After each QED we produce a survey, where you can tell us what you liked about the event, and what we could still improve. One of the things which comes over loud and clear is that the social aspect of QED is something people really enjoy. This year there will be over 650 people at QED, more than we’ve ever had before, and that is a huge number of people to socialise with. So we decided to try an experiment.(more)
QED 2016 is now only a few days away. The schedule has been announced, bookings have been finalised, and some of our guests may already be in the air on their way to Manchester. But that doesn't mean things have slowed down for the QED team; we're still working as hard as we can to bring you the biggest and best QED ever. To that end, we have a late addition to our line-up: NHS campaigner Emma Runswick.(more)
This year at QED’s Skeptics in the Pub session we are going to try something different: we’re going interactive!(more)
After eighteen months, the wait is almost over: we’re now just seven days from the start of QED 2016! This year promises to be the biggest and busiest QED yet, with more than 600 attendees spread across five tracks of talks, panels, podcasts, films, workshops and more. The schedule for the weekend is now online, so you can start figuring out some of the tough choices you’ll have to make.(more)
It is with great regret that we have to announce that Alexis Conran will no longer be available to speak at QED. Alexis has been called away to film abroad next week, and despite every effort on his part there is unfortunately no way he can get back to Manchester in time for QED. Fortunately, we’re very excited to announce that magician, performer and past QED-MC Paul Zenon has agreed to replace Alexis, and will give a talk exposing the secrets of the psychics.(more)
With just over a week to go before the QED pub quiz, hosted by QI elf and ‘Skeptical Bobby’ Stevyn Colgan. Given the success of last year’s quiz—and the queue to take part in it, which meandered around the hotel lobby—this year we’re asking quiz-goers to register in advance.
There are spaces for eighteen teams of four, and teams will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register your team of four people (no more, no fewer!) using this online form.(more)
Is your birth certificate a sinister plot by the Government to trap you in debt for life? Can we really choose to divorce our flesh-and-blood self from the fiction of our ‘legal name’ and free ourselves from the burden of a tyrannical and oppressive government? Do we really live under maritime law, allowing us to opt out of the laws of the land and ignore trivialities like taxes and speed limits? Or is this all just a load of nonsense?(more)
Richard Wiseman’s new Quirkology ‘Mind Tricks’ exhibition will allow QED attendees to experience the impossible!(more)
Much like science, our understanding of history is led by the evidence. From observations we make in the world around us today, we can make inferences about the world as it once was, and construct a coherent view of the people who came before us.(more)
Has our public discourse been poisoned? It’s easy to think we are in a race to the bottom, where unprincipled populists exploit fear and ignorance in service of their political agenda. In the US, Donald Trump’s rhetoric seems to attract voters irrespective of its factual content; in the UK it seems that following the gruelling Brexit debate the truth has taken a battering.(more)
In 2006, a Newsnight investigation shocked viewers with its undercover footage of homeopaths claiming to use homeopathy to successfully prevent malaria. A decade later, UK skepticism has seen a number of significant and successful skeptical campaigns - including the mass homeopathic 'overdoses' of the 10:23 Campaign, to the effective opposition to the Medical Innovations Bill (the so-called 'Saatchi Bill'), to the legal challenges brought against NHS provision of homeopathy.(more)
Matt Dillahunty is the former president of the Atheist Community of Austin, and host of ‘The Atheist Experience’ cable TV show. He is internationally renowned for his clear-thinking approach, having debated some of the world’s most high-profile religious apologists.(more)
Professor Brian Cox has lost his Wonder, and without it he’s just a bunch of equations and some great hair. So, together with Robin Ince, it’s a race against time to find Brian’s Wonder. Science meets comedy meets puppetry in this fun new series for all kids and parents alike from the people that brought you Cosmic Genome, in association with the Science Museum.(more)
The second longest ever wait* for a QED is almost over, with just three weeks until QED 2016 begins. That’s just three weeks more to wait to see over forty speakers, panellists, podcasters, entertainers and skeptics spread over five stages and three days.(more)
Magicians and mentalists walk a fine line: when your profession involves lying to people, what responsibility do you have to be truthful? The history of magic is rich with creative deceptions, from the old ‘oriental-styled’ magicians of the past to the modern-day mentalists whose act has been used to support claims for the efficacy of NLP and the ability to detect ‘micro-expressions’.(more)
Professor Marcel Dicke is professor of Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His book ‘The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet’ argues that the Western world undervalues the contribution insects could make to our lives... and to our nutrition. In 2007 he was awarded the NWO-Spinoza award for his work researching the defence mechanisms of plants.(more)
Skepticism and magic are worlds which have been entwined for many years, with common prominent figures common including Harry Houdini, James Randi, Joe Nickell, Richard Wiseman and more.
With such a skeptical interest in magic, for the first time at QED we’re offering our attendees the opportunity to learn a little magic.(more)
Every week on 5 Live’s ‘Up All Night’, the indefatigable Dr Karl Kruszelnicki tackles the science questions of his listeners, live on air. Regardless of the subject, big or small, Dr Karl puts his science knowledge to the test—and at QED, it’s your opportunity to put Dr Karl on the spot with science questions of your own.(more)
Saturday Nights at QED have always been memorable. Who could forget the time Michael Legge told us all so enthusiastically how happy he was to be performing at GED? What about the time Paul Zenon span a pint of beer around his head without spilling a drop? Or that time John-Luke Roberts got a little bit too friendly with our very own Marsh?
Each year we aim to put on a great show for all our attendees, and this year is no exception, with an evening of entertainment courtesy of comedian Tiernan Douieb, mentalist Dave Alnwick and musician Grace Petrie!(more)
Completing the line-up for the podcast room will be Cara Santa Maria’s interview show, Talk Nerdy.(more)
Many people’s experience of science at school amounts to little more than remembering solubility rules and listing the parts of a flower. Far too often, the chance to engage children with the curiosity and wonder of science and the joy of discovery is overlooked in favour of teaching the dry facts and figures required to pass a test.(more)
There’s no shortage of excellent skeptical media out there—from podcasts to YouTube videos, to documentaries and films. In previous years, we’ve celebrated some of the skeptical YouTubers out there, crediting the fantastic work they do in taking a skeptical message to a wider audience. For QED 2016 we’ve decided to turn our final additional room into a full-time cinema, showcasing skeptical (and un-skeptical) video content and allowing attendees to drop in and out as they please.(more)
After easily 100 years of research and investigation into paranormal phenomena, both as formal academic discipline and in the field with expert observers, what can we learn from our experiences? Our panellists have been directly involved in the subject and their stories shed light on the best methods to investigate this subject, how might we avoid the pitfalls, what can we learn from exploring paranormal claims, and what ethical concerns we must address.(more)
Natalie Haynes is a comedian and author whose appearance at QED 2013 was noted by many as their highlight of the event. She’s a regular contributor to The Guardian and has written for The Times and The Independent. Before retiring from stand-up comedy in 2009, Natalie became the first female nominee for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her 2014 novel ‘The Amber Fury’ served as a fiction-based follow-up to her previous non-fiction book ‘The Ancient Guide to Modern Life’ – exploring the lessons the modern world can learn from classical societies.(more)
This year’s QED is already set to be our biggest yet, with more attendees than ever before joining us for a weekend celebration of science, reason and critical thinking. To make sure our expanded audience get the best QED experience possible, we’ve already added an additional podcasting programme, to run parallel to our usual main stage and panel room tracks. Now we’re also adding one more additional track: the workshop room.(more)
At QED we couldn’t make our event work without the excellent help of our volunteers who have for five years guaranteed the conference has run smoothly and assisted all those who attended.
This year's event is slowly coming together, so we'd like to put the call out to all our attendees and ask that anyone who would like to volunteer gets in touch.(more)
We’re pleased to be able to announce the final speaker to be added to the QED main-stage line-up: investigative journalist and producer Meirion Jones.(more)
Every year, QED is proud to be the host of The Skeptic magazine’s Ockham Awards for outstanding skeptical achievement. Now in their fifth year, the awards recognise the community’s favourite skeptical blogs, skeptical podcasts, skeptical campaigns and outstanding contributors to the skeptical cause.(more)
With this year seeing the first ever full-time podcast track at QED, fans of skeptical podcasts will for the first time get to see some of their favourite shows recorded live. With InKredulous, God Awful Movies and Cognitive Dissonance already announced, we’re pleased to be able to add Skeptics with a K to the line-up.(more)
We are always keen to make QED as accessible as possible, which is why for a number of years we’ve run the QED crèche, giving skeptical parents reasonably-priced childcare facilities in order to make life as easy as we can for our attendees.
The deadline for applications for this year’s crèche was due to be the end of July, but we’ve decided to extend the deadline by a further two weeks, to allow for any last-minute requests. However, given that we need time to arrange adequate facilities and fully-trained staff, bookings for the crèche must be made by August 15th, otherwise we can’t accommodate your skeptical child.(more)
One of the hardest things in life is to challenge the beliefs we hold most dearly, and to change our path if we discover that our beliefs are wrong. It is therefore the mark of a true skeptic to be able to abandon ideas that are central to our view of ourselves when presented with proof that we’re wrong, and few people embody that more than our next QED speaker—Britt Hermes.(more)
Not content to be featuring one set of sarcastic American podcasters with an over-flowing swear jar in the shape of God Awful Movies, QED are pleased to announce the next addition to our inaugural podcast programme: Cognitive Dissonance.(more)
Ryan Bell is a former pastor whose time with the church came to an end in headline-making fashion after he announced his intention to ‘try atheism’ for his ‘year without God’.(more)
Last year, following the SkeptiCamp on QED Friday, our first ever QED quiz proved to be astonishingly popular, with plenty of our attendees looking to pit their wits against the Cosmic Genome’s science quiz. Given the success last year, we’ve decided to make the Friday night quiz part of QED 2016, and we’re delighted to have a very special host and quiz master – QI elf and past QED speaker Stevyn Colgan!(more)
Jennifer Michael Hecht is a writer, historian, poet and philosopher whose book ‘Doubt: A History’ explored the history of religious and philosophical doubt. Jennifer’s other books include ‘The End of the Soul’, ‘The Happiness Myth’ and her most recent work, ‘Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It’. Jennifer is also a regular essayist and commentator on radio and television, and her poetry has been published in dozens of anthologies and periodicals.(more)
With just under four months to go until QED 2016, we’re thrilled to announce that SkeptiCamp will be returning to Manchester for the third year running. Last year’s pre-QED SkeptiCamp was an enormous success, and this year we're aiming to make the event the best yet!(more)
Bruce Hood is an experimental psychologist and author. Since opening the first QED in 2011 he has given the Royal Institution’s Christmas lectures, won countless awards and prizes, and published extensively in the fields of superstition, supernatural belief, and cognitive development.(more)
Since 2011, QED has been bringing some of the biggest names and the most fascinating talks in the world of science, reason and critical thinking to our home in Manchester. We’ve had quantum physics from Jim Al-Khalili and Lawrence Krauss, evolutionary biology from Richard Dawkins, epidemiology from Elizabeth Pisani, medicine from Harriet Hall and Mark Crislip, psychology from Bruce Hood and Richard Wiseman and nuclear energy from Dame Sue Ion.(more)
While skeptics are often very aware of the dangers of pseudoscience in regular healthcare, few skeptics consider the woo that exists in dental care. However, dentistry is not immune from outrageous claims, with homeopathy, unnecessary amalgam filling removal, dental chiropractic, and a host of other pseudoscientific treatments to threaten patients’ physical and financial wellbeing.
For the first time at a skeptical event in the UK, pseudomedical dentistry will be put under the spotlight, as our panel of dentists and skeptics talk about their experiences of dental woo, the harms that can be done to patients and what can be done to curb outrageous claims in dental health.(more)
This October marks the sixth QED event, and a return to our original home of the Mercure Piccadilly in Manchester. We’ve been overwhelmed by the way the skeptical community has taken QED to heart and made it your own, growing QED year on year to make it the event it is today – drawing skeptics from all over the UK, Europe, and beyond.
QED promises to be bigger than ever in 2016 – and if it’s going to be the biggest QED yet, we want to make it the best QED yet. Which is why this year, for the first time, we’re adding a third track of sessions!(more)
The role of MC is one of the most important roles at QED – providing a steady hand to keep things running smoothly and to keep our audience informed and entertained. Given the magnitude and importance of this task, we’re particularly pleased to be able to introduce our MC for QED 2016... comedian Matt Parker!(more)
Plans for the biggest ever QED are well under way, and we’re delighted to be able to announce two more speakers for our line up – psychologist Susan Blackmore and star of ‘The Real Hustle’ Alexis Conran.(more)
The wait is over: tickets to QED 2016 are now on sale, still just £99, or £69 for students and under 18s. After a slightly-longer-than-usual break, we’re now just five months away from the UK’s largest skeptical conference, which will see more than 650 attendees come together for a weekend of science, reason and critical thinking.(more)