Program

This page will be updated regularly and times may change.

Overview

Friday 23rd Oct: 5:30pm - 8:00pm Welcome Reception


Saturday 24th Oct: 9:00am - 5:00pm Conference Day 1

Saturday 24th Oct:

Sunday 25th Oct: 9:00am - 5:30pm Conference Day 2

Detailed Program

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Welcome Reception

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Conference open day 1

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Great moments in Skeptical Science

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Extreme Physics with Single Atoms

How can we show what we know about atoms? Experiments with a single atom are a good starting point. In this talk Erik will describe how he and his team captured the first image of a single atom’s shadow and subsequently adapted that experiment to measure extremely small forces, roughly a millionth billionth (10^-15) that of gravity on a grain of sand.

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Water fluoridation: Gobs, mobs and nutjobs

Fluorides strengthen teeth against tooth decay. They have been added to drinking water since the 1940s, and to toothpaste since the 1950s. However, while fluoride toothpastes are almost universally accepted, fluoridated drinking water is much more controversial, despite being endorsed by all reputable health and scientific agencies. Opponents of water fluoridation are passionate, relentless, and will twist the science until it squeals. Who are they, what are their tactics, and is public health still worth fighting for?

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The Search for Alien Worlds

As recently as the late 1980s, we knew of just one planetary system – the Solar system. In the decades since, we have witnessed a great scientific revolution, with the dawn of the Exoplanet Era. We now know that our system is just one among many – and that planets are ubiquitous. When we look at the night sky, we are now certain that the stars we observe are all accompanied by planets, large and small, near and far.

 

But how do we search for these alien worlds? What will the next decade of the search reveal? And how is a small observatory in southeast Queensland helping to lead the search for another Earth? During his talk, USQ’s Prof Jonti Horner will answer these questions (and more!).

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Conference close day 1

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Conference open day 2

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1000 Years of Pandemics, What Have We Learned?

Pandemics are a hot topic. Epidemiologists have been trying to prepare us for the inevitability of a global pandemic, and this year it has become a reality with the rise of COVID-19. Let’s talk about evidence-based approaches to pandemics and explore some of the pseudoscience that arises from them.

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Anti-Environmental Environmentalists - How Irrational Environmentalists Impede Their Own Cause

How most modern human societies gather and consume food and energy have placed a tremendous amount of pressure on the natural world. These pressures have manifested itself in the forms of deforestation, topsoil erosion, pollution and climate change. If unchecked, either one of these pressures can destroy both the natural world and modern human societies as we know it.


Fortunately, some people are aware of this self-destructive path and are fighting not only for the protection of the environment but ultimately for our children's children's future. These people, collectively termed "environmentalists" and have done great good in the world. However, there have been instances where environmentalists have impeded their own cause by following ideology rather than taking an evidence-based approach.


Using examples from Australia, this presentation will seek to:

  1. Examine from an evidence-based environmental-perspective heated topics such as genetic engineering, organic farming, vegan ideology, animal rights activists, and nuclear energy;

  2. Highlight contradicting discrepancies and debunk particular positions within the environmental movement regarding these topics; and

  3. Communicate to a broad audience the importance of evidence-based environmentalism as opposed to adopting an environmentalist ideology

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The Dark Triad: Is Trump Insane?

Everyone knows there is something wrong with Donald Trump. But how does emotion-free scientific psychology explain him?

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The Tales Teeth Tell: Human Development, Evolution, and Behaviour

This talk will illuminate how a small part of our anatomy can teach us myriad things about how we grew up, evolved, and behaved during prehistoric times. Professor Smith will explain how careful scientific investigations have debunked controversies about the presence of faithful biological rhythms in teeth. This ultimately led to resolution of a century of debate over whether ancient human ancestors had childhoods like our own today. Teeth also have much to say about our ancient diet, ranging from their specialized shapes to tiny microscopic hints preserved on their surfaces for millions of years. These clues challenge popular mythology around the Paleo Diet, revealing just how unique our species is!

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Sponsored by:

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Q Skeptics

Queensland Skeptics Association Inc.