Friday, May 10 2013 at 10:00AM

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The Skeptic Guide to the University of Aberdeen May Festival

Friday the 10th of May

Bioethics Rights & Wrongs: Who Decides? 

12 -1 Old Senate Room, University of Aberdeen

Join students as they present on highly provocative ideas surrounding bioethics that impact on all our lives.

How do we make decisions about scientific interventions in biology and medicine that could impact on humans, the environment and animals? Students from the University of Aberdeen will present a variety of highly provocative ideas that will tackle some  prevalent ethical questions in areas such as biotechnology and the environment.

FREE Booking:

Centenary Boyd Orr Lecture

3-4pm, Auditorium, Kings Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen

Join Dr Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition at the World Health Organisation, as he presents “A food supply to meet all human needs:how close is the world to achieving the dream of Lord Boyd Orr?”

Online Booking - (FREE)

Bright Club 

8pm (doors) 8.30 start, Cafe Drummond, 1 Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JR

What would happen if we got a bunch of interesting comedians, and combined them with some of the fascinating people who work for Scotland's top universities? Bright Club is where comedy and brains collide to bring you an entertaining night of laughs, music and new ideas (Will feature some familiar faces from Aberdeen Skeptics in the Pub, so make sure you support them!)

Booking - 01224 641122 (Aberdeen Box Office) £6/4

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Saturday the 11th of May

The Aberdeen Gene Machine

Cancer cures, plants, bees, wolves and sharks...find out more about leading genetics research with the launch of the new 'Gene Machine'!

New King's 1, University of Aberdeen 12-1

To celebrate the launch of the University of Aberdeen Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology and Medicine, this interactive lecture will describe how the new ‘Aberdeen Gene Machine’ is taking our genetics research into a new era. A tale not only of cancer cures and heart disease, but also of plants, bees, wolves and sharks.

FREE – Booking -

Pathology – Not just CSI

A myth-busting talk on the reality behind pathology!

2-3  New King's 1, University of Aberdeen

Come along to a fast-paced, interactive, myth-busting talk on what pathologists really do! How do blood tests help doctors make diagnoses and could they be routinely done on the high street? We’ll look at how pathology hits the headlines and persuade you there’s much more to this fascinating field than just dead bodies!


Corroboration & Sex Crimes: Are two proofs better than one? 

Explore the topical issue of corroboration in Scot's law and the controversy surrounding proposed changes.

Speaker: Alison Di Rollo, National Sexual Crimes Unit

2.30-3.30  Auditorium, King's Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen

To convict a criminal in Scotland, two independent sources of evidence are needed (corroboration). But is this rule allowing too many criminals including rapists and sex abusers to walk free? The Scottish Government thinks so, and wants to abolish the need for corroboration, allowing a conviction to be based on a single source of evidence. Will this lead to the conviction of innocent people?

Alison Di Rollo, Senior Advocate Depute, National Sexual Crimes Unit, in conversation with Professor Peter Duff.

FREE – Booking -

Why We Die

A British Science Festival favourite, Simon Watt returns to satisfy your morbid curiosity! 

4pm-5pm Auditorium, King's Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen

Though taxes probably are certain, death might not be. In this lecture, featuring immortal jelly fish, the world’s slowest bacteria and the trip Darwin took to a séance, biologist Simon Watt (C4’s Inside Nature’s Giants) delves into the surprising science behind why we die, and what the alternatives might be. Come satisfy your morbid curiosity.

£6/4 -

An Evening With Belle De Jour

7.30pm – 8.30 pm Auditorium, King's Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen

Dr Brooke Magnanti is a scientist and writer perhaps better known under her pen-name Belle de Jour. She has written six books, the first of which, Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, was adapted as the series Secret Diary of a Call Girl for ITV. Join Brooke for a full discussion on her pseudonym’s escapades and topical issues surrounding her career.

£8/6 -


Hack 'n' Make Faire

The very first Hack 'n' Make Faire - come along for an exciting display of inventions and hands-on projects! Fun for all the family

Elphinstone Hall, University of Aberdeen

An Aberdeen first! Hack ‘n’ Make is a showcase for all kinds of incredible projects where you’ll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, music, fire and water. From giant interactive ‘Simon Shouts’, to underwater ROVs and 16ft Video Walls, come along and see if you can be inspired to become a ‘Maker’!

10 am – 4 pm

Drop-In (No Booking Required) 

Biting Back at the Bloodsuckers

3.30 -4.30 Venue: Auditorium, King's Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen

7.30-8.30 Venue: Woodend Barn, Banchory AB31 5QA

Dr James Logan, TV presenter and creepy crawly expert from Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, will reveal all there is to know about the things that’ll really make your skin crawl!

At this event the Aberdeen University zoology graduate will uncover the cutting edge science behind why some people get bitten more than others by biting critters like the notorious Scottish midge. You could even take part in a live experiment on stage with real mosquitoes, to find out how attractive you are!

£6/4 Kings Conference Booking  -

£6/4 Banchory Booking -

Hot topics – The Big Debate

6pm-7.45 Auditorium, King's Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen

A lively discussion on the University of Aberdeen's four Research Themes: Energy, Pathways to a Healthy Life. The North, Environment and Food Security. 

Hosted by: Ken MacDonald. BBC

What’s the low-down on climate change? How will we keep the lights on? What has diet to do with disease? Why is Aberdeenshire’s archaeology so important? These are just some of the diverse topics being tackled by the University’s four research themes. Come along for a lively discussion of topical issues that can impact on all our lives.

FREE – Booking -