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!

 

From the first galaxies to the origins of life

Sarah Kendrew

When?
Thursday, June 4 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Sarah Kendrew

What's the talk about?

The James Webb Space Telescope, a collaboration between space agencies in the US, Europe and Canada, will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as the foremost space telescope in 2018. Its unprecedented size, sensitivity and suite of instruments will revolutionise our view on the Universe, from showing us how the very first galaxies formed to revealing the atmospheres of planets outside our own solar system, where life may be forming. Sarah Kendrew will give an overview of the mission and the exciting science it will do after launch. She will talk about where the mission is right now, from her personal involvement in one of JWST's 4 instruments, MIRI.

Sarah Kendrew works in the Optical/Infrared Instrumentation group with Prof. Niranjan Thatte, as a Simulations Scientist for the HARMONI instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope. She is also a member of the test and calibration team for MIRI, the mid-infrared instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Her personal research focuses on the formation of high mass stars in different environments in our Galaxy, such as the Central Molecular Zone. She is on the science team for the Milky Way Project, a web-based citizen science project created by the Zooniverse.

Sarah holds a Junior Research Fellowship at St Cross College, Oxford (from 1 Oct 2014).

She has a PhD in Physics from University College London, and has previously held research positions at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

The evolution of sex determination and sex differences in animals

Professor Judith Mank

When?
Thursday, July 2 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.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Thursday, August 6 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

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

Can A Non-Existent God Really Cure Alcoholism?

Jonathan Stewart

When?
Thursday, October 1 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Jonathan Stewart

What's the talk about?

In recent years Alcoholics Anonymous has become a widely accepted, media approved treatment for problem drinkers.  Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged its efficacy rate, estimated to be around 5%-10%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission.

- Can a non-existent "Higher Power" really offer meaningful solutions to the debilitating and frequently fatal condition of alcoholism? 

- If so, what happens to all those alcoholic atheists and skeptics?

- How did AA become the go-to treatment modality for one of the great social health scourges of our age?

- It’s the twenty first century, is this really the best we can do?  

Jon Stewart was co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper, with whom he enjoyed three UK Top 10 albums and eight UK Top 40 singles.  Jon currently lectures in cultural history at BIMM Institute Brighton on programmes validated and awarded by University of Sussex, and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton.  Author of a long-running column in Guitarist magazine, Jon has also published widely in peer reviewed journals and books.  An active and sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 14 years, Jon quit the fellowship in early 2014.  His blog "Leaving AA, Staying Sober" is at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

How we get science coverage wrong

David Robert Grimes

When?
Wednesday, November 4 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
David Robert Grimes

What's the talk about?

Science and medicine have transformed our lives immeasurably, and never in history have they been more central to our lives and well-being. Yet despite this, there is often a glaring disconnect between the findings of actual science and media reporting of such topics, and consequently there is often a needless chasm between public perception and the evidence on many contentious topics. This can lead to needlessly adversarial and counter-productive discourse of everything from vaccination to climate-change. In this talk, physicist and science journalist Dr. David Robert Grimes discusses the frequent problems in reporting science from misunderstandings to bad statistics to false balance, and discusses the factors that influence this and how such problems can be remedied.

Dr. David Robert Grimes (@drg1985) is a physicist and writes regular opinion and analysis pieces on scientific issues for the Irish Times and the Guardian science, and is a regular panelist on science issues on radio and television. He is joint-recipient of the 2014 Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science.