Science Festival Interview with Dr Caroline Watt
Dr Caroline Watt of the University's Koester Parapsychology Unit in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences invites an audience to delve into the mysteries of the paranormal at an interactive event.
Unbelievable: Science Explores the Paranormal takes place at 8pm on Thursday 7 April at the Red Lecture Theatre, Summerhall.
What can people coming along to your event expect to experience?
I hope they will experience an interesting and entertaining presentation with music, film clips, and a little audience participation to help illustrate the science of the paranormal.
What do you hope participants can get out of coming along?
They will learn about the challenges of testing psychic claims both in the real world and in the laboratory. They may even pick up a few tips on how to fake psychic abilities.
Do you hope to challenge the thinking of sceptics, or those who are already convinced about the paranormal?
What do you hope to get out of taking part?
I am staging the event to launch my new book called Parapsychology: A Beginner's Guide. So I hope the book will get some attention!
Why is contributing to the science festival important for researchers?
In the case of parapsychology, thanks to popular depictions, for example Ghostbusters, understandably the public has a few misconceptions about the field. I think it is important to take the chance to communicate with wider audiences about what parapsychologists do, and what they have found.
Why is it important that the University plays a role in the science festival?
It's a great opportunity to showcase local talent. However, re-packaged undergraduate lectures won't cut the mustard. If the University wants to support quality public engagement then researchers need the time to develop suitable material. It's not clear where this sits within the standard workload of research, teaching and administration.
Aside from science festivals, do you do any other public engagement?