TAM London 2010; a world-class fundraising conference which this year was held on 16 – 17 October 2010 at the Hilton London Metropole hotel. Amazing speakers and 1000 like-minded attendees joined together for a fundraising celebration of science, critical thinking, and entertainment in the heart of the city.
The TAM Fringe was back this year, with free or nearly-free events in the week before and after TAM London, to great success.
We’re currently in the process of updating this website, but in the meantime, you can click here to read the TAM London 2010 blog courtesy of the Guardian.
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TAM is ‘The Amaz!ng Meeting’, the fundraising conference of the James Randi Educational Foundation. TAM London 2009 was the first of these conferences to be held outside the USA and sold out in just one hour. The 2010 event continues this amazing success and is in addition to TAM8 to be held in Las Vegas in July 2010. Previous TAM speakers have included Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, magicians Penn and Teller, Prof Brian Cox and dozens of other noted scientists, entertainers and academics. You can expect a warm welcome from the hundreds of like-minded people who attend TAMs, from all walks of life and backgrounds but with a common interest in critical thinking.
Graham Linehan is a television writer, actor and director who has written or co-written popular television comedies including Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd. He has received numerous awards including an International Emmy and four BAFTAS, and wrote for classic British comedy shows such as Brass Eye, The Fast Show and Harry Enfield and Chums. A prolific Twitter user, Graham also regularly blogs at http://whythatsdelightful.wordpress.com/
Richard Dawkins is the former Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position he held from 1995-2008. The Wall Street Journal said his “passion is supported by an awe-inspiring literary craftsmanship.” The New York Times Book Review has hailed him as a writer who “understands the issues so clearly that he forces his reader to understand them too.” Among his books are The Ancestor’s Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil’s Chaplain and The God Delusion.
Alan Moore is one of the most influential comic-book writers of all time and author of works including V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, Lost Girls and Watchmen, the only graphic novel to make it onto Time Magazine’s “All-Time 100 Novels” list. Alan is a compelling speaker and injects much humour into his talks, including descriptions of his worship of a Roman snake deity named Glycon which he acknowledges to be a “complete hoax”. He played himself in an episode of The Simpsons and was the subject of a documentary film entitled The Mindscape of Alan Moore. His magazine, Dodgem Logic, is described as a journal for ‘colliding ideas to see what happens’ A passionate advocate for science, Alan will be talking about his latest projects at TAM London followed by an onstage interview with Little Atoms’ Neil Denny and guest co-host.
Melinda Gebbie is an American comics artist and writer now living in England. She is best known for Lost Girls, the three-volume erotic graphic novel she produced in collaboration with writer Alan Moore over a sixteen-year period. Melinda’s art is often sexually explicit and intended to challenge societal norms. Melinda is currently writing her memoirs about her part in the influential San Francisco underground comics scene in the 1970s, which included legends like Robert Crumb.
In 1964, stage magician James Randi offered a $1,000 prize to anyone who could demonstrate proof of the paranormal. Now with a value of $1 million, the prize remains unclaimed. Now a celebrated public speaker and the author of books including The Faith Healers and Flim-Flam!, Randi continues his activism through The James Randi Educational Foundation. Set up to encourage critical thinking and highlight the consequences of accepting claims of the supernatural, the JREF raises funds for outreach programmes and events around the world.
PZ Myers has described his blog, Pharyngula, as “evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”. An associate professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, he specialises in evolutionary and developmental biology in a world where creationism is gaining currency. An outspoken critic of the Intelligent Design movement, he works to fight its influence in schools and universities, and to inspire interest in science with his writing and research.
Actor, writer and magician Andy Nyman understands the attraction of the paranormal and how the desire to believe in it can be exploited. Together he and co-writer Derren Brown have created some of the most convincing illusions seen on television, and Nyman’s theatre productions have gained a reputation for being uniquely unsettling. The latest of these, Ghost Stories, transferred to the West End following record-breaking runs in Liverpool and London. A ground-breaking exercise in suspense and horror, the show is an imaginative use of the live experience which shocks and delights in equal measure.
Canadian blogger and science fiction author Cory Doctorow is equally known as the co-editor of science and technology blog Boing Boing, and as a science fiction author. Boing Boing compiles the most inspiring science and technology news, on everything from space stations to sarcasm detectors. Doctorow has written extensively on the issues of copyright and intellectual property in the digital age, in works which he invites people to download for free. He is also a regular contributor to The Guardianand Wired.
Formerly a radio astronomer and now cosmology consultant for New Scientist, Marcus Chown is a writer and broadcaster with a remarkable lightness of touch. He has become known for talks such as My Top Five Bonkers Things About The Universe, which take in everything from parallel universes to his favourite eccentric scientists. He has written for both children and adults, with books including Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You and We Need To Talk About Kelvin.
Known primarily for his extensive work as an actor, comedian, writer and presenter, the host of QI also has an inexhaustible curiosity and a passion for science and critical thinking. A prolific blogger and one of the most followed users on Twitter, he has also written about his love of technology in his Guardian column Dork Talk. In 2009 he joined zoologist Mark Carwardine for BBC2’s Last Chance To See, carrying on the project started by his friend Douglas Adams in 1985. An activist, he has spoken out on the issue of the Catholic Church and HIV prevention in Uganda, supported Simon Singh in the campaign for libel reform, and is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. With Hugh Laurie, as the comedy double act Fry and Laurie, he co-wrote and co-starred in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and the duo also played the title roles in Jeeves and Wooster. Fry is the author of several bestselling books and is one of Britain’s best-loved personalities. While Stephen is hoping to join us in person, in the event of a scheduling conflict we will endeavour to find a creative technological solution. Update: 09/10/10 – due to new filming commitments, Stephen will be appearing in an exclusive video, interviewed by Tim Minchin.
An author, broadcaster and lecturer, Susan Blackmore is a believer-turned-skeptic and former parapsychologist. Her most famous book, The Meme Machine, expanded on the concept of the meme, the name of which was coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene. As Dawkins himself wrote, “Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme”. Her other work includes evolutionary theory, consciousness, and meditation and she is the author of over sixty academic articles and fifty book contributions.
D.J. Grothe is President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, the international educational non-profit founded by celebrated social critic and activist James Randi. Grothe has lectured widely on topics at the intersection of education, science and belief at universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and dozens of others. Formerly a professional magician, he has special interests in the psychology of belief and processes of deception and self-deception. He hosts the radio show and podcast For Good Reason. Previously, Grothe hosted over 200 episodes of the popular interview program Point of Inquiry, which he founded with his partner Thomas Donnelly in 2005.
Comedian Robin Ince finds absurdity in religion and pseudoscience and expresses his frustration through musings on quantum theory, letters to Ann Coulter, and tales of dead scientists. He frequently gathers like-minded comedians, musicians and living scientists for science-themed events such as Nine Lessons And Carols For Godless People and School For Gifted Children. Along with Professor Brian Cox, Ince co-hosts Radio 4’s The Infinite Monkey Cage, a series of lively discussions between skeptics and believers. He supported Ricky Gervais on his live tours, and has appeared in television shows such as The Office. At TAM London, Robin will be presenting a unique retrospective of James Randi’s work.
Professor Richard Wiseman began his career as a stage magician before becoming the British media’s most quoted psychologist. His works sees him debunking pseudoscience in increasingly playful ways, with recent projects including the Laughter Lab and a mind-reading iPhone app. A bestselling author, his books include Quirkology, The Luck Factor and the evidence-based self-help guide 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot. As the top-rated speaker at TAM London 2009, Prof Wiseman will be reprising his role as MC for the 2010 conference.
Award-winning Australian comedian, pianist and actor Tim Minchin is best known for his songs on taboo subjects, taking on religious fundamentalists, medical quacks, and most recently of all the Pope. At TAM London he invites you to spend Saturday night with him at the premiere of Storm, the animated movie of the celebrated nine-minute beat poem in which Minchin takes on the dark forces of pseudoscience, alternative medicine and superstition. He will be joined by special guests for this optional ticketed event.
Evolutionary biologist Adam Rutherford has gone further than most in his explorations of science and religion. As a writer and broadcaster his exploits have included scarring himself to demonstrate tissue healing in his BBC4 series Cell and putting himself through the Alpha Course for the Guardian. An editor for Nature, he is a regular contributor to the Guardian, writing on subjects including science policy, alternative medicine and creationism.
Rebecca Watson – Panellist
Rebecca Watson is an American blogger and independent podcast host now living in London. A former street juggler and magician, she is the founder of Skepchick, an organisation and blog dedicated to promoting skepticism and critical thinking among women around the world, and a co-host on The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast. She is also a regular contributer to the Little Atoms radio show. She had an asteroid named after her by astronomer David Healy. At TAM London 2010 Rebecca will be hosting a panel on Skepticism, Technology and New Media.
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Gia Milinovich – Panellist
Gia Milinovich is a presenter, writer and blogger, specialising mainly in new media and film. She has an acute knowledge of computers, technology, the Internet and science. She has worked in a technical capacity on major blockbusters including X-Files, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I Want To Believe, 28 Weeks Later, Day Watch, Cocaine Cowboys and Water Lilies, and created the ‘behind the scenes’ website for the critically-acclaimed sci-fi film Sunshine. She advised on and appeared in the 2009 BBC programme Electric Dreams. At TAM London 2010 Gia will be a panellist on the Skepticism, Technology and New Media panel.
Simon Singh – Panellist
Simon Singh is an author, journalist and TV producer, specialising in science and mathematics, which, he claims, are the only two subjects he has the faintest clue about (although he is now qualified to add ‘libel laws’ to that list). He is the author of The Code Book andFermat’s Last Theorem, and his latest book is Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, which he co-authored with Edzard Ernst, the world’s first professor of complementary medicine. As well as his professional accomplishments, Simon is well-known for a recently-concluded lawsuit which saw the British Chiropractic Association attempt to sue him for libel. After a two-year battle and hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal costs, the case was eventually dropped, but has led to a large and positive campaign for reformation of England’s libel laws and worldwide media coverage in support of Simon. At TAM London 2010 Simon will be a panellist on the Skepticism and the Law panel.
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David Allen Green/Jack of Kent – Panellist
‘Jack of Kent’ is the nom de plume of legal blogger David Allen Green, convenor of Westminster Skeptics and a freelance legal and policy writer working in London. David also writes the Bad Law weekly blog for The Lawyer. The Jack of Kent blog has been described as “instrumental in turning the Simon Singh libel case into both an international cause célèbre and the basis for the current libel reform campaign”, and was recently shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. At TAM London 2010, David will be a panellist on the Skepticism and the Law panel.
Tracey Brown – Panellist
Tracey Brown is managing director of the UK-based charitable trust Sense About Science, which equips the public to make sense of science and evidence. She joined Sense About Science as director in its founding year 2002. Tracey has a background in social research, and previously spent four years working on a European Commission programme to establish social research and teaching in the former Soviet Union, and a year setting up a commercially based risk analysis centre. She is a trustee of Centre of the Cell and a trustee of the Responsible Nano Forum. In 2009 she became a commissioner for the UK Drugs Policy Commission. She sits on the Outreach Committee of the Royal College of Pathologists and in 2009 was made a Friend of the College. At TAM London 2010 Tracey will be hosting a panel on Skepticism and the Law.
Karen James – Presentation
Karen James is a post-doctoral research assistant in the Department of Botany of the Natural History Museum, working on the development of a DNA-based identification system for plant species. She also coordinated the museum’s Darwin bicentenary science campaign including a survey of the museum’s Darwin specimens and a Galapagos mockingbird conservation genetics project. She is the director of science for The HMS Beagle Trust which aims to build a modern seafaring version of HMS Beagle for scientific research, public engagement and learning. At TAM London 2010 Karen will be giving a short presentation about the Beagle project.
Despite their ‘Amateur’ moniker, Dr Adam Kay and Dr Suman Biswas are fully qualified. They describe themselves as “two doctors singing smutty songs at a piano”. Best known for YouTube hit London Underground, their more medically-themed shows such as In Theatre have taken them everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe to Glastonbury.