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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

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