What is Skeptics in the Pub?

Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) is a monthly event where people can meet and discuss science, skepticism, rationalism and critical thinking. At each event a speaker is invited to present a topic of interest, which is followed by a discussion in a relaxed and friendly pub atmosphere. There are now about 30 towns and cities throughout the UK & Ireland hosting Skeptics in the Pub events.

For more information about the idea behind Skeptics in the Pub please look at this BBC Report and this Wikipedia entry.

If you would like more information about Tunbridge Wells Skeptics in the Pub or would like to volunteer in any way please send a message using the form at the bottom of the page or send a tweet to @TWSkeptics. We also have a Tunbridge Wells Skeptics Facebook group.

Tickets

Entry to the talks is £3 payable on the door. At the moment there is no ticketing system so entry will be on a first come basis, however there will most likely be plenty of space!

 

Useful Tool or Robot Overlords?

Dr Allan Tucker

When?
Thursday, December 4 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Dr Allan Tucker

What's the talk about?

Artificial Intelligence has been a staple of popular culture for generations from promises of a Leisure Age when robots would do all of our work while we lived in luxury to scare stories where robots turn against their masters.

Dr Tucker looks at some of the key figures in AI in the last century through to the state-of-the-art learning machines that are all around us today and asks whether we will ever really have intelligent machines that are comparable to humans.

Dr Allan Tucker is senior lecturer in computer science at Brunel University. His research focuses on designing algorithms that can learn models from data to predict the future and assist experts in making decisions. His biomedical work includes long term projects with Moorfields Eye Hospital exploring models of eye disease and he collaborates with Leiden University Medical Centre on models of gene regulation.

News from the Energy Frontier

Professor Jon Butterworth

When?
Thursday, January 8 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Professor Jon Butterworth

What's the talk about?

The discovery of the Higgs boson made headlines around the world. Two scientists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, whose theories predicted its existence, shared a Nobel Prize. The discovery was the culmination of the largest experiment ever run, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. But what really is a Higgs boson and what does it do? How was it found? And what will the LHC do next? Jon Butterworth, a leading member of the ATLAS experiment, will talk about all this and more.

Jon Butterworth is also Head of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at UCL, and writes for the Guardian at http://www.theguardian.com/science/life-and-physics

How to Rebuild our World from Scratch

Dr Lewis Dartnell

When?
Thursday, February 5 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Dr Lewis Dartnell

What's the talk about?

Maybe it was an asteroid impact, a nuclear war, or a viral pandemic. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it is over and humanity must start again. What would you need to know to not only survive in the immediate aftermath, but avert another Dark Age and accelerate the rebooting of civilisation from scratch? The Knowledge is a grand thought experiment on the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how our world works and what drove the progression of civilisation over the centuries.

Dr Lewis Dartnell (lewisdartnell.com) is a UK Space Agency research fellow at the University of Leicester. He also holds an STFC Science in Society Fellowship and alongside his astrobiology research writes regular science articles in newspapers and magazines. He has appeared in TV shows such as BBC Stargazing Live, Wonders of the Universe, Dara O'Briain's Science Club, and Horizon. The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch (the-knowledge.org) is his third book.

Peter Bloomfield

When?
Thursday, March 5 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Peter Bloomfield

What's the talk about?

The brain is the most complicated computational device humans have access to. It is a network of 86 billion neurons, each with 1000 connections, allowing communication inside our minds, but also with the rest of our body. The workings of the brain are better understood now than ever before, however there are still questions we are nowhere near answering.

In this talk we will look at the basic makeup of the brain and how it communicates, before taking a more detailed look at what happens when parts of it no longer work so well. We will see inside the brain and be able to see how the brains of patients differ from those who aren't experiencing symptoms.

Peter Bloomfield is a neuroscientist at Imperial College London, funded by the Medical Research Council. His current work is investigating changes in the brain at the onset of schizophrenia and how these progress through the disease. He has a research focus on the immune cells of the brain and uses imaging techniques such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), fMRI (functional MRI) and PET (Positron emission tomography) alongside laboratory research to provide a more comprehensive view of how the brain is working.

The evolution of sex determination and sex differences in animals

Professor Judith Mank

When?
Thursday, May 7 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Professor Judith Mank

What's the talk about?

Judith Mank talks about the evolution of sex differences in animals. She wants to understand the diversity of sex determination - from the familiar X and Y chromosomes in humans, to temperature-dependent sex determination in reptiles, the development of males from unfertilized eggs in bees, and sequential hermaphroditic fish that switch from one sex to the other during their lives and explain how it evolves so rapidly in animals.

She also studies how the evolution of separate sexes leads to inevitable conflicts between them, some of which can be resolved and some of which we just have to live with.

Judith Mank is Professor of Evolutionary and Comparative Biology at University College London, where she and her research group study the genetics of sex and sexual conflict in a lot of different animals, from birds and fish to flies.