Tuesday 13th December– James Williams – Alfred Russel Wallace

There is no talk scheduled for November, and this one will be on Tuesday 13th December.

James Williams, Lecturer in Education, University of Sussex will talk about Alfred Wallace who famously sent Charles Darwin an outline of the theory of evolution by natural selection before Darwin had completed his major treatise on the subject. This prompted the publication of Origin of Species.

Did Darwin really steal the idea from Wallace? Was Wallace even aware of Darwin’s work on species and how does history see the two men? In this talk, James will examine the facts surrounding Wallace’s work on evolution and some of the more interesting episodes in Wallace’s life that saw him oppose Darwin in an infamous case of spiritualist fraud that ended in the Old Bailey.

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was a man of many talents – an explorer, collector, naturalist, geographer, anthropologist and political commentator. Most famously, he had the revolutionary idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.

Brief Bio

James is a senior lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex. His PhD looked at the development and inclusion of the Nature of Science in the UK National Curriculum for science from 1988 – 2010. He is an elected member (FGS) of The Geological Society of London, a member of the Association for Science Education (ASE), where he chairs the Publications Specialist Group. He is also a member of the Society of Authors and a member of the Editorial Board – School Science Review. He has appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates

He has written extensively for The Conversation, for Tes (formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement) and for local newspapers. He has research expertise in Creationism and Evolution in Education, History and Philosophy of Science, Initial Teacher Education, Science Education, Teaching ‘the nature of science’ & ‘the scientific method’, as well as Teaching and Learning.

Standard Stuff

This talk is on a Tuesday, but are usually on the 4th Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Winchester Club in Winchester.  Please take a look at the FAQs for more info.

Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and major cards (cards preferred).

The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support the venue by indulging in the available drinks before and during the event.

You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

 

26th October – Kevin Precious – The Reluctant Teacher

As the first talk at our new venue, The Winchester Club, ‘A work-in-progress show’ as former-teacher turned stand-up-comedian Kevin Precious likes to call it, takes a backward glance towards his former profession, and looks ahead to Edinburgh 2023. Expect anecdotes and observations aplenty, as well as the odd polemical interjection regarding the parlous state of the profession.

‘Kevin’s stage charisma and poise set him head and shoulders above the previous acts’ (Times). ‘Instantly recognisable stage presence and boundless wit’ (Leicester Mercury at the Leicester Comedy Festival).

‘Kevin’s stage charisma and poise set him head and shoulders above the previous acts.’ – The Times

More on Kevin

Kevin has had something of a long and varied career in the business of show, making his first tentative foray into the world of entertainment as a teenage bass playing dirt bag in the working men’s clubs in his native city of Hull. Venturing South, he continued his musical adventures in the Big Smoke, playing in all manner of different outfits, the culmination of which saw him perform at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s on a couple of occasions.

He also managed to gain experience playing abroad in places as far flung as New York and Reykjavik, as well as an extensive tour of Japan. In the 1990’s, Kevin set up a ‘Pop Quiz’ in a trendy boozer in Camden, which rapidly became laden with celebrities and culminated in him being asked to organise and compere the NME‘s first national pop quiz. It was these events that would later inspire a move into comedy. Sometime thereafter he took the plunge.

Combining the life of a mature student and comedy, Kevin organized and promoted various events in conjunction with Brighton University. He was also involved in the organisation and compering of two series of ‘House of Fun’ for Meridian TV. Added to this, he MC’d the Sussex heat of the BBC New Acts Competition for four consecutive years. Working full-time as a teacher and head of department (Religious Studies), Kevin continued his comedy pursuits performing full weekends at notable venues such as Rawhide in Liverpool, the Glee in both Birmingham and Cardiff, and the Frog and Bucket in Manchester… as well as renowned London gigs such as the Banana Cabaret and Downstairs at the Kings Head, amongst others.

It was during this time that Kevin co-founded the promotions agency, Barnstormers Comedy. In 2005, Kevin finally went full-time / professional.

To date, he has done paid weekends for Jongleurs, Comedy Cafe, the Stand Edinburgh, and The Laughter Lounge Dublin as well as work for agents such as CKP, the Comedy Company, the Comedy Club and Mirth Control.

In 2008, he compered the ‘Loaded Lafta’ awards presenting awards to none other than Jimmy Carr, Adam Buxton, Paul Kaye, and Harry Enfield, to name but a few.

In 2014, he provided the warm-up for a night dedicated to Dennis Skinner which also featured the author and commentator Owen Jones. He has also performed at a number of European shows in places as diverse as Amsterdam, Maastricht, Budapest, Bucharest and Ibiza.

More recently, Kevin has been performing his one man stand-up comedy show about teaching ‘Not Appropriate’ at a variety of arts centres, theatres, festivals and conferences.

He is currently working on his new show, which he will be bringing to us in advance of the Edinburgh Festival. It combines his experiences as an RE Teacher, and his orientation towards Humanism.

Standard Stuff

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Winchester Club in Winchester.  Please take a look at the FAQs for more info.

Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and major cards (cards preferred).

The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support the venue by indulging in the available drinks before and during the event.

You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

New Venue

Our new venue is the Winchester Club.Highfield Lodge, Worthy Ln, Winchester SO23 7AB

We’ve enjoyed our stay in the Winchester Discovery Centre, now rebranded as the Arc. It has been our home since January 2012 where our 1st talk (and Winchester Skeptics 25th) was by Simon Singh. We had just moved from the Roebuck which we outgrew. It has served us exceedingly well and the staff have been particularly supportive through the years. We’re sure we’ll still be working with them from time to time.

Sadly the pandemic has dented our numbers (rising fortunately!), and that combined with significantly rising costs has nudged us into looking around. We’re delighted to have found a new home, also in Winchester and quite close.

So, as from October, Winchester Skeptics in the Pub will be presenting talks in the Winchester Club.

They’ve been most welcoming and we look forward to working with them.

We’ve prepared a little FAQ which we hope will answer any questions you may have. There will be a copy of these on our website, and we’ll try to keep it up to date with additional questions you may have.

28th September – James Williams – Alfred Russel Wallace

James Williams, Lecturer in Education, University of Sussex will talk about Alfred Wallace who famously sent Charles Darwin an outline of the theory of evolution by natural selection before Darwin had completed his major treatise on the subject. This prompted the publication of Origin of Species.

Did Darwin really steal the idea from Wallace? Was Wallace even aware of Darwin’s work on species and how does history see the two men? In this talk, James will examine the facts surrounding Wallace’s work on evolution and some of the more interesting episodes in Wallace’s life that saw him oppose Darwin in an infamous case of spiritualist fraud that ended in the Old Bailey.

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was a man of many talents – an explorer, collector, naturalist, geographer, anthropologist and political commentator. Most famously, he had the revolutionary idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.

Brief Bio

James is a senior lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex. His PhD looked at the development and inclusion of the Nature of Science in the UK National Curriculum for science from 1988 – 2010. He is an elected member (FGS) of The Geological Society of London, a member of the Association for Science Education (ASE), where he chairs the Publications Specialist Group. He is also a member of the Society of Authors and a member of the Editorial Board – School Science Review. He has appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates

He has written extensively for The Conversation, for Tes (formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement) and for local newspapers. He has research expertise in Creationism and Evolution in Education, History and Philosophy of Science, Initial Teacher Education, Science Education, Teaching ‘the nature of science’ & ‘the scientific method’, as well as Teaching and Learning.

Usual Info

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Arc (formerly The Discovery Centre) in Winchester. Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and cards (cards preferred).

The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support The Arc by indulging in the available drinks and snacks before and during the event.

There is a small car park adjacent to The Arc, or use the nearby Tower car park. You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

31st August – Pseudoscience in veterinary practice – Dr Danny Chambers, Veterinary Surgeon

A Quack Quack here and a Quack Quack there

You may be surprised to hear that the anti-vaccination movement is not restricted to human medicine – animal owners are increasingly turning their back on conventional medicine and seeking out unproven alternatives such as homeopathy, chiropractic or feeding raw meat- often at the detriment of their animal’s health. You might be even more surprised to learn about the myriad other forms of pseudoscience animals are subjected to, including the common practice of ‘horse psychics’. Danny Chambers will discuss the use of pseudoscience encountered in veterinary practice, and the implications this has on both animal and human health and wellbeing.

Dr Danny Chambers

Danny grew up on a farm in Devon, graduated from Liverpool Vet School, and has written about and campaigned against the use of pseudoscience in veterinary practice.

Danny has campaigned for years for the need for more scientists in politics to tackle global issues such as climate change, the risk of pandemics and the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance. To this end, he is standing to be the next Liberal Democrat MP for Winchester.

He enjoys mountain biking (badly) and playing the guitar (badly).

Danny occasionally writes for New Scientist magazine.

Usual Info

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Arc in Winchester. Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and cards (cards preferred).

The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support The Arc by indulging in the available drinks and snacks before and during the event.

There is a small car park adjacent to The Arc, or use the nearby Tower car park. You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

27th July – James Williams – Alfred Russel Wallace *Replaced by Why We Can’t Trust our Senses*

James Williams, Lecturer in Education, University of Sussex will talk about Alfred Wallace who famously sent Charles Darwin an outline of the theory of evolution by natural selection before Darwin had completed his major treatise on the subject. This prompted the publication of Origin of Species.

Did Darwin really steal the idea from Wallace? Was Wallace even aware of Darwin’s work on species and how does history see the two men? In this talk, James will examine the facts surrounding Wallace’s work on evolution and some of the more interesting episodes in Wallace’s life that saw him oppose Darwin in an infamous case of spiritualist fraud that ended in the Old Bailey.

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was a man of many talents – an explorer, collector, naturalist, geographer, anthropologist and political commentator. Most famously, he had the revolutionary idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.

Brief Bio

James is a senior lecturer in science education at the University of Sussex. His PhD looked at the development and inclusion of the Nature of Science in the UK National Curriculum for science from 1988 – 2010. He is an elected member (FGS) of The Geological Society of London, a member of the Association for Science Education (ASE), where he chairs the Publications Specialist Group. He is also a member of the Society of Authors and a member of the Editorial Board – School Science Review. He has appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates

He has written extensively for The Conversation, for Tes (formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement) and for local newspapers. He has research expertise in Creationism and Evolution in Education, History and Philosophy of Science, Initial Teacher Education, Science Education, Teaching ‘the nature of science’ & ‘the scientific method’, as well as Teaching and Learning.

Usual Info

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Arc (formerly The Discovery Centre) in Winchester. Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and cards (cards preferred).

The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support The Arc by indulging in the available drinks and snacks before and during the event.

There is a small car park adjacent to The Arc, or use the nearby Tower car park. You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

29th June – A Human History of Emotion – Richard Firth-Godbehere

We like to think of humans as rational creatures, who have relied on calculation and intellect to survive. But many of the most important moments in our history had little to do with cold, hard facts and a lot to do with feelings.

Join Richard Firth-Godbehere explores a fascinating and wide-ranging tour of the central and often under-appreciated role emotions have played in human societies around the world and throughout history.

In this talk, Richard focuses on desire and disgust as he draws on psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, art, and history. He vividly illustrates how our understanding and experience of emotions has changed over time, and how our beliefs about feelings profoundly shaped us and the world we inhabit.

Brief Bio

Richard Firth-Godbehere, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts on disgust and emotions. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London. He received a first-class degree from the University of London, during which time he won two awards for academic excellence, alongside a Masters (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge and a PhD From Queen Mary, University of London, where he was a Wellcome Trust Scholar. His award-winning interdisciplinary research walks the line between history, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and futurism. He examines how understandings of emotions change over time and space, and how these changes can influence the wider world.

Already translated into nearly a dozen languages, Richard’s latest book, A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know, is available from all good bookstores.

Usual Info

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Arc (formerly The Discovery Centre) in Winchester. Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and cards (cards preferred).

The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support The Arc by indulging in the available drinks and snacks before and during the event.

There is a small car park adjacent to The Arc, or use the nearby Tower car park. You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

 

25th May – Medieval Weather Forecasting: Science, not Magic – Anne Lawrence-Mathers

The basis for modern weather forecasting

It is a truth universally acknowledged – at least among non-medievalists – that classical scientific knowledge died with the Roman Empire and had to be disinterred once the Middle Ages were over. This talk will demonstrate that this belief is mistaken, using the example of medieval weather forecasting. Ancient astronomers had no satisfactory answer to the important question of how seasonal weather can vary so much from one year to another and from place to place. Medieval European meteorologists had complex and data-driven answers, based on the work of astronomers and astrologers in the Arab Empire. The models used could produce forecasts for any chosen date and location – but appear magical to modern critics because of their use of astrology.

This talk will look at the methods used in making these forecasts, with practical examples. It will go further and argue that these laid the basis for modern weather forecasting.

Brief Bio

Anne Lawrence-Mathers is a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She is a specialist in the history of magic and its relationship with science, and is the author of The True History of Merlin the Magician and Medieval Meteorology as well as co-author of Magic in Medieval Society. She has written for Weather, Physics Today and Pour la Science, and is currently writing a book on medieval magical texts as well as co-editing the Arc Companion to Magic, Science and the Medieval Construction of the Natural.

For those who don’t know this

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Arc (formerly The Discovery Centre) in Winchester. Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and cards. The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support The Arc by indulging in the available drinks and snacks before and during the event. There is a small car park adjacent to The Arc, or use the nearby Tower car park. You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.

27th Apr – Wayfinding: The Art and Science of How we Find and Lose Our Way – Michael Bond

So, are men are better than women at navigation?

This talk discusses how humans acquired wayfinding and navigation skills over our evolutionary past, the methods that early humans used to stay orientated in unfamiliar surroundings, the brain mechanisms behind our spatial and navigation skills and how they are related to memory and other cognitive functions, and why there are such stark individual differences in wayfinding skills (including the oft-debated question of whether men are better than women).

Michael Bond

Michael Bond, who won the 2015 British Psychological Society Prize for The Power of Others, is a freelance science writer and editor. A consultant with New Scientist, he specializes in psychology and social behaviour, and how people interact with their environments.

He has been writing on psychology and human behaviour for more than fifteen years as a regular contributor to New Scientist, Nature, Prospect, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, and others. During the Arab Spring, he also served as lead researcher for the Royal Society report on science in Egypt.

Michael’s latest book  is Wayfinding – The art and science of how we find and lose our way.

The Talks

Talks are on the last Wednesday of every month,  at 7:00 for 7:30, at The Arc (formerly The Discovery Centre) in Winchester. Admission is £5 which also gives you an entry in the book raffle. We take cash and cards (not Amex). The event is in two parts – the talk and then a Q&A after the interval. We encourage you to support The Arc by indulging in the available drinks and snacks before and during the event. There is a small car park adjacent to The Arc, or use the nearby Tower car park. You are also welcome to join us for the traditional post-talk curry.