Welcome to the Skeptics in the Pub, Nottingham

For the promotion of science, reason and critical thinking

We get together on a monthly basis to have a relaxed, enjoyable and social evening while listening to talks given on a wide range of topics. 

The events are free, though we do ask for a £3 donation to cover the speakers expenses and other costs.

All upcoming events are listed below and on the right of this page.

Our venue is the first floor function room of the Canalhouse pub.

Who can attend? 

The meetings are open to all, whatever your beliefs and views, so please come along. We are a friendly bunch and everyone is welcome.

As the Canalhouse room is a private function room, under 18s are allowed to attend our events. However, under 18s must be accompanied by an adult when in the public downstairs bar.

Disabled access

The Canalhouse has a service lift which we can used to provide disabled access to the first floor function room. There is also a disabled toilet on the same floor.

Please let us know if you're coming to an event and require disabled access. We will make arrangements with the bar staff to bring you to the function room.

Keep in touch

Subscribe to the mailing list (on the right of this page) to be notified about upcoming events.

You can join the Nottingham Skeptics Facebook group here, and will receive an invite to each event.

We are also on Google+.

Follow @Notts_Skeptics to keep up to date on up coming meetings and other information.

 

Timandra Harkness

When?
Tuesday, April 4 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Timandra Harkness

What's the talk about?

Big Data knows where you’ve been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you’ll buy, where you’ll be the victim of crime and when you’ll have a heart attack. Big Data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims.
But how well do you know big data?

From science to smart cities, business to politics, self-quantification to the Internet of Things, people are talking about big data as a force for change Privacy, democracy, even our ideas of who we are, could be transformed. You don’t need to be a Silicon Valley tech prodigy to understand what’s going on.

Timandra Harkness writes comedy, not computer code. The only programs she makes are on the radio. If she can understand what’s going on, so can you. Some of the ideas underlying Big Data are based on the kind of mathematics anybody can grasp: different measures that are correlated in predictable patterns; the relationship between the average of a population and what that tells
you about an individual; how we study networks and connections to learn something new about the big picture. Others, though harder to grasp in theory, are familiar in practice: apps on our  phones that locate us on a map, or count our steps; internet search engines that predict what we’d like to buy; websites that translate other languages into  English.

But big data isn’t just neat mathematics or clever technology. It has implications for all of us.

Timandra asks the big questions about where it’s taking us: is it too big for its boots, or does it think too small? Are you a data point or a human being? She aims to leave you armed and ready to decide what you think about one of the decade’s big ideas: big data.

Victoria Stiles

When?
Tuesday, May 9 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Victoria Stiles

What's the talk about?

We’ve reached a situation which shouldn’t have been possible. It is now almost inevitable that the Nazis will appear as a cautionary example in any political discussion and yet this year has seen the rise to prominence of groups which openly share many of their beliefs and even borrow their symbols. It appears that knowing about the past is not the same as learning from history, but is it reasonable to expect history to teach us anything at all?

Victoria Stiles is a freelance researcher and consultant in the field of Modern European History and specialises in the portrayal of imperial history and national stereotypes within Nazi Germany. This year she was called a historian by the LAD Bible, which has more than justified the time she spent getting a PhD. In this talk she will explain some of the ways in which historians use and assess evidence, how they draw parallels between events in different times and places, and how they arrive at an account of the past which they are willing to call “a history”. She is very keen to hear the audience’s thoughts on what they want history and historians to do for them.

Is there anything from our past which can shed light on our current situation? This talk won’t provide all the answers but maybe together we can formulate some better questions.

Leah Fitzsimmons

When?
Tuesday, June 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Leah Fitzsimmons

What's the talk about?

Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not.  These claims can’t be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

Sense About Science’s Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn’s disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it’s starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

Leah is a virologist at Birmingham University, trying to work out how virus infected cells cheat death and how blocking these interactions might be used to kill cancer cells. As one of Sense About Science’s Ask for Evidence Ambassadors, she is passionate that science should be for everyone and that Ask for Evidence can help make this happen.

Jenny Josephs

When?
Tuesday, July 4 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Jenny Josephs

What's the talk about?

After completing a PhD in Visual Cognition at the University of Southampton, Jenny changed course and started The Bug Shack - a business promoting and selling edible insects. Jenny is a regular speaker at Skeptics events and science festivals and is also involved in academic research.

By 2050 the global population will reach 9 billion and this will put ever increasing pressure on food and environmental resources. It will be a challenge to ensure global food security without further damaging the environment with intensified farming practices.

One UN backed solution is to focus on alternative sources of protein, such as insects for food and animal feed. About 2 billion of us already include insects in our diets, though it is still a growing trend in the west.

Insects are described as having a variety of different flavours, from mushroomy to pistachio or pork crackling. They are comparable to beef in protein and contain beneficial nutrients like iron and calcium. Their environmental impact is also minimal, requiring far less water and feed than cattle, and releasing fewer emissions.

During this talk, Jenny will explain how insects might replace some of the meat in our diets and also give some tips on how to cook them. You will be invited to sample some tasty bug snacks after the talk!

Mark Stevenson

When?
Tuesday, August 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Mark Stevenson

What's the talk about?

Our systems are failing. Old models – for education, healthcare and government, food production, energy supply – are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion, it’s clear we need new approaches. Futurologist Mark Stevenson sets out to find them, across four continents.

From Brazilian favelas to high tech Boston, from rural India to a shed inventor in England’s home counties, We Do Things Differently travels the world to find the advance guard re-imagining our future. At each stop, he meets innovators who have already succeeded in challenging the status quo, pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Mark has also written for The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Intelligent Life, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and The New Statesman. His key skill is an ability to take complex or abstract concepts and make them understandable by non-specialists without trivialising the subject matter.

Mark is also an occasional comedy writer. His work has been performed on Radio 4 and his play (co-written with Jack Milner) Octopus Soup comes to London in January 2018.

Mark also wrote An Optimists tour of the Future and came and spoke to NSITP back in September 2011.

Dr Nick Hawes

When?
Tuesday, September 5 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Dr Nick Hawes

What's the talk about?

It’s inevitable, isn't it? One day robots will take over the world, either through some kind of violent rebellion, or through the back door -- by taking all our jobs. Aren't we throwing caution to the wind by ignoring this threat? Well, by explaining some of the basic principles behind artificial intelligence and robotics, I'm going to try to convince you that all those science fiction writers are wrong, and whilst robots will have a large part to play in our future, you don't need to worry about the effect they'll have on our existence.

Nick Hawes is a Reader in Autonomous Intelligent Robotics in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. His research is in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to create intelligent, autonomous robots that can work with or for humans. He is a passionate believer in public engagement with AI and robotics and was selected to give the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture at the 2013 British Science Festival.

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