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Edinburgh Skeptics Presents...

Welcome to the Edinburgh Skeptics Society podcast. We'll be bringing you talks from our guest speakers on a variety of topics in our Skeptics in the Pub podcast. There'll be talks from areas such as science, social issues, politics, and lots more, all with a view to promoting reason and critical thinking. You'll also be able to see what makes our guest speakers tick with our 10 Questions segment, and recordings of our Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Science Festival events. Do make sure you rate or review us, and get in touch and let us know what we're doing right (or wrong!). Email us at podcast@edskeptics.co.uk
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 30, 2016

In a surprisingly challenging and skeptical interview our own Claudia Schaffner grills Tristram Wyatt about the evidence for and against human pheromones, along with how we challenge bad science in the field (and in general).

Tristram is a founding fellow of Kellogg College and a senior researcher at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. The second edition of his single-author book Pheromones and Animal Behavior (Cambridge University Press) won the Royal Society of Biology’s prize for the Best Postgraduate Textbook in 2014. His next book, Animal Behaviour: A Very Short Introduction, will be published by OUP in 2017. His TED talk on human pheromones has had 1 million views.

Twitter: @pheromoneevo
Web: http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/people/view/wyatt_td.htm

Nov 30, 2016

A corporation interested in patenting ‘human pheromones’ for profit created a long lasting myth that has roped in many scientists as well as the general public. Tristram Wyatt will describe what went wrong and what would be needed to establish that we do have pheromones (chemical signals within a species). One of the most promising leads is communication between mothers and babies, not sex.

Tristram is a founding fellow of Kellogg College and a senior researcher at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. The second edition of his single-author book Pheromones and Animal Behavior (Cambridge University Press) won the Royal Society of Biology’s prize for the Best Postgraduate Textbook in 2014. His next book, Animal Behaviour: A Very Short Introduction, will be published by OUP in 2017. His TED talk on human pheromones has had 1 million views.

Twitter: @pheromoneevo
Web: http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/people/view/wyatt_td.htm

Nov 23, 2016

Before Fran Day entertained us with talk of particles, collisions and the end of the world she sat down for a natter with our own Claudia Schaffner.

Fran Day is a PhD student in theoretical physics at the University of Oxford. She is searching for hints of new particles by looking at the light from galaxies and galaxy clusters. Fran is a science comedian, using comedy to tackle topics ranging from quantum field theory to women in science.

Twitter: @FrancescaDay
Web: https://physicsfran.wordpress.com/

Nov 23, 2016

What do theoretical physicists do all day? It’s a funny story actually… Apocalypses and politics go hand in hand as University of Oxford physicist Fran Day takes a break from studying particles that probably don’t exist to take to the stage in a stand-up comedy spectacular that is witty, irreverent and occasionally surreal. Fran gets stuck in to how physicists are searching for new particles at the Large Hadron Collider and why it’s a good idea to study made up particles, with plenty of jokes along the way.

Fran Day is a PhD student in theoretical physics at the University of Oxford. She is searching for hints of new particles by looking at the light from galaxies and galaxy clusters. Fran is a science comedian, using comedy to tackle topics ranging from quantum field theory to women in science.

Twitter: @FrancescaDay
Web: https://physicsfran.wordpress.com/

Nov 16, 2016

Chris French is a bloody good bloke, so good he was the catalyst for Edinburgh Skeptics' birth. Unfortunately, he can't remember how... But not to worry! Kitty Johnstone has plenty of other things to ask him about, including ghosts, death, and the public's belief in the paranormal in general.

Kitty chatted to Chris before his talk for us during the 2016 Fringe, and you can download that talk along side this podcast.

Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He does a metric ton of other work and there's far too much to list here...

Twitter: @chriscfrench
Web: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/

Nov 16, 2016

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.

Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He does a metric ton of other work and there's far too much to list here...

Twitter: @chriscfrench
Web: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/

Nov 10, 2016

Before her talk for us as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Dr Kat Arney chatted to host and resident biologist Claudia Schaffner about all things genetics...

Dr Kat Arney is a 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 (Bloomsbury Sigma), about how our genes work.

Twitter: @harpistkat

Nov 10, 2016

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 recently published her first book, Herding Hemingway’s Cats (Bloomsbury Sigma), about how our genes work.

Twitter: @harpistcat

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