Society Activities

This page gives an outline of the upcoming and recent public engagement activities run by The Society and our Members. This page will be regularly updated as we develop our outreach activities for 2014.  For activities run through our grant schemes, please see Funded Activities. 

2014: Understanding Obesity

For The Physiological Society, 2014 will be the Year of Understanding Obesity. Our first themed year will enable us to celebrate the advances that have been made in the basic and clinical understanding of this worldwide epidemic. As part of this theme, we will be focusing our outreach and public engagement efforts on communicating the science behind Obesity; The Society believes this is especially important given the media fascination with celebrity weight.

If you are interested in volunteering with of the events listed below please contact our outreach officer, Anisha Tailor.

Upcoming events:

'A Heart to Heart Talk' 
Sanjay Kharche
Saturday 25 October 2014, Manchester Museum

Dr Sanjay Kharche’s ‘A Heart to Heart Talk’, first in exhibited in 2010 in the Museum of Science and Industry, is to be revisited as part of Manchester Science Festival.

Dr Kharche, with support from the Physiological Society, created this exhibited in order to leave visitors with a glimpse into current research and clinical practice related to the heart. A highlight of 2010's exhibit was an oximeter activity where visitors measured their heart rates; this year a circuit has been commissioned that will replicate an ECG heartbeat monitor and make this activity even more interactive. Wonderfully successful in 2010 and visited by over 1500 people, Dr Kharche is eager inspire even more people this year.

Mindfulness for Depression:  Theory and Practice

Thursday 17th July, Cambo House Cambo Estate, East Neuk, Fife (Mad Hatters - Grey Matters festival)

Thursday 9th October at Lasswade High School, Midlothian at (Midlothian Science Festival)

Depression is surprisingly common, affecting about one in 20 of us at any point in time, and as many as one-half of humanity over the average lifetime. Major life changes and stressors can bring about depression, which we may feel we have little or no control over and sufferers are often unable to see that they do have choices and can bring about change in a variety of ways. Studies have demonstrated that a variety of psychological methods can be effective in treating the symptoms experienced, reducing the chances they return and may also help prevent a person with mild depression from becoming more severely depressed. 

Join us for a series of talks from experts looking at the range of medical and psychological treatments available, including the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and other Mindfulness types of therapy, their use and possible benefits.

Neuroscience Film evening

Saturday 4th October, Moorflix, Temple Community Hall, Midlothian (Midlothian Science Festival) at 7.30 pm.

Her (2013)
In Spike Jonze's recent film, a man and his computer fall in love. It's science fiction, but you won't find any spaceships or eye-popping special effects here - just a simple question: What would it take to convince you that a computer programme is sophisticated enough to be conscious? And beyond that, what would it take to convince you that it could not only think, but feel as well? At this screening, we will discuss what scientists know about consciousness, what it is and how we decide who has (and doesn't have) it.

David Carmel is a lecturer in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Before arriving in Edinburgh in 2012, he was a post-doctoral research scientist at the Centre for Neural Sciences, New York University. He works on foundational issues in cognitive science, and in particular on the neuroscience of consciousness and perceptual awareness.

Supported by The Physiological Society's Outreach Grants

Physiology Friday
Friday 17 October

Help us celebrate Physiology Friday by putting on your own event! - keep a look out for our events and compeitions! Click here for more information.

Obesity Wars: fitness vs fatness
Thusday 30 October, Thinktank Science Musuem, Birmingham  

 Obesity Wars: Fitness versus Fatness is an exciting, interactive event showcasing measures of fatness and fitness, illustrating the importance of fitness in promoting health and wellbeing, and highlighting the public's views on obesity and their motivation to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Supported by The Physiological Society's Public Engagment Grants

2014 Activities:

The Hungry Games

What’s making me so hungry? How much energy do we use in our daily life? Is Arnold Schwarzenegger obese? What’s Beyoncé’s BMI? The Physiological Society will answer all these questions and more with three interactive activities exploring food, exercise and obesity.

With our team of scientists, examine the gut-brain communication pathways which control your appetite and label the route of hunger hormones through the bloodstream on our digestive tract models.

Have a closer look at the Body Mass Index, the measure which is often used to determine what’s healthy and what’s not: we’ll examine how reliable it is with a little help from a giant pack of celebrity cards.  Contestants will be challenged to get to the end of a row of our BMI playing cards by predicting if the next celebrity BMI will be higher or lower. Can you make it to the end of the row and win a prize?

How much exercise do you pack into your day?  Balance the scales by matching the energy from different everyday activities with the energy provided by your meals and snacks and get a better understanding of energy intake and output.

Dates and Locations 

The Big Bang Fair, March 13-16, Birmingham NEC

Discovery Zone, Cheltenham Science Festival, June 4-5

Separating the Fat from the FictionEdinburgh International Science Festival 

Join BBC Scotland’s Health Correspondent Eleanor Bradford as she Chairs The Physiological Society’s interactive debate on obesity. With a panel of experts, take a look at this complex subject from a range of perspectives. You may have already watched the ‘obesity epidemic’ unfold through the eyes of the media, but now hear the facts: find out how your gut and brain interact, what your genes have to do with your body shape, and discuss the role of food choice and exercise in determining your body composition.

Sponsored by The Physiological Society and the Biochemical Society 

In collaboration with Imperial College London, Heriot Watt University, University of Stirling, University of Essex, University of Aberdeen and The Nutrition Society. 

Dates and Locations 

April 5th, 5.30- 7pm, The National Museum of Scotland 


You might think that being overweight means that you’re unhealthy - but does being skinny really mean you have nothing to worry about? What are the real risks and should we rely purely on your body mass index? Phsyiologists Janice Thompson, Jimmy Bell and Jason Gill explore the issues surrounding this complex issue, asking: what size is healthy?

Dates and Locations 

Pilla Room, 5.15-6.16pm

Get your tickets here

Member activities

Colin Moran, (Separating the Fat from the Fiction, Edinburgh Science Festival) and Jason Gill (The BMI Lie, Cheltenham Science Festival) have caught the festival bug, and will be gracing Glasgow Science Festival as part of three interactive public debates.  These events, organised  by Colin, will cover a wide range of sport related topics including  genetic predisposition, psychology, physiology, drugs in sport, the media, environmental influences, physical activity and behaviour change

Dates and Locations:


Is elite sport food for you? Thursday 5 June, 19.00

Sporting Nations: Why are nations good at different sport, Monday 9 June 

Why are we a nation of couch potatoes, Wednesday 11 June

Where: Sir Charles Wilson Building, University of Glasgow

Tickets are free, however please book to reserve your place

Find out about some of the our future and past grant-funded events here 

The Society has been working with other organisations to develop a public programme of outreach events for our themed year of ' Understanding Obesity: