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Jess Spurrell

When?
Thursday, June 8 2017 at 7:15PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Jess Spurrell

What's the talk about?

Cryogenics is cool – seriously cool – typically working with liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C or 77 K) and liquid helium (-268.8 degrees C or 4.2 K). Down at these temperatures, all sorts of unusual things can happen – electrical resistance can disappear, almost anything, from frogs to surfers, can levitate, liquid can climb out of its container, biological processes can be slowed almost to a halt. With some deft application of science, some clever calculations and some ingenious engineering, all of this is possible and more – yet for some reason, whenever you say you work in cryogenics, the first thing people ask is, “Do you freeze dead people? Or aliens?”

Join us for an evening of ‘Frozen Aliens and Superpowe...rs’ as we uncover some of the incredible things that Cryogenics can do – and already has done – for you. We won’t be freezing any dead people but we will explain why it’s currently not a particularly sensible idea – and we may freeze an alien or two…

Jess is about to submit her thesis on Cryogenic Engineering & Superconductivity at the University of Southampton. This is almost entirely unrelated to her MEng degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering with European Studies, which she studied also at the University of Southampton and at the SupAéro institute in Toulouse, France (because if there’s one way to make ‘Rocket Science’ harder it’s to do it in French – she can confirm, it was much harder!). This was also only loosely related to her third year research project about a Wave Energy Converter so she is an expert in not taking the direct path. It was through an accidental summer work placement at Air Products that she discovered that cryogenics is cool – seriously cool…

After discovering that other people are also excited by freezing things in liquid nitrogen and the science behind it, she has given over 30 talks, workshops and demonstrations around the UK including at Winchester and Brighton Science festivals, Science Show-off, Researchers’ Café, The Science Room @ the Art House and more. In the true spirit of procrastination, in 2015 she co-founded Bright Club Southampton and was an accidental performer at the first show. Since April 2016 she was also managing the RCUK-funded Talk to US! school-university partnership initiative and since January 2017 this role has morphed into the university’s first School-University Partnership Officer.

£3 on the door

General arrival - 19:00-19:20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20:30

Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30

(Approximate timings only)

How to be Skeptical about Logic and Evidence

Bob Churchill

When?
Thursday, May 11 2017 at 7:15PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Bob Churchill

What's the talk about?

Think you are rational?

In this SitP Bob Churchill will tell us all: You Suck at Rationalism - How to be Skeptical about Logic and Evidence

Bob Churchill will tackle some lesser known problems faced by those committed to the use of reason. Not boring problems like relativists and post-modernists think there are, but proper philosophical problems, explained so almost anyone can understand them. Bob will air challenges to rationalists and skeptics that you may never have heard before and which are often downplayed or overlooked by philosophers themselves. He will show that a smarter, leaner rationalism can survive this attack and why it should be the true philosophy of skepticism.

Bob Churchill works in policy ...and communications at the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), having previously worked at both the British Humanist Association and the Uganda Humanist Association. He studied philosophy at the University of Warwick and Queen's University, Canada, and has long-standing interests in secularism, Humanism, and epistemology. And skepticism and pubs. He has appeared as a spokesperson on the likes of BBC News and Al Jazeera and as a speaker at Skepticon, the Institute of Fundraising Technology, the Conway Hall Ethical Society, and the European Humanist Youth Days.

 £3 on the door

 General arrival - 19:00-19:20

 Presentation - 19:30

 Drinks break - 20:30

 Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30

 (Approximate timings only)

 

Kevin Precious

When?
Thursday, April 13 2017 at 7:15PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

In between the various comedic activites, Kevin Precious attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life.

Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter. Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up s...how entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

£3 on the door

General arrival - 19:00-19:20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20:30

Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30

(Approximate timings only)

 

 

Dr Karen Masters

When?
Thursday, March 9 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Dr Karen Masters

What's the talk about?

In this talk I will cover the real science behind HG Well’s ideas about time travel through the space-time continuum. I will go on describe how we look back in time across the history of the Universe when we observe distant galaxies, and talk about how realistic HG Wells view of the far future of the Earth-Sun system was based on our current understanding of the future evolution of the Sun. I will finish by talking about the force of gravity and the anti-gravity effects revealed by observations of distance supernova which show that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating.

Dr. Karen Masters is a Reader in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth. Her research interests are in the area of extragalactic astronomy typically using data from astronomically large surveys. She is the Project Scientist for the online citizen science project www.galaxyzoo.org and the Spokesperson for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey collaboration (www.sdss.org). She teaches physics to undergraduates in Portsmouth.

£3 on the door

General arrival - 19:00-19:20

Presentation - 19:30

Drinks break - 20:30

Q&A session 20:45 until around 21:30

(Approximate timings only)

Let us know you are coming, RSVP to Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/252219311860164/

Rescheduled

Dr Mike Wood

When?
Thursday, February 9 2017 at 7:15PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Dr Mike Wood

What's the talk about?

Conspiracy theories are everywhere – and, arguably, always have been. What influences us to believe or reject them? Why do some events give rise to more conspiracy theories than others? What does the prevalence of conspiracy theories say about us as a society? And how is The Simpsons like an ancient Babylonian sheep’s liver? This whirlwind tour through conspiracy theory psychology will focus particularly on how suspicion, paranoia, and ambiguity help us to make sense of an uncertain world.


Dr Mike Wood is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Winchester, where he teaches social psychology, political psychology, and research methods, and conducts research on conspiracy theories and the future of methodology and statistical practice in empirical psychology. He has been interviewed on NPR, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, and Slate, and blogs irregularly at Conspiracy Psychology.

Ticketed event

Johno Pearce & Friends

When?
Thursday, December 1 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Johno Pearce & Friends

What's the talk about?

A skeptical start to the season with an evening of songs, poetry, comedy and science with a splash of philosophy and a visit from Santa (and possibly some zombies)

 The evening will be hosted by Johno Pearce.

 Tickets will be on sale at October & November sessions - £4 each

 Available online here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/375110

 Ticket price includes simple buffet (with vegetarian and vegan options)

 

Clio Bellenis

When?
Thursday, November 10 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Clio Bellenis

What's the talk about?

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek - Clio Bellenis will boldly take us on a mission of philosophical discovery.


Like science fiction in general, Star Trek is a show of ideas, with a number of episodes exploring such philosophical questions as: What is it to a person? What is it to be the same person over time and change? We will explore some of these, and also wonder if some of the characterisation might be loosely drawn from Ancient Greek Philosophical ideas. Vulcans, for example might seem particularly Stoical!


In 2006 She completed an MA in Philosophy with the OU, and learned that it is a way of thinking that doesn't come easy to someone with a scientific background! Her thesis was on the Theory of Mind and Autism Dr Clio Bellenis has worked in the NHS all her life, as a child and adolescent psychiatrist for the last 25 years. She officially retired in October but hasn't managed to get away yet.

Dr. Kat Arney

When?
Thursday, October 13 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Dr. Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She is about to publish her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work. You can order it here: http://bit.ly/HerdingHemingwaysCats

...to prevent modern medicine meltdown?

John Broughall

When?
Thursday, September 8 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
John Broughall

What's the talk about?

John Broughall, (pronounced as in a pub “brawl”), will discuss the issue of why the antibiotic development pipeline has dried up: what are the problems and why the pharmaceutical industry is not investing in research and development to produce new compounds. Multi-drug antibiotic resistance has been recognised as a global threat to health yet the solutions to this issue are not obvious, the current commercially driven pharmaceutical process does not appear fit for purpose.

The charity that John is representing tonight, Antibiotic Research UK, is proposing a new approach to overcome this impasse, he will discuss their plans and the science behind their proposal. John is a PhD microbiologist who has spent most of his career in the diagnostics industry including the development of rapid and automated methods for use in microbiology laboratories. Latterly he has worked in the medical departments of two major pharmaceutical companies focusing on both antibiotics and also new oncology compounds. He now runs his own consultancy business but is also a volunteer for Antibiotic Research UK.

Michael Marshall

When?
Thursday, July 14 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes-shocking and often-comic adventures that lie beneath.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

Ash Pryce

When?
Thursday, June 9 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

 

Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! Gather ye round the traveling caravan, as Snake Oil Salesman Ash Pryce demonstrates the miraculous curative abilities of psychic surgery, taught to your humble trickster by a wise man in the Philippines (or a magicians tool book, whichever sounds more wondrous). See with amazement the telekinetic forces at work as you learn how to move objects with your mind, psychically manipulate your finest silverware and read the minds of your peers. Or maybe, it’ all just a trick?

Whereas the sister show How to Talk to the Dead looked specifically at spirit communication in the past, How to be a Psychic Conman will look at the more incredible, magical side of psychic claims that persist today. The types of demonstrations that blur the line between the honest deception of magic, and the dishonesty of those hoping to make a quick buck out of your deep rooted beliefs.

The show will involve demonstrations and explanations of telekinesis tricks, metal bending, psychic surgery and remote viewing as well as look at government funded research into psychic phenomena, and the shoddy protocols that allowed “psychics” to beat the legendary Zener card experiments in the 1930s.

And if that wasn’t enough, interspersed throughout the show will be numerous on stage demonstrations of mentalism to add an extra layer of entertainment to the proceedings.

Warning to those on the front row… there will be blood!

www.ashpryce.co.uk

 

Michael Head

When?
Thursday, May 12 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Michael Head

What's the talk about?

 

We all love our children dearly and chose to vaccinate them or not vaccinate them because of that deep love. Yet the discussion of whether or not to vaccinate can bring friendships to an end and the decision itself can have life-threatening consequences, not just for babies and unvaccinated children, but for anyone with a compromised immune system such as elderly people in our community.

Michael Head looks at vaccination in the larger context. Smallpox is eradicated, polio has nearly gone the same way and in most countries diphtheria is rare. That’s due to vaccination. Yet headlines are often fixated on measles outbreaks on both sides of the Pond, or the ‘dangers’ of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.

Too many people are just not fussed about vaccines, or worse, they actively preach and campaign against them, with more than the occasional dollop of an absence of morality.

Plus there’s the desperate search for an ebola vaccine, the imperfections of the tuberculosis vaccine, the waning immunity over time of the pertussis (whooping cough) immunisation, that HIV vaccine that just won’t come, and the annual guesswork that is the composition of the influenza vaccine. It’s a complicated business, alright.

This presentation will walk you through some facts and figures, highlight the new vaccines in the pipeline and provide an insight into the public health danger posed by those who, even today, still try and tell you the MMR vaccine gives your child autism (it doesn’t, by the way).

Michael Head is a senior research fellow in infectious diseases at the University of Southampton, and a visiting academic in the Farr Institute for Health Informatics at University College London. He has an undergraduate qualification in Biomedical Science, postgraduate degree in epidemiology and is in the final throes of a PhD with the University of Amsterdam in infectious diseases and global health.

Michael has been working in infectious disease research since 2004, has around 30 peer-reviewed publications in journals including Lancet and Nature journals, and for some reason spends far too much of his spare time reading about ‘bad science’ on the web.