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Run by The British Psychological Society West Midlands Branch

When?
Tuesday, May 14 2013 at 7:15PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Chris Bale

What's the talk about?

Non-SitP event. Run by The British Psychological Society West Midlands Branch.

Dr Chris Bale is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology University of Huddersfield, his research interests involve examining self-perception, self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you feel about yourself? Are you attractive, likeable, a person of worth? In this talk, I will outline some current psychological research on self-perception and self-esteem, including studies which challenge the common notion that an epidemic of low self-esteem is at the root of a range of social and personal problems. I will then go on to discuss some of my own research on physical attractiveness, self-esteem and relationship behaviour. I will conclude by considering some of the implications of research in this area for understanding issues such as intimate partner violence, individual happiness, and the possible effects of the media on body-image and self-esteem.

‘Psychologist in the Pub’ events, where an expert is invited to deliver a presentation followed by a question and answer discussion. These events provide a valuable forum for local psychologists and encourage the sharing of our science in the West Midlands.

The event is free of charge and open to all (you don't need to be in the BPS).

Dr. Adam Rutherford

When?
Wednesday, May 1 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Dr. Adam Rutherford

What's the talk about?

What is life? Where did it come from? In what form did it first appear? And how? Where did I leave my slippers? The history of life sciences has involved taking things apart to find out how they work. Now, in the age of molecular biology, we can put things together again, and certainly not as they evolved. This has meant that for the first time in four billion years of life on Earth, we're approaching robust scientific answers to these questions, by building, evolving and designing new life forms.

Adam Rutherford, science writer and broadcaster, will take you on a whirlwind tour of the origin of life, and synthetic biology, based on his new book Creation, which was described as being 'so gripping it reads like a thriller: prepare to be astounded'.

In the Mail on Sunday.

By James Delingpole.

Trailing homeopaths in East Africa

Martin Robbins

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

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Where?

82 St. Clement's Street
Oxford
OX4 1AW

Who?
Martin Robbins

What's the talk about?

Martin Robbins, of the Guardian's Lay Science blog, reports on dangerous pseudo-medical practices outside the Western world, from homeopaths in East Africa to flat earthers and anti-vaccine campaigns in Nigeria.

As part of this talk, Martin will be showing video clips of his recent visits to homeopathic projects in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, shot for a film he is making with Michael Story, with support from the Wellcome Trust.

Martin Robbins is a writer, podcaster and journalist covering science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics. Besides the Guardian, he has written for the Times, the Telegraph, the Independent and New Scientist. He also hosts the Strange Quarks podcast with Michael Marshall.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/layscience

Sanal Edamaruku

When?
Monday, March 25 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?
Sanal Edamaruku

What's the talk about?

Sanal Edamaruku has been a force for reason all his life. As president of the Indian Rationalist Association he’s continually challenged the gurus and godmen who have such a pervasive influence in society. But it’s an uphill struggle: a wave of increasing fundamentalism and intolerance may be responsible for his current predicament: when he returns to India it’s likely that he’ll be arrested for “outraging religious feelings” after he debunked a Catholic “miracle” statue in Mumbai.

Anthroposophy and Spiritual Science

Andy Lewis

When?
Monday, March 18 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?
Andy Lewis

What's the talk about?

Part of Oxfordshire Science Festival

With Michael Gove and the coalition approving new Steiner Schools to open under the Free School Programme, it is timely to look closely at the origins and beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the occult movement of Anthroposophy. Steiner was a mystic who believed he had direct clairvoyant access to cosmic knowledge. As such he developed an esoteric belief system based on karma, reincarnation, astrology, homeopathy and gnomes. His visions gave insights into architecture, art, dance, agriculture, medicine, education, science and diet. His racial hierarchy of spiritual developmental resonated in Germany in the early 20th Century turning a personal belief into a worldwide movement. Today we find hundreds of anthroposphically inspired organisations in the UK alone: everything from Steiner Schools, Biodynamic farms to banks, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, charities and cheese makers.

Andy Lewis has been trying to lift the veil on the inner secrets of the movement and will discuss how this secretive movement has direct impact on public life

Ronald Green

When?
Wednesday, March 6 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?
Ronald Green

What's the talk about?

 Why should nothing matter? If anything matters, why should nothing matter? And yet it does, for there isn’t anything, it seems, that nothing does not touch, or anything that does not touch nothing. History, philosophy, religion, science, art, literature, music – all look towards nothing at some point, stimulating questions that would otherwise not be asked.

Who, for example, could have believed that nothing held back progress for 600 years in the Middle Ages, all because of mistaken translation, or that nothing is a way to tackle (and answer) the perennial question "what is art?"? Ronald Green uses nothing in a genuine attempt to look at the world in a different way, to give new angles to old problems and so to stimulate new thoughts.

What is this nothing, that we can’t actually see, touch or feel? Is it absolute? Is it relative to everything else? If we are able to think about it, write and read about it, is it something, and if so wouldn’t it then not be nothing?

This is precisely the mystery of nothing – that the more we think about it, the more there is to it.

Disarmingly invisible, the point of nothing – to paraphrase Bertrand Russell on philosophy – is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth examining, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

Ronald Green is the author of "Nothing Matters – a book about nothing" (iff-Books). Philosopher, linguist, university lecturer and ESL teacher, with 13 ESL books published, Ronald has lectured and given workshops in Europe, North and South America and the Middle East on linguistics, ESL and the use of the Internet in education. His short stories have been published in Nuvein magazine, Tryst, Aesthetica, the Sink and Unholy Biscuit. He has completed a philosophical novel and co-authored a psychological thriller with strong philosophical underpinnings. For the past five years he has been thinking seriously about nothing, culminating in his recently-published book.

In association with Oxford Think Week

Professor Chris French and Martin S Taylor

When?
Wednesday, February 13 2013 at 7:00PM

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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?
Professor Chris French and Martin S Taylor

What's the talk about?

Note slightly earlier start time.

A special event as part of Oxford Think Week. Professor of psychology Chris French is joined by hypnotist Martin Taylor on an expedition into the psychology behind ‘paranormal experiences’. This is the first time that the two friends will be presenting a double-act, and it stands to be something spectacular! Don’t miss it!

Professor Chris French: The Psychology of Ghosts and Hauntings

Opinion polls repeatedly show relatively high levels of belief in ghosts even in modern Western societies. Furthermore, a sizeable minority of the population claim to have personally encountered a ghost. This talk will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so. Topics covered will include hoaxes, sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena, hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there), the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound, photographic evidence, EVP, and the role of the media.

Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as being a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine which, for more than a decade, he also edited. His most recent books are Why Statues Weep: The Best of The Skeptic, co-edited with Wendy Grossman (2010, London: The Philosophy Press) and Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke (2012, London: Palgrave). Follow him on Twitter: @chriscfrench

Martin S Taylor: More Lives Than One?

Martin S Taylor became interested in hypnosis when he was studying for a PhD at Imperial College, and soon became well known on the student circuit with his science based lecture-demonstration. At first he believed in the traditional view that hypnosis is a special induced state of mind, but discussions with friends and his experience with his own hypnotic subjects led him to subscribe to the 'social-compliance' view, namely that hypnosis is best explained by normal, well-understood psychological principles.

He now makes a living as a lecturer and consultant on hypnosis, talking and demonstrating at schools, universities, and anywhere else they'll pay him. It was at one of Martin's lectures that Derren Brown was inspired to take up his career, and Martin has worked with Derren on a number of recent television shows. Recently he has been working as a hypnosis consultant for Paramount Pictures, producing promotional videos for horror films.

In tonight's talk, Martin will be examining the notion that hypnosis can be used to get people to remember past lives, a phenomenon taken by many as evidence of reincarnation.

Professor Elaine Fox

When?
Wednesday, February 6 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?
Professor Elaine Fox

What's the talk about?

Elaine will discuss the nature of “rainy brains” and “sunny brains” asking where these fundamental differences in how we see the world actually come from. She will take us on a journey through cognitive psychology, neuroscience and molecular genetics and will argue that who we are – optimist or pessimist – comes from an intricate dance of genes, fate, and – most crucially - subliminal biases in how we notice, interpret and remember what goes on around us. She will argue that optimism is much more than positive thinking and that the benefits actually come from some other core elements of optimism such as positive actions, a tendency for persistence, and a sense of having control over one’s destiny.

Elaine Fox is a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Essex and is also a Visiting Research Professor in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. She has researched the nature of pessimism and optimism for many years culminating in the publication of her popular science book Rainy Brain Sunny Brain in 2012 (http:// www.rainybrainsunnybrain.com). This highly accessible book takes a look at whether how we are is “in our genes” and asks whether we can or should change our fundamental outlook on life.

Dr. Andrew Steele

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

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Dr. Andrew Steele

What's the talk about?

Cancer kills almost a third of us, and yet we spend just £10 per person per year looking for a cure—and it's by far the best-funded medical condition. Our investment in science is woefully small compared to the scale of the problems it’s trying to solve. Dr Andrew Steele (physicist, optimist and FameLab UK winner) explains why our miniscule spending on science doesn’t make sense, and why it’s vital that we make science funding a political issue.

Topic TBC

When?
Wednesday, December 5 2012 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

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?
Dr. Evan Harris

What's the talk about?

TBC

Stephen Curry

When?
Wednesday, November 7 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

131a High Street
Oxford
OX1 4DH

Who?
Stephen Curry

What's the talk about?

Viruses are pathogens — germs — that afflict all forms of life. All they 'want' is to reproduce but in doing so cause diseases that vary enormously in severity. How do they work and what can be done to stop them?

My research focuses on one family of viruses that includes foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), a germ well known in Britain because of the devastating outbreak in 2001. Though too small to see clearly, even with a powerful microscope, my research uses X-rays to reveal viruses in atomic detail. My talk will describe how zapping viruses with X-rays helps us to explore the strange molecular landscape where so much FMDV action takes place and to figure out how we might tackle the disease that it causes.

Stephen Curry, a native of Northern Ireland, is a professor of structural biology at Imperial College London. That means he is interested in what biological molecules, such as proteins, look like and how they work. An active blogger, he has been writing about science (and making videos) at occamstypewriter.org/scurry for several years. He also takes a keen interest in scientific activism, most notably in supporting the Campaign for Libel Reform and as vice-chair of Science is Vital.

Liz Lutgendorff

When?
Wednesday, October 3 2012 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?
Liz Lutgendorff

What's the talk about?

History is used often as an argument for authority or policy but how accurate are many of the examples mentioned in the news? Diving back into skepticism's past, Liz will tell us about the tools used by skeptics and secular activists from the 19th and 20th centuries, the campaigns they fought and also how we can continue that legacy today.