Barnaby Festival – Great Space Debate

You may have seen that there is a theme to this year’s Barnaby Festival – Space.

Our friends over at the Park Tavern are hosting a special event in association with Discussions at the Park.

The Great Space Debate, Wednesday 22 June at The Park Tavern, Macclesfield.

In a special Barnaby discussion, four circles address the theme of ‘Space’ to ask: Does good architecture raise your spirits? Should we tell aliens we exist? Do we get enough privacy? And, how do I know I’m not dreaming? A lively and thought provoking evening taking on thorny and philosophical issues. (Suitable for 16+).

More details here.

The overall Barnaby site is here.
Posted in News

Website address change

After several years of kind free hosting from Ivyparkmedia through a family connection to SciBar’s founding members, we will very shortly be moving the website to a new place.

The new url is

If you can never remember the new website address, you can find it an a search engine by typing: bollington scibar wordpress

Posted in News

Apologies – SciBar email account temporarily not working

We have not been able to send out the notification for the April SciBar by email, as the email account we use seems to be preventing anything other than one-to-one emails.

So it you didn’t receive an email, you are still on the list, but we are having technical difficulties.

Apologies that this probably means many of you will miss the April SciBar unless you happened to remember the ate from last month’s announcement.

Posted in News

Book mentioned during discussion at ‘A dignified death’ talk

Many thanks to Dr Debbie Alexander for an honest and moving discussion from a medical professional about life-limiting illness and end of life care. An audience member mentioned a book by Atul Gawande – had she read it? She certainly had – produced it from her bag – and both of them highly recommended it.

The book is Being Mortal: Medicine & What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande.

A note about sound – apologies to those who had difficulty hearing some of the discussion. We are looking into a different sort of mike. Watch this space.

Posted in News

Frogs at the Vale

We had a very well presented and informative talk from Matthew O’Donnell tonight, including the dramatic decline of tropical frogs caused by the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatis), why the first pregnancy tests using live African clawed frogs helped spread the fungus  and why there’s really no difference between frogs and toads. Matthew brought along some of the live specimens from the Vivarium where he works. These were – two (tiny) lemur leaf frogs (the critically endangered species he and his colleagues are working to conserve), a red-eyed tree frog and a splendid leaf frog (which was, err splendid). I said we would list Matthew’s suggestions for further reading. Do take a look at the Frog Blog and leave a comment there if you enjoyed his talk!

Posted in News

No SciBar in September this year

[EDIT – September SciBar is on! Click on the link above to see details]
Apologies, we have no speaker booked for September so although Monday 14 September would usually be a SciBar, we will be taking a break. Never fear though – plenty of fantastic talks coming up from October.October SciBar is going to be a real corker, hopefully with live frogs too!
See the list of forthcoming talks by clicking on Future SciBars in the menu bar.

Posted in News

A reminder no SciBar in August

We will be taking a break in August.

Posted in News

Bye bye Jon and Catherine, founder SciBar members

Very sad that Jon and Catherine have left Bollington for work reasons. They were both heavily involved in setting up SciBar in 2009, and keeping it going as well as contributing to science programmes at the 2009 and 2004 Bollington Festivals. I think Catherine sourced our (free) projector, and Jon as treasurer got us a grant so we could buy spare bulbs etc.
Jon says ‘Send my best to all in Bolly’, and he’s missing Lee’s beer already.
We’ll miss you both. Thank you for all your contributions.

Posted in News

QED 2015 – a science and skeptical conference in Manchester in April

We’ve been asked to put up details about QED – the science and skeptical conference which takes place in Manchester every year.
The event takes place on April 25th and 26th of 2015, costing £99 for the weekend (£69 for students and under 18s). They also have a crèche facility still available for booking, but crèche places must be booked before the end of January.

Here’s the details from the organisers. See also the weblink at the bottom.

QED 2015: featuring Lucie Green, Bruce Hood, Dame Sue Ion, AC Grayling and much more!

With QED 2015 less than 3 months away, we are delighted to announce the complete main stage line-up, featuring a range of international scientist and skeptical speakers:
Dr Lucie Green: a physicist and science broadcaster best known for her work on The Sky At Night and Stargazing Live, as well as regular appearances on BBC Radio 4. Photo by Mike Peel.

· Professor Bruce Hood: an experimental psychologist and author who has published extensively in the fields of superstition, supernatural belief and cognitive development.

· Dame Sue Ion: a leading figure in the UK’s nuclear industry and an internationally recognised expert on fuel recycling.

· Professor Marcel Dicke: whose book ‘The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet’ argues that the Western world undervalues the contribution insects could make to our lives… and to our nutrition.

· Dr Harriet Hall: a former US Air Force flight surgeon who now writes prolifically on the subject of pseudomedicine for the Science Based Medicine blog.

· AC Grayling: philosopher and writer of over 30 books, including “The Good Book”, “Ideas That Matter”, “Liberty in the Age of Terror” and “To Set Prometheus Free”.

· Ryan Bell: a former pastor of almost 20 years, Ryan experimented with giving up God for a year, discovering at the end of his project that he no longer had need for religion in his life.

· Jennifer Michael Hecht: writer, historian, poet and philosopher whose book ‘Doubt: A History’ explored the history of religious and philosophical doubt.

· Matt Dillahunty: host of The Atheist Experience TV show, former president of The Atheist Community of Austin, Texas, and prolific debater of religion apologetics

· Natalie Haynes: comedian and writer whose work encompasses lessons from history and humanist philosophy, Natalie’s appearance at QED 2013 was rated by many as their conference highlight.

· Michael Marshall: the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, coordinator of the 10:23 Campaign, Psychic Awareness Month and host of Be Reasonable podcast

· Rosie Waterhouse: a journalist and lecturer whose extensive twenty-four year investigation saw her researching the links between satanic abuse, false memories and moral panics.

· Mitch Benn: a musician, comedian and star of BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, who proved to be one of the highlights of QED 2013, and joins us for 2015 as our Master of Ceremonies

Every single ticket entitles the holder to entry the full programmes for Saturday 25th April and Sunday 26th April, including our popular Saturday night entertainment. To get your ticket to one of the highlights of the skeptical/humanist calendar, tickets costing £99 for the full weekend (£69 for students and under 18s),visit .

Posted in News

WEA Disley – wildlife events this spring

Disley WEA have sent us details of theur wildlife events, which include

Butterflies – Interactions with other species, with habitat and with climate change
Morning session – Why do ants get the blues? Afternoon session – The Derbyshire Brown Argus – an enigma.
David Tomlinson
Saturday 21 March 2015
Fee £15 including lunch, tea and coffee.
At Quaker Meeting House, Ring O’Bells Lane, Disley SK12 2AG

Wildlife Walks in Spring
Visits to interesting and varied public places where wildlife and nature can be seen, heard, felt, tasted or potentially seen. The visits will be informal and relaxed.

Walking boots/stout shoes and outdoor clothing will be required.
First meeting at Ring O’Bells on Thursday 26 March 2015 10am-12noon
Followed by walks on April 2, 16, 23 and 30th.
Fee for Wildlife Walks £43.40. or free to eligible learners.

For further details phone the Branch Secretary, Rosemary Broadhurst on 01625 877255
Or visit where online enrolment is available

Posted in News