Weds 17th May | Falsehoods and Fallacies – Framing COVID-19 in the misinformation pandemic

In a change* to the scheduled event, on Wednesday 17th May 2023 Richard Marshall (PubSci host), will give a talk on critical thinking and data representation in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be followed by a group discussion of insights arising from the pandemic, chaired by Kate Viscardi and Mike Lucibella.

London Antivaxx Protest (Irish Times) edited

Communicating complex ideas is a never-ending challenge for science and medicine, and getting it right can mean the difference between life and death. This is especially true when special interest groups run campaigns of confusion, obfuscation and misinformation – whether sincerely, naively, or maliciously – such as we witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of course it’s perfectly valid to challenge a received narrative by interrogating what we’re told by official sources – something that science communication should not only rise to meet but actively welcome and embrace – but when dishonest tactics are employed to mislead the public, we need a mental toolkit to help us spot fallacies and sort the legitimate challenges from the logical heffalump traps.

In this talk, Richard will explore some of the tricks used to confuse the unwary, and dip into the mental processes that make us all vulnerable to them, as well as exploring a couple of real life examples from the pandemic misinformation playbook.

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Richard Marshall has been programming and hosting PubSci since 2017. After studying Engineering at The University of Surrey, he worked in photography and journalism before returning to STEM to lecture in the Schools of Engineering and Maths at London South Bank University. He has run events since 1992 and is now a freelance science communicator, bringing the joy of science into primary schools as well as doing science-based standup.

Kate Viscardi has been involved with PubSci since its inception in 2011. Before retiring she was, for many years, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering at London South Bank University and the School Lead for Higher Apprenticeships. Kate previously headed the Women in Engineering Centre, and in 1989 she appeared on a BBC Tomorrow’s World Christmas Special as an expert panelist alongside Douglas Adams.

Mike Lucibella is a science communicator based in the Press and Media office at University College, London. He spent several years with the United States Antarctic Programme where he edited its newspaper, the Antactic Sun, as well as photographing the Earth’s sixth continent. He regularly gives talks on Antactica and its importance to our understanding of climate change. When not holding a microphone, camera or telephone, Mike can often be found with a geological hammer, hunting fossils.

* The speaker originally programmed for tonight, Dr Michael Byford, has had to pull out for health reasons. We apologise to those who were looking forward to Michael’s talk, and we wish Michael a speedy recovery.


Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. The Old King’s Head has a happy hour before 7pm, and the kitchen serves excellent pub grub.

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Please support PubSci.

There is no charge for attending PubSci talks, but we have a whip-round to cover expenses. Because so few of us carry cash these days, you can contribute digitally too. Please help PubSci continue to put on events.

We aim to keep PubSci accessible for all, although it is unsuitable for under 18s as we meet in the function room of  a pub. Regrettably, there is no wheelchair access. 

Please check our Future Events page where you can also subscribe to our iCal feed. The Spring/Summer talks programme will also be announced at this event. You can find all our links on our LinkTree.


We used to meet on the first Wednesday of the month but PubSci is now on the third Wednesday.



The Old King’s Head (upstairs room)
King’s Head Yard
45-49 Borough High Street
London SE1 1NA

2 responses to “Weds 17th May | Falsehoods and Fallacies – Framing COVID-19 in the misinformation pandemic

  1. Pingback: 17th May | Notice of event change to “Dr Michael Byford: What We Learnt from the Pandemic (And What We Didn’t): | PubSci

  2. Pingback: Correction: Weds 17th May (not 19th) | Falsehoods and Fallacies | PubSci

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