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Becky Brown

When?
Wednesday, January 15 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Becky Brown

What's the talk about?

It has been argued that many medical treatments available to patients are either ineffective or do more harm than good, and that we systematically overestimate how beneficial medical treatments are likely to be. This results from a number of factors, from medical research practices to media reporting. Given this, what should patients (i.e. all of us, at one time or another) make of this when making medical decisions?

Becky Brown is a philosopher and ethicist at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. She mostly does research on topics in public health, including the ethics of paying people to be healthy and whether it’s ever acceptable to hold people responsible for being ill.

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Paul Duncan McGarrity

When?
Wednesday, November 27 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Paul Duncan McGarrity

What's the talk about?

Paul Duncan McGarrity is an Archaeologist and Stand Up whose brand of history based comedy has been entertaining audiences of children and adults across the country. His sell out Edinburgh fringe show Ask an Archaeologist hit the road in 2017, introducing audiences to the weird world of digging, the silliness of bones and the worst jobs in history. He is also the host of the 'Ask an Archaeologist' Podcast where he interviews the heroes of the heritage industry and answers questions on anything he is asked.

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Dr Alice Howarth

When?
Wednesday, November 6 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Dr Alice Howarth

What's the talk about?

One in two of us will suffer with cancer in our lifetime and almost all of us have some experience of the disease. But do we really know what cancer is and how we can work towards a cure? Is a cure even possible? And how can we arm ourselves with the right information to help us prevent and treat cancer?

Alice is a researcher who works in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool and has worked with both non-profit and for-profit organisations. In this talk she will discuss what cancer is, how it works and just how we are working towards understanding and curing the disease. She will talk about the complexities of research and some of the big success stories that relate directly to some of the many types of cancer. Only when we understand the difficulties we face can we discern between bogus cancer treatment claims and genuine scientific advancement in this field.

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Dr Mai Musié

When?
Wednesday, October 2 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Dr Mai Musié

What's the talk about?

Have you ever wondered where the image of the blood-sucking vampire came from? Or who might have been the first witch to brew up a spell? How do you really get rid of a ghost haunting you? All will be revealed in this talk that is scarily suitable for the occult holiday!

Dr Mai Musié is a Knowledge Exchange Officer in Research Services and an academic in Classics. Her research areas include: race and ethnicity in the ancient world, Classics education, and ancient Ge’ez manuscripts. Dr Musié is also the co-editor of ‘Forward with Classics: Classical Languages in Schools and Communities’ (2018), published by Bloomsbury.

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Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, September 4 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

In this talk, Marshall will talk through his experiences of the Flat Earth movement, take a look at the leaders and some of their reasoning, and report back from the weekend he spent at the UK’s first ever Flat Earth convention.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

 

Alex Farrow

When?
Wednesday, July 3 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Alex Farrow

What's the talk about?

Why do we laugh? What makes something funny? Does the morality of a joke affect how good a joke is? Why is breaking the rule of three important?

A broad overview at some of the contemporary academic questions about humour, laughter and jokes.

Alex is a stand-up and former school teacher. He has a deep interest in jokes and the broader questions behind humour and stand-up. 

As a stand-up Alex has been invited to perform everywhere from Mervyn Stutter’s pick of the Edinburgh Fringe, the National Museum of Scotland, the Oxford University Teaching Awards, and comedy clubs throughout the UK.

He also run comedy clubs. For more info about that visit www.jerichocomedy.com. Jericho Comedy were recommended in the Sunday Times recently and voted one of the top 6 comedy nights in the UK in the Chortle 2019 awards. You can also hear him host at Union Jack FM’s “One Night Stand” on Thursdays.

In addition to this talk, Alex will also be performing his own stand-up hour at the Jericho Tavern on Thursday July 4th at 9pm: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/473635

Join the Facebook event for Alex's talk: https://www.facebook.com/events/470703583730859/

Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins

When?
Wednesday, June 5 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins

What's the talk about?

Is seeing believing? Is believing seeing? How can we hope to conduct experiments on things that only exist within our minds, and, on a related note, can scientists ever be trusted to study deception without being deceived themselves? What can scientists learn about the mind from the illusions developed and practiced by professional magicians? Join magician and experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins, author of The Spectacle of Illusion, for a fascinating talk exploring the psychology of magic.

Everyone's heard, and most of us have told, a story about an uncanny or supernatural seeming experience. Accounts of wondrous and impossible phenomena can be found around the world throughout recorded history. These extraordinary events often seem to be facilitated by extra-ordinary individuals: sorcerers, spiritual mediums, psychic sensitives. Such phenomena have even been reported under 'test conditions', witnessed by scientists—men professionally trained in the practice of empirical observation. To date, such events have not led conventional scientists to embrace the reality of supernatural phenomena- but they have arguably led to scientific breakthroughs how we understand the psychology of illusion.

This talk will feature a mixture of storytelling and magical scientific demonstrations to explore how scientists, past and present, have approached the study of illusion. Matt will discuss how magic played a weird but fundamental role in the in the establishment of psychology as a scientific discipline, and how he and other contemporary researchers have been using magic tricks to create new experiments in order to investigate human memory, perception, and reasoning.

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American magician-turned-psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins completed his DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. Previously, he had obtained a BA in Psychology at the State University of New York at Geneseo and an MSc in Psychological Research from Oxford. He is currently a Visiting Academic at The Queen’s College, Oxford and also works as a freelance writer.

His research, which has been featured across various international media outlets, including the Washington Post and BBC Future, focuses on the cognitive psychology of illusions. Matt was working as professional magician before he began his academic career, and his experiences performing continue to influence his work. He is the first member of The Magic Circle to have been admitted on the basis of a peer-reviewed scientific publication. His new book, The Spectacle of Illusion, explores the historical and contemporary relationships between scientists, magicians, and fraudulent mystics. matt-tompkins.com/soi

 

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Dr Keith Kahn-Harris

When?
Wednesday, May 1 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Dr Keith Kahn-Harris

What's the talk about?

RESCHEDULED: this event will now take place on Wednesday 1st May.

One of the most challenging and frustrating questions for scientists is how to combat denialism: Holocaust denial, global warming denial, anti-vaxxers, 911 conspiracism, creationism and more. Debunking denialist claims is essential - yet also rarely effective.We are now living in a world where even the most apparently basic truths are routinely contested.

In this talk, Keith Kahn-Harris, author of Denial: The Unspeakable Truth, argues that to really understand denialism, we have to face up to what he calls 'the deniers alternative'. Denialism emerges when this alternative is so 'unspeakable' that denialism becomes a preferable option. In thinking about how to combat denialism, we also have to consider whether a world without it might not be a truth-filled utopia, but something even worse.

Dr Keith Kahn-Harris is a sociologist and writer. Denial: The Unspeakable Truth is his fifth book. His badly-designed website can be found at kahn-harris.org and he tweets irregularly at @KeithKahnHarris

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Pixie Turner

When?
Wednesday, March 6 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Pixie Turner

What's the talk about?

Despite a wealth of information at our fingertips there are still so many things we get wrong about our health, and with a new diet book out every other day it’s no wonder people are confused. What should we be eating? When? How often? Just how important is food when it comes to our overall health?

Humans have always been a bit weird around food. We’re told eating certain foods are the key to living longer, some foods are ‘sinful’ or ‘bad’, that ‘you are what you eat’, and that we must seek to obtain health at all costs. All this means we follow crazy diets that make things worse rather than better, and have a population where most of us dislike our bodies.

Pixie will unpack why diet and nutrition misinformation is so problematic, on social media, in mass media, and on a public health level, and why we could all benefit from taking a moment to assess our personal relationship with food. Expect some mythbusting, diet rants, and lots of fully-referenced evidence-based science.

Pixie is a nutritionist (ANutr), food blogger, and science communicator. She graduated with a First Class degree in Biochemistry, and went on to complete a Masters in Nutrition with Distinction. She is the brains behind the 'Pixie Nutrition' social media accounts, which aim to infiltrate the wellness movement and debunk nutrition misinformation online. In addition, she has been featured as a nutrition expert on BBC and Channel 5, and in publications such as Red magazine, Evening Standard, Grazia, the Telegraph and more. Her first book, ‘The Wellness Rebel’ was published early 2018, with her second book, ‘The No Need to Diet Book’ released March 2019.

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Professor Karen Lucas

When?
Wednesday, February 6 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Professor Karen Lucas

What's the talk about?

Is transport poverty an empirically proven phenomenon based on the travel behaviours and experiences of low income populations in the UK? Or is it – like other many other aspects of deprivation, such as energy poverty, housing shortage, health inequalities, a systematically and deliberately constructed denial of resources to marginalise the lower classes?  When poor people are directly asked about the problem of transport, they most often talk about their inability to access jobs, services, and facilities rather than transport itself. So, does transport poverty even exist in its own right? Or is it interdependent with the enforced and inflexible residential locations of low-income households, increasingly in peripheral and unserviceable edge-of-city estates that are poorly connected with the mainstream economic opportunities of the wider city-region? And, if car ownership is the solution (in the light of the public transport sector’s inability to address these connectivity problems under their current operating regimes), how do we address the non-affordability, diminished capabilities and negative externalities of this individualised model of passenger transportation?

Karen is Professor of Transport and Social Analysis at the Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds and Deputy Director of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute. She has 20 years of experience in social research in transport. She is a world-leading expert in the area of transport-related social exclusion in the Global North and South. She leads the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities (INTALInC). In 2015, she won Edward L. Ullman Award by the Transport Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers and in 2016 the University of Leeds ‘Women of Achievement’ Award, both awards for her significant contribution to transportation geography.

Karen is a regular advisor to national governments in the UK and abroad.  In 2002, she was seconded to the Social Exclusion Unit to develop policies to address the transport exclusion of low-income and disadvantaged groups and communities. She subsequently worked for the Department of Transport to undertake pilot studies and develop the Guidance on Accessibility Planning that resulted from this study. She has subsequently worked for local and national governments in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. She is currently, seconded to Highways England to set up a methodology for the community impact assessment of the Lower Thames Crossing project.

Karen is co-chair of the Special Interest Group on Cultural and Social Issues in Transport for the World Conference on Transport and Society (WCTRS) and of the NECTAR Cluster 7: Social and Health Impacts of Transport  She is a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Transport Geography, Springer's Transportation journal and Urban Book Series

Carl Heneghan

When?
Wednesday, January 9 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Carl Heneghan

What's the talk about?

In 2018, Jeremy Hunt MP announced a review into how the NHS responds to harms from medicines and medical devices. This followed patient-led campaigns on the use of the hormone pregnancy test Primodos, anti-epileptic drug sodium valproate and surgical mesh. Carl Heneghan has given evidence to the review and will discuss why we need such a review, what are the problems and some of the solutions.

Carl Heneghan - Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford - is a clinical epidemiologist and leading expert in EBM,research methods and regulatory science. His work includes investigating drug and devices, advising governments on regulatory evidence and healthcare projects in the public interest. He has worked with the media to investigate the evidence for sports drinks, IVF 'Add-on' treatments, metal-hips, surgical mesh and the Essure implant. He is a clinical advisor to the UK's Parliaments All Parliamentary Party Group on Surgical Mesh.

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Amy Dickman

When?
Wednesday, November 28 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Amy Dickman

What's the talk about?

Amy is the Kaplan Senior Research Fellow in Felid Conservation at Oxford University, and has 20 years experience working on large carnivores in Africa, specialising in human-carnivore conflict. She has an MSc from Oxford University and a PhD from University College London, and has published over 60 scientific papers and book chapters on large carnivore ecology and conservation. She is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, the Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration, the African Lion Working Group, the IUCN Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force, and is a National Geographic Explorer. She has received multiple awards for her work, including the Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize for the Next Generation in Wild Cat Conservation, the St Louis Zoo Conservation Award and the Cincinnati Zoo Wildlife Conservation Award.

Amy established the Ruaha Carnivore Project (www.ruahacarnivoreproject.com), based in southern Tanzania, in 2009, and still directs it today. The Ruaha landscape is one of the most important areas in the world for lions, leopards and cheetahs, but has been largely ignored by researchers, making it hard to develop conservation and management plans. In addition, it has the highest rate of lion killing documented in East Africa, as lions and other carnivores impose high costs on poverty-stricken local people. Amy and her Tanzanian team are researching the ecology of these vital populations, and working to reduce the pressing threat of human-carnivore conflict in this critical area. The project focuses upon reducing carnivore attacks, providing local communities with real benefits from carnivore presence, focusing particularly on improving local schools, clinics and access to veterinary medicine. It has been an extremely challenging endeavour, given the remote location and the initial hostility of the Barabaig, who are the secretive and little-known tribe responsible for most lion-killing. However, the team has made huge progress: since 2011 in the core study area, carnivore attacks on stocks have been reduced by over 60%, people are recognising real benefits from wildlife presence for the first time, and most importantly, lion killings have been reduced by over 80%. The aim now is to continue and expand this work both around Ruaha and beyond, to generate long-term benefits both for carnivores and local communities.

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