Previous year >>

(NB: Not our usual first Wednesday of the month slot)

Prof Joe Uscinski

When?
Wednesday, July 24 2019 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Who?
Prof Joe Uscinski

What's the talk about?

NB : Not our usual day

Particularly since 2016, conspiracy theories became a mainstay of American political debate. Not only did conspiracy theories affect major political decisions (i.e., the election of Trump), but conspiracy theories have become the currency of mainstream political debate. Why has this happened, and what are the measurable effects? What are the dangers of this turn toward dark and disturbing narratives? Professor Uscinski will bring to bear a wealth of polling data from the US to explain how, when, and why conspiracy theories will affect political debate and decision-making. The surprising findings address the following questions: Who believes in conspiracy theories and why? Why are some conspiracy theories more popular than others? What are the dangers of conspiracy theories? Are conspiracy theorists prone to violence? How did conspiracy theories affect the 2016 and 2018 elections? What can conspiracy theories in the United States tell us about conspiracy theories in the United Kingdom?

Joseph Uscinski is associate professor of political science at University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. He is co-author of American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford, 2014) and editor of Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them (Oxford, 2018).

Dr Steven Le Comber

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Steven Le Comber

What's the talk about?

Geographic profiling (GP) is a statistical technique originally developed in criminology to prioritise large lists of suspects – often in the tens or hundreds of thousands – in cases of serial murder. GP uses the spatial locations of crime sites to make inferences about the location of the offender’s ‘anchor point’ (usually a home, but sometimes a workplace). The success of GP in criminology has led recently to its application to biology, notably animal foraging (where it can be used to find animal nests or roosts using the locations of foraging sites as input), epidemiology (identifying disease sources from the addresses of infected individuals) and invasive species biology (using current locations to identify source populations). In a talk spanning mathematics, Jack the Ripper and great white sharks, Steve will explain how he used geographic profiling to investigate the identity of the artist Banksy and reanalysed a Gestapo case from the 1940s that formed the basis of a famous novel – and how GP can be used to control outbreaks of diseases such as malaria.

Steven Le Comber is a senior lecturer in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. His work covers a wide range of subjects within evolutionary biology, including mathematical and computer models of molecular evolution and studies of spatial patterns in biology. Steve’s work on the mathematics of spatial patterns ranges from the fractal geometry of African mole-rat burrows to epidemiology.

Steve is passionate about science communication, and has given major talks at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK, at the Internet Festival in Pisa, Italy and at Ratio in Bulgaria. He has appeared on the BBC and his research has been covered around the world.

Dr Danny Chambers

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Danny Chambers

What's the talk about?

You may be surprised to hear that the anti-vaccination movement is not restricted to human medicine – animal owners are increasingly turning their back on conventional medicine and seeking out unproven alternatives such as homeopathy or chiropractic – often at the detriment of their animal’s health. You might be even more surprised to learn about the myriad other forms of pseudoscience animals are subjected to, including the common practice of ‘horse psychics’. Danny Chambers will discuss the use of pseudoscience encountered in veterinary practice, and the implications this has on both animal and human health and wellbeing.

Danny grew up on a farm in Devon, graduated from Liverpool Vet School, and has written about and campaigned against the use of pseudoscience in veterinary practice for several years. He was described as the ‘veterinary Ben Goldacre’ at two different conferences recently.

Danny has a particular interest in the concept of ‘One Health’ – the recognition that human and animal health is interlinked, and as a result he has worked on veterinary projects that benefit both human and animal health in India, Iraq, Morocco and The Gambia.

He enjoys mountain biking (badly) and playing the guitar (badly).

Danny occasionally writes for New Scientist magazine.

Twitter – @DannyVet
Instagram – @danny_the_vet

Michael Marshall

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

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.

 

 

Dr Julia Shaw

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Julia Shaw

What's the talk about?

What is it about “evil” that we find so compelling? From our obsession with serial killers to violence in pop culture, we seem inescapably drawn to the stories of monstrous acts and the people who commit them.

In her talk, Dr Julia Shaw uses a compelling mix of science, popular culture, and real-life examples to break down timely and important issues. How similar is your brain to a psychopath’s? How many people have murder fantasies? Can A.I. be evil? Do your sexual proclivities make you a bad person? Who becomes a terrorist?

This is a wide-ranging exploration into a fascinating, darkly compelling subject.

Ronald Green

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Ronald Green

What's the talk about?

Time seems to flash by when we’re enjoying ourselves, and slows to a crawl when we’re bored. Why? Does time exist, or is it an illusion? How real are our memories? When is now? These are just some of the questions that we will ponder in our foray into what time is for us, and how we live and relate to it in our daily lives.

Rattling the comfort of instant satisfaction, of reality shows, celebrity worship and the self-glorification of the I-generation, we will go on a journey that goes to the core of what it means to be human - a journey replete with twists and turns and “aha!” moments. Challenging what is naturally taken for granted (“the willingness to be puzzled by things that look obvious,” as Chomsky put it), we will forge a link between philosophy and science, blowing away the cobwebs that obscure both.

How Things Really Are. Can we even refer to that? That is the question.

Ronald Green is the author of “Time To Tell: a look at how we tick” (iff Books, 2018) and "Nothing Matters: a book about nothing" (iff Books, 2011). 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. After thinking about nothing for five years, he spent the following five years thinking about everything, i.e. time, culminating in his recently-published book and his theory of time.

Dr Romany Reagan

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Romany Reagan

What's the talk about?

Although rituals to commune with the dead have been part of the human experience reaching back through cultures and time immemorial, what has had the strongest foothold in our Western cultural imagination today is that of the Victorian séance. From its roots in the romantic era gothic imagination to fascinations with the boundaries of science, Victorian fringe exploration into the esoteric manifested itself by way of a variety of literary masterpieces and occult societies – the most famous of which was founded by the ‘Wickedest Man in the World’, Aleister Crowley. Out of this kaleidoscopic swirl of occult beliefs and investigations, penny dreadfuls and parlour tricks, the Victorian séance is the most archetypal symbol of this era of the transmundane. The iconic image of hands held around candles and draped tables encompasses participants from the sorrow-filled hopeful widow to gin-soaked giggling party guests. In this evening lecture, Dr Romany Reagan will take us on an exploration of the beginnings of occultism and the gothic imagination in Victorian culture. From William Blake’s otherworldly visions up into Arthur Machen’s doors of perception exploring secret patterns in our everyday lives, this talk will offer perspectives on the cultural trends and psychology behind the Victorian séance up to today’s Ouija board – and why, over 170 years later, we still love to flirt with the question: do you believe?

Romany Reagan received her doctorate from Royal Holloway, University of London in performing heritage, with a focus on community engagement. Her practice-based research project ‘Abney Rambles’ is a series of four audio walks written for Abney Park cemetery. Her continued work with Abney Park aims to engage the local community of Stoke Newington, the wider community of Hackney, and all visitors to the cemetery, with the space and to offer different perspectives on what a cemetery can represent within its local community. Reagan’s walk ‘Crossing Paths/Different Worlds in Abney Park Cemetery’ was published in Ways to Wander (Triarchy Press, 2015) Twitter: @msromany

(NB: Not our usual first Wednesday of the month slot)

Andy Lewis

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Andy Lewis

What's the talk about?

The last decade has seen several 'new religious movements' create publicly funded Free Schools. Maharishi and Steiner Schools are perhaps the most prominent. 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 anthroposophically 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.

Jeremy Banx

When?
Wednesday, December 5 2018 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Jeremy Banx

What's the talk about?

Jeremy Banx, an award winning cartoonist, will talk about his work – and some of his original cartoons will be available for purchase at very reasonable prices (just in time for Christmas!).

He has contributed to newspapers, magazines and comics including Private Eye, Wall Street Journal, Punch, New Statesman, Vice.uk, Oink!, Toxic, etc. For the past twenty-five years he has been the pocket cartoonist for the Financial Times. He is the cartoon editor for The Reaper at www.thereaper.rip

His books include ‘Cubes’, ‘The Many Deaths of Norman Spittal’, ‘Big Fat Sleepy Cat’, ‘The Dewsburys’ and ‘Frankenthing’. More than 150 short animated films were based on his character Norman Spittal.

For ten years he contributed designs for floats to the Nice Carnival.

He lives and works in Greenwich, London, with his wife Elaine and has four children.

The Derby winning thoroughbred racehorse, Dr Devious, was named after one of his characters.

NB : The original talk scheduled by Britt Hermes has unfortunately been cancelled

Pixie Turner

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

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Pixie Turner

What's the talk about?

NB : The original talk scheduled by Britt Hermes has unfortunately been cancelled. This talk will replace it

Pixie Turner was a self-described 'Wellness Wanker' - following and promoting fad nutritional advice - until one day she decided to re-examine the evidence behind what she believed. Since then, she has completed a Masters in Nutrition to become a registered nutritionist, author, and science communicator. Talking us through her journey from away from dietary pseudoscience, Pixie will explain how she now uses her experience to inform how she dispels the myths of the wellness movement and debunks nutritional misinformation online.

Dr Devin Terhune

When?
Wednesday, October 3 2018 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Devin Terhune

What's the talk about?

Hypnosis is a valuable method for studying different facets of conscious awareness yet it continues to be one of the most misrepresented and misunderstood phenomena in psychology. Here I will dispel widespread myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and describe what psychologists, neuroscientists, and clinicians have learned about this fascinating phenomenon.

Devin Terhune is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London where he studies conscious awareness and its top-down regulation. His primary interests concern the neurocognitive basis of time perception and individual differences in hypnotic suggestibility.

Prof Karen Douglas

When?
Wednesday, September 5 2018 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Prof Karen Douglas

What's the talk about?

Was 9/11 an inside job? Is climate change a hoax? Was Princess Diana murdered? Millions of people appear to think so, disbelieving official explanations for significant events in favour of alternative accounts that are often called ‘conspiracy theories’. In recent years, psychologists have begun to investigate what makes conspiracy theories appealing to so many people. In this talk, I will broadly overview what psychologists have found out so far, and will discuss some of my own findings on the causes and consequences of conspiracy theory belief.

Karen Douglas is a Professor in Social Psychology at the University of Kent. In addition to conducting work on the psychology of conspiracy theories, she is involved in projects examining sexism in language, the influence of sexist ideology on attitudes toward pregnant women, and the psychology of internet behaviour.