Posted by Sid Rodrigues on April 26, 2016
Thursday 2 June at 18:30–21:30
Posted by Sid Rodrigues on April 26, 2016
Posted by Stephen Law on February 22, 2016
Centre for Inquiry UK, the British Humanist Association and Conway Hall Ethical Society present The Magic of Maths: find out about the uniquely beautiful patterns hidden in Pascal’s triangle; about our (often poor) intuitive understanding of probability and the risk of events governing our lives; and about the greatest unsolved puzzles in maths!
Join us at Conway Hall – the world’s oldest Ethical Society – for a fascinating day of magical maths, uncovering some of the incredible ways numbers and patterns are woven through nature and our everyday lives.
11:00–12:00 | Maths’ greatest unsolved puzzles, with Katie Steckles
While mathematicians are undoubtedly brilliant, and their work is used in all kinds of amazing scientific and technological discoveries, there are still questions they can’t answer. Every mathematical question is a puzzle to be solved, and while there’ll be plenty of puzzles for you to chew on, we’ll also discuss some of the questions that still leave mathematicians stumped – from simple-sounding number and shape problems to some truly mind-bending fundamental questions.
12:15–13:15 | Pascal’s Patterns, with Professor Emma McCoy
Pascal’s triangle is named after the 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal. Professor McCoy will look at some of the beautiful patterns hidden in Pascal’s triangle and investigate why they appear. She will look at how Pascal’s triangle is related to diverse problems in mathematics, including examples from algebra, geometry and probability.
14:15–15:15 | The improbability principle returns: luck, lotteries, and Laura, with Professor David Hand
This talk takes a second look at the improbability principle, illustrating further popular misconceptions and failures of intuition regarding coincidences and unlikely events. It teases apart the contradiction between Borel’s law, which tells us that sufficiently improbable events are impossible, and the improbability principle, which tells us that highly improbable events happen all the time.
Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops on different areas of maths. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She enjoys doing puzzles, solving the Rubik’s cube and baking things shaped like maths.
Emma McCoy is the Deputy Head of Department at Imperial College London. She is a member of the Statistics section with research interests in time series analysis and causal inference. She has worked at Imperial for over 20 years and has held various Departmental administrative roles, including that of Admissions Tutor. Professor McCoy is heavily involved in Outreach activities and regularly speaks at Higher Education careers fairs and school events.
David Hand is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London and Chief Scientific Advisor to Winton Capital Management. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, has served (twice) as President of the Royal Statistical Society, serves on the Board of the UK Statistics Authority, and chairs the Board of the UK’s Administrative Data Research Network. His recent book The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day was published in 2014. He was made OBE for services to research and innovation in 2013.
Registration is from 10:30, for an 11:00 start.
April 2nd, 2016 10:30 AM through 3:30 PM
General £ 10.00
Members and Students (members of British Humanist Association, members of Conway Hall Ethical Society) £ 5.00 BOOK HERE
Posted by Stephen Law on November 9, 2015
Science in the Media: Dodgy Science Reporting, Ghostbusting, and Doctor Who
Hear about the science of Doctor Who from a scientist who is also a consultant to Doctor Who’s scriptwriters, find out about the credibility (scientifically and otherwise) of ghosthunting TV programme from a former ghosthunter now turned ghostbuster, and discover just how much bullshit science reporting there really is in our national press.
12th December 2015
25 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4RL
Nearest tube: Holborn
11.00-12.00 Meet The Real Ghostbusters
Welcome to the weird world of modern ghost hunting. A world inspired by reality paranormal TV shows where only the brave dare tread… but what is it that goes bump in the night? And why are the ghost hunters actually scarier that the ghosts they claim to hunt down? Join us on this whirlwind tour of the ghost hunting subculture, the nonsense that comes with it, and how it all came to be in the first place.
Hayley Stevens is a skeptic paranormal researcher based in Wiltshire, England. Believer-turned-skeptic, with over a decade of ghost research under her belt, she is often sought for an expert opinion on weird stuff – from ghosts to monsters and fairies. Hayley has written for Skeptical inqurer, The Skeptic, Paranormal Magazine and more, and has spoken internationally about the paranormal. She blogs at hayleyisaghost.co.uk
12.15-1.15 Follow the formula: the fake science behind real headlines
All too often we see stories which seem to be based on science turn out to be nothing more than marketing and PR. By highlighting and dissecting examples from the recent press Michael Marshall will show who is behind these stories, who benefits from them, and who can be said to be at fault when even legitimate science gets distorted in newspaper print.
Michael Marshall is the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and Project Director of the Good Thinking Society. His Bad PR project exposes the often-unseen influence of public relations in the mainstream media.
2.15-3.15 The Science of Doctor Who
Travelling to alien worlds is one of the regular features of Doctor Who. But how could the TARDIS travel there and what would those alien worlds really be like? During this talk I’ll discuss what we currently know about the several thousand alien worlds we’ve discovered in the last 20 years and if any of the worlds the Doctor has travelled to look familiar.
Edward Gomez is an astronomer and education director for Las Cumbres Observatory, based at Cardiff University. He is interested in searching for asteroids which travel close to Earth, and in open access for science and education. He has been a life long fan of Doctor Who and gave science advice to the script writers for several episodes.
Posted by Sid Rodrigues on July 31, 2015
10.30-11.00 – Registration
11.00-12.00 – Devil in the room:
The art and science of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a fairly common anomalous experience that occurs between sleep and wakefulness and consists, at a minimum, of a period of temporary paralysis. In some cases, however, it is accompanied by a range of other symptoms, including a strong sense of presence, terrifying hallucinations, difficulty breathing, and intense fear. Not surprisingly, it has inspired artists of all kinds. Prof Chris French & Carla MacKinnon will consider both the art and the science of sleep paralysis including a screening of Carla’s award-winning film, The Devil in the Room.
12.15-13.15 – In the eye of the beholder?
The psychology of precognitive dream experiences. Have you ever had a dream that came true? Prophetic dreams are amongst the most frequently reported paranormal experiences. Dr Caroline Watt will discuss how seemingly ordinary processes of unconscious cognition, selective memory, and creative thinking can lead to these extraordinary experiences.
13.15-14.15 – Lunch
14.15-15.15 – Wake up to the power of sleep:
Prof Richard Wiseman will explore the power of the sleeping mind, including the truth about sleep learning, how you can get the perfect night’s sleep, how to decode your dreams, and how to improve your life without moving a muscle.
Dr Caroline Watt has taught and researched parapsychology at Edinburgh University Koestler Parapsychology Unit for almost thirty years. A former President of the Parapsychological Association, Caroline has over one hundred research publications, including the forthcoming Parapsychology: A Beginners Guide, and she teaches a popular online parapsychology course.
Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal and related claims. He writes for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.
Carla MacKinnon is a filmmaker and an interdisciplinary producer. She was creator of the Wellcome-Trust-supported Sleep Paralysis Project, a cross-platform project aiming to raise awareness of the phenomenon of sleep paralysis while also exploring it creatively through the production of a short docu-horror film, Devil In The Room, in 2013. The film has since screened at more than 40 festivals events and conferences. Website: www.mackinnonworks.com.
Professor Richard Wiseman holds Britains only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and has written several best-selling books, including 59 Seconds and Quirkology. His latest book, Night School, explores the science of sleep and dreaming.
Posted by Sid Rodrigues on July 2, 2015
Join Professors Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Keith Ward and Stephen Law in debate and discussion of God and the Bible.
11.00-12.10: Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou: The real religions of the Bible
Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Professor of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient religion at Exeter’s Department of Theology and Religion. She presented the BBC TV series The Bible’s Buried Secrets and also contributed to Channel 4’s The Bible: A History. Prof Stavrakopoulou is an atheist. Her books include Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judea.
12.10 – 1.10 Break for lunch
1.10 – 2.40 Keith Ward and Stephen Law: Does God exist?
A conversation (with extended audience Q&A) between theologian and priest Keith Ward and humanist philosopher Stephen Law, looking at evidence for and against the existence of God. Keith Ward is one of the world’s leading philosopher theologians, and also author of many popular books on God, including his recent The Evidence for God. Stephen Law is Provost of CFI UK and author of a number of introductions to philosophy including The Philosophy Gym.
2.50-3.30 Plenary Session
Q&A with Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Keith Ward, and Stephen Law. 3.30 END.