Science and nature courses in London

Look to the stars or stay closer to home with a wide range of topical and specialist short courses on subjects including astronomy, evolution, ecosystems and genetics that are ideal for anyone curious about our planet and what lies beyond it.

Read City Lit tutor Brenna Boyle's guide to London's diverse wildlife.

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  1. PC maintenance: an introduction

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 24 Jan 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn how to troubleshoot and solve common computer hardware problems. Discover what is inside a computer, how it works and how to upgrade computer components.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £199.00
    Concession: £199.00

  2. Science guest lecture: Where physics meets biology: an introduction to current research on the application of biophysics to embryology

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 30 Jan 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    How can the application of physics to biology help us to understand human development? It is an ongoing mystery how the complexity of an adult organism arises from a single fertilised egg cell. This problem has been studied extensively by biologists for centuries, and is now an active area of research for physicists as well. The field of biophysics aims to use the mathematical and computational tools of physics to understand how complex living creatures organise themselves. The key idea is that even something as complicated as a whole organism must still obey the laws of physics.



    Max Kerr Winter is a theoretical biophysicist. He researches at the Francis Crick Institute, London, in collaboration with experimental biologists at the University of Cambridge.
    Full fee: £15.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £15.00

  3. Introduction to botany

    Introduction to botany

    Course Date: Sat 1 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    A practical course ideal for those who are new to the science of botany. Learn about the fundamental structure of plants and identify the functions of different components; recognise some of the classification systems of the plant world and assess why these magnificent organisms are essential for our wellbeing. Four Saturday sessions, mornings in the classroom, afternoons short local walks to see specimens outdoors. One whole-day visit to Kew on Thurs 20 February, tour of the library in the morning, garden in the afternoon - extra costs apply, see below.
    Full fee: £219.00
    Senior fee: £175.00
    Concession: £96.00

  4. Introduction to artificial intelligence

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 9 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk say it's humanity's biggest threat, but you use it every day. Learn what artificial intelligence is, what it will become, and how it works.
    Full fee: £99.00
    Senior fee: £99.00
    Concession: £99.00

  5. Stay safe online

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 11 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    What does identify theft entail? What risks do you run? Learn how to protect yourself from identify theft on this course.
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £39.00

  6. Psyched! An interactive science evening in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London, Department of Psychological Sciences: the origin of lust

    Psyched! An interactive science evening in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London, Department of Psychological Sciences: the origin of lust

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 13 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Psyched! - an insider’s look at how the brain works and how evolution affects the way you think, feel and behave.

    What is the evolutionary origin of lust and what is its place in the modern world? Come and prepare for Valentine's Day at Psyched!

    Delivered in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London, Department of Psychological Sciences.
    Full fee: £9.00
    Senior fee: £9.00
    Concession: £9.00

  7. By H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12426073

    Earth's six major mass extinctions: an introduction

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 16 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    An introductory course which gives a long-term perspective to extinction events throughout earth’s history, reminding us of the fragility of the planet's ecosystems. While we currently see the very real effects of climate change on the planet for humans, we may forget that many biological organisms have not survived in earlier extreme conditions. Looking back over the last 450 million years of earth’s history we will go beyond the extinction of the dinosaurs to mass extinctions that were even more devastating.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  8. Astronomy: a gentle introduction

    Astronomy: a gentle introduction

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 16 Feb 2020 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    A leisurely walk through back garden astronomy. Learn how to find your way around the constellations, whether to buy a telescope, how to find planets and look safely at the sun. Find out why astronomy is good for you.



    Roger O' Brien has taught astronomy for the Workers’ Educational Association, the OU, and the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  9. Credit: ESO

    Astronomy: current developments and suggestions for clear nights

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 20 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: International House
    Astronomy and space science are dynamic, constantly changing: new telescopes, new detectors, new space-missions and lots of plans. We shall look at some of these things and bring students up to date, with a speculative glance into the future.
    Full fee: £89.00
    Senior fee: £89.00
    Concession: £39.00

  10. Science guest lecture Professor Ian Crawford - The new science of astrobiology and the search for life in the universe

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 21 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    In this talk Professor Crawford will summarise the new interdisciplinary science of astrobiology -- the search for life in the universe. The talk will begin by describing the planetary and evolutionary context of life on Earth and its implications for finding life elsewhere. Building on this perspective, the talk will consider the prospects for finding life, or evidence for past life, elsewhere in our Solar System, for example on the planet Mars and the icy moons of the outer solar system, before moving on to consider the potential habitability of planets recently discovered orbiting other stars.



    Ian Crawford is an astronomer and planetary scientist, and is currently Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is also a vice president of the Royal Astronomical Society. Ian's research focusses mainly on lunar geology, including the possibility of finding economically useful resources on the Moon, and on the search for past or present life on Mars.
    Full fee: £15.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £15.00

  11. Credit: Little Toller Books (used with permission)

    British nature writing: its history and changing perspectives

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 25 Feb 2020
    Location on this date: International House
    This course focusses on non-fiction nature writing from British naturalists, taking its cue from Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne at the end of the eighteenth century through to Nan Shepherd, Richard Mabey, Roger Deakin and beyond into the twenty-first century. We will explore the changing purposes of nature writing and how scientific and technological developments have altered our relationship with the natural world. Looking at nature through others' eyes will also give us increased knowledge and appreciation of the flora and fauna of the British landscape.
    Full fee: £79.00
    Senior fee: £79.00
    Concession: £35.00

  12. Marine geology: The hidden geology beneath the oceans

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 1 Mar 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    We know more about the surface of the moon than what lies beneath our planet's oceans. On this course, we will explore the geological features within our oceans.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  13. Introduction to quantum physics

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 1 Mar 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn about the failure of classical mechanics (everyday laws of physics) to explain particle behaviour and the emergence of the quantum revolution. Consider interpretations of these unusual phenomena and the use of quantum physics in current technology.



    Radmila Topalovic holds a degree in Physics with Astrophysics and a PhD in Astrochemistry. She has taught physics, maths and astronomy for almost ten years, and is particularly passionate about quantum physics and astrobiology. She is a former astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £30.00

  14. Introduction to machine learning

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 6 Mar 2020 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    One of the great advances in technology is that machines can learn without humans teaching them explicit rules – e.g. letting machines train on samples of speech allows Siri to recognise your commands. Machine learning is a large part of artificial intelligence, and a mystery to most of us. This practical course teaches you how to program learning algorithms in Python. We will cover fundamentals of classification, natural language processing, financial predictions and much more. You will learn elements of data mining, how to choose a learning algorithm, and how to tweak parameters of the algorithm. We will briefly cover the theory behind the algorithms, so some maths knowledge is useful, but not required. To enrol, you must have experience with Python or a similar programming language, e.g. have taken City Lit’s Introduction to Python or Introduction to R programming course.
    Full fee: £249.00
    Senior fee: £249.00
    Concession: £152.00

  15. Introduction to cyber security essentials

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 15 Mar 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn how to protect your personal or business data from cyber security attacks in this short course. You will learn how to deploy basic technical controls into your personal or organisation data information systems to ensure that basic technical security measures are in place.
    Full fee: £99.00
    Senior fee: £99.00
    Concession: £99.00

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