Basically anytime a liquid or gas is put into the subsurface or extracted from the subsurface the conditions change and the rocks will response to this change – by understanding what controls this response within the rocks (grains , pores) we can predict the behaviour in the subsurface. Stephanie also writes a blog, which can be found here.


It will be a brilliant night, so share with your friends and we will see you all there!




Glasgow PubhD is off with a ‘bang’…

PubhD Glasgow got off to a brilliant start at Waxy O’Connors in the centre of the city. Described to me as a pub version of Hogwarts, I was not disappointed when we took our place in our room for the evening. With help from our friends at Glasgow Skeptics, especially Brian Eggo, we had our venue all we needed now was three fantastic speakers.

Becky Douglas, a PhD student at the Institute of Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow successfully explained what gravitational waves are and how they are measured. Using a bit of audience participation, Becky showed how lots of noise can easily drown out a more subtle noise, as part of her quest to demonstrate how difficult it is to pin point gravitational waves. Becky excellently explained how important the study of a physicist is while also highlighting how thousands of scientists contribute to the advancement of knowledge and help ‘create a paradigm shift in science’.

After a short break, astronomer Daniel – a colleague of Becky’s with previous PubhD experience discussed why the date he started his PhD will stick in the mind of physicists for years to come… As fantastic as Daniel is, it wasn’t his amazing graph drawing skills, but the first time gravity was observed moving as a wave. Effectively the 15th September 2015 helped the universe be seen and heard in a completely different way. Daniel explained why his research will help develop the understanding of what exists in our universe. Daniel’s knowledge and passion for his subject shone through, and our audience posed some interesting questions for him.

Last, but by no means least, we heard from Elaine. Elaine also got the audience involved by asking how many of us would feel comfortable locking someone up for the rest of their lives, depriving them of all their liberties as a preventative measures?’ Few of us did, and as Elaine showed, we should never feel at ease with removing someone’s freedom. Nonetheless, Elaine highlighted the crux of her research; should we be able to sentence someone convicted of a crime to an unlimited period in either prison, or hospital on the basis of fear they will cause harm to others in the future? Questioning principles of human rights, while also ensuring protection for the general public and potential victims was very thought provoking. Elaine engaged a roomful of scientists from the very beginning with her interesting research.

A brilliant start to PubhD Glasgow – with thanks to Glasgow Skeptics. Our next joint event is on Monday 8th August. Glasgow Skeptics have events running every Monday – see their website for more details.

We are currently looking for speakers for Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling PubhD events in August, September and beyond. If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch –

PubhD Glasgow – First event July 4th

PubhD Glasgow, in association with Glasgow Skeptics, are pleased to announce our first event on Monday 4th July.



Waxy O’Connors,44 West George Street, Glasgow. G2 1DH



Monday 4th July. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start.



The PubhD format is nice and simple;

  1. Three researchers will each have 10 minutes to talk about their subject area to an interested audience in a pub.
  2. There will be up to 20 minutes of (friendly!) Q&A per speaker.
  3. Each speaker gets at least one pint (or other drink of their choice).
  4. A whiteboard/flip chart and coloured pens will be provided.

It will be a nice and friendly atmosphere – everyone is welcome. So, tell your friends.



Daniel Williams is a PhD student at the Institute of Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow. His research focusses on the search for gravitational waves.

Rebecca Douglas is also a PhD Student and Research Assistant at the Institute of Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow. She is researching materials and techniques to build the future cryogenic detectors that will be even more sensitive that the LIGO detectors that made the first detections.

Elaine Ferguson is a PhD student and associate at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow. She is examining whether we should be able to sentence someone convicted of a crime to an unlimited period in either prison, or hospital on the basis of fear that they will cause harm to others in the future.


Interested in being a speaker?

If you would like to talk at a future PubhD event, or are interested in getting involved in another way, get in touch. @PubhDScotland


See you there!