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Michael Merrifield

When?
Tuesday, December 3 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Michael Merrifield

What's the talk about?

Although Christmas is not a time that many people associate with science, there is plenty of science to be found around it.  This talk will touch on just a few of the scientific underpinnings of our celebration, such as the time of year we hold it, the nature of the Star of Bethlehem, and more unusual topics such as why Christmas trees are Christmas-tree shaped.  With a rich seasonal mix of chemistry, astronomy, biology, physics, psychology and even a little law, plus the definitive calculation as to how fast Father Christmas really has to travel, what better way could there be to get into the Christmas spirit?

Michael Merrifield is professor of astronomy at the University of Nottingham.  His primary area of research involves trying to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies by studying the motions of stars in nearby systems.  He is a frequent speaker in schools, astronomical societies, Cafes Scientifiques, etc, and is also regularly to be seen in the “Sixty Symbols” and “Deep Sky Videos” series on YouTube.  If you are still trying to find gifts for Christmas, he also runs a company that makes scientifically-accurate sculptures of astronomical objects called “Crystal Nebulae.” 

a palaeontologist's perspective.

Dr Adam Smith

When?
Tuesday, November 5 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Dr Adam Smith

What's the talk about?

The Mesozoic Era was the age of the reptiles. While dinosaurs dominated the land a spectacular variety of aquatic reptiles ruled the ocean. Perhaps the most unusual of all were the plesiosaurs. Many questions have been raised surrounding these mysterious animals. Why did they have such long necks? What did they eat? How did they swim and reproduce? How did they become extinct? And how do we know? All these questions will be explored.

Or, perhaps plesiosaurs aren't extinct at all. Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster? We'll approach the living plesiosaur hypothesis from a palaeontological perspective, to assess how our understanding of plesiosaur anatomy, evolution and behaviour, has a bearing on the case.

Dr Adam Smith is a palaeontologist and curator at the Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall. He has degrees in palaeobiology from the Universities of Portsmouth and Bristol, and a PhD in palaeontology from University College Dublin. His research specialism is plesiosaurs and other fossil marine reptiles and he has named several new species.

He also runs the The Plesiosaur Directory (http://plesiosauria.com/) and the Dinosaur Toy Blog (http://www.dinotoyblog.com/)"

 

Sarah Grant (plus others from the team!)

When?
Tuesday, October 15 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Sarah Grant (plus others from the team!)

What's the talk about?

*This is a free event*

In January 2013, comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans founded The Sunday Assembly in London - the godless congregation that has been labelled 'The Atheist Church'. The Sunday Assembly has spread like wild-fire across the globe, answering a latent need for community without god. It is already established in London, New York, Melbourne, Bristol and Brighton.

Sunday Assembly Nottingham is due to start in December and for this event we will be joined by Sarah Grant and others from the team to hear about their plans. Sarah will give us a short talk, but the main focus of the evening will be to answer your questions.

Sarah is one of the organising team for SA Nottingham and an avid community loving non-believer. She works at City hospital as a clinical trial coordinator in stroke medicine and she loves research. Sarah's background is in psychology and she has a general interest in people, community and society. She is hoping that a Sunday Assembly in Nottingham could inspire a whole community to come together and celebrate the one wonderful life we get!

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Tuesday, October 1 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Stevyn Colgan is a former member of the Met Police Problem Solving Unit, which developed creative and innovative approaches to issues that did not respond to traditional policing methods. He is an expert on problem-oriented policing and has lectured extensively on the subject throughout the UK and US.


Stevyn is also an author, artist, songwriter, and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the QI Elves and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity for BBC Radio 4.
He is the author of "Joined-Up Thinking" (Pan Macmillan 2008) and "Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folk Tales" (Kowethas 2010).
His latest book, "Constable Colgan's Connectoscope" (Unbound, 2013), will be published in paperback on 5th October 2013.

He stops inordinately frequently for tea.

Twitter: @stevyncolgan
Web: www.stevyncolgan.com
Blog: http://colganology.blogspot.com

Suzanne Elvidge

When?
Tuesday, September 3 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Suzanne Elvidge

What's the talk about?

Pseudoscience is defined in Wikipedia as “a body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific or made to appear scientific, but does not adhere to the scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, or otherwise lacks scientific status.”

Pseudoscience stories in the press range from matter orientation system machines to find people from traces of their DNA to QLink pendants to help your body deal with poor nutrition, pollutants, stress and electrical currents. Come along and find out how to separate the wheat from the guff.


Suzanne Elvidge is a freelance science, biopharma, business and health writer with more than 20 years of experience. She is editor of Genome Engineering, a blog that monitors the latest developments in genome engineering and that aims to educate (and sometimes to entertain!) and has written for a range of online and print publications including European Life Science, the Journal of Life Sciences (now the Burrill Report), In Vivo, Life Science Leader, Nature Biotechnology, PR Week and Start-Up. She specialises in writing on pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, healthcare, science, lifestyle and green living, but can write on any topic given enough tea and chocolate biscuits. She lives just beyond the neck end of nowhere in the Peak District with her second-hand bookseller husband and two second-hand cats.

Jonny Scaramanga

When?
Tuesday, August 6 2013 at 7:15PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Jonny Scaramanga

What's the talk about?

Jonny Scaramangan  attended a fundamentalist Christian school in the '90s where he learned that the Loch Ness Monster disproved evolution, God disapproved of the NHS, and homosexuals were an abomination to God. He talks about what students learn in these schools today, and what we should do when the parent's right to freedom of religion conflicts with the child's right to a sound education. 

Jonny is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Education, where he is researching student experiences in Britain's 50 Accelerated Christian Education schools. He has written for the Guardian the Times Education Supplement, New Humanist, and Liberal Conspiracy. His broadcast appearances include BBC Radio 4, BBC2, BBC local radio, and Channel 4's 4Thought TV.

His blog is at leavingfundamentalism.com

Megan Whewell

When?
Tuesday, July 2 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Megan Whewell

What's the talk about?

Did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really land on the Moon in 1969? Yes!

There have been many conspiracy theories proposed over the years since 1969 that insist Neil and Buzz didn't land on the Moon's surface. Buzz’s famous response to a conspiracy theorist was to punch them, but Megan Whewell will take you through some of the more popular theories and explain how you can respond using less violence and more science.

Megan Whewell works at the National Space Centre in Leicester, and as part of her job she presents public talks during school holidays. Over one holiday those talks asked the question "Did the moon landings really happen?". She considers these talks a wholehearted success because she got, on average, one ‘conversion’ a day from conspiracy theorist to believing in the Apollo programme.

When?
Wednesday, June 19 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?

What's the talk about?

After the success of the past couple of social nights decided to hold another one.  Simple meet up the bar at Vat & Fiddle, come along and have a drink, a bit of food and discuss the topics skeptical and otherwise of the day.  All are welcome

Dr Michael Fay

When?
Tuesday, June 4 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Dr Michael Fay

What's the talk about?

A brief history of nano – which goes back further than you might think – and where we are now. A story that includes scientists, futurologists, hucksters, terrorists, politicians, the media, and everyone else.  Alongside the genuine excitement in the possibilities, nanotechnology has also come with the unwelcome accompaniment of a great deal of both hype and alarmism.  How much is the reality swamped by the Hollywood plot device, and what does it tell us about the link between science and the public?

Michael is Research fellow at Nottingham Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Centre, part of Nottingham University were he is responsible for the day to day operation of the Nottingham Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre microscopy suite.  He also has reponsible for the production of the worlds smallest periodic table which was written on a human hair.  This feat was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records in 2011.

 

 

 

Neil Denny

When?
Tuesday, May 7 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Neil Denny

What's the talk about?

Neil Denny is the producer and presenter of the Little Atoms Radio
Show and podcast.  Neil was the recipient of a Travelling Fellowship
from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and in May 2012 he embarked
upon a month long, 6614 mile road trip across America. The aim of the
trip was to produce a series of podcasts which present a wide-ranging
overview of science and skepticism from an American perspective.
Driving from San Francisco to Boston and calling in at Phoenix, Santa
Fe, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York along the way,  Neil recorded
39 interviews with scientists and science writers including Ann
Druyan, Leonard Susskind, Kip Thorne, Priya Natarajan, Paul Davies,
George Church, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mary Roach, Edward Stone and Sara
Seager.  He recorded interviews at some major sites of scientific
interest, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Los Alamos
National Laboratory, and The American Museum of Natural History. He
also spent a less scientific day visiting Kentucky’s Creation Museum.
The podcasts from Neil’s trip can be found at the following website:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/littleatomsroadtrip . Find out more about
Little Atoms here: www.littleatoms.com , and follow Neil on Twitter
@littleatoms.

When?
Wednesday, April 17 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?

What's the talk about?

After the success of the last social night we decided to have another one just after QEDCon.  So we have a chat and the few of who went to can share their memories of the event and no doubt discuss the topics of the day.  All are welcome.

The Doomsday Handbook: 50 Ways to the End of the World

Alok Jha

When?
Tuesday, April 2 2013 at 7:00PM

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Where?

12 – 14 Queensbridge Road
Nottingham.
NG2 1NB.

Who?
Alok Jha

What's the talk about?

From predictions of sin, fire and brimstone in ancient stories, to asteroids, viruses and climate change in films today, the human race has long speculated - and dramatized - about how it will all end. Yet no matter how creative our stories are, science, Alok Jha will tell us, offers us even weirder possibilities.

Some of them are cosmic in origin, such as a monstrously large magnetic storm from the Sun; or from the Earth itself, such as a catastrophic volcano or a reversal of our magnetic field. Others are due to the human race's own advancements: drugs, terrorism, cyborgs - or even some of these combined, such as a solar storm affecting our communications and electrical technology. Or, if we're really unlucky, we might wander too near a black hole or a (so far) hypothetical particle called the strangelet, which is able to turn all particles it encounters into a copy of itself - and could do this to everything on the Earth over a matter of hours.

Is this anything to worry about? Alok Jha has spoken to various people who think it might be. 99% of species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct - and the Sun itself will become a red giant one day. "Humanity as a whole does not invest much in improving its thinking on how to enhance its own survival," he reports. Come and hear how, if we can't put off The End, it might at least be a lot more interesting than we thought.

 

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