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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: Category: scifest2016
Sep 21, 2016

On this week's podcast we're going back to the Spring for the last talk from our Science Festival programme. How do we know that DNA is a double-helix? Why is diamond beautiful but graphite is boring, when they are both made of carbon? Why are there no room-temperature superconductors? These are all questions from the field of materials physics, and their answers are what drive our understanding of everything from flexible computer screens, advanced drug delivery, and how powerful the next generation of iPhone will be. 

This talk will look at the techniques that scientists use to look at materials on the atomic level, and how this knowledge helps us to better understand the materials we already know, so that we can dream up new materials to tackle the problems of the future. 

Dr Andrew Princep grew up in Western Australia where he graduated from Curtin University of Western Australia with an Honours degree in Nanotechnology in 2008, before completing his PhD in Physics at UNSW Canberra in 2012 and finally taking up his current position as a Postdoc at Oxford University.

https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/contacts/people/princep

Jun 1, 2016

After delivering the first talk of our fantastic Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016 lineup, we sat down with Dr. Sarah Clement to talk some more about GMOs and her own journey into skepticism.

Sarah has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Environmental Science. After discovering she was less interested in understanding ""the environment"" as a separate entity, independent from society, her career has focused on examining the space where social and ecological systems overlap. She has worked as a researcher examining the biophysical, social and policy dimensions of environmental problems since 2002.  

Sarah was born and raised in the US, where she awkwardly grew up in a small Midwestern town as an atheist and a natural skeptic. It wasn't until she moved to Australia, however, that she discovered there was not only a term for her constant questioning, but an entire movement. She became active with the Perth Skeptics as one of its organisers. She now resides in the UK; and after her lifetime tour of the colonies, she likes to think she's returned to the motherland.

https://about.me/saraheclement
If you want to look at Sarah's GoodReads list, you can find that here

Jun 1, 2016

Genetically modified crops have been hailed as both a saviour and villain. The media has put a spotlight on the two extreme ends of this polarised debate, with agricultural corporations on one side and internet celebrities like Food Babe on the other. This talk focuses on that neglected grey area in-between, including what we know about the environmental impacts and how we might translate scientific data and societal values into pragmatic public policy.

Sarah has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Environmental Science. After discovering she was less interested in understanding “the environment” as a separate entity, independent from society, her career has focused on examining the space where social and ecological systems overlap. She has worked as a researcher examining the biophysical, social and policy dimensions of environmental problems since 2002.

Sarah was born and raised in the US, where she awkwardly grew up in a small Midwestern town as an atheist and a natural skeptic. It wasn’t until she moved to Australia, however, that she discovered there was not only a term for her constant questioning, but an entire movement. She became active with the Perth Skeptics as one of its organisers. She now resides in the UK; and after her lifetime tour of the colonies, she likes to think she’s returned to the motherland.

https://about.me/saraheclement
If you want to look at Sarah's GoodReads list, you can find that here

May 25, 2016

Join our very own David Frank as he quizzes Dr. Eric Stoddart from the University of St. Andrews on surveillance, his thoughts about theology and Big Brother, and the name of his first pet. He's totally not going to break into his email. Honestly...

Eric Stoddard grew up in Aberdeen where he also went to university - both for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Moving into academic positions later in life he's been at the University of St Andrews for the past ten years. Since about 2008 he has been researching surveillance and publishing largely on the ethics of this everyday phenomenon. With a colleague from Sweden he is currently developing an international research network to focus specifically on issues of surveillance and religion.

https://ericstoddart.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk
https://twitter.com/es61andrews

May 25, 2016

Our next Science Festival 2016 talk addresses the subject of Big Brother. It's easy to be alarmist about the spread of surveillance technologies into many areas of everyday life. Orwell's 'Big Brother' is a popular image but it doesn't really get us too far in taking a sober critical stance towards surveillance in its multi-faceted guises. There's a lot of value in drawing on privacy rights as a way of challenging extensive technological systems that treat us as objects from which data is scraped and on which basis we are then categorised and acted upon. However, Dr. Eric Stoddart is suggesting that thinking about our (in)visibility - the skill we have in managing our visibility in relation to people and institutions - gives us an additional dimension to addressing significant concerns about cultures of surveillance. Considering (in)visibility also takes us quickly into questions of social justice where surveillance is disproportionately targeted at already marginalised groups of people. This means we start thinking about the negative (and possibly positive) effects of surveillance upon the Common Good. Surveillance isn't all bad so we need a critical approach that doesn't spiral into alarmist panics. He will explore what just such a response might need to look like.

Eric Stoddart grew up in Aberdeen where he also went to university - both for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Moving into academic positions later in life he's been at the University of St Andrews for the past ten years. Since about 2008 he has been researching surveillance and publishing largely on the ethics of this everyday phenomenon. With a colleague from Sweden he is currently developing an international research network to focus specifically on issues of surveillance and religion.

https://ericstoddart.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk
https://twitter.com/es61andrews

Apr 3, 2016

To go along with the recording of Prof. William Naphy's excellent talk for us as part of this year's science festival, he sat down with our very own David Frank to talk some more about his thoughts on gender, as well as bravely attacking our Bear vs Tiger question.

Having received degrees in Latin and Historical Theology from US institutions, Professor Naphy moved to Scotland to complete his doctoral studies at the University of St Andrews in Reformation History. Subsequently, he worked at New College (Edinburgh) and the University of Manchester before taking up his post at the University of Aberdeen in 1996. He is the author of numerous works on early modern history including 'Calvin and the Consolidation of the Genevan Reformation', and 'Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality'. He has appeared frequently in television documentaries including 'Art and Soul' presented by Richard Holloway (Primus Emeritus, Scottish Episcopal Church) and is regularly interviewed on television, radio and print media relating to issues of sexuality and gender in history and contemporary society.

Professor William Naphy @ The University of Aberdeen

Apr 3, 2016

For our first Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016 podcast, we're pleased to bring you a talk by Prof. William Naphy. This event was easily our most attended event in years, with 100+ people in attendance.

Prof. Naphy's talk examines cultures which historically and contemporaneously have more than two genders. In particular, the talk considers how these societally constructed genders are understood within their society and the socio-cultural gender roles associated with them. Prof. Naphy also suggests that these traditional non-binary understandings of gender are being eroded and changed by Western concepts of sexuality which have developed in a strictly binary understanding of gender.

Having received degrees in Latin and Historical Theology from US institutions, Professor Naphy moved to Scotland to complete his doctoral studies at the University of St Andrews in Reformation History. Subsequently, he worked at New College (Edinburgh) and the University of Manchester before taking up his post at the University of Aberdeen in 1996. He is the author of numerous works on early modern history including 'Calvin and the Consolidation of the Genevan Reformation', and 'Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality'. He has appeared frequently in television documentaries including 'Art and Soul' presented by Richard Holloway (Primus Emeritus, Scottish Episcopal Church) and is regularly interviewed on television, radio and print media relating to issues of sexuality and gender in history and contemporary society.

Professor William Naphy @ The University of Aberdeen

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