Is It Time For Ireland To Give Nuclear Power A Chance?
Friday 17 January at Blackrock Castle Observatory
This is an interactive talk and audience members are asked to bring their smartphone to share their thoughts.
About the Speaker: Dr Paul Deane is a research scientist in clean energy futures at UCC. He is also a fellow at the Colorado School of Mines and in 2018 was the Royal Irish Academy speaker on computer science.
His research helps us understand the choices involved in delivering clean, affordable energy to all.
He has co-authored over 100 technical papers in diverse areas such as electricity production, farming and agriculture, natural gas futures, energy access and international aviation. His research has been published in Nature, Joule and he is a regular contributor to print, television and social media in Ireland.
The talk will begin at 8.00pm on Friday 17th January. It is free to attend, and we welcome anyone with an interest in the topic to come along on the night. For directions to Blackrock Castle, see our Skeptics In The Castle information page.
Dr David Robert Grimes presents Conspiracy Theories in the 21st Century
8:00pm • Friday 22nd June • Blackrock Castle Observatory
Conspiratorial ideation (e.g., the moon landings were faked; climate-change is a hoax; vaccination is dangerous) is the tendency of individuals to believe that events and power relations are secretly manipulated by certain clandestine groups and organizations. Public acceptance of these ostensibly explanatory conjectures remains high, even when they are non-falsifiable, lacking in evidence, or demonstrably false.
To exacerbate the problem, social media provides fertile ground for conspiracy theories to rapidly propagate, and dedicated echo-chambers can insulate these beliefs from critical examination.
In this talk, we’ll examine what makes conspiracy theories so virile, including recent mathematical models that aim to understand the viability of such beliefs, and models of how they spread. And we’ll see how much damage such claims can cause, and why in our hyper-connected era its more imperative than ever before to combat false narratives.
About The Speaker: Dr David Robert Grimes is a physicist and cancer researcher, currently based at the Queens University Belfast and a visiting researcher at University of Oxford. His research focuses chiefly on the application of radiotherapy physics, and oxygen modelling, and academic work on factors influencing public perception and understanding of science.
He is also a science writer and frequently contributes to the Guardian, Irish Times and BBC on a wide spectrum of science, society and philosophical topics. He was joint recipient of the 2014 Nature / Sense about Science Maddox Prize for Standing Up for Science.
Darren Dahly, Principal Statistician of the Clinical Research Facility Cork, Presents A Skeptic’s Guide To Common Statistical Paradoxes & Biases
8:00pm • Friday 8th June • Blackrock Castle Observatory
There are lots of ways to fool ourselves with data. This talk will help you defend yourself against the most common statistical paradoxes and biases. Examples will include how regression to the mean can explain most placebo effects, and how collider bias can lead us to think that smoking during pregnancy is actually good for small babies.
About The Speaker: Darren Dahly is the Principal Statistician of the Clinical Research Facility Cork, and a Senior Lecturer in Research Methods at UCC.
About the Talk: The modern world has witnessed a revolution in understanding how our brains work. Where once it was believed that we were in complete control of our actions, modern neuroscience has put forward a compelling case that this sense of control is merely an illusion. This has been termed “the death of free will”.
In this upcoming talk, Dr Robert King asks if the pendulum has swung too far and whether we still have the ability to make truly independent choices in our lives.
About the Speaker: Robert James King, Ph.D., is a researcher at the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork. He has published in the field of human sexual behaviour, and is interested in various aspects of human behavior viewed through a biological lens. He blogs about his ongoing work in a popular form at Psychology Today.
Robert has consulted for television, radio and print media and is a regular reviewer for scientific journals, including Human Nature, Archives of Sexual Behavior, and The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology.
“Whoever makes two ears of corn, or two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, deserves better of mankind, and does more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together” – Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels)
Humans exist because plants exist. Plants have shaped our world, allowing animal life to evolve and they continue to have an overriding influence on our society. From the food we eat, the medicines we take, the beer we drink and the clothes we wear; plants make life possible on Earth. Indeed, Ireland has built two of its largest industries – agriculture and tourism – on its green image.
In this talk, EoinLettice—lecturer in Plant Science at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork —will examine the importance of plants in society and even unearth some intriguing mysteries which can be solved with a knowledge of plants. What caused the Salem witch trials? Why are the British a nation of tea-drinkers? And what caused the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’?
Eoin will discuss the present place of plants in culture and society and discuss the idea of ‘plant blindness’ – the inability to see or notice plants (and their importance) around us. Given the crucial importance of plants to critical global problems like food security and climate change, we ignore plant blindness at our peril.
About The Speaker: Eoin is a lecturer in plant science at the School of BEES, University College Cork where he teaches a diverse range of subjects including plant biotechnology, plant pathology, soil science, biological control and organic horticulture.
His main research focus is the biocontrol of plant pests using sustainable approaches. He’s also interested in science communication, running the Communicate Science blog and novel methods in teaching and learning.
This talk is part of Culture Night Cork 2013. It is open to the public, and free to attend. It starts at 7:00pm on Friday 20th September.
This talk by Dr. Marcin Szczerbinski, Lecturer in Applied Psychology at UCC, will explore genetics and the puzzles of heritability. What does it mean to say that a trait is heritable? Is there a gene for schizophrenia or a “gay gene”? What can we learn from looking at cases of identical twins raised apart, or indeed from adopted children raised together? And does genetic actually mean immutable?
These and similar questions will be addressed during what promises to be a truly insightful talk.
About the speaker: Dr. Marcin Szczerbinski is a Psychology graduate of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, and of the Department of Human Communication Science, University College London. From 2001 until 2011 he was a lecturer at the Department of Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield, where he contributed to a number of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, particularly in Speech and Language Therapy. He joined UCC in January 2011.