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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. 

Sense About Science

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

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Sense About Science

What's the talk about?

This isn’t just a simple talk; it’s a call to arms. Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can’t be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

 

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn’s disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

 

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it’s starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

 

 

Sense About Science challenge many misleading claims about scientific and medical evidence. They are launching a public campaign, ‘Ask for Evidence’, to bring about wider, more lasting change. When people come across dubious scientific claims, they want someone to go to with their questions. The campaign will encourage everyone to take up claims they think are misleading, both by reporting dodgy science claims and by getting involved in tackling claims themselves, to help stop the spread of misinformation in public discussion.

 

http://askforevidence.org

Part of British Science Week 2016

Hartmut Blank

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

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Hartmut Blank

What's the talk about?

After the event (or after having learned a new fact), we’re not only wiser but also often fall prey to the illusion that this was knowable before, with subtle but important consequences for learning from experience, decision making and judging others’ decisions and actions: If I believe that I knew something all along, why would I take reality feedback on board? If I think that others should have foreseen a negative outcome, I might be more likely to blame them for it, etc. I will give an introduction to hindsight bias research including my own research that explores the idea that distinct aspects of hindsight (impressions of foreseeability and inevitability, as well as memory distortions) work in different ways, i.e. involve different psychological processes and functions. I will also discuss ways of reducing hindsight bias.

Short biography: After briefly studying geophysics and training as a heating installator, I studied psychology and received my doctoral degree at the University of Konstanz. Later I worked as a lecturer (teaching social psychology) at the University of Leipzig. I joined the University of Portsmouth in 2005, where I mainly teach research methods and statistics. My research is on hindsight bias, social memory (including eyewitness suggestibility) and lately also meta-analysis.  

 

This talk is part of British Science week 2016

 

Josie Pegg

When?
Thursday, February 11 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Lord Montgomery Way
Portsmouth
PO1 2AH

Who?
Josie Pegg

What's the talk about?

Parasites are the stuff of horror movies, consuming their host and often capable of controlling their host’s body and mind in the most freakish of ways.

 

But this is only half the story. Around 75% of all species are parasitic, and parasites play an essential ecological role, prove unlikely allies and are in many ways responsible for life as we know it.

 

In this presentation, Josie Pegg will give us an insight into the world of parasites and challenge their negative reputation.

 

Josie Pegg is a postgraduate researcher at Bournemouth University and is passionate about marine and aquatic ecology, fish and parasites.

Steve Colgan

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

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Where?

18-20 Florence Rd
Southsea
Portsmouth
Hampshire
PO5 2NE

Who?
Steve Colgan

What's the talk about?

Given the bewildering variety of life on Earth – all stemming from one self-replicating molecule – can we really predict what life on other worlds is like? Maybe not. But we can imagine what it isn’t like. 

Stevyn Colgan has been involved with aliens for three decades. He’s held Jabba the Hutt’s face, helped sculpt creatures for Bruce Willis to shoot at, and had a script accepted for Doctor Who in the 1980s. In this entertaining talk, you’ll hear about feuding gangs of scientists, film directors with less imagination than children, and the perils of concrete poo. You’ll also come to realise that if we really are intelligently designed, we're an illogical and inefficient system.

 

Stevyn Colgan is an author, artist, songwriter, speaker and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the ‘Elves’ that research and write the popular BBC TV series QI and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity, for BBC Radio 4. He has given hundreds of talks across the UK and USA and is a regular at festivals and events such as Skeptics in the Pub, QEDCon, Cornbury, Hay, Cheltenham, Latitude and the Edinburgh Fringe. He is a contributor to the bestselling QI books and annuals and is the author of ‘Joined-Up Thinking, Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope’, ‘Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folk Tales’, ‘The Third Condiment’, ‘Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road?’ and co-wrote ‘Saving Bletchley Park’ with Dr Sue Black.