We were deeply saddened today to learn of the death of James Randi at the age of 92. Randi was a man of many talents and while he was best known in his younger years as a magician and escapologist, for most of his life he has been a renowned skeptic, challenging charlatans and alternative medicine practitioners who spent their days scamming vulnerable people.
We were privileged to host Randi at an event in October 2004 in conjunction with the RDS and the Irish Times. He spoke to the topic of Science and pseudoscience in the new millennium. At 76 he held the audience spell bound for almost three hours, punctuating his comments with demonstrations of magic and vintage film of his early escapades.
After the event, we adjourned to the coffee dock in the Burlington Hotel. He was hungry and really needed a burger! Over the course of his meal he mesmerised us and the delighted staff with some amazing close up magic. He was great fun and fizzing with energy.
Randi was a hugely concerned and dedicated man who hated to see people taken advantage of. He spent his life in the promotion of science, critical thinking and in encouraging others to challenge extraordinary claims and callous duplicity. He inspired us all and will be sorely missed.