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The NHS and Beyond

Michael Marshall

When?
Thursday, September 3 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this? Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.

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 and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

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

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.

Science Denialism on Climate Change, GM Foods and Nuclear Power

Mark Lynas

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

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Mark Lynas

What's the talk about?

Mark Lynas is the author of several books on the environment, including High Tide, Six Degrees, and The God Species. His most recent publication, in July 2013, was the Kindle Single ebook Nuclear 2.0: Why a green future needs nuclear power. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change, biotechnology and nuclear power, and was climate change advisor to the President of the Maldives between 2009 and 2011. In October 2013 he was appointed a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University’s Office of International Programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is also a member of the advisory board of the science advocacy group Sense About Science, and is vice-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies, which produces an annual top 10 list of the technologies with most potential to change the way we all live.

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.

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.

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

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.

Alex Bellos

When?
Thursday, October 2 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Alex Bellos

What's the talk about?

Alex Bellos will talk about his book Alex Through the Looking Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life, his follow-up to the bestselling Alex's Adventures in Numberland. In the course of the talk he will discuss his survey to discover the world's favourite number, psychological responses to mathematics and how very simple rules can generate very complex behaviour. And other fun maths stuff.

Alex Bellos is the bestselling author of Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, which was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize. He is the Guardian’s maths-blogger, and has worked for the paper in London and Rio de Janeiro as its unusually numerate foreign correspondent. He is currently a curator-in-residence at the Science Museum. His new book, Alex Through The Looking Glass, is out now and will be on sale on the night.

Simon Singh

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

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Simon Singh

What's the talk about?

Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Last Theorem and Big Bang, talks about his latest book, which explores mathematical themes hidden in The Simpsons. Everyone knows that The Simpsons is the most successful show in television history, but very few people realise that its team of mathematically gifted writers have used the show to explore everything from calculus to geometry, from pi to game theory, and from infinitesimals to infinity. Singh will also discuss how writers of Futurama have similarly made it their missions to smuggle deep mathematical ideas into the series.

David Colquhoun

When?
Thursday, August 7 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
David Colquhoun

What's the talk about?

<<< This event has been cancelled. Please refer to our Facebook group, TW Skeptics, for more details. >>>

One of the UK’s most outspoken and well-qualified opponents of alternative medicine and bad science, pharmacologist David Colquhoun runs the DC’s Improbable Science blog, which is devoted to criticism of scientific fraud and quackery. It has a particular focus on alternative medicine, including homeopathy, Traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and other practices, which he calls ‘pure gobbledygook’.

In addition to his outspoken disapproval of alternative medicine in academia, Colquhoun frequently speaks against misrepresentation of alternative medicine as science in the media, and against governmental support of it. His blog discusses also wider problems in science, medicine and Higher Education. It was listed among the 100 best blogs in 2009. It was blog of the week in the New Statesman (30 May 2010). And in 2012 it was co-winner of the first UK Science Blog Prize, awarded by the Good Thinking Society.

Colquhoun was a member of the Conduct and Competence Committee of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), a regulatory body for alternative medicine in the UK. Colquhoun has stated he was surprised at being accepted for the position. However, he was dismissed in August 2010.

Colquhoun, FRS is a British pharmacologist at University College London (UCL). He has contributed to the general theory of receptor and synaptic mechanisms of single ion channel function. He previously held the A.J. Clark chair of Pharmacology at UCL, and was the Hon. Director of the Wellcome Laboratory for Molecular Pharmacology. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1985 and an honorary fellow of UCL in 2004. Colquhoun runs the website DC’s Improbable Science, which is critical of pseudoscience, particularly alternative medicine, and managerialism.

Robin Ince

When?
Thursday, July 3 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Mount Ephraim
Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8AA

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

Robin Ince is a funny and talented guy and one of our most valued high profile proponents of the skeptical movement. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to catch him here at Trinity in January, but now we are very pleased to have him all to ourselves for one night at Tunbridge Wells Skeptics in the Pub!

Stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Robin is best known for presenting the BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage with physicist Brian Cox. And he's done so much other stuff that it's a bit daunting to list it all here. Find out about some of the current things Robin is doing at http://robinince.com

We don't know exactly what Robin will be talking about on the night (and he probably doesn't either) but it is bound to be an entertaining evening of comedy and science with one of the leading skeptical voices in the UK entertainment industry.

Anticipating demand, this is a ticketed event. Tickets are on sale here:

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-evening-with-robin-ince-tickets-11903915933