Episode One Hundred And Ninety Eight – On Conferences And FameLab Competitions
This is a three-for-one episode! Interviews and vox pop at the Australian FameLab finals, held this week in my home town.
From Friday 11th to Sunday 13th September 2015, the 16th European Skeptics Congress is happening! Speakers and presentations will include representatives from Sense about Science, Professor Stephen Law, Andrew Copson of the British Humanists Association, Dr Caroline Watt, Dr Martin Mahner and Professor Richard Wiseman and more.
The congress is held under the auspices of ECSO (the European Council for Skeptical Organisations), and is jointly organised by ASKE (the Association for Skeptical Enquiry) and APRU (the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College).
I spoke to Professor Chris French, of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, at Goldsmiths College. He and his colleagues will be featured at the event, with talks including satanic panics, sleep paralysis, psychology of magic and much more.
The FameLab finals were held in Fremantle, WA, this Friday, featuring viruses, spiders, algae and even a little poetry! Science researchers have three minutes to present on their research, including a Q & A session hosted by Radio National’s science journalist Robyn Williams, with judges Helen O’Neil from the British Council Australia, Gillian O’Shaughnessy from ABC Perth and Professor Ryan Lister, the 2014 Life Scientist of the Year.
The people’s choice prize was awarded to Kiara Bruggeman, who presented a talk on brain drugs entirely in verse. The overall title went to a talk on the improved diagnosis of shellfish allergy, presented by Dr Sandip Kamath from James Cook University. He’ll be presenting at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the international FameLab final, in competition against the world’s top science communicators.
Finally, Hayley Stevens has returned triumphant from QEDCon this year, as the winner of the Best Blog in the UK Skeptic Ockham Awards! She’s just presented at SkepCon 2015 in Frankfurt, on the topic of A Skeptics’ Guide To Ghost Hunting, as the only UK representative.
For this interview, we talk about the fun and challenges of conferences, blogging and keeping an open mind and open channel for talking to the less-than-skeptical.
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