Latest News + Announcements / QED 2018/news The latest news, updates and announcements about the QED science and skepticism conference, 13th-14th October 2018. Thu, 16 Aug 2018 10:23:00 +0100 en hourly 1 Calling all volunteers/news/2018/calling-all-volunteers Fri, 17 Aug 2018 15:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=calling-all-volunteers At QED we couldn’t make our event work without the excellent help of our volunteers who help us make sure the conference runs smoothly for all our speakers and attendees. With this year’s event just two months away, we’re putting out a call to all our attendees to ask that anyone who would like to volunteer gets in touch.

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At QED we couldn’t make our event work without the excellent help of our volunteers who help us make sure the conference runs smoothly for all our speakers and attendees. With this year’s event just two months away, we’re putting out a call to all our attendees to ask that anyone who would like to volunteer gets in touch.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and make new friends whether you are already coming with someone you know or by yourself. We only ever ask for a couple of hours of your time over the course of the weekend, and we do everything we can to make sure you don’t miss out on your favourite speaker!

If you are already coming to QED in October and think you can spare some of your time to help out we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch at volunteering@qedcon.org and we will be in touch.

Whether you are thinking of volunteering or not we are looking forward to seeing all of you soon!

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Further additions to the QED Fringe/news/2018/further-additions-to-the-qed-fringe Thu, 16 Aug 2018 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=further-additions-to-the-qed-fringe As QED has grown over the years, so too has the QED Fringe—the series of events and get-togethers which take place before QED starts on Saturday morning. In previous years, we‘ve had quizzes, social events, and unofficial fringe events from our friends at the Greater Manchester Skeptics, and QED 2018 is going to be no exception.

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As QED has grown over the years, so too has the QED Fringe—the series of events and get-togethers which take place before QED starts on Saturday morning. We’ve already announced our day-long Skepticamp event, taking place on the Friday before QED and open to everyone, not just QED attendees. In previous years, we’ve also had quizzes, social events, and even unofficial fringe events taking place on the Thursday before QED (thanks to the lovely folk at the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society). With QED 2018 set to be our biggest event to date, this year is certainly no exception, with two more events added to the unofficial fringe.

  • A Skeptical Extravaganza: co-organised with the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society, this one-off event will be hosted by George Hrab on the Thursday before QED.
  • SGU Live Show: a small, intimate recording for around forty people, taking place in the QED hotel on Friday night.

Both events are being organised by the SGU, with tickets available directly from SGU Productions on Eventbrite. And, of course, all QED ticket-holders will be able to see the live recording of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe on the QED main stage as part of their regular QED entry.

There are still further QED fringe events to be added, plus a whole host of other official QED panels, podcasts, workshops and more, so we hope you’ll be as excited by what we have in store for you as we are!

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Video: Emma McClure—The Phantom of Heilbronn and other Forensic Faux Pas (QED 2017)/news/2018/video-emma-mcclure-the-phantom-of-heilbronn-and-other-forensic-faux-pas Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:25:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=video-emma-mcclure-the-phantom-of-heilbronn-and-other-forensic-faux-pas From the archives! In this talk from QED 2017, prison lawyer Emma McClure examines the issues with forensic techniques, highlighting the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to evidence in the field of forensic science.

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The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for breakthroughs in many old and cold cases. However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly ‘conclusive’ forensic evidence. This has lead to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

In this talk from QED 2017, prison lawyer Emma McClure examines the issues with forensic techniques, highlighting the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to evidence in the field of forensic science.

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Announcing... the QED VR experience/news/2018/announcing-the-qed-vr-experience Thu, 09 Aug 2018 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=announcing-the-qed-vr-experience Each year at QED, we like to give our attendees the opportunity to experience something different. In previous years, we’ve had a high-end Tesla available to test drive, and we’ve had a room filled with mind-bending visual illusions courtesy of Richard Wiseman. With that in mind, this year we’ll be giving attendees the opportunity to enjoy a Virtual Reality experience.

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Each year at QED, we like to give our attendees the opportunity to experience something different. In previous years, we’ve had a high-end Tesla available to test drive, and we’ve had a room filled with mind-bending visual illusions courtesy of Richard Wiseman. With that in mind, this year we’ll be giving attendees the opportunity to enjoy a Virtual Reality experience, in partnership with VR Here.

QED attendees will be able to take part in a free fifteen-minute taster session, using state-of-the-art virtual reality hardware, allowing you to fly through the skies of a virtual city, save the world, or just scare yourself out of your wits... all without leaving the confines of the hotel.

The QED VR Experience will be totally free to QED attendees, but limited to one session per person, and will be available on Friday evening, and all day on Saturday and Sunday.

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Announcing... J Willgoose Esq./news/2018/announcing-j-willgoose-esq Fri, 03 Aug 2018 15:45:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=announcing-j-willgoose-esq We are delighted to be able to announce the latest exciting addition to the QED main stage line-up for 2018: J WiIlgoose Esq, the creative talent behind the band Public Service Broadcasting.

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We are delighted to be able to announce the latest exciting addition to the QED main stage line-up for 2018: J WiIlgoose Esq, the creative talent behind the band Public Service Broadcasting.

Public Service Broadcasting are one of the most thought-provoking and unique bands to come out of the UK in the last decade, whose albums and live shows weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics. Their 2015 album The Race For Space documents the achievements of the space age, starting with the launch of the Sputnik, first ever satellite, and spanning the lifetime of the Apollo programme, culminating in the first ever moon landing in 1969. The album samples audio from NASA’s mission control, along with contemporaneous news reporting from both Soviet and American media, to celebrate the extraordinary progress made between 1962 and 1972.

As the driving force behind the band, the mysterious and corduroy-clad Willgoose has an established reputation for weaving forensic, historical research into evocative storytelling. The band’s most recent album, Every Valley, take listeners on a journey down the mine-shafts of the South Wales valleys, using the history of coal mining to shine a light on the march of progress, and the disenfranchised left behind by that progress. The critically-acclaimed album was released on Play It Again Sam in July 2015 and charted at #4 in the UK album charts.

Public Service Broadcasting have quickly built a reputation as one of the most exciting live acts in the UK, with major appearances at SXSW, Glastonbury, Bestival, Latitude, Green Man plus sell major UK tours including sold out shows at Brixton Academy in 2015, Hammersmith Apollo in 2017 and the Royal Albert Hall.

J Willgoose Esq. will be speaking on the QED main stage as part of our packed weekend programme.

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Skepticamp Returns/news/2018/skepticamp-returns Mon, 30 Jul 2018 11:30:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=skepticamp-returns For the fifth year running, we are pleased to be hosting Skepticamp at QED, where the attendees are responsible for the creation and delivery of the days content, and anyone is welcome to present a talk.

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For the fifth year running, we are pleased to be hosting a Skepticamp at QED, taking place on Friday 12th October. Skepticamp is a free conference that celebrates the incredible work done by grassroots skeptics and activists, where the attendees are responsible for the creation and delivery of the days content, and anyone is welcome to present a talk. You don’t need to be a published author, famous podcaster or professional communicator to get involved.

Skepticamp is about providing an open and accessible platform for all members of the skeptical community to share their ideas, collaborate and discuss the topics they’re passionate about.

Here’s How It Works

If you’d like to present a talk, you’ll need to register ahead of time – as talks come in we’ll put together a schedule, which will be published online in the lead up to the event.

Each speaker will be allocated a fifteen-minute time slot—ten minutes to present and five minutes for questions from the audience. As with last year, we’re adopting the Ignite presentation model of “lightning talks”—presentations will be capped at ten minutes, and each slide in your presentation will be set to automatically advance after twenty seconds (you’ll need to submit your presentation roughly a week prior to the event so we can get it configured).

Ideally your talk should focus on skeptical activism, an issue that’s relevant to the community or a project that you’d like to raise awareness about. If you’re not up for getting up on stage, there’s no pressure! The audience is as crucial a part of Skepticamp as the speakers. Just come along prepared to listen, to be challenged and to meet new friends.

When & Where

SkeptiCamp will take place on Friday, October 12th at Mercure Piccadilly Hotel in Manchester. We will begin after lunch, so there’s plenty of time to travel to the event, and continue through to 5.00pm, giving you just enough time to change into your dancing shoes before the Friday evening mixer.

Tickets & Pricing

Skepticamp Manchester will be free for everyone to attend, regardless of whether you’re planning to attend QED. There’s no need to book a ticket, you’re free to wander in and out of the event throughout the day.

What Next?

If you’d like to register a talk, fill in the form at skepticamp.co.uk and someone from the Skepticamp team will be in touch with you shortly.

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Saturday night at QED 2018—with Alun Cochrane, George Hrab, The Broad Street Score, Eli Bosnick and the Ockhams/news/2018/saturday-night-at-qed-2018 Wed, 25 Jul 2018 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=saturday-night-at-qed-2018 Saturday nights at QED are always special, and this year we are delighted to bring you the Ockham Awards, magician Eli Bosnick, comedian Alun Cochrane, and a special performance of The Broad Street Score by George Hrab.

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Saturday nights at QED are always special, and this year we are delighted to bring you music, comedy, magic, and the ever-popular Ockham Awards!

The Ockham Awards are the annual awards from The Skeptic Magazine celebrating the best of UK skepticism, and highlighting the most troublesome or prominent pseudoscientists. Nominations will be open soon, via the Skeptic Magazine’s website, and the award ceremony will be hosted by magazine editor Deborah Hyde and MC Eli Bosnick. Eli is a New York magician and comedian who co-hosts the hugely popular podcasts God Awful Movies and the Scathing Atheist.

Following the awards, we will be joined by stand-up and past QED favourite, Alun Cochrane. Alun is an award-winning stand-up comedian who has appeared on numerous TV shows including Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Russell Howard’s Good News, Mock The Week, Dave’s One Night Stand, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You and 8 Out Of 10 Cats. He was featured as series regular ‘Sam’ in the Sky Living sitcom Trying Again alongside Chris Addison, and has appeared in Coronation Street, Boomers and Russell Howard’s Christmas film A Gert Lush Christmas.

Finally, to finish the evening, we will host a special performance of The Broad Street Score, written by George Hrab and performed by a string quartet. George was our MC for the inaugural QED in 2011, and is one of the most recognisable voices in skeptical music and podcasting. This year he will be performing The Broad Street Score – a collection which weaves a narrative from George’s songbook, arranged by Slau Halatyn and Veikko Rihu, and performed by our special QED string quartet.

Our Saturday night entertainment is free to all QED ticket holders, and will take place immediately after our Charity Dinner. We look forward to seeing you all there!

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Announcing Sophie Scott... and fewer than 100 tickets left!/news/2018/announcing-sophie-scott-and-fewer-than-100-tickets-left Mon, 02 Jul 2018 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=announcing-sophie-scott-and-fewer-than-100-tickets-left The QED team are thrilled to be able to announce our next speaker for QED 2018, head of the Speech Communication Group at University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Professor Sophie Scott.

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The QED team are thrilled to be able to announce our next speaker for QED 2018: Professor Sophie Scott.

Sophie Scott is a neuroscientist and head of the Speech Communication Group at University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her work has focused on the cognitive neuroscience of language and laughter—work that has even seen her perform stand-up comedy. In 2017, Sophie gave the prestigious Royal Institution’s Christmas Lecture series, on the science of communication and laughter. She has been awarded a UCL Provost’s Award for Public Engagement.

Sophie will be joining a main-stage line up that includes talks from writer Massimo Polidoro, mathematician Hannah Fry, neurologist Steve Novella, science communicator Cara Santa Maria and musician and podcaster George Hrab, with other speakers still to be announced. Plus we’ll have our usual other tracks of panels, podcasts, workshops, and much more besides.

You can pick up your ticket to QED today, but you’d best be quick—there are fewer than 100 QED tickets remaining! And with QED taking a break for 2019 and returning in 2020, there aren’t many tickets left for the final QED of the decade!

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Announcing… Hannah Fry and Massimo Polidoro/news/2018/announcing-hannah-fry-and-massimo-polidoro Thu, 28 Jun 2018 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=announcing-hannah-fry-and-massimo-polidoro With a little over three months until QED 2018—the last QED of the decade—we’re pleased to add two more fantastic speakers to our line up: mathematician and broadcaster Hannah Fry, and co-founder of CICAP Massimo Polidoro.

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With a little over three months until QED 2018—the last QED of the decade—we’re pleased to add two more fantastic speakers to our line up: mathematician and broadcaster Hannah Fry, and co-founder of CICAP Massimo Polidoro.

  • Hannah Fry is an Associate Professor in the mathematics of cities from University College London. In her day job she uses mathematical models to study patterns in human behaviour, and has worked building algorithms used by governments, police forces, health analysts and supermarkets. Alongside her academic work, she has fronted several television documentaries for the BBC and hosts a long-running science podcast with the BBC. Her TED talks have amassed millions of views.

  • Massimo Polidoro is an internationally-recognised "mystery detective" and prolific writer, with more than thirty books to his name. He began his career as an apprentice of James Randi, and is an accomplished magician and co-founder and head of the Italian skeptics group CICAP. Massimo was also the first professor of Anomalistic Psychology in Italy, at the University of Milano. With an extensive knowledge of a wide base of skeptical topics he’s often called on TV as an expert or a host for shows related to mysteries. He is a Research Fellow for CSI and a long-time columnist for its magazine, the Skeptical Inquirer.

We still have much more to announce for QED 2018, including more main stage speakers, panel sessions, podcasts, entertainment, plus a few surprises too... however, tickets are going fast, so pick up yours today to avoid disappointment!

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QED 2018 tickets on sale now/news/2018/tickets-on-sale-now Tue, 01 May 2018 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=tickets-on-sale-now Tickets to QED 2018 are now on sale, priced £113, or £75 for students and under 18s. QED 2018 takes place on the 13th-14th October 2018, with Friday 12th October again featuring a free Skepticamp event.

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The wait is over: tickets to QED 2018 are now on sale! QED 2018 will take place on the 13h-14th of October, with tickets this year costing £113, or £75 for students and under 18s. Friday 12th of October will once again be a free Skepticamp event for all to attend, paving the way for a packed weekend of science, reason and critical thinking.

Taking place at our regular home of Manchester’s Piccadilly Hotel, QED 2018 will feature five rooms of skeptical presentations, panel discussions, podcasts, and more. Already confirmed for the line-up are:

  • Internationally-acclaimed science podcast The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, featuring
    • Dr Steven Novella
    • Cara Santa Maria
    • Jay Novella
    • Bob Novella
    • Evan Bernstein
  • Musician and podcaster George Hrab
  • Comedian, musician, self-professed nerd, and your emcee for the weekend, Helen Arney.

Every weekend ticket also gives attendees access to our Saturday evening entertainment, as well as to the annual Ockham Awards for skeptical excellence, presented by The Skeptic magazine. Also available now are tickets to our Charity Dinner, where you can help raise money for the Good Thinking Society, as well as enjoying a meal in the company of our speakers.

As ever, parents of children under 13 can take advantage of our crèche, supervised and entertained by fully-screened and registered professional childcare workers. This year, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, we are delighted to announce that use of our crèche comes free of charge! Find out more about how to book a place at the crèche.

There’s still plenty for us to announce, including panel sessions, podcast recordings, evening entertainment and more speakers, plus a few extra surprises too... so be sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss anything.

So book your ticket now and we’ll see you in October!

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Charity Dinner to raise funds for Good Thinking/news/2018/charity-dinner-to-raise-funds-for-good-thinking Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:30:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=charity-dinner-to-raise-funds-for-good-thinking Each year at QED, we’ve held our Gala Dinner on Saturday evening as an opportunity for some of our attendees to enjoy a three-course meal in the company of our speakers. This year, however, rather than our normal Gala Dinner, we’re introducing the Charity Dinner, as an opportunity to raise some money for an organisation doing the kind of skeptical work our community can be proud of.

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Each year at QED, we’ve held our Gala Dinner on Saturday evening as an opportunity for some of our attendees to enjoy a three-course meal in the company of our speakers, ahead of the full evening of entertainment. As QED has grown, the number of people at our dinner has grown, to cater to those who feel comfortable paying a little extra too spend time with our speakers, and to help cover some of the other costs of the evening.

This year, however, we’ve decided to do things a little differently. Rather than our normal Gala Dinner, we’re holding a Charity Dinner, as an opportunity to raise some money for an organisation we feel is a doing the kind of skeptical work our community can be proud of: the Good Thinking Society.

Good Thinking is a skeptical charity founded by Simon Singh, whose work over the last five years has included successfully challenging and reducing NHS spending on homeopathy; supporting skeptical writers and activists who have been threatened with spurious legal claims; challenging pseudoscientific treatments in the fields of veterinary and dental medicine; investigating and challenging the misleading advertising claims of chiropractors and osteopaths; and much, much more.

In order to ensure we raise enough money for Good Thinking, the Charity Dinner will be a little more expensive this year, with tickets costing £80. However, other than the cost of the food itself, every penny will be donated to Good Thinking, to help continue their skeptical work.

We know not everybody will be able to afford to attend the Charity Dinner, but we hope those who want to attend will be happy to support a worthwhile charity. And for everyone who doesn’t attend the dinner, access to the evening’s entertainment will—as always—come as part of your regular QED weekend ticket.

You can find out more about Good Thinking’s work at goodthinkingsociety.org, and you can purchase your Charity Dinner ticket along with your QED ticket when tickets go on sale on May 1st.

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QED returns, with the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, George Hrab, and Helen Arney/news/2018/qed-returns-with-the-skeptics-guide-george-hrab-helen-arney Sat, 31 Mar 2018 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2018&s=qed-returns-with-the-skeptics-guide-george-hrab-helen-arney QED, the UKʼs largest celebration of science, reason and critical thinking, will return for its eighth year on the 13th–14th October, with guests including performer and podcaster George Hrab, comedian and self-professed nerd Helen Arney, and the award-winning science podcast ‘The Skepticsʼ Guide to the Universe’.

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QED, the UKʼs largest celebration of science, reason and critical thinking, will return for its eighth year on the 13th–14th October, 2018—and weʼre excited to announce that tickets will go on sale at 6pm BST on May 1st, 2018.

While we are working hard on putting together our usual mix of speakers, panels, workshops and podcasts from across the skeptical world, we can already announce that this yearʼs QED will feature:

  • Award-winning science podcast ‘The Skepticsʼ Guide to the Universe’
  • Musician, performer and podcaster George Hrab
  • Comedian, musician and self-professed nerd Helen Arney as our emcee for the weekend

Tickets for QED 2018 will cost £113 for a full weekend ticket and £75 for students and under-18s. Plus weʼll have our usual free all-day fringe event taking place on Friday 12th October.

Once again, QED will be taking place at the Mercure Piccadilly in Manchester, who are already primed and ready to take room reservations for QED attendees. Our QED discount price is £110 for a single room and £120 for a double room—but please note, to get our special price bookings have to be made over the phone, so call 0844 815 9024 and quote ‘QED2018’ during booking. You may also want to shop around, as there may be better offers for the hotel on other websites.

The QED team would also like to take this opportunity to announce that we will be taking a year off in 2019. After eight years of putting together a packed, eclectic, and top-quality line up, we feel we need to take a well-earned break to recharge our collective batteries, before we begin planning QED 2020.

Weʼll be announcing more about the event soon, including guests, panels, podcasts, and much more, so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements and weʼll see you in October!

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