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Megan Whewell

When?
Wednesday, March 5 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Megan Whewell

What's the talk about?

Did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really land on the Moon in 1969? Yes!

There have been many conspiracy theories proposed over the years since 1969 that insist Neil and Buzz didn't land on the Moon's surface. Buzz’s famous response to a conspiracy theorist was to punch them, but Megan Whewell will take you through some of the more popular theories and explain how you can respond using less violence and more science.

Megan Whewell is currently studying for an Astrophysics PhD at University College London. She previously worked at the National Space Centre in Leicester, and as part of her job presented public talks during school holidays. Over one holiday those talks asked the question "Did the moon landings really happen?". She considers these talks a wholehearted success because she got, on average, one ‘conversion’ a day from conspiracy theorist to believing in the Apollo programme.

Part of Oxford Think Week

Natalie Haynes

When?
Wednesday, February 26 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Natalie Haynes

What's the talk about?

Greek Myth provides the material for tragedy, epic and comedy in the ancient world. In turn, Greek tragedy has shaped drama and fiction ever since - from opera to soap opera, and from murder mysteries to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our high culture and pop culture owe a great deal to Homer, Euripides and the rest. Come and find out how soap writers pilfer their stories from Aeschylus, and how Greek heroes have shaped our fictional world.

Think Week is an annual week of high profile free public events organised by local non-theistic societies in Oxford, running in late February. Our events cover philosophy, poltics, science and public performance. Find out more at www.thinkweek.co.uk.

Robin Ince

When?
Thursday, February 6 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

Robin Ince is a tirelessy touring comedian whose act often delves into science and philosophy and all that. He is the host of Radio 4's "Infinite Monkey Cage" and its stage show, and is responsible for the much-loved "9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People.

Robin will be talking about his mind, the minds of others and their various shortcomings. He'll also be discussing the worst of the online complaints and abuse that he has received about science and explaining how he has come to accept his inner idiot.

Inside The Weird World Of Scientology

John Sweeney

When?
Wednesday, January 8 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
John Sweeney

What's the talk about?

Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree. Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church’s spokesman on camera and his infamous ‘exploding tomato’ clip was seen by millions around the world.

John Sweeney tells the story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined to its current followers who say it is the solution to many of mankind’s problems.

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Wednesday, December 4 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Skepticism and critical thinking isn't just about UFOs, bad pharma and creationism. It's about the everyday things too. 

After leaving school Stevyn gained places at both art and catering colleges, but turned them down and instead accepted a drunken £50 bet with his homicide detective father that he could survive six months as a police officer. He consequently joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London and ended up staying for 30 years.

During his service he found himself frequently challenging the traditional or 'accepted' ways of doing things; critical thinking and his own natural skepticism led him to explore different ways of doing things, often in innovative and unusual ways. These included using wizards to tackle street gambling, lollipops to stop anti-social behaviour and dog shows to prevent homicides. Ultimately, he was asked by Scotland Yard and the Home Office to be part of an experimental unit to explore some of these new ideas, many of which have now found their way into everyday policing in the UK.

The Skeptical Bobby is all about grass-roots skepticism and why we should be critical thinkers in every aspect of our lives.

'Superb talk at QEDcon by Stevyn Colgan. Intelligent and humane.' - Professor Richard Dawkins

'Stevyn Colgan was fantastic! Beautiful and inspiring talk' - The British Humanist Association

Dorothy Bishop

When?
Wednesday, November 6 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Dorothy Bishop

What's the talk about?

If you Google ‘dyslexia’ you will find a confusing array of information about diagnosis and treatment. Many websites claim that their intervention is neuroscientifically-based, and many propose ways of treating dyslexia that do not involve training children to read. I will consider some general rules of thumb that can help sort out the good, the bad and the frankly weird from among this wide range of possibilities.

Dorothy Bishop is Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at the University of Oxford, where she heads a programme of research into children’s communication impairments funded by the Wellcome Trust. As well as publishing in conventional academic outlets, she writes a popular blog with personal reactions to scientific and academic matters, and she tweets as @deevybee.

David Shorthouse

When?
Wednesday, October 9 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
David Shorthouse

What's the talk about?

Evolution's past is rife with controversy. Whilst a majority of people view evolution as an important fact of nature, there is still a significant portion of people who view it as a falsehood. There is lots of information regarding why evolution is true, but why does this actually matter? Why is evolution actually important – aside from it being true?

Hundreds of recent developments in medical and technical advancement have depended heavily on our understanding of evolution. The way we treat the future of medicine, the development of more efficient and greener farming methodologies, medical developments, our pursuit of the stars– all of these depend on us understanding, and utilizing the evolutionary process and our interconnectedness with nature.

The next generation of humanity will require a greater understanding of evolution than any before them. Evolution is the future of technologically development, and I aim to show you why.

David is currently a PhD student in the Department of Biochemistry, for the University of Oxford. David spends a great deal of his free time communicating science through workshops and lectures, to a large range of audiences.

A Scientific Odyssey across America

Neil Denny

When?
Wednesday, September 4 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Neil Denny

What's the talk about?

Neil Denny is the producer and presenter of the Little Atoms Radio Show and podcast. Neil was the recipient of a Travelling Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and in May 2012 he embarked upon a month long, 6614 mile road trip across America. The aim of the trip was to produce a series of podcasts which present a wide-ranging overview of science and skepticism from an American perspective. While many in Europe consider America to be the home of conspiracy theories, creationism and climate scepticism, the USA is also a scientific powerhouse.

However many of those involved in science in the US are also fighting encroaching irrationality. To be an atheist in America is still considered to be a brave and transgressive act. Creationists continue to push for the teaching of "intelligent design" alongside evolution in science classes. Campaigners are fighting to protect the right to legal and safe abortion, for the use of stem cells in medical research, and are fighting against the growing anti-vaccination movement.

Driving from San Francisco to Boston and calling in at Phoenix, Santa Fe, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York along the way, Neil recorded 39 interviews with scientists and science writers including Ann Druyan, Leonard Susskind, Kip Thorne, Priya Natarajan, Paul Davies, George Church, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mary Roach, Edward Stone and Sara Seager. He recorded interviews at some major sites of scientific interest, including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Los Alamos National Laboratory, and The American Museum of Natural History. He also spent a less scientific day visiting Kentucky's Creation Museum. The podcasts from Neil's trip can be found at the following website: http://feeds.feedburner.com/littleatomsroadtrip/. Find out more about Little Atoms here: http://www.littleatoms.com/, and follow Neil on Twitter: @littleatoms.

Hazel Gibson

When?
Wednesday, August 7 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Hazel Gibson

What's the talk about?

I'm going to give a talk about what people think about fracking, from three perspectives - the scientist, the activist and the local person with fracking happening on their back door. I'll be looking at what fracking is- as a method for extracting gas from shale, why some people don't like fracking and what the people who live where fracking is happening are actually worried about. 

I'm a PhD student at Plymouth, studying what people know about geology. I have previously worked at the Natural History Museum in London as the Identification Officer for Earth Sciences and as a Science Educator. I have worked as an actual geologist too; as an Engineering Geologist in Australia. I currently tweet, blog and generally harangue passers-by about how awesome geology is. Can occasionally be seen making dinosaur footprints....

Mark Cairns

When?
Friday, July 5 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

9 - 13 George Street
Oxford
OX1 2AU

We use the upstairs function room.

To find it, go up the spiral staircase - then look for the door immediately opposite you. Go through, up another flight of stairs and you will find us. There is a bar up here and it will be open, so no need to spill your pint on the spiral stairs. If you want to eat in the function room then you have to order your food downstairs and then carry it up yourself.

Step-free access is available.

Who?
Mark Cairns

What's the talk about?

Mark Cairns can't really read minds. Think of him as a fake psychic who is honest about being a fake. Three years ago, out of the blue, Mark's wife secretly converted to Islam. As someone who spends his life making people believe things that aren't true, Mark set out to understand how someone who always professed not to have any particular faith suddenly became convinced of the existence of a very specific flavour of imaginary being. A look at just what it is that makes humans believe in the unbelievable. Mind blowing, intelligent and funny.

www.godvsmindreader.com

Peter Harrison

When?
Wednesday, July 3 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Peter Harrison

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to make fun of many creationist claims, but what are their strongest arguments?

Creationism often takes a lot of flak for the kind of wild claims made by hoards of ALL-CAPS creationists on blogs and YouTube comments. But of all the claims and arguments made by creationists, which are the most impressive? Do they pose a threat to creationism-denying scientific fields? Forget the usual tired canards. Peter has spent a year collaborating with top creationist organisations and groups to collate and bring to you their most powerful arguments yet…

Peter Harrison has worked with many organisations on both sides of this debate, including his former role as volunteer coordinator for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

When?
Wednesday, June 5 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?

What's the talk about?

We don't have a speaker this month, so we're holding our first social instead!

Come along to The Chequers, High Street (http://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/thechequersoxford/) any time from 7.30PM on Wednesday 5th June for a drink and a chat. Everyone's welcome!

If you don't know what we look like, Jo will be wearing a "Skeptic" hoodie. Call 07905499060 if you can't find us, but we should be fairly easy to spot.

Our next speaker will be Peter Harrison on Wednesday 3rd July at St. Aldates Tavern, our new regular home. http://oxford.skepticsinthepub.org/Event.aspx/1602/Magic-Dragons-and-Dinosaur-Saddles