What’s on at QED?
Dave Alnwick is a magician and mentalist whose shows Mind Wizard and the Cult of Dave have wowed sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe. His performance as part of QED 2016’s Saturday night line-up introduced our QED audience to the Cult of Dave, many of whom also enthusiastically attended his workshop teaching basic magic techniques. Dave will be the Master of Ceremonies for QED 2017.
James Ball has worked in political, data and investigative journalism in the US and the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian and the Washington Post. His reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Scripps Howard Prize, the British Journalism Award for investigative reporting, The Royal Statistical Society Award and the Laurence Stern Fellowship. His new book Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World tracks how truth has become a devalued commodity in political discourse and media coverage, and what we can do to help turn the tide.
Helen is a physicist and oceanographer. She regularly gives talks around the country as well as working on several projects for television and radio, including several documentaries for the BBC, such as Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey, Operation Iceberg and The Transit of Venus, as well as Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club. She is also Honorary President of Winchester Skeptics. Photo by Alex Brenner.
Sanal Edamaruku is the president of the Indian Rationalist Association and a veteran of many skeptical investigations in India. His work to expose a myriad of false miracle claims has gained international acclaim, as well as attracting significant negative attention from fraudulent mystics. In 2008, while making one of his regular TV appearances, he challenged a guru to follow through on a threat to kill him using only the power of magic - with the results witnessed by an estimated live audience of several hundred million. In 2012, having debunked the miracle of a weeping statue in Mumbai, Sanal was forced to flee India to avoid imprisonment, or worse.
David Gorski is a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer, as well as a translational researcher who runs his own laboratory. As part of his extracurricular activities, he is the managing editor of Science-Based Medicine, a popular group blog that examines issues of science and pseudoscience in medicine. There, he has written prolifically about the antivaccine movement, cancer quackery, integrative medicine, and the evaluation of clinical trial and basic science evidence.
Emma McClure is a solicitor specialising in prison and public law whose work sees her regularly representing prisoners during parole hearings and bringing judicial reviews against public bodies. She has given talks around the country on the way in which over-confidence in the veracity of forensic science can lead to miscarriages of justice and has gone undercover to investigate psychics, faith healers and Mind Body Spirit fairs.
Tim is a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester and Associate Director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. He is the Science Director for the bluedot festival, held annually at Jodrell Bank, and President of the Society for Popular Astronomy. He appears regularly on BBC Two’s Stargazing Live. His research focuses primarily in the area of exploding stars, and Tim remains active in the search for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials. In 2014 he was jointly awarded the Kelvin Medal of the Institute of Physics for innovative contributions to public engagement with physics.
Caroline Rance runs thequackdoctor.com, a website which reveals the stories behind patent medicines and health fraud in history. Her book The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for All Your Ills was published in 2013 and her most recent publication is The History of Medicine in 100 Facts, which dispels some of the popular myths about medicine's long past.
Phil Scraton is Emeritus Professor in the School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. His research includes: controversial deaths and the state; the rights of the bereaved and survivors in the aftermath of disasters; the politics of incarceration. Widely published, his recent books are: Power, Conflict and Criminalisation; The Violence of Incarceration; The Incarceration of Women; and Hillsborough: The Truth. He was Director of The Hillsborough Project 1989-95 and principal author of Hillsborough and After: The Liverpool Experience and No Last Rights: The Promotion of Myth and the Denial of Justice in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster. He headed the research for the Hillsborough Independent Panel and was lead author of its 2013 Report, Hillsborough.
Kavin Senapathy is a communicator tackling myths on science, health, medicine, food, biotechnology, parenting, politics, and their intersection. She is the Director of international pro-science, pro-biotech movement March Against Myths, and co-author of The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House, a book discussing popular food misconceptions and why they proliferate. With a passion for refuting misconceptions popular in the wild Internet west, she is a regular contributor to Forbes and Grounded Parents, with work appearing in Slate, Gawker, and other outlets.
Simon Singh is a best-selling science writer and journalist, whose skeptical writing on chiropractic was famously the subject of an unsuccessful legal action by the British Chiropractic Association. As a result of this, he was at the forefront of the successful Libel Reform Campaign. In 2006, he worked with Newsnight and Sense About Science to expose common claims by homeopaths to be able to prevent malaria. In 2012 Simon founded the Good Thinking Society, where as Chairman he has overseen projects investigating faith healers and psychics, reporting misleading claims by chiropractors and osteopaths, and challenging the NHS funding of homeopathy.
Carol is a social psychologist, writer, and lecturer who has sought to use the contributions of psychological science to dispel some of the harms of pseudoscience and “psychobabble.” Her book with Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), is one of the most cited works in the skeptical movement, highlighting the reasons people don’t change their minds, recognize the harms they inflict, or give up useless practices simply because the evidence says they should. Carol has written hundreds of articles, essays, and book reviews on topics in psychological science for New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and more.
Sophie is a computer scientist and engineer who co-designed the ARM processor. Initially created to power Acorn’s computers, ARM now powers virtually every mobile phone and tablet computer in the world, with over 75 billion sold to date. Before university Sophie designed and built systems counting translucent drops of liquid and detecting spun fibre machinery breakdowns; in her first vacation she developed a cow-feeder. Sophie is a Broadcom Fellow and Distinguished Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society and an honory Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge.
Hosted by Andy Wilson, InKredulous is the skeptical-themed comedy panel show that has become a stalwart of QED, with previous guests including Jon Ronson, Andy Zaltzman, Kate Smurthwaite, Steve Novella, Robert Llewellyn, Natalie Haynes and more.
Iszi Lawrence is a stand up comedian and regular contributor to Radio 4’s Making History. She been producing podcasts since 2008, and is the voice over introduction on episodes of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. At QED, she will be appearing on the podcast track, with her show Z List Dead list.
Barry Dodds is a comedian, and a believer in a whole host of paranormal claims; his fellow comedian Ian Boldsworth is a skeptic, and is frequently exasperated by his friend’s acceptance of extraordinary claims. Together they go on a tour of ghosts, UFOs, conspiracies and mysteries, as Barry attempts to persuade Ian to believe... so far, unsuccessfully. The pair will be appearing live in the QED 2017 podcast room.
Skeptics with a K
Produced by the Merseyside Skeptics Society, Skeptics with a K is the longest-running skeptical podcast in the UK, featuring Mike Hall, Dr Alice Howarth, and Michael Marshall. Each episode features skeptical breakdowns of credulous newspaper stories, the latest health fads, myths and misconceptions, and reports on skeptical activism and investigations.