Whatʼs on at QED?
Science presenter, geek songstress and ‘Voice of an Angle’ Helen Arney has appeared on TV, radio and in theatres across the world with her unique mix of stand-up, songs and science. You might have seen her explaining physics while riding a rollercoaster for BBC Two, electrifying Sandi Toksvig on QI, singing the periodic table on Channel 4, smashing a wine glass with the power of her voice live on Blue Peter, or touring with science comedy phenomenon Festival of the Spoken Nerd. Helen will be the emcee for QED 2018.
Dr Claire Benson is a fire and explosion scientist with over ten years experience researching and lecturing as part of the Explosion and Fire Research Group at London South Bank University. She has a PhD in chemical engineering, specialising in high-pressure oxygen system safety. Her research areas include fire suppression, fire and arson investigation, including work for local authority building and planning control in relation to building fire safety. She has conducted research for the London Fire Brigade, Sellafield Ltd and the Ministry of Defence.
Evan Bernstein is a co-host of the award-winning science podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (SGU) and is the co-author of the forthcoming book by the same title (due for release in 2018). He also serves as the Connecticut chapter chairman of the New England Skeptical Society (NESS). Evan is a technical adviser for official NESS investigations, and is the SGU’s audio engineer for live remote events. Traveling the world with his co-hosts, Evan has given live presentations to private corporations and at educational seminars on topics including; the direct harms of pseudoscience, woo in the martial arts, and the truth behind paranormal investigations. He has been an active participant in the modern skeptical movement since 1996.
Dr Heather Ellis is a historian and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Sheffield. Her work has focused on the history of science and the history of ideas. Her books include Masculinity and Science in Britain, 1831-1918, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Pickstone Prize. Her current work explores the role of ancient natural philosophy and classical culture in the emergence of modern science in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century Britain. She contributes regularly to radio and television programmes on the history of science and education.
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.
Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, story teller, science advocate, producer, composer, and heliocentrist George Hrab has written and produced six independent CDs and a concert DVD; published two books; recorded over five-hundred and fifty episodes of an award-winning podcast; emceed countless science conferences; was a TEDx speaker; has been the drummer and musical director with The Philadelphia Funk Authority for over twenty years; and has even performed for President Clinton. Heʼs travelled to four continents promoting critical thinking, science, and skepticism through story and song. George is considered one of the preeminent skeptic/science/atheist/geek-culture music icons currently living in his apartment.
Deborah Hyde speaks and writes about the malign supernatural using a combination of psychology & history. She has appeared at many international conferences, from the USA to Sofia and appears frequently on TV to discuss peculiar phenomena. Deborah is editor of The Skeptic (skeptic.org.uk), was Co-Convenor of Westminster Skeptics and Speaker Liaison of Soho Skeptics. In February 2018, she was elected a fellow of The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Michael is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. Since 2013 he has interviewed with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast, including leaders of the Flat Earth movement; earlier this year, he attended the UK’s first ever Flat Earth conference. At QED 2015 he launched Good Thinking’s campaign to end NHS homeopathy provision, a campaign which has led to the last CCG in England ending homeopathy funding this year.
Bob Novella is a co-founder and Vice-President of the New England Skeptical Society. He co-hosts the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast and blogs for SGU’s Rogues Gallery. He has also written numerous articles that are widely published in skeptical literature. Bob’s scientific interests lie in the extremes, from the gargantuan to the infinitesimal: astronomy and cosmology to particle physics and quantum mechanics. He is especially fascinated by the human capacity for self-deception and anticipated future technologies such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and human augmentation.
Jay Novella is a skeptical activist, a science popularizer, author and co-host of The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe, a top-ten science podcast with over 650 episodes. He also produces and hosts Alpha Quadrant 6, a science fiction review show. Jay is co-author of The Skeptics’ Guide To the Universe, a book which covers critical thinking, the scientific method and how to understand logic (release date October 2018). For the past ten years Jay has served on the board of directors for the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) held yearly in New York City.
Dr. Steve Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, and the primary host and the producer of the ‘Skepticsʼs Guide to the Universe’ podcast. He has been an activist skeptic for over twenty years, starting with the co-founding of the New England Skeptical Society. He authors the NeuroLogica blog, is senior editor of the group health blog, Science Based Medicine, and authored (with his fellow Skepticsʼ Guide hosts) the forthcoming book the ‘Skepticsʼ Guide to the Universe.’
Massimo Polidoro is an internationally-recognised ‘mystery detective’ and prolific writer, with more than thirty books to his name. Massimo began his career as an apprentice of James Randi, and is also an accomplished magician and co-founder and head of the Italian skeptics group CICAP. Massimo was 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.
Cara Santa Maria
Cara Santa Maria is an award-winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, producer, and podcaster. She is a correspondent on National Geographic's Explorer and Netflix's Bill Nye Saves the World, as well as the creator and host of the podcast ‘Talk Nerdy’, and co-host of the ‘Skepticsʼ Guide to the Universe’. Prior to her career in media, Cara taught biology and psychology courses to university undergraduates and high school students in Texas and New York.
Professor 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.
Pixie is a nutritionist (ANutr), food blogger, and science communicator. She graduated with a First Class degree in Biochemistry, and went on to complete a Masters in Nutrition with Distinction. She is the brains behind the Pixie Nutrition blog and social media accounts, which aim to infiltrate the wellness movement and debunk nutrition misinformation online. In addition, she has been featured as a nutrition expert on BBC and Channel 5. Her first book, The Wellness Rebel was published earlier this year, with her second book due for release in 2019.
J Willgoose Esq.
As the driving force behind the band Public Service Broadcasting, the mysterious and corduroy-clad J Willgoose Esq 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. J Willgoose Esq. will be speaking on the QED main stage as part of our packed weekend programme.
Born and raised in the Mecca of Mormonism, Bryce Blankenagel hosts and co-hosts three award-winning podcasts about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism). His podcast, Naked Mormonism, makes Mormon history accessible and interesting. He's made dozens of appearances on atheist/skeptical podcasts covering Mormonism and Mormon history, and had given presentations for Seattle Atheists, The Satanic Temple, and Sunstone Symposium. Bryce is currently writing a book focusing on the influence of psychedelics in early Mormonism, and will be appearing on the panel My Brother is a Mormon
Eli Bosnick is a comedian, magician, and podcaster in New York, New York. As co-host of God Awful Movies, The Scathing Atheist, and The Skepticrat he’s managed to turn high school bullying into a life long career which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what the guidance counsellor told him. As a magician he is the founder and producer of New York City’s best rated magic show A Taste of Magic. He has been featured in the New York Times, performed for two US Presidents, and is the head of the largest independent group of magicians in the United States. Eli will be hosting QED's Saturday Night entertainment, and appearing on the #NoFilter: Scrutinising Social Media Skepticism panel.
Broad Street Score
The Broad Street score weaves a narrative through George’s extensive songbook, written and performed by George Hrab, accompanied by a string quartet, and arranged by Slau Halatyn and Veikko Rihu.
Trent Burton is the award winning founder of, and a director of, Trunkman Productions. Despite starting his university life studying evolutionary genetics, he eventually moved on to a career telling people about science instead, through multimedia and comedy. He is lead producer for The Cosmic Shambles Network, producing a huge variety of live events, podcasts and documentaries with some of the world’s top scientists and comedians. Trent will be hosting the Space Shambles QED Quiz on Friday evening.
Pontus Böckman discovered skepticism in 2010 and soon thereafter became deeply involved in local activism, such as organising Skeptics in the Pub and giving lectures on skepticism in local schools. In 2013 he co-founded and became president of the local south branch of the national Swedish Skeptics Society (“Vetenskap och Folkbildning” or VoF). In 2014 he was also elected to the national board of VoF where he currently acts as President. Pontus will be appearing on the European Skeptics Podcast.
Dallas Campbell is a broadcaster who has presented on some of television’s most popular factual programmes such as The Gadget Show, The Sky at Night and Stargazing Live. He has also presented a number of popular documentaries including Supersized Earth and the aviation series City in the Sky. He has recently released his first book, Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet. Dallas is also an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association and in 2017 received the Arthur Clarke Award for his work in popularising space science, history and education to a wide audience.
Dr Sarah Clement is an Environmental Scientist whose research focuses on the role of policy and decision making to solve environmental problems. She lectures in Environmental Management at the University of Liverpool. She has worked as an environmental consultant, researcher, and environmental policy advisor for 16 years in the UK, USA, and Australia. She is also a director of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and recently appeared on the Skeptics with a K podcast. Sarah will be appearing on the Reuse or Refuse: the Facts on Single-Use Plastics panel.
Alun Cochrane 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.
Anne-Marie Cundy is took up the violin at age 6 and studied at Junior Trinity where she won the performance prize and went on to earn a BMus and LRAM at the Royal Academy of Music. She has performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, RTE Radio and Concert Orchestra and Guildford Philharmonic, gigs with Muse, Lightning Seeds, Madness, Bette Midler, and more.
Tom Curry is the co-creator of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast. Unlike other podcasters, Tom doesn't have a laundry list of other accomplishments and accolades because he has a real job with actual medical benefits and a retirement plan. Tom will be appearing on the panel Podcasting: Entertainment, Outreach or Activism? panel.
Dr Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer who has worked on several projects for TV and radio, including the documentary Operation Iceberg and Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club. She is a accomplished science communicator, and also serves as Honorary President of Winchester Skeptics. Helen will be appearing on the Reuse or Refuse: the Facts on Single-Use Plastics panel.
Carmen D'Cruz has been the part of the London Skeptics in the Pub team since 2009 and has worked with critical thinking groups around the world to promote the rational application of evidence in as many areas as possible. Outside of work & skepticism she also dabbles in stand up comedy and music. Carmen will be facilitating the Skeptics in the Pub Workshop.
Lana Donaghy is a former games developer and professional video gamer: spending years questing through Azeroth, competing with some of the world’s top World of Warcraft players. These days Lana works in software development and is still a devoted gamer who loves esports.
Brian Eggo is the benevolent dictator of Glasgow Skeptics. He took over the reins in 2015, and shortly after made the naive decision to try and fill every single Monday night with some Science & Skepticism. They now host approximately 40 talks a year, plus visits to other groups' talks, field trips to 'alternative' events, and other fun activities. He also has a couple of talks available to deliver if you ever fancy having him visit your SITP group. Brian will be facilitating the Skeptics in the Pub Workshop and appearing on the European Skeptics Podcast.
Heath Enwright is the co-creator of the Podcast Award winning Scathing Atheist podcast, and the co-host of God Awful Movies; a Christian movie review podcast that lambastes the very worst Christian cinema has to offer. In his spare time, Heath enjoys being constitutionally protected from self-incrimination. Heath will be recording an episode of God Awful Movies on the QED podcast track.
Born in 1939, Wally is a pioneering American aviator and Goodwill Ambassador. Funk was one of the Mercury 13, a privately funded program where thirteen American women underwent the same physiological screening tests as the male astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury. She passed all tests and was qualified to go to space, scoring higher than John Glenn, but the programme was cancelled leading to a House Committee hearing on sex discrimination. Wally was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the first Federal Aviation Agency inspector. She has accumulated over 19 000 flight hours and features in the Netflix documentary Mercury 13. Wally will be appearing on the Book Shambles podcast.
Dr Anthony Holloway started out as an amateur astronomer and went on to use some of the largest telescopes around the world as part of his work towards a PhD in astrophysics. He is now the Head of Computing for the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and maintain interests in practical astronomy and astrophotography.
Robin Ince is a multi-award winning comedian, writer and broadcaster. One of the UK’s most respected stand-ups, Robin is also co host of the Rose D’Or winning Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox and Book Shambles with Josie Long. For his work on projects like The Cosmic Shambles Network he was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by Royal Holloway, University of London. His new book I’m a Joke and So Are You has just been released. Robin will be appearing on a live edition of the Book Shambles podcast.
Jonathan Jarry is a science communicator with the McGill Office for Science and Society, dedicated to separating sense from nonsense on the scientific stage. He brings his experience in cancer research, human genetics, rehabilitation research, and forensic biology to the work he does for the public. He is the creator of the YouTube show Cracked Science, and with cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos he co-hosts the award-winning medical podcast The Body of Evidence. He has been featured on the BBC, CBC, Wired.com, Global TV, RDI, and La Presse. Jonathan will be appearing on the #NoFilter: Scrutinising Social Media Skepticism panel.
Professor Navneet Kapur trained in medicine and psychiatry in Leeds and these days spends his time as professor of psychiatry and population health at the University of Manchester. He carries out research into the causes and prevention of suicidal behaviour and has done quite a bit of work with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) developing guidelines to help clinicians better manage mental illness.
Claire is the president of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations. She has been involved in the skeptic movement since 2013 as co-organiser of the Czech Paranormal Challenge. Since then, she has consulted on various projects, where woo & belief meets science. Claire has spoken at multiple science&skepticism conferences and events worldwide. She also organised the European Skeptics Congress 2017, and both years of the Czech March for Science. Claire will be appearing on the European Skeptics Podcast and the Skepticism Under the Microscope panel.
Noah Lugeons is the co-creator of the Podcast Award winning Scathing Atheist podcast, and the host of the Podcast Award eligible God Awful Movies podcast. He is the author of Diatribes Volume One: 50 Essays From a Godless Misanthrope, and a proud vertebrate. In his spare time, he enjoys writing bios in the third person. Noah will be appearing on the Podcast: Entertainment, Outreach or Activism? 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.
Paul Duncan McGarrity
Paul Duncan McGarrity is an archaeologist and comedian who got his start in comedy as part of the improv troop ‘Deadman in a box’. Since 2009 he has been performing stand-up comedy, and now balances his work as a field archaeologist with gigs at some of the UK’s top comedy clubs and hosting the Ask an Archaeologist podcast.
is Senior Lecturer of Music at the University of Surrey, Professor of Jazz Guitar at the Royal College of Music. Milton is a composer, guitarist and educator who has collaborated with artists as diverse as Pat Martino, Evelyn Glennie, The Swingle Singers, Steve Winwood, John Williams, Tim Minchin and Brian Eno. He was raised with an enthusiasm for the arts and sciences, and lectures internationally at a variety of music and science institutions. He has been featured in the Times Higher Education and on BBC Radio 4, and has won awards for writing, teaching, research and charity work.
Sue Nelson is co-producer and co-presenter of the award winning Space Boffins podcast. During her extensive broadcasting career, Sue has covered everything from cloning, species extinction and disease outbreaks to GM crops, eclipses and exploding rockets. She has driven a moon buggy on a London street alongside the last man to walk on the Moon, Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan. Sue will be appearing on the Book Shambles podcast.
Elle Osili-Wood is a video gaming and culture presenter, with over a decade of experience in journalism. Having started her career as a political reporter for the BBC, she quickly gravitated toward her life long passion for video games, appearing on air to cover gaming for outlets including BBC Breakfast, Channel 4's Gadget Man, Sky News and The Guardian.
András is the vice president of the Hungarian Skeptic Society. He received the James Randi Skeptic Award for an essay he wrote for the journal Természet Világa in 1999, and has been a guest on TV and radio shows in Hungary. András has been part of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia since 2014 and in his talks he focuses on the falsehoods and misinformation circulating in the tourism industry. András will be appearing on the European Skeptics Podcast.
For 30 years Greg has been campaigning for the rights of the LGBTQI community. In 2000 Greg successfully campaigned to change the Read Code Data system of the NHS which still categorised homosexuality as a disease. He has worked as an advisor to Hertfordshire police on homophobic crime and still can be heard on BBC radio in relation to these issues. Having joined the Mormon church aged nineteen, he left thirteen years later when he finally accepted his sexuality and invests time actively helping people to get out of mormonism.
Ariane Sherine is a comedy writer and journalist. Her work has appeared in, among others, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Observer and the Independent, and she has worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. Her latest book Talk Yourself Better looks at the benefits of talk therapy in improving mental health and dealing with psychological or emotional problems.
Sean Slater is the Vice-Chair of Edinburgh Skeptics Society and for the past two years has organised and managed the Ockham award winning Skeptics On The Fringe line-up. Sean first attended QED in 2014 without knowing anyone in the community and pretty soon, despite not even getting an O-grade in a science subject, bluffed his way on the Edinburgh Skeptics committee. Sean will be facilitating the Skeptics in the Pub Workshop
Thomas Smith began podcasting in 2010 with a quest to read the entire Bible while providing critical commentary and humour along the way. That project soon led to many others: Serious Inquiries Only is a show about science, philosophy, politics and skepticism. Opening Arguments, with co-host Andrew Torrez, is a legal podcast that takes complex legal issues in the news and breaks them down in an accessible and entertaining way. Philosophers in Space, with co-host Aaron Rabi, uncovers and explains the philosophy behind your favourite works of sci-fi.
Marianne Talbot has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford since 2001, having lectured at Oxford for thirty years. From 1996 to 2000 Marianne chaired the National Forum for Values in Education and the Community, leading work on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils in England and Wales. The Forum produced the statement of values that underpins the National Curriculum. Marianne has had podcasts in the top ten download places of iTunesU for the last ten years. The Nature Of Argument has been downloaded over 5 million times, been number one many times and once held all top ten download positions. At QED Marianne will be presenting the Introduction to Critical Reasoning Workshop.
Nicola Throp is co-organiser of QED and has worked in the energy industry as an energy analyst for almost a decade, helping businesses understand carbon reporting mechanisms, manage Climate Change Agreements and implement energy consumption reduction measures.
Ash Webster is a games designer with over a decade of industry experience. Previously working at studios like Travellers Tales and Sony Interactive Entertainment: today he is Game Designer at SimBin Studios UK, currently working on a revival of the popular GTR series.
Dr Matt Winning is both an environmental economist, in the Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London, and a stand-up comedian. His research focuses on topics such as climate change, energy transitions and the circular economy, and his 2018 Edinburgh Fringe show, the “funny yet educational” Climate Strange, was critically acclaimed. Matt will be appearing on the Reuse or Refuse: the Facts on Single-Use Plastics panel.
Join award-winning comedian and bibliophile Robin Ince for a live version of the acclaimed Book Shambles podcast, featuring Wally Funk and Sue Nelson. Book Shambles uses books as a springboard into shambolic, often ludicrous and always passionate conversations into literature, science, philosophy, comedy, politics and, well, everything and anything. Expect high standards of both wisdom and nonsense.
European Skeptics Podcast
The European Skeptics Podcast (The ESP) is a weekly podcast hosted by members from several European skeptic organisations: András Gábor Pintér from Hungary, Jelena Levin from Latvia and Pontus Böckman from Sweden. The podcast, which aims to support European-level actions within the skeptical movement, started following the Board meeting of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations during the 16th European Skeptics Congress in London in September 2015.
God Awful Movies
God Awful Movies is a podcast by Noah Lugheons, Heath Enwright and Eli Bosnick, in which they tackle a ‘classic’ of religious movie-making. In their QED live show, they'll be looking at the new release "SCIENCE falsely so called".
InKredulous takes to the stage in a live version of this satirical, skeptically themed podcast. Join QED Co-organiser Andy Wilson and his guests in a comedy panel show designed for the curious. The panellists will find the funny in recent news stories, castigate the perpetrators of pseudo science and marvel at how they get away with it.
Serious Inquiries Only
Serious Inquiries Only is a podcast about science, philosophy, politics, atheism and skepticism, hosted by Thomas Smith. On this special live recording, Thomas will speak with prison and public law solicitor and past QED speaker Emma McClure about her experiences dealing with the justice system.
The Skepticsʼ Guide
The Skepticsʼ Guide to the Universe is a long-running weekly science podcast, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason, and the public understanding of science. It is produced and presented by Dr Steve Novella, together with Evan Bernstein, Bob Novella, Jay Novella, and Cara Santa Maria. The first episode of the SGU podcast was published on May 4th 2005, where it soon became, and remains, one of the most popular science podcasts on iTunes. The Skepticsʼ Guide will be recording a live edition of their podcast at QED 2018.