Iszi Lawrence

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

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence is out to delight and inform with her new show The Z List Dead List. The Z List Dead List is a live comedy show about obscure people from History. As a skeptic, Iszi has found a few people from the past that will peak your interest. Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition. The show is also a podcast with guest interviews from Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc. You can find it on iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-z-list-dead-list/id915778702?mt=2 or go to the website www.zlistdeadlist.com.

Chris Peters

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

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Chris Peters

What's the talk about?

Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some of these claims are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can't be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA-resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work. Come and hear how you can help.

Matt Tompkins

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

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Matt Tompkins

What's the talk about?

On Sunday the 18th of November 1877, at 3pm in the afternoon, Wilhelm Wundt, sometimes identified as the 'Founder of Experimental Psychology,' joined hands with a group of academics and bore witness to series of ‘miracles’ in the presence of a visiting American spirit medium. Wundt was unconvinced by what he saw. However, a number of his esteemed colleagues, including world-renowned physicists Gustav Fechner, Wilhelm Weber, and Johann Zöllner, believed that the events they witnessed called for a complete revision of the fundamental laws of physics – a revision that could accommodate immortal fourth-dimensional spirit people. The resulting debate was not itself immortalized in any mainstream psychology text books, but, arguably, it did play a fundamental role in the subsequent emergence of Experimental Psychology as a formal scientific discipline. My talk will examine this debate, briefly surveying the historical context leading up to events, and analyzing the arguments of the various key players, before considering the consequences and their lasting impacts psychology and science in general.

Matt Tompkins is a psychologist and a semi-professional magician. He is currently completing a doctoral thesis at the University of Oxford on the relationships between perception, attention, and sleight-of-hand illusions. His most recent paper was published in Frontiers in Psychology, and his research has been featured in the Washington Post and BBC Future.

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, October 4 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more.

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library.

With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

Joseph Simcox

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

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Joseph Simcox

What's the talk about?

Joseph Simcox is a World Food Plant Ecologist and Ethnobotanist. As a Botanical Explorer he travels the globe to identify the world’s food plant resources focusing on under-utilized crops and wild species. The basis of his work is to promote the use and cultivation of plants for food and useful components. The harmonious balance between modern man’s infrastructures and nature is necessary if man is to continue to prosper on the planet. His goal is to ensure food security and nutrition for all while developing food systems that mimic nature. Joseph asserts that the identification of wild food plants and their appropriate habitats is the first step to creating sustainable ecosystems.

The improvement of these suitable plants should be one of the world’s foremost civic agendas. Science is often viewed as the sole source of inspiration in our present day psyche, but Joseph argues that much of the greatest inspiration will come when we re-examine the life ways of peoples past. “When we “know” as a society rather than as “experts” what nature offers us all will have the keys to live better, healthier and more rewarding lives. Many of the causes of poverty in today’s world are overlooked because few categorize non-economic indicators of impoverishment. Losing traditional ways is often looked upon as advancement by the people who are trying to “advance” but in the process they ironically become even more poor. We are like those people, but we lost our ways a long-long time ago, it's time to rediscover what we lost!”

Joseph is an international speaker presenting at diverse conferences and symposiums around the world and introducing new perspectives on food resources, food production and the environment. He collaborates with independent growers, industry, universities, governments and non-government organizations in this worldwide effort. He has visited more than 100 countries to date for his field experience.

Dr Julia Shaw

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

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Julia Shaw

What's the talk about?

Is memory just an illusion? Can it be hacked? Dr Julia Shaw will take you on a trip through the various ways in which your brain deceives you into believing that you can reliably form memories - particularly memories of your life experiences. In a turbulent overview of the rich world of the science of our personal past, she will discuss the neurological, perceptual, and social aspects of memory illusions. By the end of it, she’ll have you questioning all your memories, and wondering whether you actually are who you think you are.

Julia Shaw is a memory scientist at London South Bank University who loves to dispel misconceptions and challenge notions of reality. In her research she convinces people that they committed crimes that never actually happened. When she’s not hacking into people’s memories, she is ineffectively Tweeting, or pouring her heart into her science communication, including hawking her popular science book “The Memory Illusion”.

Dr Vanessa Charland

When?
Wednesday, January 17 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Vanessa Charland

What's the talk about?

Near death experiences (NDEs) are increasingly being reported as a clearly identifiable physiological and psychological reality of clinical significance. However, the definition and causes of the phenomenon as well as the identification of NDE experiencers is still a matter of debate. Recent work has shown that NDEs memories cannot be considered as imagined event memories. On the contrary, their physiological origins could lead them to be really perceived although not lived in the reality. Moreover, scientific evidence suggests that all psychological features of the NDE have a neuronal basis; yet the empirical investigation of the NDE phenomenon remains unexplored. We here propose the scientific study of NDE using integration of data derived from both psychological and neurophysiological approaches. We believe that by bridging data from psychology and neurology of NDE this project will open up a new perspective in the science of NDE by providing a rigorous definition and explanation of the phenomenon.