Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub invite a guest speaker every month to come and discuss something interesting with us. The talks can be about science, reason and critical thinking, conspiracy, the paranormal, cults and so on. Listen, have a drink and ask some questions of our speaker.

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month at The Brunswick Pub, 199 Malmesbury Park Rd, Charminster, BH8 8PX (5 minutes by car or 15 minutes on foot from Bournemouth Station).

How do our genes work?

Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, December 14 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

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.

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Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She recently published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work.

Updates from the front line

Gregory Ashton

When?
Wednesday, January 11 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Gregory Ashton

What's the talk about?

Late in 1915 Einstein presented the final form of his theory of gravity: General Relativity. This description of nature has so far stood the test of countless rigorous tests and has led to many new insights from exotic black-holes to the shape of the universe itself.


However, advances in technology and our understanding of astrophysics led to the establishment of an international collaboration LIGO/Virgo which built a gravitational wave detector and announced the first detection in February 2016 (https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/detection). This event, the final seconds of a merger between two black holes, marks a new era of gravitational wave astronomy.

In this talk Greg will discuss the historical significance of Einstein's General Relativity, the relevance of gravitational waves and their potential, and describe the current status of the LIGO/Virgo detectors.

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Greg Ashton is a postdoctoral researcher at the Albert Einstein Institute for gravitational wave physics in Hannover, Germany having recently finished his PhD at the University of Southampton. He specialises in the physics of neutron stars and the data analysis of detecting continuous gravitational waves.

Chris French

When?
Wednesday, February 8 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Chris French

What's the talk about?

Opinion polls repeatedly show relatively high levels of belief in ghosts even in modern Western societies. Furthermore, a sizeable minority of the population claim to have personally encountered a ghost.

This talk will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so.

Topics covered will include hoaxes, sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena, hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there), inattentional blindness (not seeing things that are there), the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound, photographic evidence, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), and the role of the media.

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Professor Chris French is a British psychologist specialising in the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences, cognition and emotion. He is the head of the Goldsmiths, University of London's anomalistic psychology research unit and appears regularly in the media as an expert on testing paranormal claims.