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Charlotte Lydia Riley

When?
Wednesday, September 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Charlotte Lydia Riley

What's the talk about?

The British Empire was the largest empire in modern history. At its height, it covered a quarter of the world's surface and encompassed a fifth of the world's population. For centuries, Britannia ruled the waves; from Ireland to India, from Ghana to Guiana, the union flag flew high over British territory. Britain tells this story as a story of triumphs: a small island coming proudly to dominate the world, with the empire cast both as a sign of military might and as a humanitarian mission, bringing peace and civilisation to the wider world. But the reality was very different; the British empire was built on violence and exploitation, the populations under British rule rejected and resisted imperialism, and the British at home had a very ambivalent relationship to 'their' empire. This talk will look at some of the key myths of empire, and will explore why the British still have such a complicated understanding of their imperial past, and how the popular memory of empire still influences culture, politics and society today.

Charlotte Lydia Riley is a lecturer in twentieth century British history at the University of Southampton. She writes about the British empire and decolonization, aid and humanitarianism, and the Labour Party; her book explores all of these things to examine the connections between empire and the British metropole in the late twentieth century. She lives in east London and spends a lot of time on trains.

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Angela Saini

When?
Wednesday, August 2 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Angela Saini

What's the talk about?

Did you know Darwin believed that women were intellectually inferior to men? Science has long had a problem with the female of our species, and in this talk I will explain why and how. I'll also explore new research that is correcting these old mistakes and attempting to paint a more accurate, and more empowering, portrait of women. From primates to patriarchy, I'll describe how easy it is for scientific research to be infected by sexism.

Angela Saini presents science programmes on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, and her writing has appeared all over the world, including in New Scientist, the Guardian, Science, and Wired. She is the winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Kavli Science Journalism (2015) and the Association of British Science Writers’ award for best news story (2012). Her latest book is Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story. Follow her on Twitter @AngelaDSaini

Copies of Angela Saini's new book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, will be on sale at the event.

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Carmen D’Cruz

When?
Wednesday, July 5 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Carmen D’Cruz

What's the talk about?

  • Ever wondered how to make non-science people see how great science, technology, and critical thinking can be?
  • Why are events like Skeptics in the Pub, Cafe Scientifique and Science Showoff filled with people who already have science degrees instead of the people who could gain the most from them?
  • How can the science community and the general public work together to get more people coming to things like this and encourage the nation as a whole to embrace critical thinking?

Carmen D’Cruz is one of the organisers and co-hosts of London Skeptics in the Pub, an award winning monthly event. We cover science, technology, history, philosophy and related current affairs. She has worked with groups from all over the world on evidence based campaigns and events, giving talks about critical thinking and the wonders of science for beginners and would-be experts alike. She lives and works in London as a project management director, not a scientist.

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Aaron Dale and Henry Drysdale

When?
Wednesday, June 7 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Aaron Dale and Henry Drysdale

What's the talk about?

Outcome switching is a serious problem in clinical trial reporting that can exaggerate the benefits and downplay the harms of new drugs and therapies. We established COMPare (The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine Outcome Monitoring Project) to track this problem in real time in the world’s top 5 leading medical journals. In doing so we aimed to understand why this simple and well recognised problem still exists, and to determine if the self-correcting mechanisms of science work when it really matters. You can see our results and read about what happened when we tried to correct the record on 67 misreported trials on our website (compare-trials.org).

In this follow up talk, Henry and Aaron from the COMPare team will report on Phase 2 of the project, what we have learned about why outcome switching persists, and how our real time feedback approach might be adapted to correct systematic problems in other areas of science.

Henry and Aaron helped start the COMPare project as medical students along with Ben Goldacre at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine. They will begin work as junior doctors this August.

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Lewis Dean

When?
Wednesday, May 3 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Lewis Dean

What's the talk about?

A charity in America is campaigning to get chimpanzees recognised as ‘persons’, giving them basic human rights. But with rights come responsibilities. Could a chimp ever be guilty of a human crime? Join primatologist Lewis Dean to examine what we know about the mental abilities of our closest evolutionary cousins.

Lewis Dean is a science communicator and primatologist. His research has focussed on the evolution of culture in humans and other animals. He has worked with a variety of primates, including chimps, capuchins, lemurs and human children.

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https://www.facebook.com/events/841633872641617/

Colin Stuart

When?
Wednesday, April 5 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Colin Stuart

What's the talk about?

Tim Peake's recent visit to the International Space Station has placed a fresh spotlight on the latest developments in space exploration. But space travel is still a pretty new area of human endeavour and our ideas about what and who might be out there have constantly shifted over the years. One place this is particularly apparent is in the famous Christmas Lectures held by the Royal Institution each year.

Last year Colin was lucky enough to rummage around in their archives and write a book about 13 of the lectures devoted to space and time. The first was delivered way back in 1881. The last was the 2015 lectures featuring a message from Tim from orbit. And how our ideas have changed. In this talk Colin will be sharing some of the stories from the lectures, along with some of his favourite anecdotes about digging through the archives including finding Carl Sagan's immigration form and Dewar's radioactive notebooks.

Strap in for more than 100 years of astronomical discovery.

Copies of Colin's book will be on sale, so be sure to bring some extra cash so you can pick one up!

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Professor Alison Woollard

When?
Wednesday, March 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Professor Alison Woollard

What's the talk about?

The search for the elixir of youth has been a fantasy through the ages, but is it possible to live much longer, or desirable? Most babies born in 1900 did not live past 50, but life expectancy at birth now exceeds 83 years in parts of the world. Will this almost-doubling of human lifespan happen again in the next 100 years? Why do organisms age? and why do different creatures have such different life expectancies, from a few hours to hundreds of years? Come with me on the quest for eternal youth, as I introduce you to my favourite creature, the tiny nematode C. elegans, and reveal how this humble worm is letting us into the secrets of a long and healthy life.

Alison leads a research team working on the developmental genetics of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Her current work concerns molecular mechanisms of cell fate determination during C. elegans development, trying to unpick the complex mechanisms by which cells become different from one another as an organism develops from egg to adult. She also has a strong interest in the biology of ageing and in neurodegenerative disease.

Alison is also strongly committed to Public Engagement, believing that science should be more strongly embedded in society as an important cultural ambition, as well as a crucial driver of economic competitiveness and improved healthcare. She presented the 2013 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures series “Life Fantastic”, broadcast on BBC4 during the Christmas period, and since then has taken part in a diverse range of Public Engagement activities, from the Green Man Festival in the mountains of Wales to regular appearances on the science comedy circuit.

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Mark Lynas

When?
Wednesday, February 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Mark Lynas

What's the talk about?

Pro-science campaigner Mark Lynas reviews the evidence in these three controversial areas and asks us to try to overcome political tribalism and consider issues rationally. In a supposedly post-truth age we need evidence-based thinking more than ever, he concludes.

Mark Lynas is the author of three major popular science environmental books: High Tide (2004), Six Degrees (2008) and The God Species (2011), as well as the Kindle Single ebook Nuclear 2.0 (2012). Six Degrees won the 2008 Royal Society science books prize and was made into a documentary film voiced by Alec Baldwin by National Geographic channel. He was advisor to the President of the Maldives on climate change from 2009 until the coup in 2012. He has contributed extensively to global media, writing for the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, Bangkok Post, Philippines Inquirer, Daily Nation (Kenya) and numerous others. He is a visiting fellow at the Cornell Alliance for Science, Cornell University, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Helen Czerski

When?
Wednesday, January 11 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Helen Czerski

What's the talk about?

When we hear about physics, we often hear about the weirdness of the tiny quantum world or the bewildering vastness of the cosmos. But there's a lot in the middle, and it's time someone starting talking about it. In this talk, Helen Czerski will take us through some of the little everyday oddities that shed light on some of the most important science and technology of our time. This is the physics that is woven into our lives - it's what makes the cream rise to the top of the milk, it dictates how tall a tree can be and it makes magnets stick to the fridge. But the same principles also explain how the ocean conveyer belt moves, how modern insulin tests work, and they open the door to the technologies that will power our future. Once the patterns are visible, a new perspective on the world beckons. 

Helen is a physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster with a passion for science, sport, books, creativity, hot chocolate and investigating the interesting things in life. She currently works in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London, and is a science presenter for the BBC.

Helen's book "Storm in a Teacup - The Physics of Everyday Life" is available from November 2016 (UK & Commonwealth), and January 2017 (US). Copies will be on sale at this event.

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Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

When?
Thursday, December 1 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

What's the talk about?

Please note the earlier start time of 7PM

The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine will give their views on some of the misdemeanours and misunderstandings in evidence in 2016 that directly affect you and your health, and their wishes for what could be done differently in 2017.

Henry Drysdale will give an update on tracking trial outcomes after visiting virtually every sceptics in the country. Sarah McNeill will inform us about the latest in missing research, AllTrials and what trials trackers can do about the problem of publication bias. And Elizabeth Spencer will give insights into the CEBM’s latest project with the BBC about discovering the truth behind commonly held claims of effectiveness.

The evening will be chaired by Ben Goldacre of the EBM datalab and audience participation will come from the CEBM based at the University of Oxford.

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Jenny Josephs

When?
Wednesday, November 30 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Jenny Josephs

What's the talk about?

By 2050 the global population will reach 9 billion and this will put ever increasing pressure on food and environmental resources. It will be a challenge to ensure global food security without further damaging the environment with intensified farming practices.

One UN backed solution is to focus on alternative sources of protein, such as insects for food and animal feed. About 2 billion of us already include insects in our diets, though it is still a growing trend in the west.

Insects are described as having a variety of different flavours, from mushroomy to pistachio or pork crackling. They are comparable to beef in protein and contain beneficial nutrients like iron and calcium. Their environmental impact is also minimal, requiring far less water and feed than cattle, and releasing fewer emissions.

During this talk, Jenny will explain how insects might replace some of the meat in our diets and also give some tips on how to cook them. You will be invited to sample some tasty bug snacks after the talk!

Bio: After completing a PhD in Visual Cognition at the University of Southampton, Jenny changed course and started The Bug Shack - a business promoting and selling edible insects. Jenny is a regular speaker at Skeptics events and science festivals and she recently returned from a trip to research attitudes towards eating and farming insects in Thailand and Laos.

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Adam Rutherford

When?
Wednesday, November 2 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Adam Rutherford

What's the talk about?

A sprawling saga of the history of humankind is packed inside our cells, written in 3 billion letters of DNA, and in the last few years we’ve learnt how to read it. Our genomes are packed with culture, war, disease, migration, murder, kings and queens, race, and a whole lot of quite deviant sex.

Geneticist, writer and broadcaster Adam Rutherford wields the latest addition to the historian’s toolbox, to unscramble the myths and the story of us, and what DNA can – and can’t – tell us about the epic human journey.

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