Saturday, August 15, 2009

Heavy Mental + Science, Skepticism, and Magic

World-renowned magician and mentalist is coming to Washington, D.C. for two special events!

Saturday, October 24
AAAS Auditorium
1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC

Science, Magic & Skepticism: A Natural Relationship
(Daytime Lectures & Demonstrations)
1:00 - 5:30 PM

(Evening Performance)
7:30 pm
"Don't miss ASTONISHING magician Jamy Ian Swiss!" — Vanity Fair
"STUNNING!" New York Press "DAZZLING!"TimeOut NY
"Professional magician Jamy Ian Swiss, who describes himself as 'an honest liar,' is one CONFIRMED SKEPTIC with a finely tuned sense of the absurd." — The Washington Post
"You're freaking me out." — Matt Lauer, The TODAY Show

1:00-5:30 PM - Science, Magic, & Skepticism: A Natural Relationship
Workshop/Lectures and Demonstrations - AAAS Auditorium
Using discussion and demonstration, we'll explore the connection between magic and skepticism. Joining Jamy will be D.J. Grothe, magician, skeptic, and host of Point of Inquiry, CFI's radio show and podcast, and D.C.'s own Chip Denman, a founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics
  • D.J. Grothe, The History of Magic in Skepticism
  • Chip Denman, If the Spirit is Willing:
    Séance mediums and the scientists who investigated them
  • Jamy Ian Swiss: The Illusion of Psychic Powers
  • Q&A on Magic, Skepticism, Science, and Reason
    - with Swiss, Grothe, Denman.
7:30 PM - HEAVY MENTAL Show - AAAS Auditorium
Witness an amazing performance of baffling, unnerving, "mind reading" phenomena - accomplished with pure, psychology, subtle influence, deft illusion, uncanny intuition, and a healthy dose of downright deception - what Jamy calls "sleight of mind."
If there was such a thing as psychic power, it would have to look like this! Come and see for yourself how five ordinary senses can convince you that somehow, some way - there must be a sixth.
$35 ($30 for CFI and NCAS members and $15 for students)

$20 ($15 for CFI and NCAS members and $10 for students)
Workshop & Heavy Mental Show Package: $50 ($40 for CFI and NCAS members and $20 for students)
  • The HEAVY MENTAL show is not recommended for children under 12 and
    no one under 8 will be admitted.
  • This one-time performance will not be video recorded or repeated.
    Don't miss it.
These events are sponsored by the National Capital Area Skeptics and
the Center for Inquiry DC.

For more information, please call (202) 546-2332 or email

These events are sponsored by
National Capital Area Skeptics and Center for Inquiry DC

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cosmos in Your Pocket

Saturday October 10 1:30 pm - Public & Free

William T. Bridgman, Ph.D., Global Science & Technology, Greenbelt, MD

Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd., Bethesda, MD (map)
Near Bethesda metro (directions) (flyer)

Astronomy provides a laboratory for extreme physics, a window into environments at extremes of distance, temperature and density that often can't be reproduced in Earth laboratories, or at least not right away. A surprising amount of the science we understand today started out as solutions to problems in astronomy. Some of this science was key in the development of many technologies which we enjoy today. This talk describes some of these connections between astronomy and technology and their history.

Dr. Bridgman received his Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy from Clemson University in 1994, studying nuclear and high-energy astrophysics. After completing his doctorate, he worked as an instrument specialist for the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory. He currently works as a contractor doing data-based scientific visualization for NASA media and public outreach. Over the years, he became involved in refuting pseudo-scientific issues in astronomy, particularly Young-Earth creationism and more recently Electric Universe claims. He operates a website and blog, "Dealing with Creationism in Astronomy"

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

Saturday September 19 1:30 pm - Public & Free

Robert Park, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
University of Maryland

Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd., Bethesda, MD (map)
Near Bethesda metro (directions) (flyer)

From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, has superstition become pervasive in contemporary culture? Robert Park, the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, argues that it has. In Superstition, Park asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded. He takes on supernatural beliefs from religion and the afterlife to New Age spiritualism and faith-based medical claims. He examines recent controversies and concludes that science is the only way we have of understanding the world.

Park sides with the forces of reason in a world of continuing and, he fears, increasing superstition. Chapter by chapter, he explains how people too easily mistake pseudoscience for science. He discusses parapsychology, homeopathy, and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people's blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves.

Compelling and precise, Superstition takes no hostages in its quest to provoke. In shedding light on some very sensitive--and Park would say scientifically dubious--issues, the book is sure to spark discussion and controversy.

Robert L. Park is professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud.

Princeton University Press

Visit Bob Park's "What's New" Blog