Browse through our past events

<< Following year  Previous year >>

Emma McClure

When?
Tuesday, March 15 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Emma McClure

What's the talk about?

 A grisly murder scene, a renegade detective pours over the scene. They find an overlooked clue; a hair, a footprint, a shell casing. Detailed analysis matches it to the bad guy. The bad guy goes to jail - this is often how modern day forensics are thought of and how it is often portrayed in shows such as 'CSI' and 'Silent Witness'. 


Forensic evidence is seen as conclusive when it comes to catching suspects and deciding if someone is guilty in a criminal trial. How could the traces left behind at a crime scene lie?

The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for break-throughs in many old and cold cases. 

However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly 'conclusive' forensic evidence. This has lead to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

In this talk, prison lawyer Emma McClure explores this issue alongside the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to scientific evidence.

Tamasin Cave

When?
Tuesday, February 16 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?

What's the talk about?

This event has been cancelled

Robin Tudge

When?
Tuesday, January 19 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Robin Tudge

What's the talk about?

Robin Tudge is a writer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who has lived and worked in Chicago, Moscow, Hanoi, Beijing and Pyongyang, and among other tomes wrote the pioneering Bradt Guide to North Korea, now in its third edition. He has visited North Korea several times since 2001 and led tours there in 2013 and 2015 for the leading tour company, Koryo Tours. He is to present an illustrated talk on travelling to that impoverished, surprising country, so show what can really be seen beyond the Potemkin illusion. 

Philip Moriarty

When?
Tuesday, December 15 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

1 Millstone Lane,
Leicester,
LE1 5JN

Who?
Philip Moriarty

What's the talk about?

 There is no doubt that quantum physics embodies mind-blowing concepts that force us to question the very nature of reality.  And if there’s a contender for our current best “theory of everything” then quantum mechanics wins hands down.


But, far too often, the word “quantum” signals the worst type of vacuous pseudoscientific gobbledegook. It’s exploited by those who are entirely clueless about the underlying physics -- or, worse, should know better -- to evoke a misplaced mysticism about the ‘holistic’ nature of the universe. Moreover, when consciousness and quantum collide, the nonsense factor goes through the roof…

Philip Moriarty will aim to tease out the science from the mysticism and show that while quantum physics certainly has its weird and wacky aspects, it’s at heart a theory of waves. That means we can very often easily interpret what’s happening at the quantum level in terms of the everyday world around us – he’ll take a look at what coffee cups, drums, and a SlinkyTM can tell us about the broader nature of the universe (and Deepak Chopra’s place in it).

Philip Moriarty is a professor of physics at the University of Nottingham. He tweets at @Moriarty2112 and blogs at www.muircheart.wordpress.com.

John Martin

When?
Tuesday, November 17 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
John Martin

What's the talk about?

 Dinosaurs have been the popular face of palaeontology for almost as long as the science has existed - over 150 years. They have 'big, fierce and extinct' appeal, but the main way dinosaurs have captured the public's imagination is that they have been, and still are, 'brought to life' in illustrations and other kinds of art. This is where science meets art meets popularisation. 


Dinosaur 'reconstructions' have a special power, however - they don't only enthuse the public (and hopefully encourage children into careers in science); they also seem to influence the way palaeontologists themselves study, and publish supposedly rigorous scientific papers about, the fossils on which dinosaur science is based.

How are the reconstructions made? How 'correct' are they? Do they reveal as much about human nature as they do about life in the past? As someone who has spent half a lifetime studying, interpreting and drawing dinosaurs and other extinct animals, John brings the insights of an insider to these questions.

From 1974 John was curator of geology at Leicestershire Museums, then managing curator of New Walk Museum, Leicester. He specialised in vertebrate palaeontology, and in exhibitions, interpretation and design. In 2001 in moved into interpretation full-time, working for a firm designing and building museums and other heritage attractions all over the world. He's now 'retired', which means self-employed but relaxed - still doing interpretation and a bit of dinosaur work.

why should we care if our friends are similar to us?

Katherine Woolf

When?
Tuesday, October 20 2015 at 8:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Katherine Woolf

What's the talk about?

Do you find yourself making friends with people like you? Katherine Woolf draws on her often controversial research to explore why this happens, and its impact on success and injustice. Discover how you can challenge the status quo to create a fairer, more integrated, more successful society.

Dr Katherine Woolf is a Senior Lecturer and academic psychologist working at UCL Medical School finding out what makes people – especially doctors – do really well or really badly. Her work focusses on how and why ethnicity and gender influence success, and how we can use this knowledge to improve fairness and equality. She has recently been discovering how our choice of friends can make a big difference to our success.

Michael Story

When?
Tuesday, September 15 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Michael Story

What's the talk about?

Since 2011, a team of 200 civilians has been predicting the future more accurately than US intelligence agencies. Formed five years ago under the auspices of IARPA (the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, informally known as 'DARPA for spies'), the Good Judgement Project's 'Superforecaster' teams have been forecasting the specifics of North Korean missile programmes, the movement of Russian troops and the longevity of Robert Mugabe, achieving a 50% lower error rate than the previous state of the art.

 
 
This talk will cover who makes these forecasts, how they are doing it, and some techniques shown to make nearly anyone more accurate when predicting the future.
 
Michael Story is a policy researcher and Superforecaster with the Good Judgement Project

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Tuesday, August 18 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence is out to delight and inform with her new show The Z List Dead List. The Z List Dead List is a live comedy show about obscure people from history. As a skeptic, Iszi has found a few people from the past that will peak your interest. Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition.

The show is also a podcast with guest interviews from Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc. You can find it on iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-z-list-dead-list/id915778702?mt=2 or go to the website www.zlistdeadlist.com

Dr Kimberley Wade

When?
Tuesday, July 21 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Kimberley Wade

What's the talk about?

Suggestive techniques can lead people to remember wholly false childhood events such as being lost in a shopping mall or being hospitalized overnight. Although most false memory research has relied on some form of verbal suggestion to influence what people recall, recent research shows that photographs—both genuine and doctored—can create havoc in memory too. I will discuss the extent to which images and videos can influence memory for significant, recent experiences, and show that people might even confess to, or testify about, events that never happened if they are confronted with fabricated evidence. I will also discuss new research on people with highly superior autobiographical memories. These people demonstrate incredibly detailed and robust memories, but are they immune to memory errors?  Probably not.

Dr Kim Wade is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Warwick. She is a cognitive psychologist specialising in autobiographical memory and memory distortions, best known for her research demonstrating the power of doctored images to produce false memories.  Kim is especially interested in the mechanisms that drive the development of false memories, and in refining the theories that explain false memory phenomena. Her research is published in many high-impact journals, and appears frequently in the media, in undergraduate texts, and in books for the educated layperson.

Andrew Copson

When?
Tuesday, June 16 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Andrew Copson

What's the talk about?

At this event, Andrew Copson will give an overview of humanism: what it is, what it is not, its history and its long association with skepticism.


Andrew will also talk about the British Humanist Association: their aims and the work that they do.

Andrew Copson is the Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association. Andrew became Chief Executive in January 2010 after five years coordinating the BHA's education and public affairs work. His writing on humanist and secularist issues has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and New Statesman as well as in various journals and he has represented the BHA and Humanism extensively on television news on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, as well as on television programmes such as Newsnight, The Daily Politics and The Big Questions. He has also appeared on radio on programmes from Today, Sunday, The World at One, The Last Word and Beyond Belief on the BBC, to local and national commercial radio stations.

"Part magic show, part comedy, part rational inquiry"

Ash Pryce

When?
Tuesday, May 19 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

Hydesville. New York. 1848. The young Fox sisters begin communicating with the spirit of a murdered beggar and spiritualism is born. This interactive look at a history of talking to the dead will feature an array of magical treats including levitating tables, ectoplasm manifestation and spirit communication. Part magic show, part comedy, part rational inquiry this fun show has regularly packed venues at the Edinburgh fringe.

Ouija Boards
Spirit Slates
Spirit Communication
Stopped Pulses
Spewing ectoplasm
And more...
 
"Ash Pryce is a naturally funny guy and won't allow his audience to be bored" "Very entertaining" - edfringereview

"Go see" - Edinburgh Skeptics
 
Ash Pryce is a performer and director based in Scotland.  He has written and staged several skeptically themed shows looking at myths & legends, ghosts, psychics and mediumship as well as producing full plays ranging from Faustus to more contemporary original shows in Edinburgh.  He is the founder of Edinburgh Skeptics, the newly started History in the Pub Edinburgh, and runs what is believed to be the worlds first skeptical ghost tour every Fringe.  He lives just outside of Edinburgh with his three Degus, one of which holds a grudge against him.

Please note. This is a skeptically themed show and not intended as an actual demonstration of mediumship or psychic abilities

Jenny Freeman

When?
Tuesday, April 21 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Jenny Freeman

What's the talk about?

 The ability to understand data and evidence is becoming increasingly important in today’s data-driven world. This talk discusses some elements of statistical literacy and what are the key questions to ask when presented with data and evidence.


During this talk Jenny will provide a brief overview of why it is important that we all start to think more statistically, illustrated by some recent, and not so recent examples, and by the end you will be just a little clearer on what are the key questions that you should ask when presented with statistics. You should be more confident and less bamboozled than when we started.

Jenny is an associate professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Leeds, and currently Vice President of the Royal Statistical Society with responsibility for the External Affairs brief. For most of her working life Jenny has been an academic statistician, with the exception of time out to study for a degree in Embroidery at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jenny graduated with a BSc in Economics (Statistics) from the London School of Economics, and an MSc in Medical Statistics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. For her PhD she worked on the 1990 child growth reference centiles for UK children (the ones in the red book given to all new parents). She really enjoy communicating with people about statistics and over the years has received several awards for my teaching, including two Senate Awards from the University of Sheffield and the Keith Boddy Prize from the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine for the best educational article in their Journal, SCOPE.