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Giving with reason

Richard Clarke (@RichClarkePsy)

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Richard Clarke (@RichClarkePsy)

What's the talk about?

 Richard is a health psychologist and avid skeptic currently conducting a PhD in the area of information seeking and vaccine hesitancy at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. This talk however isn’t about that fun, interesting and perpetually terrifying topic, this talk instead is about how an idea that takes less than a minute to explain caused him to change his career path, pledge to donate 10% of his life time income to charity and start placing trust in the evidence and expertise that can best inform both of these aspects. 

 

Effective Altruism is the idea behind a growing movement of science and evidence minded individuals with a passion to doing as much good as they possible can. Effective Altruism involves using the head and the heart, logic and empathy, reason and compassion to systematically fight towards making the world a better place for all that live in it. As skeptics we apply critical thinking to a wide range of topics in our everyday lives however our charity and altruistic behaviours often gets a free pass. In this talk we will explore why this is the case and how a few small choices in your life can have life changing positive impact on someone else’s.

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?

What's the talk about?

Last Skeptics Talk of 2016. See you there!

Dr James Erskine

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Dr James Erskine

What's the talk about?

Dr James Erskine grew up in many places and has a broad perspective on most issues. His background is in healthcare and university settings. He trained as a psychologist and holds a BSc in psychology, MSc in statistics and research methods, PhD in psychology and a second clinical doctorate in counseling psychology. He has studied and worked in various universities (Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Harvard, Regents, St George’s) and hospitals / GP surgeries (St George’s, Shenley, Harperbury, Kneesworth House, Orford Lodge), as an educator, researcher and clinician. In the distant past he worked at other jobs (mail room sorter, hospital porter, kitchen assistant, cleaner, prison officer, writer, personal assistant). He has published scientific journal articles in the fields of psychology and healthcare. Furthermore he has published poetry in several anthologies. He was married, is now divorced and lives with his daughter in London. He currently runs a therapy centre in London and Hertfordshire providing treatment excellence to private clients and companies. http://www.londonhertstherapy.com/ http://www.drjameserskine.co.uk/

How and why the infrastructure of science is broken

Henry Drysdale representing Ben Goldacre and Team

When?
Wednesday, October 5 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Henry Drysdale representing Ben Goldacre and Team

What's the talk about?

For 6 weeks in late 2015, the COMPare team monitored every clinical trial published in the top 5 medical journals for “outcome switching”: when trialists report something different from what they originally said they would report. Of 67 trials assessed, 58 (87%) were found to contain discrepancies between prespecified and reported outcomes.

Outcome switching is already known to be extremely common, even in top medical journals. But COMPare went one step further: they wrote a letter to the journal for all 58 trials found to contain discrepancies; to correct the record on the individual trials, and to test the “self-correcting” properties of science.

The responses to these letters from journal editors and trial authors were unprecedented, and shed light on the reasons why this problem persists. The aim of COMPare was to fix outcome switching, through correction letters and open discussion. They never expected the levels of misunderstanding and bias at the heart of the issue.

Based at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COMPare is made up of three senior researchers, 5 graduate-entry medical students, and a programmer. The project was born when one medical student came to the department in search of a project. The idea of monitoring the outcomes in clinical trials was made possible by 4 more medical students, who were recruited to make the vast amount of analysis possible. All assessments are reviewed by senior colleagues, and decisions made at weekly team meetings. There is no specific funding for COMPare: all the students work for free, driven by the desire and opportunity to fix a broken system.

Visit the COMPare website (COMPare-trials.org) for more details about theirteammethodsresults and blog.

Alzheimers Research

Dr Selina Wray

When?
Wednesday, August 3 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Dr Selina Wray

What's the talk about?

Selina Wray is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Molecular Neuroscience at UCL Institute of Neurology.  Her research interests are focussed on understanding the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia using patient-derived stem cell models.

How do we know when our land is contaminated?

Professor Chris Collins

When?
Wednesday, July 6 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Professor Chris Collins

What's the talk about?

Chris Collins is Professor of Environmental Chemistry at the University of Reading. His current research focuses on determining the factors controlling exposure of biota to environmental pollution. This combines experimental data with process description models. He particularly enjoys working at the research/regulatory/commerce nexus and this has been recognised with positions on two Defra committees and the NERC Soils Coordinator overseeing a £10 million research investment.

Should Prohibition of Cannabis be Ended?

When?
Wednesday, June 1 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Peter Reynolds

What's the talk about?

Peter Reynolds is the leader of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, a UK political party and the largest, membership-based drug policy reform group in Britain. CLEAR campaigns for an end to the prohibition of cannabis, most urgently for those who need it as medicine. Peter will explain the background to cannabis prohibition, the latest scientific and medical research and the reality of going head to head with the Daily Mail, the Home Office and those who still promote "Reefer Madness" propaganda.

Professor Jane Ogden

When?
Wednesday, May 4 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Professor Jane Ogden

What's the talk about?

Jane Ogden is a Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Surrey where she teaches psychology, dietician, nutrition, medical and vet students to consider the role of psychological factors in behaviour, health and illness. Her research focuses on obesity management and eating behaviour, communication and women’s health. She has published 6 books, over 160 academic paper and many articles in on line and print magazines. She is also a frequent contributor to radio, TV and print media. 

Books 

The Good Parenting Food Guide (2014)
Health Psychology: a textbook (5th edition, 2012)
The psychology of eating (2nd edition, 2009)
Essential readings in Health Psychology (2007)
Health and the construction of the individual (2002)
Fat Chance: The Myth of dieting explained (1992)
Chasing the Cuba Libre - my novel! Download it for free.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_at_ep_srch?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=Jane%20Ogden

The Environment and Science Perspective

Professor Paul Whitehead

When?
Wednesday, April 6 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Professor Paul Whitehead

What's the talk about?

Professor Paul Whitehead ( Professor of Water Science and Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford) is coming to Skeptics to share his views on whether staying in the EU or not is a good idea. He is interested in talking to us about the impact of leavign the EU on Science and the Environement. Come and joinn the debate!

Biography:

Professor Whitehead has served on several senior NERC committees such as the Thematic Programme Planning committees for the River Ecology Programme (NERC £8 million), Pollution Pathways Programme (NERC £8million), Land Use Research Programme (NERC £12 million), Joint NERC/AFRC Agricultural Pollution Programme (£9 million), NERC LOIS Programme (£36 million) and Environmental Diagnostics (NERC £6million). He has also been an environmental research advisor to the EU, European Governments and UNESCO. He has also worked in Nepal, Thailand, India, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Australia and the USA. He has published widely with over 90 papers in the refereed literature as well as being guest speaker at a wide range of conferences and meetings.

Online Dating – Why it can’t work

Dr Martin Graff

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Dr Martin Graff

What's the talk about?

 Romantic relationships play a huge part in our physical, social and emotional well-being. Successful relationships promote better health and even aid in faster recovery from illnesses. Not surprisingly, most of us seek to find a romantic relationship. However, should we resort to online dating to find this? Drawing on psychological research, this talk focuses on seven reasons why we shouldn’t. Some of the principal considerations are that we make bad decisions in online dating and people are certainly not what they seem to be meaning that such a matching system is not a good predictor for the sustainability of relationships in a face-to-face context.

 
Dr Martin Graff is Reader and Head of Research in Psychology at the University of South Wales. He is an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Psychologist.  Over the years he has carried out research in the areas of cognitive processes in web-based learning, individual differences in website navigation, online interaction and the formation and dissolution of romantic relationships online and offline. He has also carried out research in the areas of online persuasion, and online disinhibition, and has supervised several doctoral degrees in this area.
 
He was formerly a member of the British Psychological Society Undergraduate Education Committee, which oversees the running of Psychology degree programmes at British Universities. In 2013 has was invited as a visiting research professor to State University of New York, Cortland, USA. Dr Graff has written over 50 scientific articles, published widely in the field of Internet behaviour, and presented his work at numerous International Conferences. He also writes a blog in Psychology Today.

The Psychology of Magic

Oliver MEech

When?
Wednesday, October 7 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Oliver MEech

What's the talk about?

The real secret to magic tricks is that they're not about fooling the eyes, but bamboozling the brain. Every trick is a real-world psychology experiment. Discover how magicians can offer eye-opening insights into the way we think and act Oliver Meech is a magician. He studied Psychology at Oxford University, Magic at The Magic Circle, and combines the two in critically-acclaimed shows, talks and books.

Evolution and Aliens...

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Wednesday, August 5 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Given the bewildering variety of life on Earth – all stemming from one self-replicating molecule – can we really predict what life on other worlds is like? Maybe not. But we can imagine what it isn’t like.

Stevyn Colgan has been involved with aliens for three decades. He’s held Jabba the Hutt’s face, helped sculpt creatures for Bruce Willis to shoot at and had a script accepted for Doctor Who in the 1980s. In this entertaining talk you’ll hear about feuding gangs of scientists, film directors with less imagination than children, and the perils of concrete poo.

You’ll also come to realise that if we really are intelligently designed, the designer needs their head examined.

Stevyn Colgan is an author, artist, songwriter, speaker and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the ‘Elves’ that research and writethe popular BBC TV series QI and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity, for BBC Radio 4.

He has given hundreds of talks across the UK and USA and is a regular at festivals and events such as Skeptics in the Pub, QEDCon, Cornbury, Hay, Cheltenham, Latitude and the Edinburgh Fringe. He is a contributor to the bestselling QI books and annuals and is the author of Joined-Up Thinking, Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope, Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folk Tales, The Third Condiment, Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? and co-wrote Saving Bletchley Park with Dr Sue Black.