BAHFest London 2023
BAHFest is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect scientific theory. Our brave speakers present their bad theories in front of a live audience and a panel of judges with real science credentials, who together determine who takes home the coveted BAHFest trophy. And eternal glory, of course.
We’re back! After a 4 year COVID-induced hiatus, we’re back at Imperial College London. Join us in the Great Hall in the Sherfield Building on Saturday, November 18th, 2023. Tickets available here.
BAHFest London has once again partnered this year with the Ig Nobels, and in between shows there will be an author Q&A with featuring Helen Arney, Kat Arney, Boulet, Lindsay Fitzharris, Matt Parker and Zach Weinersmith.
Host and Keynote
Matt Parker is a stand-up comedian and mathematician. He appears regularly on TV and online: as well as being a presenter on the Discovery Channel his YouTube videos have been viewed over 37 million times. Previously a high-school math teacher, Matt visits schools to talk to students about math as part of Think Maths and he is involved in the Maths Inspiration shows. In his remaining free time, Matt wrote the books Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension and Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors. He is also the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.
Our KEYNOTE Michael Anderson is a free speech lawyer from Boston who got an A minus in high school biology. He is a two-time winner of the BAHFest. He believes it’s easier to fake the science than to fake the comedy.
Stephen Bush is an associate editor at the Financial Times, where he writes the Inside Politics newsletter. He has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, and was political editor of the New Statesman. He started his career as assistant to the chief political commentator at the Telegraph.
Michele Dougherty is Professor of Space Physics at and Head of the Physics Department at Imperial College London. She is leading unmanned exploratory missions to Saturn and Jupiter and was the Principal Investigator for both the magnetometer instrument onboard the Cassini mission to Saturn, and the magnetometer for the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) due for launch in June 2022. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Geophysics Gold medal in 2017, was awarded a CBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List, and was awarded the Institute of Physics Richard Glazebrook Gold Medal and Prize.
Tracy King is a writer, producer and science communicator. She is known for her viral animation ‘Tim Minchin’s Storm’ and graphic novel of the same name, and has worked with major scientists and organisations including Royal Institution and Imperial College. She has written for Guardian, New Statesman, The New European among others, and her memoir, Learning To Think, will be published by Doubleday in March 2024.
Minna Lyons is a Reader in Forensic Psychology, currently working at Liverpool John Moores University. Minna uses her cat Axel as an inspiration for perfect selfies, and a participant in studies investigating psychopathy in domestic cats. As well as cats, she has also researched psychopathic night owls, receiving the IgNobel prize for psychology in 2014.
Dr Kat Arney is an award-winning science writer, broadcaster and public speaker. She is the author of the popular science books Herding Hemingway’s Cats, How to Code a Human and Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution and the Science of Life. Kat holds a degree in natural sciences and a PhD in developmental genetics from Cambridge University, and has spent two decades working in science communication. Today, she is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of First Create The Media – a communications strategy and content agency for the life sciences. Kat also presents the Genetics Unzipped podcast and has fronted several BBC Radio 4 science series including Ingenious, looking at the stories behind our genes, Bug In The System: The past, present and future of cancer, and Did the Victorians Ruin The World? together with her sister Helen.
Ed Bilson is a chartered engineer whose previous experience in materials science, public transportation and satellite technology leave him uniquely placed to bore people at parties. He’s worked internationally on derailments (not his fault), watching paint dry (not his fault) and digging trains out of snow drifts (weirdly, that was all down to him). His work on rolling stock structural repairs has been described as ‘slapdash’ and ‘deeply concerning under the circumstances’. He is easily bribed with sandwiches and beer, and is definitely more scared of you than you are of him.
Jack McMinn is a PhD student at the University of Oxford and the Natural History Museum London. He studies mammal biogeography, and in his free time, does comedy and plays piano.
Since the abrupt and tragic postponement of BAHFest 2020 while still a 3rd-year Imperial undergraduate, Jack has somewhat strayed from his scientific roots. After completing his MSci in Chemistry, he pivoted into a Cyber Security MSc, and now works on emerging technology policy in the Civil Service. Fear not though, as experience in government can surely only be beneficial for a person’s ability to produce bad hypotheses! Alongside lots of student debt and a keenness for rowing, an interest in science has persisted since Imperial.
Dan Shaw is a civil servant who has picked up degrees in International Relations, Leadership and Management and Maths and Physics over the years, and is currently studying part time for postgraduate degrees in Systems Engineering and Space Science. He has been accused of being a polymath, but he maintains that in order to be a polymath you need to be halfway competent at at least some of the things.
The views expressed in his talk do not necessarily reflect those of the civil service, the Open or Cranfield universities, or his own views.
Esther Redhouse White
Esther is a science communicator living in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has a degree in biochemistry, and has previously worked in molecular biology laboratories, a railway museum, and a haunted house. She believes in learning by making mistakes, mostly because that implies that she’s learnt a lot of things.
Lloyd James is a former plasma physicist and future lawyer. He recently completed his PhD at Imperial, studying dust contaminants in fusion reactors. He has since changed jurisdiction, abandoning the laws of the Universe in favour of the laws of England and Wales. He is studying for a legal qualification before training as a solicitor in London.
Lloyd helped bring BAHFest to London for the first time in 2016, and has since led on local organisation of the show. He is the proud judge, jury and presenter of BAHFest’s Lloyd James Prize for Best Use of Graphs, Charts and Figures.
Kelly & Zach Weinersmith
The Weinersmiths, a wife-and-husband research team, cowrote the New York Times bestselling popular science book Soonish, a Wall Street Journal and Popular Science book of the year. Dr. Kelly Weinersmith is an adjunct faculty member in the biosciences department at Rice University. Her research has been featured in The Atlantic, National Geographic, BBC World, Science, and Nature. Zach Weinersmith makes the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. He illustrated the New York Times bestselling Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration, and his work has been featured in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Forbes, Science Friday, Foreign Policy, PBS, and elsewhere. The Weinersmiths live on an old farm in Virginia with their two children.
Their new book, A City on Mars, comes out in November 2023.