<< Following year

Dr Karen Petrie

When?
Monday, March 9 2015 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Dr Karen Petrie

What's the talk about?

In the 1999 film The Matrix, one of the lead characters Morpheus tells us that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is "a singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines". This and similar Hollywood creations has lead to many people being terrified of the concept of AI.

Are they correct to be afraid?

Dr. Karen Petrie from the School of Computing at the University of Dundee, will lead us in this whistle stop tour of AI and robotics.

Prof Paul Birch & Prof Ian Toth

When?
Monday, January 19 2015 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Prof Paul Birch & Prof Ian Toth

What's the talk about?

Professors Paul Birch and Ian Toth from the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie will be joining us for the first SitP event of 2015! They will be discussing some of the global issues regarding food security, with a particular emphasis on the current and future status of European agriculture.

The main focus of the talk will be around their own research on crop diseases, and particularly the potato blight, a disease caused by the pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Using the potato blight as a key example, they hope to illustrate the potential for GM crops in the global struggle for food security.

Dr Charles Paxton

When?
Monday, December 1 2014 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Dr Charles Paxton

What's the talk about?

Skeptics sometimes say "the plural of anecdote is not data". However, sometimes anecdotes, aka eyewitness testimonies, can be analysed as data given certain caveats.

Here those caveats are explored along with 85 years of eyewitness testimony from Loch Ness and are revealing some interesting non-biological features of a Scottish national icon.

Charles Paxton is a fisheries ecologist and statistician at the University of St Andrews. His research interests are in the ecology and evolution of large aquatic organisms and fish, the macroevolution of aquatic ecosystems over "deep time" and the philosophy of science. However, it is his work on the science behind stories of sea monsters that receives most media attention. He has a very strong commitment to the public understanding of science and is especially interested in the question "How do we know, what to know?".

Dr Claudia Schaffner

When?
Monday, November 3 2014 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Dr Claudia Schaffner

What's the talk about?

Will eggs kill you or cure you? 
Will red wine extend your life?
And how many times are those scientists going to say they cured cancer anyway?
 
These questions and many more answered in a talk guaranteed to somehow contain both entertainment and the word “correlation”.

In this talk, part of the Dundee Science Festival 2014, Claudia will discuss the way the press tends to report (or, perhaps more accurately, misreport) science. With headlines written to grab our attention, scientific findings are often exaggerated in the press or essentially downright fabricated. Claudia will go through some of the common tropes you’ll find in science reporting, with an emphasis on the kinds of headlines you’ll come across and the ways in which the press shield themselves from accountability in misleading reporting.

Claudia moved to Edinburgh attracted by the warm weather, despite the glowing job opportunities available in her native Spain. A biologist by trade, a skeptic by choice and a nerd by birth, she spends her days making life impossible for hapless cell cultures. 

No booking required, but please arrive early to get a good seat!

The facebook event page can be found here.
 
 

Dr Lewis Dean

When?
Monday, October 6 2014 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Dr Lewis Dean

What's the talk about?

Some people argue that chimpanzees should have human rights, but with rights come responsibilities. Could a chimpanzee ever commit a crime? Could one ever be guilty of murder in the same way as a human?

The topics explored are hot topics of research in modern psychology. And topics where not all researchers agree. Are chimps able to plan? Does a chimp possess any of the morals that govern human behaviour? Could chimps have any idea that their group-mates think like they do? Do chimps have cultural norms? How similar are chimps and humans?

Lewis Dean, primatologist & evolutionary biologist at RZSS Living Links at Edinburgh Zoo, will explore what current research in psychology can tell us about the rights and responsibilities of our nearest evolutionary relatives.

7pm for a 7.30pm start - Free admission.
You can also RSVP on Facebook here.

Dr Ben Vincent

When?
Monday, September 1 2014 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Dr Ben Vincent

What's the talk about?

Beliefs and intuition are often seen as having no role to play in the cold, hard, logical domain of science. But Dr Ben Vincent will argue that in our uncertain world, this is dead wrong.

Science is in the business of telling us how much we should believe in different ideas. In fact, a 16th century Presbytarian minister, Thomas Bayes, laid down a simple yet powerful framework of how we should update our beliefs in the light of new evidence. Bayesianism has lied dormant for a few hundred years, but as it awakens, we can see how laypeople are more scientific and scientists are more intuitive than we previously thought.

Dr Vincent is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Dundee - more information about his research interests can be found on his website.


You can RSVP to our FB event here.

Peter Harrison

When?
Monday, June 9 2014 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Peter Harrison

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to make fun of many creationist claims, but which are their strongest arguments?

Creationism often takes a lot of flak for the kind of wild claims made by hoards of ALL-CAPS creationists in blog and YouTube comments. But of all the claims and arguments put forward by creationists, which are the most impressive? Do they pose a threat to creationism-denying scientific fields? Forget the usual tired canards. Peter has spent a year collaborating with top creationist organisations and groups to collate and bring to you their most powerful arguments yet.

Peter Harrison has worked with many organisations on both sides of this debate, including the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis, and used to be the volunteer coordinator for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. 


You can also RSVP to our Facebook event page here.

Dr Kate Cross

When?
Monday, May 12 2014 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Dr Kate Cross

What's the talk about?

Men are more likely than women to commit violent crime everywhere in the world. They drive more recklessly and suffer accidental injury more often. Some argue that men have an inherent "taste for risk", while others believe that they’re conforming to society’s expectations. 

Men are also more likely to be found at senior levels in business, politics, and science. Arguments about the reasons for this rumble on, and on, and on… 

Where do behavioural differences between men and women come from? And what should we do about them? Should we seek answers in our evolutionary history? What is the role of the culture we inhabit? 

Kate Cross will not answer any of these questions but is uniquely qualified to puzzle over them in a pub. She’s a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of St Andrews studying sex differences in human behaviour, with a particular focus on risk-taking and confidence. She regularly talks about her research in the form of stand-up comedy, and has even performed at Bright Club Dundee.

Come and join us downstairs at Braes from 7pm onwards, while we chat with Kate over a pint and some great food!

You can also RSVP to our Facebook event page here.

Susan Gerbic and Mark Edward

When?
Monday, April 21 2014 at 7:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

14-18 Perth Rd, Dundee, Angus DD1 4LN

Who?
Susan Gerbic and Mark Edward

What's the talk about?

NOTE NEW VENUE

Susan Gerbic and Mark Edward are visiting from California to give us tips on how to bring skepticism to those less skeptical.

 Susan is a self-confessed “skeptical Junkie” who uses internet and crowd-sourced approaches to promote rationality and critical thinking.  This activism foments itself as the Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project where she and others work tirelessly to clean up pseudoscience on Wikipedia. She is also active on Rbutr and other web tools.

 Mark's focus is on psychics. A professional mentalist with over 30 years of performance experience, he is one of only five mediums to have performed at Hollywood’s Magic Castle. It was there he performed fifteen years of séances that helped him perfect the role of psychic entertainer. He also has a number of American TV credits, including a segment as a spirit medium on the pilot episode of “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!” which helped him secure an Emmy Award nomination.

 Come along and find out how to become part of the skeptical movement at a grass roots level, discuss your thoughts on the skeptical movement and learn about online and on-the-streets activism! Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: Susan and Mark's talk has been uploaded on Youtube here. We will hopefully have the Q&A session uploaded as well.

Dr Christopher Rynn

When?
Monday, March 10 2014 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

165-167 Perth Road,
Dundee,
DD2 1AS

Who?
Dr Christopher Rynn

What's the talk about?

How do we define identity?

Many forms of identity are recognised that can be divided broadly into the physical, such as sex or gender, and the non-physical like culture, politics or religion.

But what about Race? How do we define it and where does it belong as part of our identity? Is Race a biological reality or merely a social construct?

This is an interactive discussion open to argument and aims to adress the topic from historical, political, philosophical and practical pespectives, including use of Race in the Forensic Facial Identification of both the Living and Dead. 

Dr Christoper Rynn is a craniofacial anthropologist, anatomist and forensic artist who teaches human identification at the University of Dundee Centre for Anatomy and Human Identitification.

Dr Charles Paxton

When?
Monday, February 10 2014 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

165-167 Perth Road,
Dundee,
DD2 1AS

Who?
Dr Charles Paxton

What's the talk about?

Cryptozoology is often characterised in the skeptical literature as pseudoscience. This interactive talk will explore whether that label can be so easily applied as some might think.

Dr Charles Paxton is a statistical ecologist/aquatic biologist at the University of St Andrews. He has a hobby interest in aquatic monster accounts and has the dubious distinction of being one of the few people in the world publishing cryptozoological research in mainstream academic journals.

There will be no attentional crutches (read:no powerpoint) so this  talk  will be quite discussive! Interaction with, and questions from, the audience is a must!

Dr Kevin Smith

When?
Monday, November 11 2013 at 8:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

142 -146 Perth Rd
Dundee
DD1 4JW

Who?
Dr Kevin Smith

What's the talk about?

We've been tinkering with the genomes of plants and animals for millennia using selective breeding.  

As we learnt more about the genetic code we became able to move genes from one organism to another and we called this genetic engineering.

Time and science have marched on and we now find ourselves with the tools to combine engineering nous with biology. We can now design and create novel artificial biological pathways, organisms and devices.

This is Synthetic Biology.

These recent advances in the creation of 'synthetic life' suggest that Synthetic Biology could in future provide novel technologies of great value to humanity.

There are, however, vocal opponents to Synthetic Biology who have argued on ethical grounds that this research ought to be heavily restricted, to the extent that Synthetic Biology knowledge be policed.

This talk will consider these 'precautionary' arguments from a skeptical perspective.

Dr Kevin Smith is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Abertay Dundee where he both teaches and researches the related areas of genetics and bioethics.