Science Festival 2016
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DateSpeaker NameTopicRole and InstitutionWhat is your talk aboutBrief BiographyYour website - so we can publicise itTwitterPhone numberEmailneed accom?Travelling from/modeMisc NotesPresentation Formats
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Mon 28 Mar Dr. Sarah ClementGMOs From An Environmental PerspectiveResearcher, Murdoch University (Australia)It's clear to everyone that we have problems with our food system. Among the most critical of these is the need to feed a growing population whilst also protecting the environment. Genetically modified crops have been hailed as both a saviour and a villain in this discussion. The media has put a spotlight on the two extreme ends of this polarised debate, with agricultural corporations on one side and internet celebrities like Food Babe on the other. This talk will focus on that neglected grey area in between, including what we know about the environmental impacts and how we might translate scientific data and societal values into pragmatic public policy.Sarah has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Environmental Science. After discovering she was less interested in understanding "the environment" as a separate entity, independent from society, her career has focused on examining the space where social and ecological systems overlap. She has worked as a researcher examining the biophysical, social and policy dimensions of environmental problems since 2002.

Sarah was born and raised in the US, where she awkwardly grew up in a small Midwestern town as an atheist and a natural skeptic. It wasn't until she moved to Australia, however, that she discovered there was not only a term for her constant questioning, but an entire movement. She became active with the Perth Skeptics as one of its organisers. She now resides in the UK; and after her lifetime tour of the colonies, she likes to think she's returned to the motherland.
https://about.me/saraheclement
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Tue 29 Mar Prof. William NaphyHow Many Genders Are There? - Non-Binary CulturesProfessor of Early Modern History & Dean for North American AffairsProfessor Naphy's talk will examine cultures which historically and contemporaneously have more than two genders. In particular, the talk will consider how these societally constructed genders are understood within their society and the socio-cultural gender roles associated with them. The talk will suggest that these traditional non-binary understandings of gender are being eroded and changed by Western concepts of sexuality which have developed in a strictly binary understanding of gender.Having received degrees in Latin and Historical Theology from US institutions, Professor Naphy moved to Scotland to complete his doctoral studies at the University of St Andrews in Reformation History. Subsequently, he worked at New College (Edinburgh) and the University of Manchester before taking up his post at the University of Aberdeen in 1996. He is the author of numerous works on early modern history including 'Calvin and the Consolidation of the Genevan Reformation', and 'Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality'. He has appeared frequently in television documentaries including 'Art and Soul' presented by Richard Holloway (Primus Emeritus, Scottish Episcopal Church) and is regularly interviewed on television, radio and print media relating to issues of sexuality and gender in history and contemporary society.http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sdhp/people/profiles/w.g.naphyN/A
Redacted
PPT
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Wed 30 Mar Dr. Andrew PrincepDiscovering the Materials of Tomorrow using the Techniques of TodayPostdoctoral Research Assistant in Quantum Materials, Oxford UniversityHow do we know that DNA is a double-helix? Why is diamond beautiful but graphite is boring, when they are both made of carbon? Why are there no room-temperature superconductors? These are all questions from the field of materials physics, and their answers are what drive our understanding of everything from flexible computer screens, advanced drug delivery, and how powerful the next generation of iPhone will be.

I will talk about the techniques that scientists use to look at materials on the atomic level, and how this knowledge helps us to better understand the materials we already know, so that we can dream up new materials to tackle the problems of the future.
I grew up in Western Australia where I graduated from Curtin University of Western Australia with an Honours degree in Nanotechnology in 2008, before completing my PhD in Physics at UNSW Canberra in 2012 and finally taking up my current position as a Postdoc at Oxford University.

https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/contacts/people/princepPPT
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Thu 31 Mar Ash PryceHow To Be A Psychic ConmanEntertainer. Founder of Edinburgh Skeptics. Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! Gather ye round the traveling caravan, as Snake Oil Salesman Ash Pryce demonstrates the miraculous curative abilities of psychic surgery, taught to your humble trickster by a wise man in the Philippines. See with wonder of the telekinetic forces at work as you learn how to move objects with your mind, psychically predict the outcome of the historic Zener Cards and read the minds of your peers. A part magic, all skeptic look at a history of supernatural charlatanism. Ash Pryce is a performer and director based in Scotland. He has written and staged several skeptically themed shows looking at myths & legends, ghosts, psychics and mediumship as well as producing full plays ranging from Faustus to more contemporary original shows in Edinburgh. He is the founder of Edinburgh Skeptics, the newly started History in the Pub Edinburgh, and runs what is believed to be the worlds first skeptical ghost tour every Fringe. He lives just outside of Edinburgh with his four Degus, one of which holds a grudge against him.

"Ash Pryce is a naturally funny guy and won't allow his audience to be bored" "Very entertaining" - edfringereview
www.ashpryce.co.uk@PsychicConmanOnly green M&Ms please. PPT
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Mon 4 Apr Tracey JolliffeSyphilis: One night with Venus, a lifetime with MercuryNHS Scotland

Edinburgh Skeptics Society regular
Syphilis is one of the oldest known sexually transmitted diseases, and is thought to have been imported from America to Europe in the fifteenth century. Syphilis still infects over five million people annually, and results in over 100,000 deaths. This talk will look at the history of this infection, the part it’s played in society and culture, together with it’s sometimes infamous place in history. We will, of course, look at the science too!Following a long career as a Veterinary Nurse, I retrained as a microbiologist. Although previously I worked in a couple of government research facilities, I now work in the NHS as a Biomedical Scientist, which is nowhere near as grand as it sounds.
Outside of work, my life (and home) is filled with bats. I am an official, card carrying, slightly fanatical, bat lady. My spare room houses a bat hospital, to which I admit sick and injured bats from across Scotland.
I would dearly like to live in a world where people are kind to each other, rudeness doesn’t exist, and I can wear black without it getting covered in cat hair. My hobbies include housework and washing the car, but sadly I’m usually too busy reading and baking cakes to spend much time on them. I like to go to the gym three times a week, but have missed the last 673 times.
PPT
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Tue 5 Apr Dr. Stuart RitchieThe Biology Of CrimePostdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, University of EdinburghWhat makes people commit crime? Are there genetic factors that predispose people to violence? What’s different about the brains (and the psychology) of murderers? And if we can use biology to predict people’s chances of committing a crime in the future, how close are we to the dystopian science-fiction of ‘Minority Report’? In this talk, Dr. Stuart Ritchie (Research Fellow in Psychology, The University of Edinburgh) will discuss the latest scientific evidence from neuroscience, genetics, physiology, and more. He’ll ask how the biology of crime interacts with social and cultural forces to produce rule-breaking, aggression, violence, and even murderStuart Ritchie is a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh. He researches how intelligence changes across the lifespan, and how it relates to genetics, the brain, and education.

His research has been published in journals such as the Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, and Psychological Science.
@StuartJRitchie
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Wed 6 Apr Dr. Eric StoddartBig Data, Big Brother, Big Problem?Lecturer in the School of Divinity and Associate Director, Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics, University of St Andrews.It's easy to be alarmist about the spread of surveillance technologies into many areas of everyday life. Orwell's 'Big Brother' is a popular image but it doesn't really get us too far in taking a sober critical stance towards surveillance in its multi-faceted guises. There's a lot of value in drawing on privacy rights as a way of challenging extensive technological systems that treat us as objects from which data is scraped and on which basis we are then categorised and acted upon. However, I'm suggesting that thinking about our (in)visibility - the skill we have in managing our visibility in relation to people and institutions - gives us an additional dimension to addressing significant concerns about cultures of surveillance. Considering (in)visibility also takes us quickly into questions of social justice where surveillance is disproportionately targeted at already marginalised groups of people. This means we start thinking about the negative (and possibly positive) effects of surveillance upon the Common Good. Surveillance isn't all bad so we need a critical approach that doesn't spiral into alarmist panics. I'm going to explore what just such a response might need to look like.I grew up in Aberdeen where I also went to university - both for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Moving into academic positions later in life I've been at the University of St Andrews for the past ten years. Since about 2008 I've been researching surveillance and publishing largely on the ethics of this everyday phenomenon. With a colleague from Sweden I'm currently developing an international research network to focus specifically on issues of surveillance and religion.http://ericstoddart.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/es61andrewsI'll bring my Mac, but I will bring all necesary cables too
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Thu 7 Apr Agnes TörökIf You're Happy and You Know It - Take This SurveySpoken word poet, poetry event organiser and happiness researcherA warm and funny, personal and political spoken word show about searching for happiness in strange and scientific places. By critically acclaimed YouTube sensation Agnes Török, winner of the 2014 Best International Spoken Word Show Award and the 2015 Best Wellbeing Show Award at the Edinburgh Fringe (PBH). Praise for the show includes
"The audience are enraptured" - FeministFest
"Wit, warmth and wisdom aplenty" - The Scotsman
Agnes Török is a spoken word performer, workshop leader, event organiser and happiness researcher. She is the winner of multiple Poetry Slams in three different countries and two different languages. Török has been featured as a TED speaker, on The Today Programme and BBC Radio Scotland. Her poem 'Worthless' about Austerity Britain went viral this summer and was translated into ten languages by volunteers from around the world. Her two acclaimed one-woman spoken word shows ‘Sorry I Don’t Speak Culture’ and ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It Take This Survey’ have been awarded the Best International Spoken Word Show Award (2014) and the Best Wellbeing Show Award (2015) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (PBH). Her best ever gigs were in a muddy Nepalese classroom and an Edinburgh Bingo Hall.www.agnestorok.org@AgnesTorokPoetNot applicable, I don't have a presentation
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