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Tom August

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Tom August

What's the talk about?

In this entertaining talk Tom discusses bats, from the way they navigate in total darkness to the food they eat and the valuable role they play in our lives. There is audience participation through quizzes and a simulated disease outbreak (watch out for those beach balls!) with plenty of chocolate rewards. Tom rounds of the talk by introducing his research on bats' social network, highlighting how his work has furthered our understanding of bat conservation.

A Brief History of Means of Exchange, Ancient and Modern

John Barron

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
John Barron

What's the talk about?

 John Barron is a local Skeptic, political activist, and humanist.

A computer scientist by training, and a software developer by profession, he became interested in monetary theory and how our present financial system came into existence after the events of the Great Recession of 2009-2009.

Understanding how our genes work

Kat Arney

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

Former science communications manager at Cancer Research UK, Dr Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists, Wired, BBC Focus and more. Her first book, 'Herding Hemingway's Cats: Understanding how our genes work' is out now and her second book ‘How to Code a Human’ will be published in August.

About the talk:

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 per genome to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise. But how do our genes actually work? 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 make us who we are.

 

 

MarLyn Paranormal

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
MarLyn Paranormal

What's the talk about?

Come and listen to our local Berkshire Paranormal Investigators and find out what gets them spooked!

MarLyn Paranormal is a non-profit organisation. They will give us some insights on what they do and what evidence they use to track down spirits.

Prof. Sanjeev Krishna

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

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Prof. Sanjeev Krishna

What's the talk about?

Professor Sanjeev Krishna is Professor of Molecular Parasitology and Professor of Medicine at St George's. He is also an honorary consultant in infectious disease and medicine.

He maintains a wide-ranging programme of research in malaria, spanning laboratory studies providing new insight into parasite biology, clinical studies aiming to refine treatments for malaria, and research into a newly discovered form of malaria transmitted to humans from monkeys. He also has strong interests in the development of new diagnostic technologies for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis (TB), which will not only confirm the disease, but also guide the choice of most effective treatment regimes.

Professor Sanjeev will talk about how we should re-purpose more drugs and will focus on antimalarials that may now be used to treat bowel cancer.

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.