Better Know a Notable Skeptic: 10 Questions for Rebecca Watson

With the success of the “better know a skeptic” series of articles, I decided to extend a little bit to “notable skeptics.” If there is someone you would like to see included, let me know via the forums.

Rebecca Watson is a co-host on The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, the founder of and runs Boston Skeptics.

In 2006, Rebecca released The Skepchick Calendar featuring pictures of skeptical women for every month. New calendars have been made in subsequent years, including Skepdude Calendars since 2007.

Watson was a guest speaker at the James Randi Educational Foundation’s The Amaz!ng Meeting 5.5 lecturing on the topic “How to Get Off Your Lazy Can and Do Something” and at TAM 5 presented a paper with the title “How to Be a C-List Internet Celebrity in Just 30 Days: Finding an Audience Online”.

In 2007 she entered a contest called Public Radio Talent Quest, and was one of winners. An outer main-belt asteroid discovered March 22, 2001 was named 153289 Rebeccawatson.


1) Briefly describe yourself. What do you do for a living, etc.
I’m a writer, currently living in Boston. In addition to being on the SGU, I run and the Boston Skeptics at

2) Why are you a “skeptic”? Was there a “wow” moment?

I got involved with the skeptical community via Penn & Teller and James Randi, people I admired when I was working as a magician and managing a magic store. I was interested in cons and hoaxes, and through them I learned that it was possible to help stop scam artists. There was no real singular “wow” moment, just a series of “aha” moments.

3) What are your hobbies/interests?

I have a lot of those, including but not limited to the guitar, flag football, cycling, poker, writing double dactyls, roller derby, and reading. I try to read a book per week, mostly nonfiction science. I’m planning to teach myself the piano.  I’ve already bought the digital piano and now just need the time and energy to practice.

4) What are you passionate about at the moment?

I’m a fairly (okay, very) passionate person, so I tend to throw myself at everything I do. So: all of the above, and then some.

5) Do you have a hero? Why him/her?
Not really. To me, a hero would be unassailable, which would make a sort of sacred cow. I have friends, and people with traits I admire, and people who inspire me to be better. All together, those people would be my hero, but they’re too numerous to list here.

6) If you could have dinner with 5 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
1. Tycho Brahe, because the man knew how to party. 2. Tycho Brahe’s little person, because I think they’re a bit of a matched set. 3. David Tennant, so I could use that time to convince him to marry me. 4. Richard Feynman, because someone will need to man the bongos. 5. Margery, aka Mina Crandon, the medium who was investigated by Houdini, because she was obviously very smart, funny, and I bet she’d have a great story to tell.

7) Do you have a favourite: album, musician, sports team, movie, TV show, book? (Feel free to list one, some, or all.)
album: 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields.

musician: Jeff Buckley.

sports team: Boston Red Sox.

movie: Rushmore.

tv show: Flight of the Conchords.

book: Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.

8) What grinds your gears?
I don’t understand if that’s good or bad! I suspect bad, so: willful ignorance annoys me quite a bit.

9) Tell me something I don’t know about you.
I have not had a shower today.

10) Why are we here?
Where else would we be?

07. April 2009 by Pat
Categories: Organization, Profiles | Comments Off on Better Know a Notable Skeptic: 10 Questions for Rebecca Watson