Previous year >>

The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why

Dean Burnett

When?
Tuesday, September 11 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Dean Burnett

What's the talk about?

You barely go a week without some puff piece article offering the 'secret' of happiness, or 5 easy steps to make yourself happy. They usually mention dopamine or oxytocin, in vague, context-free ways. But how valid are these claims? Not very, if you ask neuroscientist Dean Burnett, who looked into all this for his book The Happy Brain. In it, Dean delves deep into the inner workings of our minds to explore some fundamental questions about happiness. For starters: what does it actually mean to be happy? Where does it come from? Is lasting happiness possible? Should it be?

In his research into these questions – and many more besides – Burnett unravels our complex internal lives to reveal the often surprising truth behind what makes us tick. From whether happiness really begins at home to what love, sex, friendship, wealth, laughter and success actually do to our brains.

When?
Tuesday, August 7 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Yves van Gennip

What's the talk about?

Say the word "maths" to a random person on the street and they will probably want to know why you are talking to them. Or so they'll claim, but any mention of probability distributions and random sampling will likely only elicit blank stares* and perhaps a proud admission of doing badly in maths in school. But did they? Maths, I mean. Did they do maths in school? The best case scenario is that they did do some of the basics (and yet, I suspect, very few of the fundamentals), but even that will have offered just a narrow view of the topic.

The general perception of what mathematics is or isn't, can and cannot do, and who can do it at all to begin with, tends to be quite different from a (this) mathematician's view, as is quite obvious in places such as, for example, everywhere.

Misconceptions galore (no, that's not a little known 007 sidekick; there, I said "maths", you expected numbers, I provided), yet so little time to have a wildly entertaining stab of dubious efficacy at correcting them. Yet that is exactly what I'll try to do in this talk.

Luckily we are not flying blind here. History provides us with plenty of demi-gods of deduction, titans of theorems, a whole pantheon of provers. Or, coated in fewer Asgardian assumptions and Olympian ordinals, people with good ideas who worked their denominators off to make sure their musings would measure up against mathematical scrutiny.

Join us for a look at some myths of and misconceptions about maths. No test at the end. And there'll be a cat picture too!


The speaker this evening will be a person, probably even a mathematician. The audience will be skeptics (people too), who are known for judging a talk on its own merits and don't need any silly bios of the speaker to decide whether or not to attend a talk. And they definitely are not so shallow that they need a picture. What, is "mathematician" not hot enough for you?


*Not based on empirical observations. Any physicist or other empiricist is welcome to have a crack at it. Ask your local ethics committee first.

Michael Brooks

When?
Tuesday, July 3 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Michael Brooks

What's the talk about?

Humans have been trying to make sense of the universe since they first looked up at the stars. Most of us have now shaken off the idea that the heavens display patterns that foretell significant events, and we certainly know more about the universe than any generation in history. But how much do we understand about what we have discovered?

In this talk, Michael Brooks looks at modern cosmology through the eyes of the 16th century astrologer, mathematician, inventor and physician Jerome Cardano. Cardano laid the mathematical foundations for quantum theory, and his unusual perspective suggests that science might not have made as much progress as you think.
 

Amazon link to the book

 

Juliet Wakefield

When?
Tuesday, May 1 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Juliet Wakefield

What's the talk about?

We are constantly told by the media and health professionals that we should stop smoking, drink less, get our '5 a day' and exercise regularly. But how often are we told about the importance of our social life? Lacking important social groups can be as bad for us as smoking, yet it is an aspect of our heath that we so rarely consider. In this talk Dr. Juliet Wakefield will discuss the idea of the 'Social Cure', present some of her own research on the topic, and consider how we can unlock its positive effects in our own lives

Juliet Wakefield is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Her research focuses on the impact of group memberships on people's everyday lives. In addition to exploring the impact of groups on health and wellbeing, she investigates intergroup / intragroup helping and help-seeking, gender identity, national identity, and online identities.

Alice Howarth

When?
Tuesday, April 10 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Alice Howarth

What's the talk about?

One in two of us will suffer with cancer in our lifetime and almost all of us have some experience of the disease. But do we really know what cancer is and how we can work towards a cure? Is a cure even possible? And how can we arm ourselves with the right information to help us prevent and treat cancer?

Alice is a researcher who has worked in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool with both non-profit and for-profit organisations. In this talk she will discuss what cancer is, how it works and just how we are working towards understanding and curing the disease. She will talk about the complexities of research and some of the big success stories that relate directly to some of the many types of cancer. Only when we understand the difficulties we face can we discern between bogus cancer treatment claims and genuine scientific advancement in this field.

 

Karen Douglas

When?
Tuesday, March 6 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Karen Douglas

What's the talk about?

Was 9/11 an inside job? Is climate change a hoax? Was Princess Diana murdered? Millions of people appear to think so, disbelieving official explanations for significant events in favour of alternative accounts that are often called ‘conspiracy theories’. In recent years, psychologists have begun to investigate what makes conspiracy theories appealing to so many people. In this talk, Prof. Karen Douglas will broadly overview what psychologists have found out so far, and will discuss some of her own findings on the causes and consequences of belief in conspiracy theories.

Karen Douglas is a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kent. In addition to conducting work on the psychology of conspiracy theories, she is involved in projects examining sexism in language, the influence of sexist ideology on attitudes toward pregnant women, and the psychology of internet behaviour.

Dr Nick Hawes

When?
Tuesday, February 6 2018 at 7:30PM

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

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.

The Hidden Story of the Hopes, Fears and Desires of a Nation

James Wright

When?
Tuesday, January 9 2018 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
James Wright

What's the talk about?

Modern graffiti is often seen as transgressive and moronic. However, look closely in the light of a torch at the walls of our historic buildings, trees, caves and rockfaces and you will see a world of graffiti left that illuminates the psychology of our ancestors. The study of historic graffiti enables us to hear the lost voices of ordinary individuals through their images of daisywheels, ships sailing across the walls, knights drawing their swords, demons stalking the stonework and every animal imaginable….

James Wright is an archaeologist, lecturer and author currently based at the University of Nottingham. With over twenty years of professional experience, he has published two books plus a string of popular and academic articles based on extensive research of the British Mediaeval and Early Modern periods. He makes regular appearances for the BBC and has acted as an archaeological consultant for Channel 4’s Time Team.

Dr Fiona MacCallum

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

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Dr Fiona MacCallum

What's the talk about?

What does the modern family look like? Technology has led to the creation of families that were not previously possible; a woman can become pregnant with, and give birth to, a child who is not genetically related to her. Parents don’t have to be in a female-male couple but can be with a same-sex partner or going it alone. Many assumptions are made about the best situation for children but what is actually known about the psychological effects of being raised in a “non-traditional” family? I’ll discuss research which investigates different family types and asks questions such as does it matter if a child has two mums or two dads? What do parents tell their children about how they were conceived? And when it comes to family relationships, is “blood” really thicker than water?


Fiona MacCallum is a developmental psychologist with a particular interest in parent-child relationships and their influence on children’s social and emotional wellbeing. She began to research the psychology of new family forms in 1996, and has specialised in the study of non-genetic families. Fiona is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Warwick
 

Literally the Best Magician

When?
Wednesday, November 1 2017 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
David Alnwick

What's the talk about?

After a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe and fresh off the back of hosting QED 2017, Skeptic regular Dave Alnwick tours his new show 'Literally the Best Magician'.

Is Dave Literally the Best Magician?  He certainly thinks so and intends to spend an hour proving it.  Working through every genre of Magic, Dave hopes to 'one up' the classics of conjuring. 

Ok, enough of this third person charade.  I'm doing a Magic show.  It'll be really good, you should totally come.  In the past I've focused on mentalism (y'know that Derren Brown mind reading business) but I thought I'd step away from that and have a go at old school stuff.  It's not easy making tricks with rope, tissues and post-it notes interesting but I'm pretty sure I've smashed it.

“He is the kind of performer who could probably make reading the dictionary into an entertaining show” – WorldMagicReview.com

I'll even do a talk after the show about Magic.  I'll teach you a trick.  We'll do a Q&A.  Maybe have a drink.  It'll be dope. 

See you there.

 

#Dave - Literally the Best Magician

Andrew Copson

When?
Tuesday, October 10 2017 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Andrew Copson

What's the talk about?

If you are on Facebook, please RSVP so that we can estimate how many people will be attending.

Secularism, the belief that religion should not be part of the affairs of the state or part of public education, is an increasingly hot topic in global public, political, and religious debates. In his new book, Secularism: politics, religion, and freedom (OUP), Andrew Copson tells the story of secularism, discussing secular republics and the challenges they can face from resurgent religious identity politics.

Five Leaves Bookshop will be selling Andrew's book at the event.

Andrew Copson is the Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association, where he was previously Director of Education and Public Affairs; President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union; and a former Director of the European Humanist Federation. In these capacities he is one of the most experienced and prolific advocates of secularism, its study, and its implementation. For over a decade he has carried out a range of national and international practical secularist policy work and spoken internationally on secularism. He has been an associate of the Centre for Law and Religion and the University of Cardiff since 2008 and represented the secularist point of view on public or other bodies such as the Foreign Office's Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Woolf Institute's Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life. He co-edited The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook on Humanism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), with A C Grayling.

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Tuesday, October 3 2017 at 7:30PM

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

Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

Jamie Bartlett will talk about his new book Radicals, which is an exploration of the individuals, groups and movements rejecting the way we live now, and are attempting to find alternatives.
He will take us inside the strange and exciting worlds of the innovators, disruptors, idealists and extremists who think society is broken, and believe they know how. From dawn raids into open mines to the darkest recesses of the internet, Radicals introduces us to some of the most interesting and important movements today: the US Transhumanist Party, far-right groups seeking to close the borders, militant environmentalists striving to save the planet's natural reserves by any means possible, libertarian movements founding new countries, autonomous cooperatives in self-sustaining micro-societies, and psychedelic pioneers attempting to heal society with the help of powerful hallucinogens.
He will discuss the prospects for these new political movements, why they are growing now, and whether there is anything the mainstream can learn from them. 

Jamie Bartlett is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where he specialises in online social movements and the impact of technology on society. He is also author of the best selling book The Dark Net and a regular commentator on national and international media outlets.

bestkinky.com