Top TV Scientist Draws a Crowd at UCLan

George McGavin

Glen Carrigan, Masters by research student UCLan School of Psychology, palaeontologist Dr Robert Asher, associate lecturer in computer aided engineering at UCLan Matt Dickinson and Television presenter Dr George McGavin.Written by:

Rachel Atkinson, 09 June 2014, original article

The BBC’s Dr George McGavin was the headline speaker at a science event.

One of the country’s top entomologists drew a crowd at a public lecture at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Television presenter Dr George McGavin, who is a regular contributor to the BBC’s One Show, was the headline speaker at the Evening of Science and Reason.

He was joined at the free student led event by Dr Robert Asher and UCLan’s Matt Dickinson. All three talks were designed to highlight scientific discovery and ethical living in a modern world.

Dr McGavin, who has recently presented Monkey Planet for BBC1, gave a talk entitled Insects: Sex, violence and a cast of billions. Dr Asher, a palaeontologist specialising in mammals, presented Evolution, Reason, and Religion and Matt Dickinson talked about The Science of Superheroes.

Organiser Glen Carrigan, who is a Masters by Research Student in UCLan’s School of Psychology, said: “An Evening of Science and Reason was a huge success. With Matt Dickinson showing us how his fully functional iron man helmet worked, Dr Robert Asher weighing up his religious belief whilst being a palaeontologist and Dr George McGavin telling us how much sex insects have whilst he threw melons around the room, there truly was something for everyone.”

“I set up this project in order to stimulate scientific and ethical debate, and feel that this aim was definitely achieved. We hope to hold more events like this in the future and wish to thank all of our guests and fantastic volunteers for coming along.”

Volunteer Update: Chris Malburn & Jack Marcham from Liverpool & Lancaster University’s Atheist, Secularist & Humanist Societies

Chris Malburn

Chris Malburn

 Volunteer – Liverpool Humanists, Atheist Secularist and Humanist Student Societies

Course: Bsc (Hons) Architecture

I’m a student at the University of Liverpool, and have studied Engineering Foundation and part of an Architecture degree. I was one of the founding members of the University of Liverpool Humanists, and spent two largely successful years (I like to think!) as President following its reboot in 2012. I also joined the AHS’s volunteer team in 2012 as the Regional Development Officer for the North West region, with the job of giving a helping hand and advice to up-and-coming atheist, humanist and secular student societies and I’m now part of the team organising the AHS AGM, which will be held in Liverpool in July 2014. It shouldn’t be any surprise to find out that, while I don’t have a science background, I recognise the importance of the Humanist and Skeptic movements in spreading a message of rationalism, fairness and critical thinking, and I’m willing to my own little bit to help out! If you’re interested in getting involved by starting your own student society and don’t know where to start, give me a shout.



 Jack Marcham

Volunteer – President of Lancaster University Atheists, Non-believers and Agnostics Society

Course: BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

I am a 2nd year student at Lancaster University and one of the founders of the society. I am a huge fan of the scientific method and became primarily interested in biology after reading ‘The Selfish Gene’ by Richard Dawkins. This led me to his other great work ‘The God Delusion’. I also enjoy debating philosophy in the pub or discussing physics with my flatmate. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Blog Preston picks up An Evening of Science and Reason

Blog Preston have kindly picked up our event and advertised it on their website after a chance interview with PSR founder at Winkley Weekend. Thanks Blog Preston!

Poster 06.06.14 event George, Robert and Matt

“Three leading scientists will be speaking at Preston’s university in June.

Billed as an Evening of Science and Reason it sees BBC documentary maker and Oxford University scientist Dr George McGavin speak about the insect world.

His talk is titled Insects: Sex, violence and a cast of billions.

Dr Robert Asher speaks about Evolution, Reason and Religion.

Matt Dickinson is last up speaking about the Science of Superheroes. He is a lecturer in computing, engineering and physical sciences at UCLan.

The event is free to attend and takes place from 5pm until 9pm on Friday 6 June in the Darwin Lecture Theatre at UCLan.

You can register for the event via Eventbrite and find out more on the Science and Reason blog.”

Guest Speaker: Dr Robert Asher – Evolution, Reason, and Religion

Dr Robert Asher

Dr Robert Asher

Dr Robert Asher is a paleontologist specializing in mammals. Raised in western New York State, he is a former Curator of Mammals at the Berlin Natural History Museum and Frick Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History. Currently, he is the Curator of Vertebrates in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. Over the past two decades, his research in paleobiology has taken him to Argentina, Britain, Canada, Kenya, Madagascar, Mongolia, South Africa, Spain, the United States and Venezuela. His regularly publishes scientific articles in leading journals including PNAS, Science and Nature.

Dr. Asher is currently studying mammalian paleobiology, in particular the evolution and development of endemic African and South American mammals, and how extinct vertebrates fit alongside living ones on the Tree of Life.

Dr. Asher has recently become interested in the intersection of science and religion, and in 2012 published Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist (Cambridge University Press). He has an ongoing blog on the Huffington Post ( and has on occasion published reviews and essays on the subject in other venues such as The Times, Theology, and The Montreal Review.


“Evolution, Reason, and Religion”

Darwin Lecture Theatre, UCLan, Preston, UK, 6th June, 1700 – 2100 BOOK NOW