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The Modern Face of Physiognomy

Kathryn Ford

When?
Tuesday, November 4 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Kathryn Ford

What's the talk about?

The notion that one can judge a person’s character on the basis of their facial appearance is an idea that dates back to the ancient Greeks and for a short period, the practice of physiognomy was considered scientific. Despite the fact that this ancient practice has long been discredited, the idea that one can “read” a person’s character simply by looking at their face still persists within folk psychology. In fact, this belief and our natural tendency to judge people on the basis of facial appearance has a surprisingly pervasive effect on all of our lives.

In this talk Kathryn Ford will look at the modern face of physiognomy trying to answer questions such as; why do we judge people as soon as we see them? How accurate are these judgements? And does facial appearance effect how people are treated within the criminal justice system?

Warning: This talk will involve some discussion of rape.

Kathryn Ford received a BSc in Neuroscience and Psychology from Keele University in 2011 and an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from Brunel University in 2012.

Emily St.Denny

When?
Tuesday, October 14 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Emily St.Denny

What's the talk about?

This talk is about how the ideas that citizens and politicians have about prostitution influences government policy. Contemporary prostitution policy in France, England, Wales and Sweden are used as a lens through which to investigate the strategies, challenges and incongruities behind policy making on a social issue that people feel strongly about. More broadly, the processes through which governments collect, evaluate and interpret ‘evidence’ on complex social phenomena to inform policy making are unpicked to reveal how disconnected ‘evidence-based policy’ can sometimes be from science.

Emily St.Denny is a PhD student at Nottingham Trent University and a research assistant on the ESRC funded Scottish Center on Constitutional Change. Her doctoral research focuses on why contemporary French prostitution policy has changed the way it has in the last fifty years. She is fascinated by how moral and ‘common sense’ claims often come to be used to inform societies on the ‘only’ way or the ‘right’ way to politically address intricate human experiences, especially in the realm of sexuality and the body.

Hazel Gibson

When?
Tuesday, September 2 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Hazel Gibson

What's the talk about?

A talk about what people think about fracking, from three perspectives - the scientist, the activist and the local person with fracking happening on their back door.

Hazel will be looking at what fracking is - as a method for extracting gas from shale, why some people don't like fracking and what the people who live where fracking is happening are actually worried about. 

Hazel is a PhD student at Plymouth, studying what people know about geology. She previously worked at the Natural History Museum in London as the Identification Officer for Earth Sciences and as a Science Educator. I have worked as an actual geologist too; as an Engineering Geologist in Australia. She currently tweets, blog and generally harangue passers-by about how awesome geology is. Can occasionally be seen making dinosaur footprints...

 

Michael Marshall

When?
Tuesday, August 5 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes-shocking and often-comic adventures that lie beneath.

Michael Marshall is the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, and regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work with the society has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Scientist.

Dr Kimberley Wade

When?
Tuesday, July 1 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Dr Kimberley Wade

What's the talk about?

Suggestive techniques can lead people to remember wholly false childhood events such as being lost in a shopping mall or being hospitalised overnight. Although most false memory research has relied on some form of verbal suggestion to influence what people recall, recent research shows that photographs—both genuine and doctored—can create havoc in memory too. I will discuss the extent to which images and videos can influence memory for significant, recent experiences, and show that people might even confess to, or testify about, events that never happened if they are confronted with fabricated evidence. I will also discuss new research on people with highly superior autobiographical memories. These people demonstrate incredibly detailed and robust memories, but are they immune to memory errors?  Probably not.
 
Dr Kim Wade is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Warwick. She is a cognitive psychologist specialising in autobiographical memory and memory distortions, best known for her research demonstrating the power of doctored images to produce false memories.  Kim is especially interested in the mechanisms that drive the development of false memories, and in refining the theories that explain false memory phenomena. Her research is published in many high-impact journals, and appears frequently in the media, in undergraduate texts, and in books for the educated layperson.

Mark Lynas

When?
Tuesday, June 10 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Mark Lynas

What's the talk about?

Adapted from his website:

Mark Lynas is the former climate change advisor to the President of the Maldives, visiting fellow at Cornell University's Office of International Programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, member of the advisory board of the science advocacy group Sense About Science, author and speaker on climate change, biotechnology and nuclear power.

John Martin

When?
Tuesday, May 6 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
John Martin

What's the talk about?

Dinosaurs have been the popular face of palaeontology for almost as long as the science has existed - over 150 years. They have 'big, fierce and extinct' appeal, but the main way dinosaurs have captured the public's imagination is that they have been, and still are, 'brought to life' in illustrations and other kinds of art. This is where science meets art meets popularisation.

Dinosaur 'reconstructions' have a special power, however - they don't only enthuse the public (and hopefully encourage children into careers in science); they also seem to influence the way palaeontologists themselves study, and publish supposedly rigorous scientific papers about, the fossils on which dinosaur science is based.

How are the reconstructions made? How 'correct' are they? Do they reveal as much about human nature as they do about life in the past? As someone who has spent half a lifetime studying, interpreting and drawing dinosaurs and other extinct animals, John brings the insights of an insider to these questions.

From 1974 John was curator of geology at Leicestershire Museums, then managing curator of New Walk Museum, Leicester. He specialised in vertebrate palaeontology, and in exhibitions, interpretation and design. In 2001 in moved into interpretation full-time, working for a firm designing and building museums and other heritage attractions all over the world. He's now 'retired', which means self-employed but relaxed - still doing interpretation and a bit of dinosaur work.

Hayley Stevens

When?
Tuesday, April 8 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Hayley Stevens

What's the talk about?

During her talk Hayley will explain everything a person could need to know about the modern day ghost hunting scene from the perspective of someone who used to believe and no longer does, but still continues to actively investigate and explain reported ghostly phenomena.

Hayley Stevens has addressed international audiences about researching the paranormal as a non-believer. She is one of Britain’s most vocal skeptical paranormal researchers and has been actively investigating ghosts and monsters since her teens when she used to believe that such things existed.

She is at the Scully end of the Mulder-Scully X-Files Spectrum” – The Times

Simon Singh

When?
Tuesday, March 4 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

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.

"This is a joint CAMRA and Nottingham Skeptics In the Pub event."

Vicky Stiles

When?
Tuesday, February 11 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

48-52 Canal St
Nottingham
NG1 7EH

Who?
Vicky Stiles

What's the talk about?

The Third Reich was a large, complex, modern state with a thriving mass media, diverse population, and fruitful trade and cultural links with the rest of the world. The ideology behind National Socialism drew upon well-established strands of nationalist and racialist thinking as well as centuries-old anti-Semitism, and the Nazi Party and its government used cutting-edge technology and techniques to give these ideas the broadest possible audience and appeal. All too often, this baffling web of networks, policies and overlapping interest groups, which changed constantly over the twelve years the Third Reich lasted, gets reduced to the ideas and actions of just one man. From the top of the ivory tower, to the very bottom of the bottom half of the internet, this talk will explore what Adolf Hitler means to all of us, and how our obsession with him is sucking the meaning out one of our most potent historical symbols: the Holocaust.

Victoria Stiles is a final-year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, as well as a member of Greater Manchester Skeptics. She is writing a thesis titled "Reading the Enemy: German Publications on British Imperialism, 1933 - 1945" and occasionally blogs about her sources and what it means to "do" history at tattyjackets.blogspot.com.  She has started a new history podcast: "1066 Wasn't All That". It is for PhD students in history and related fields to talk about their research, and the website is http://1066podcast.blogspot.co.uk.

 

Sera Baker, Dave Farmer and Christian Perrin

When?
Wednesday, January 22 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Sera Baker, Dave Farmer and Christian Perrin

What's the talk about?

At each event, 3 PhD/EngD/EdD students, and post-docs, from any academic discipline, will explain their work to an audience of laypeople in exchange for a pint or two.

Sera Baker is a doctoral researcher in Archaeology at The University of Nottingham. She studies the small shops of Roman Pompeii before they were destroyed by the AD 79 volcanic eruption of Vesuvius. She can also be found on Twitter @SeraECBaker.

Dave Farmer is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He spends his time studying the elastic properties of polymer films. He does this by hitting them with a stick and watching them wobble; the neat thing is that the stick is actually a table-full of laser and the films are 1000 times smaller than a human hair.

Christian Perrin works in the domain of forensic psychology. Broadly, Christian is investigating the question: what can be changed about prisons to make them more effective in terms of reducing re-offending? More specifically, he is looking at meaningful and purposeful activity in prisons (i.e. peer support volunteer roles) and exploring how such activity can impact on a prisoner’s life in prison and in the community after release.

 Gordon Ward

When?
Tuesday, January 7 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Gordon Ward

What's the talk about?

Gordon became a born-again Christian at the age of 11 and spent much of his teenage years praying and studying the Bible. Intending to become a minister in the church, he went to Durham University and studied theology. Whilst there, he became involved in the charismatic movement – preaching, healing and speaking in tongues.

Gordon’s favourite verse in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:1 “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” and he is happy to report that, at the age of 24, he put away childish things and became an atheist.

He is concerned about the effect that fundamentalist Christianity is having in the States, in Africa and even here in the UK. His hypothesis is that one of the few ways of tackling fundamentalist thinking is to use the bible to challenge the bible. In order to explore this hypothesis Gordon attended one and a quarter Alpha courses. He will report on what he heard, what he learnt and what questions the course raised for him.

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