Have a gander at our past events...

Previous year >>

Graham Smith

When?
Monday, January 23 2017 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Graham Smith

What's the talk about?

Most of us rely on reading the news or other information in newspapers or online. How do we know if this information is being represented correctly? How can we assess the validity of any claim? Graham will use examples from various sources to ask if the information is misrepresented. This talk will be interactive and engage you critical thinking.

Dr Graham Smith has spent over 20 years working in scientific research for the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs collecting, analysing and interpreting data on wildlife problems. He has a keen interest in critical thinking and has given talks around the country on different aspects the subject. He is a regular attendee at York Skeptics and has helped with organisation since their first meeting.

Kevin Precious

When?
Monday, December 12 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

NOTE: This event is not on our usual Monday and is 2 weeks earlier on the 12th December.

Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter. Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

In between the various comedic activites, he attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life. Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

David Alnwick

When?
Monday, November 28 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
David Alnwick

What's the talk about?

Off the back of last year's sell out tour, The Cult of Dave, and his TV special, Dave Alnwick: Trickster, Dave is back with his new hour long show: MIND WIZARD.

Expect misdirection, mind reading and manipulation. Will you be converted?

After each show there will be a Q&A where Dave will highlight some of the techniques used in the show.

"They were burning people for this 300 years ago" - Phill Jupitus

Dave Sahman

When?
Monday, October 24 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Dave Sahman

What's the talk about?

The two biggest puzzles in physics today are dark matter and dark energy. Together they make up 96% of the Universe yet we know very little about either. Dave will set out what we do know about them, some of the theories that have been put forward to explain them, and the research that is underway to find out more. Finally, Dave will outline the ongoing work by Sheffield researchers.

Dave Sahman spent his career as a Finance Director in the public sector, but held a lifelong interest in astronomy. Following his retirement a few year ago, he began a PhD with the University of Sheffield, his research focuses on binary stars.

Jon Scaife

When?
Monday, September 26 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Jon Scaife

What's the talk about?

We weigh other people up. It’s adaptively useful to assess how others might interact with us. Could they be threats? Allies? Very quickly and usually unconsciously we judge someone’s age, gender, height, strength, social status, sexual potential, mood and wealth. Although it takes longer we also make judgments about personality and about intellectual and other capabilities. There are many ways of expressing assessments of capabilities: she’s bright, he’s thick, he’s got bags of potential, she’s a sandwich short of a picnic, he’s in a low ability group, she’s very intelligent, she’ll never be a gymnast, he’s got amazing talent.

Jon will argue that ability and intelligence are fictions that have spread beyond the thinking and the practices of psychologists and teachers to permeate global culture. We are ability-labellers by default. Jon will argue that this matters, that it is unjustifiable at best and, at worst, could be regarded as abusive and even violent. But all is not lost! Drawing on the concept of ‘mindset’ from Carol Dweck and others there are ways forward.

The session should be particularly helpful to those with children and provocative to psychologists and teachers.

Dr Jon Scaife researches and teaches in the School of Education at Sheffield University. His main interests are in the nature of knowledge and in how people learn. He is invited to teach on these themes in many countries. He plays guitar and fiddle, enjoys puzzles and is an ever hopeful golfer.

Stephen Smith

When?
Monday, August 22 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Stephen Smith

What's the talk about?

Stephen will look at the problems of legal aid, the impact of crime on society and whether custodial sentences truly reflect the views of society.

Stephen D Smith was born in Sheffield in Yorkshire and entered the legal profession in 1965, working from the general office up to qualifying as a solicitor in 1979 and forming his own practice in 1981.

He has attracted a number of controversial cases, appearing in Courts all over the country and in Germany and Northern Ireland. He also had a part to play in the famous Bulger case.

One of his famous cases was the “Biker Case” of John Megson who was wrongly convicted of murder. He appeared in two BBC Rough Justice television programmes before winning an appeal to affect Megson’s release. He appeared on two of the famous BBC “Rough Justice” programmes in relation to the famous Biker murder case, which resulted in the best selling book “Hell is not for Angels”.

He is the author of eight books including the highly successful legal series of stories, which prompted the Yorkshire Post to regard him as the “legal James Herriot” and the Times, who described him as the “Rumpole of Rotherham”.

You can also read a lot more about Steve on the following websites – www.yourstevesmith.com or www.wilfordsmith.co.uk

Nick Read

When?
Monday, July 25 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Nick Read

What's the talk about?

The history of medicine over the last 100 years has been nothing short of miraculous. The diseases that used to kill millions, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhoid, typhus, cholera, pneumonia have all but disappeared. Doctors have effective treatments for heart failure, diabetes, renal failure, liver failure, colitis, coeliac disease, and many other long term conditions. They can prevent heart attacks, strokes, treat Parkinson’s Disease and arrest the course of many different cancers. People are living far longer; eighty is the new sixty.

We have come a long way and might be forgiven for thinking that human disease will soon become a historical curiosity, a thing of the past. Yet why is it that nearly twice as many people harbour long term illnesses now than they did 40 years ago. Obesity, food intolerance, the Irritable Bowel, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Dementia, auto-immune disease, allergy are so much more common that they used to be; some were unknown 40 years ago. Modern medicine has failed to keep up with the long march of poorly explained illnesses; the 40% of the population that are chronically sick usually have several diagnoses. So what is going on? Is it all in the mind? Is it lifestyle; greed, sloth and the obesity epidemic? Does our diet and antibiotics deplete the beneficial bacteria that make up 90% of the cells in our body? Is it all the above and more?

Medical philosophy has remained stuck in heady days of the last century – a pill for every ill - make a definitive diagnosis, apply a specific treatment and receive thanks from a grateful patient. It has become clear that this approach does not work for most ‘illness’, yet people are conditioned to expect it and doctors trained to deliver it. We urgently need to change the paradigm for long term sickness, while retaining the technological miracles for those who need them. Nick's talk will propose a way that this could happen, which might even save money.

Dr Nick Read (www.nickread.co.uk) is a retired gastroenterologist, physiologist and nutritionist and currently maintains a private practice in psychotherapy. During his academic career, he held chairs in Gastrointestinal Physiology, Human Nutrition and Integrated Medicine at The University of Sheffield, published over 500 original papers and reviews and 11 books, including ‘Sick and Tired; healing the illnesses, doctors cannot cure,’ (Phoenix, 2006), which helps people understand and manage illnesses that have no clear cause or pathology. Dr Read is now an active blogger (www.thesensitivegut.wordpress.com) and the Chair of Trustees and medical adviser for The IBS Network (www.theibsnetwork.org), the UK’s national charity for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with a mission to facilitate patient efficacy and self-management. A dedicated advocate of self-care, Dr Read attempts to delay the ageing process by fell running, wild swimming and infinite curiosity.  His latest book, Cooking for The Sensitive Gut (Pavilion, 2016), co-authored with Joan Ransley, was published in January.

Why should we care if our friends are similar to us?

Katherine Woolf

When?
Monday, June 27 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Katherine Woolf

What's the talk about?

Do you find yourself making friends with people like you? Katherine Woolf draws on her often controversial research to explore why this happens, and its impact on success and injustice. Discover how you can challenge the status quo to create a fairer, more integrated, more successful society.

Dr Katherine Woolf is a Senior Lecturer and academic psychologist working at UCL Medical School finding out what makes people – especially doctors – do really well or really badly. Her work focusses on how and why ethnicity and gender influence success, and how we can use this knowledge to improve fairness and equality. She has recently been discovering how our choice of friends can make a big difference to our success.

Suzi Gage

When?
Monday, May 23 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Suzi Gage

What's the talk about?

The media love to sensationalise the dangers of illicit drug use, whilst downplaying or even ignoring the harms from legal drugs. Suzi takes us on a trip through the current scientific understanding of the harms, and also potential benefits of recreational drugs, both illegal and legal.

Dr Suzi Gage is an Epidemiologist at the University of Bristol, investigating associations between substance use and mental health. When not staring at spreadsheets full of ones and zeros she writes the Sifting the Evidence blog on the Guardian website, and has a small obsession with synthesizers.

Kat Arney

When?
Monday, April 25 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We’re told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer’s. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the ‘recipes’ that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they’re turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

Dr Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She has just published her first book, Herding Hemingway’s Cats, about how our genes work.

Selina Wray

When?
Monday, March 28 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Selina Wray

What's the talk about?

Over 800,000 people in the UK live with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or other forms of dementia, and this number is set to rise as we face an aging population. Currently, there are no disease modifying treatments for AD, and the care costs of looking after people with dementia represent a huge socioeconomic burden for the UK economy, as well as being devastating for the individuals and their families who live with the condition.

Finding novel therapies to slow down the onset and progression of dementia is a national research priority, as outlined in the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge. In this talk Selina Wray will discuss what we know about the causes of dementia, why clinical trials so far have failed and looking forward, how new methods of research can help us to better diagnose dementia, understand the molecular basis of the disease and ultimately develop the treatments we so desperately need.

Dr Selina Wray is a senior research associate in the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia Research at UCL Institute of Neurology. Her work focuses on understanding the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia, with a particular focus on the use of stem cells to create disease models that can be used in the laboratory to understand disease mechanisms and develop novel therapies. She recently received £900,000 in funding from NC3R to support her research and was also named Red Magazine’s Woman of the Year in the Pioneer category in 2014.

Michael Marshall

When?
Monday, February 29 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this? Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.