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.
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.
Britt Hermes is a former naturopath whose investigation of the evidence in her field led her to abandon naturopathy and become a science communicator and biomedical researcher. Having realized she had fallen prey to the misinformation machine of alternative medicine, Britt gave up her naturopathic practice in the United States and began vocally criticizing her former profession. At QED, Britt will be taking part in the Quackery Comms and Science Moms panel.
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.
Anthony is a chef and food writer and the author of the Angry Chef blog. His first book, “The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating” exposes lies, pretensions and stupidity in the world of food, debunking food faddism. Anthony has a degree in biochemistry and has written for New Scientist.
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.
Robin is a lecturer at the University of Salford specialising in digital journalism. He was worked as a freelance journalist for outlets including New Statesman, Professional Manager and What’s On Stage and is currently working on a collection currently titled Myth And Reality in Contemporary British Politics for publication in 2018. Robin will be appearing on the panel session Fact-checking in the Fake News Era.
Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, lecturer, stand-up comedian and author of The Idiot Brain and the forthcoming follow-up The Happy Brain. His Guardian column Brain Flapping satires popular science writing and science journalism. Dean will be appearing on a live recording of the Book Shambles podcast.
Trent Burton is the co-director and founder of Trunkman Productions, a multimedia and live events production company focused on science entertainment. His work includes The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome, Book Shambles, The Infinite Monkey Cage, and the children’s web series The Quest For Wonder. Trent will be appearing on the Book Shambles podcast.
Danny grew up on a farm in Devon, graduated from Liverpool Vet School and has since worked as a vet across the UK, as well as in New Zealand, Africa, India and Iraq. Earlier this year he was elected to the council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, running on a platform of evidence-based veterinary medicine. Danny will be appearing on the Veterinary Pseudoscience panel.
Brian Eggo is the chair of the Glasgow Skeptics and runs weekly Skeptics in the Pub meetings in the city. Brian will be facilitating the Skeptics in the Pub Workshop.
Jeff Forshaw is professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. He is the co-author of five books, most notably the worldwide bestseller Why Does E=mc²?, The Quantum Universe. He frequently acts as science consultant to the BBC and other media and is a columnist for the The Observer. Jeff will be appearing on Science: The Big Questions.
Clare has worked as a broadcast journalist for over a decade, mainly for the BBC. She's been a front line reporter for three general elections, an EU referendum, and was one of the first reporters on the scene during the Manchester Arena attack. Her accolades include a Guardian award for a documentary on male domestic violence, a Jerusalem Award 2017 nomination for best faith current affairs radio programme, and—rather bizarrely—is the first female commentator for ice hockey in the UK. Clare will be appearing on the panel session Fact-checking in the Fake News Era.
Chris is a psychologist, author, and TV presenter who is well known to QED audiences. He is former editor of The Skeptic magazine and heads the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and appears frequently on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. Chris will be appearing on the panel session Contemplating Cognitive Biases.
Elio M. García
Elio M. García, Jr. founded westeros.org with his partner, Linda Antonsson. Their acquaintance with George R.R. Martin eventually led to a collaboration as they co-authored the bestselling setting guide and history, The World of Ice and Fire. He is a founding board member of the Martin Studies International Network, a recently-created academic association. Elio will be appearing on the Science of Game of Thrones panel.
Dr. Gerardo García is a herpetologist and has been the Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates for Chester Zoo since March 2012. He was formerly the Head of the Herpetology Department at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and has also worked at Barcelona Zoo, the Science Museum of Barcelona, and Thoiry Zoo in Paris. Gerado will be appearing on the Science of Game of Thrones panel.
Mike Hall is the President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and host of the Skeptics with a K podcast. He is best known for his work debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories, at least according to Wikipedia. In truth, Mike has little interest in either conspiracies or 9/11, and he continues to marvel at Wikipedia’s insistence that he does. Mike will be recording an episode of Skeptics with a K on the QED podcast track.
Dr Charlotte Hardman is a lecturer in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. Her research examines the factors which influence appetite, eating and food preferences, including designing and testing interventions to change eating behaviour. She has published over thirty-five scientific papers in prestigious journals including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity. Charlotte will be appearing on the panel Hungry like the Wolfe.
Alice Howarth is a cancer research PhD student at the University of Liverpool and secretary of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. She is part of the Skeptics with a K team, has investigated psychic shows and cancer quackery events, and has written for The Guardian. Alice will be recording an episode of Skeptics with a K on the QED podcast track.
Deborah Hyde is the editor of The Skeptic magazine and a full-time film-industry production manager, so she is no stranger to how people can be fooled. She writes about belief in the malign macabre at jourdemayne.com. Deborah will be chairing the Science of Game of Thrones panel and Contemplating Cognitive Biases
Robin Ince is one of the UK's most loved skeptical voices, and the co-host of BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage. He has toured with Professor Brian Cox, Ben Goldacre, and Simon Singh as the Uncaged Monkeys, and was the organiser of Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. Robin is a sought-after live performer, who mixes an acerbic wit and comic fury with a genuine enthusiasm for science. Robin will be hosting an episode of his podcast Book Shambles at QED.
Helen Keen is a comedian and writer. Her award-winning solo live show It Is Rocket Science, was picked up and developed by BBC Radio 4 where it ran for three series. She also performed it live at the very first QED in 2011. In 2015 WIRED magazine appointed her an Innovation Fellow in recognition of her creative and original approach to comedy, performance and science popularisation. Helen will be appearing on the live edition of the Book Shambles podcast and the Science of Game of Thrones panel, based on her book of the same name.
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.
Michael Legge is a stand-up comedian, with writing credits for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and more. He has played at venues across the UK, as well as in Australia, United States, Canada, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Michael will be returning to Saturday Night at QED, following his well-received set at QED in 2013.
Anthony Magnabosco is considered one of the leading practitioners of Street Epistemology, having performed nearly one thousand interactions on camera and has uploaded hundreds of examples to his Youtube channel. Anthony has appeared on numerous podcasts, including The Atheist Experience, The Thinking Atheist podcast, and Cognitive Dissonance. At QED, Anthony will be hosting the Learning Street Epistemology workshop.
Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. ‘Marsh’ regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, and lecturing on journalism and PR at a number of universities. He has written for The Guardian, The Times and New Statesman. Michael will be recording an episode of Skeptics with a K on the QED podcast track, and chairing the panel Quackery Comms and Science Moms
Natalie Newell is the director and producer of the Science Moms documentary, and one of the hosts of the Science Enthusiast podcast. Natalie holds an MEd., and worked for a decade in the field of Montessori education before choosing to become a stay-at-home parent, and pursue her interests in science communication and secular activism. At QED Natalie will be taking part in the Quackery Comms and Science Moms panel
Terry graduated in veterinary science from the University of Liverpool in 2009. For the last six years he has worked as a small animal vet in the charitable sector. Terry will be appearing on the Veterinary Pseudoscience panel.
A regular on the festival scene, Gavin Osborn is probably best known to skeptics and rationalists for his part in Robin Ince's Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. In 2017 he toured Australia with comedian Daniel Kitson, and toured the UK in support of his brand new album, Echo Bridge. Featuring life-affirming, funny, personal and political songs, Gavin Osborn arrives at QED 2017 with fire in his belly, stories to tell and a new found sense of hope in hid heart. Gavin will be appearing at Saturday Night at QED.
Alison qualified as a vet from the Royal Veterinary College in 2014. She also holds a BSc (Hons) in Animal Sciences from the University of Leeds. An advocate for evidence based veterinary medicine, she is active within the veterinary community on social media and is a member of the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine. Alison will be appearing on the Veterinary Pseudoscience panel.
Ginny Smith is a science communicator who has performed science shows about the brain at many a science festival including Cheltenham, Blue Dot, Cambridge and Manchester as well as to school groups around the country. She presents science and technology TV and radio shows for groups including The Naked Scientists and Cambridge TV, interviewing experts on topics ranging from consciousness to graphene. Ginny will be appearing on the live edition of the Book Shambles podcast.
Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops on different areas of maths. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She enjoys doing puzzles, solving the Rubik's cube and baking things shaped like maths. In 2016, Katie was awarded the Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Engagement. Katie will be presenting the Mathematical Life Hacks workshop.
Geoff Whelan is a criminal barrister of over twenty years experience. He is also the chair of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society and co-organiser of QED. Geoff will be appearing on the Crime and Punishment: the UK Prison System panel.
Andy Wilson is co-organiser of the QED conference and host of perennial QED-favourite InKredulous. As a former board member of the Merseyside Skeptics Society he was one of the driving forces behind the 2010 10:23 overdose campaign, and he took the role of MC at QED 2012. Andy will be hosting the InKredulous podcast, and the panel Hungry like the Wolfe.
Matt Winning is a Scottish comedian who, quickly gained a reputation as an exciting new act after winning the Hilarity Bites New Act of the Year 2011 and appearing in the final of the BBC New Comedy Awards in 2012. In 2017 he took his climate change-themed solo show, Matt Winning: Filibuster, to the Edinburgh Festival. Matt will be appearing at Saturday Night at QED and presenting Filibuster on the QED workshop track.
Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written several best-selling books including The Luck Factor, Quirkology, Paranormality and 59 Seconds. Richard was listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live, and has acted as a creative consultant to Derren Brown, the MythBusters, and Heston Blumenthal. Richard will be appearing on the panel session Contemplating Cognitive Biases.
Alex now works as a software developer for a start-up business in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, having made a career change after 7 years as a veterinary surgeon. He remains a strong proponent of rationality in veterinary medicine and is interested in the benefits recent technology can bring to healthcare. Alex will be appearing on the Veterinary Pseudoscience panel.
The Book Shambles podcast, hosted by comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long, is a springboard into ludicrous and passionate conversations about literature, science, philosophy, comedy, politics and more.
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.
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.
Z List Dead List
The Z List Dead List is a podcast about obscure people from history, created and produced by Iszi Lawrence. Starting in September 2014, it has featured several QED alumni as guests, including Jon Ronson, Natalie Haynes, and Stevyn Colgan. Other guests have included Richard Herring, Griff Rhys Jones, and Helen Zaltzman. A live edition of the show will be recorded as part of the QED podcast track.
Science Moms is a film which gives voice to the science-minded moms—the women who are too often drowned out by the fear mongers, the shamers, and the CelebMoms. Through interviews with “science moms” on the front lines of the struggle against bad science, the film dissects the bogus health claims of celebrities one by one and explains in simple language what the science really shows about GMOs, vaccines, homeopathy, and more. Featuring QED speaker Kavin Senapathy, Science Moms will receive its UK premiere at QED 2017.