Who is speaking at QED?
Coralie studied mathematics at Cambridge, where she was awarded a Cambridge European Trust scholarship. Having been a researcher for the Maths Taskforce, she is now a member of the Bayes in Law Research Consortium - an international team devoted to improving the use of statistics in criminal trials. Her 2013 book 'Maths on Trial' highlighted important statistical errors made in criminal cases, and the role of probability in the courtroom.
Mark has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist for over twenty years, blogs regularly for Science-Based Medicine and has contributed to a number of skeptical publications on alternative medicine and critical thinking. His popular podcast 'QuackCast' reviews the latest in the world of SCAM - Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine; while his other podcasts 'Gobbet O'Pus' and 'Puscast' reviews the latest in infectious disease literature.
Dr Sheena Cruickshank lectures in Immunology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. Her work explores the relationship between cleanliness and allergies - at QED, she will highlight how the rise in sanitation and vaccination in developed countries has seen a correlative prevalence of autoimmune disease and allergy, leading to the counterintuitive possibility that we might be able to cure the current wave of allergies and autoimmune diseases with worms.
President of the Indian Rationalist Association and a veteran of many skeptical investigations in India, Sanal's work to expose a myriad of false miracle claims has gained international acclaim. In 2008 whilst making one his regular TV appearances, he challenged a tantrik to make good 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.
Mark Edward is a professional mentalist with over thirty-five years performance experience. As one of only five mediums in the history of Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle, he performed fifteen years of séances that helped him perfect the role of psychic entertainer. His segment as a spirit medium on the pilot episode of “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!” helped secure an Emmy Award nomination. His other TV credits include A&E’s “Houdini, the Great Escape,” NBC’s “The Other Side” and “Secrets of the Pyschics Revealed,” The Sci-Fi Channel’s “Mysteries, Magic and Miracles,” The Discovery Channel’s “Forces Beyond” and TLC’s “Exploring the Unknown” with Michael Shermer.
Beauty by the Geeks
Brigitte West and Rose Brown make up the team behind Beauty By The Geeks - a group set up to critically examine and review the scientific, or pseudo-scientific, basis to claims made by leading cosmetics manufacturers. Besides taking apart the latest health and beauty products on the market, the pair run a number of courses based on their work, aimed at getting children and the wider public interested in science.
Susan Gerbic is part of the ‘Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia’ project, and founder of the Skeptic Action - whose motto is “an action a day helps keep pseudoscience at bay”. She is a co-founder of Monterey County Skeptics, a member of the IIG, and a “self-proclaimed skeptical junkie”. Her World Wikipedia project began in August 2012 to get skeptical Wikipedia pages up in as many languages as possible.
Laurence ‘Loz’ Kaye
Loz Kaye took over leadership of the Pirate Party in 2010. Since then he has become a sought-after expert on civil liberties, open society and the power of technology to transform people’s lives. Loz will be appearing on the ‘The Internet: Civilisation's downfall, or saviour?’ panel.
Robert is an actor, writer, comedian and TV presenter best known for playing the android Kryten in BBC sitcom Red Dwarf. He presented Scrapheap Challenge for ten years and is the UK’s most prominent advocate of electric vehicles. His YouTube show 'Fully Charged' documents current developments in the electric vehicle industry, and he writes a regular column for the EV website The Charging Point.
Liz is part of the award-winning team working on the government’s web presence, re-engineering government services for the 21st century. She is also an historian and Deputy Editor of the Pod Delusion podcast. Liz will be appearing on the ‘The Internet: Civilisation's downfall, or saviour?’ panel.
Ben Makin has been part of the team co-ordinating Edinburgh Skeptics and Skeptics on the Fringe since 2010. Ben also helps administer the ‘SITP Organisers’ Facebook group. Ben will be appearing as part of the ‘Skeptics in the Pub Forum’
‘Marsh’ is the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and Project Director of the Good Thinking Society. As co-host of the Be Reasonable podcast Marsh conducts firm but non-confrontational interviews with holders of non-mainstream views. Marsh will be appearing as part of the ‘Skeptics in the Pub Forum’.
James is the editor of Tech Digest and a self-confessed technology addict. His weekly magazine podcast ‘The Pod Delusion’ has won awards and praise from many quarters, including two of The Skeptic Magazine’s ‘Ockhams’ awards. James will be appearing on the ‘The Internet: Civilisation's downfall, or saviour?’ panel.
Nate Phelps is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, which gained infamy from their protests at soldiers’ funerals around the United States. He was taught his father’s extreme version of Calvinism from an early age, leading him to leave home at midnight on his eighteenth birthday, moving to California to build a new life away from his family. He later moved to Canada, and now speaks out about his story and the actions of his family’s group. (Photo Credit: Carmen Russell-Sluchansky).
Elizabeth is an epidemiologist who has spent over a decade working on the defining epidemic of our age – HIV. She’s done research and worked as an advisor for the Ministries of Health of China, Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines, and has also provided analysis and policy advice to UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, US Centres for Disease Control and many others. Her 2008 book 'The Wisdom of Whores' explored the flaws in international programmes designed to tackle HIV/AIDS.
Paddy is a Catholic atheist with a theology degree who has been one of the organisers of Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub since 2010. Patrick will be appearing as part of the ‘Skeptics in the Pub Forum’.
Angela is a British science journalist and author. Her book ‘Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World’ explored the role of technology in India's rising economy, and the effect of the India's geek generation on the global technological landscape. Angela will be appearing on the ‘The Internet: Civilisation's downfall, or saviour?’ panel.
In 2009 Samantha Stein set up the UK’s Camp Quest - a summer camp for free-thinking children, ranging from ages 7-17. Part of an international network of related summer camps, Camp Quest aims to help teach critical thinking skills and promote a rational and naturalistic world view, including workshops covering science and philosophy. Since setting up the UK Camp Quest, Samantha has lectured across Europe on positive ways to encourage children to question and explore the world around them.
Richard Wiseman is 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. He can also turn a tea towel into a chicken, but doesn’t like to brag about it.
Gemma Arrowsmith is a comedy writer and performer, whose ‘Sketches in My Flat’ YouTube series covers science and skepticism all from the comfort of her home. She’s appeared regular on CBBC shows Relic: Guardians of the Museum, Hacker Time, Vic Reeves’ Ministry of Curious Stuff and DNN, and debuted her solo show ‘Gemma Arrowsmith: Defender of Earth’ at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe festival.
John-Luke is a comedy writer and performer whose credits include his sketch show Spats and BBC Four’s News Quiz. He spent a year as the BBC Radio Comedy Department’s Writer in Residence and appeared on BBC3’s Live from the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011. He co-runs The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society and has performed numerous shows at The Edinburgh Festival. Image Credit: Isabelle Adam
Andy Zaltzman is the UK-based half of The Bugle Podcast - the hugely popular satirical comedy show he’s co-hosted with John Oliver since 2007. With his own brand of political satire, absurdist imagery and excruciating puns, Andy is a regular on the UK comedy circuit and has performed at the Edinburgh fringe since 1999, as well as having written and starred in numerous radio shows. He is also the only QED speaker to have delivered one of his own children, aided only by his wife.
The Master of Ceremonies for 2014 is the magician Paul Zenon. Paul is well known for his extensive work in the world of magic, having performed for audiences across the world, as well as having pioneered and popularised modern UK street magic. More recently he's been involved in a high-profile investigation into the work of stage psychics and mediums. For the duration of QED, we can exclusively reveal Paul will not be wearing an earpiece.