Sunday 26 September 2010

Question, Explore, Discover

Last October I attended TAM London, the first of the well-established Amaz!ng Meetings to be held outside North America. It was a great success, and in less than three weeks I'll be attending this year's TAM London as well. There was considerable fuss over the ticket price of TAM London this year, which I felt was misplaced, given that it's the only major sceptical event to be held in Britain.

But that's only true until next year, because in February we have QED, which stands for "Question, Explore, Discover", and is to be an event of similar nature to TAM, held in Manchester, jointly organised by Greater Manchester Skeptics and Merseyside Skeptics. It's cheaper than TAM London by a significant margin (less so for me, as travelling to Manchester will cost about four times what it costs me to London).

I seem to have acquired a taste for such events, so I am now booked in for QED, staying at the Ramada Manchester Picadilly Hotel, where QED is to be held. The conference lasts two days — the weekend of 5th and 6th February 2011, and includes (at the last count) the following speakers: Steve Novella, Eugenie Scott, Jon Ronson, Jim Al-Khalili, Bruce Hood, Kate Akingbade, Chris Atkins, Wendy Grossman, Colin Wright, Simon Singh, Robin Ince and George Hrab (who will be Master of Ceremonies). That's an impressive line-up by any standards (though it may change — check the website for updates).

There's also an optional extra: a gala dinner on Saturday evening, where QED attendees will be able to "enjoy a delicious three-course meal in the company of our celebrity speakers." Sounds like fun — I'm in.

A "home grown" sceptical event seems like a good idea, and should be encouraged, not least because it reduces the (small) risk of the UK's sceptical agenda being set by one organisation. If successful QED could become a regular event, and I urge anyone whose interests veer towards the sceptical to register for it now. And I'll see you there.