Science and Technology Group

From Reform Club Science and Technology Group

Our Most Recent Meeting

Our last meeting was with Prof Martyn Thomas who will give a talk on the 15th February entitled Cybersecurity: the scale of the threat and why we have made almost no progress towards a solution. This was a fascinating talk which had several of us wanting to throw away our smart phones, and tape over our webcams. He offered a compelling argument that until software developers are held strictly liable for failures of security of the applications they sell, to banks for example, the problem will remain. Currently, the indemnity insurance provided against losses by customers of financial institutions removes the incentives to force providers of mission critical software to protect the public.

Read more about the meeting here.

Next Meeting: Joint Meeting With Cryptos: 27 February 2017

Following on from the very successful joint meeting with the Economics and Current Affairs Group in November, we invite you to a joint meeting with Cryptos, the Reform society Devoted to Military History and Intelligence.

Charlie Hall has won the inaugural MRD Foot Memorial Prize awardeb by Cryptos at the Reform. His essay, which will form the basis of his talk, is entitled British Exploitation of German Science and the Start of the Cold War.

Charlie Hall is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Kent who has won the prize for an essay in the general subject of "Science and Conflict in the 20th Century".

The prize will be presented by Professor Mirjam Foot who will preside at the meeting. Major-General Mungo Melvin CB, OBE will offer an appreciation

Reserving tickets for the Joint Meeting

Please note the that we will follow the Cryptos meeting format. and not the normal Science Group one. The start time is 6.15 FOR 6.45pm, with the talk preceding an optional buffet supper.

Tickets may be reserved via the calendar in the members’ section of the website or by or by telephoning 020 7747 4603.

Cryptos tickets are available for £15.00 per person. (this includes a reception drink on arrival). For convenience, please copy your e-mail to and to

A buffet supper at 8.00 p.m. is available at an additional cost of £33.00 which includes a drink. Please note this must be booked in advance along with any notice of any special dietary requirements no later than noon the day before the event.

Additional drinks may be purchased during the buffet. Digestifs are served in the Smoking Room after dinner.

Note that prices are subject to revision by the Club.

March Meeting: Anil Seth, Machine Consciousness

March 15, Strangers Room.

Consciousness is, for each of us, the presence of a world. Without consciousness there is no world, no self: there is nothing at all. But we do not know much about the material and biological basis of this most central feature of our lives. How do rich multisensory experiences, the senses of self and body, and volition, agency, and ‘will’ emerge from the joint activity of billions of neurons locked inside a bony skull? Once the province just of philosophy and theology, the neuroscience of consciousness has emerged as a one of the great scientific challenges for this century. In this talk I will sketch the state-of-the-art in the new science of consciousness. I will distinguish between conscious level (how conscious we are), conscious content (what we are conscious of), and conscious self (the ‘I’ behind the eyes), describing in each case how new experiments are shedding light on the underlying neural mechanisms, in normal life and in neurological and psychiatric conditions. Throughout, I will emphasize phenomenology – the way things seem – as the target for any satisfying explanation of how the brain, in conjunction with the body and the environment, gives rise to and shapes conscious experience.


2017 Programme

Dates for 2017 are as follows (all meeting are on Wednesdays, usually the 3rd one of each month):

Month Day of Month Speaker Title
February 15th Prof Martyn Thomas Cybersecurity
March 15th Prof Anil Seth Machine Consciousness
April 19th Prof Peter Wilson Anti-Microbial Resistance.
May either 16th, 17th, Giles Yeo Are your genes to blame if your jeans don't fit?
June 21st To Be Confirmed To Be Confirmed
September 20th Dr Paolo Tasca Bitcoins and the Blockchain
October 18th To Be Confirmed To Be Confirmed
November 15th To Be Confirmed To Be Confirmed

For more information, please visit our Meetings page.