University of Nottingham Research Showcase

Sometimes running PubhD can be tough, it isn’t all playing with whiteboards and getting the next round in. Last wednesday was one of those times. The University of Nottingham was holding it’s annual showcase of research at which students use posters to summarise their ideas and provoke questions. It reminded me of our regular monthly PubhD events and so I thought I’d pay a visit.

I had to take a day off work to spend a sunny afternoon in the leafy surrounds of Nottingham University. As I said, sometimes running PubhD can be tough. After a quick refreshing drink on the banks of the boating lake, the rest of the afternoon was spent looking at research posters and chatting to the students.

There were two main styles; the visually interesting which provoked you to ask questions, and the information heavy…which also provoked you to ask questions. Here are a selection of some of my favourites (click the images to embiggen):

Louise Kettle - Politics and International Relations

Louise Kettle – Politics and International Relations

Beili Shao - Clinical Sciences

Beili Shao – Clinical Sciences

Chris Gaffney - Life Sciences & Medicine

Chris Gaffney – Life Sciences & Medicine

There were over 50 finalists and there simply wasn’t enough time to speak to everyone – the above is just a small sample of the outstanding work on show. So, I’ll just leave you with the overall winner, who was very much in the “give a lot of information to provoke questions” category:

Kamaljit Moirangthem - Biosciences

Kamaljit Moirangthem – Biosciences

The showcase was followed by a keynote speech by Simon Singh who was very kind enough to give PubhD and Nottingham Skeptics a big 20 feet tall plug.

Can you Explain your PhD in the Pub?

If you’re not familiar with Simon’s work, there aren’t many people who work harder to promote science and critical thought, or to fight pseudoscience in all its forms. You can learn more about his work at

PubhD Nottingham #7 (July 2014): Geoscience, History and Biology

Visit Cuba


Wednesday July 16, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.


The Vat and Fiddle pub (in the Golding’s Room),
12 Queen’s Bridge Road


Three speakers will explain their research to a bunch of people in the pub in exchange for a pint or two.

See The PubhD Format and About pages for more information about what to expect at an event.


  • Stephanie Zihms works at the British Geological Survey. She is part of the Radioactive Waste team and is looking at how heat generated by radioactive waste affects underground storage facilities.
  • Isabel Story is a first year PhD student in the Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American department at the University of Nottingham. She is examining the possible Soviet influence on Cuban cultural institutions.
  • Hardeep Naghra works in Microbiology at the University of Nottingham and is studying bacteria that cause infections. In particular, she is looking at the genetic diversity of a particular “opportunistic” bacteria to observe how rapidly it changes, even in the laboratory freezer!


What’s My Name?

One of the things we looked forward to most when setting up PubhD was the interesting and surprising questions that people would ask our speakers. It’s why the Q&A is twice as long as the talk.

However, we didn’t expect to be asked “How do you say PubhD?” We like our puns and thought the pun was obvious.

It didn’t occur to us that some people are very literal and would try to actually read it. Which comes out as “Pub-hud”, or if you’re Irish “Puvud”, which makes no sense. No wonder people were asking us how to pronounce it!

This simple typo from Simon Singh will help us explain…

Even the scourge of Chiropractors can get confused by how you say PubhD

Even the scourge of Chiropractors can get confused by how you say PubhD

PubhD is a word merge or werge (if you want to be all QI about it, it’s a portmanteau). PubhD werges Pub and PhD to make. Pub…hD. You could also try thinking about it if the Pub was in High Definition. Pub HD. (But it’s definitely not written as PubHD. It’s definitely written PubhD.)

Regardless of how you say it, PubhD really is excellent and lots of fun, so if you’re lucky enough to have one in your town pop along. If not, start one! There is some very simple advice for creating you’re own PubhD here: