What really goes on in the long grass? Lewis-Stempel offers a hymn to pastoral beauty with an intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December. He records the passage of the seasons from cowslips in spring to the hay-making of summer and grazing in autumn, and the lives of the animals that inhabit the grass and the soil beneath: the badger clan, the fox family, the rabbit warren, the skylark brood and the curlew pair.
Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment about its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true and that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Penrose is one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists.
Aristotle was an extraordinary thinker, perhaps the greatest in history. Yet he was preoccupied by an ordinary question: how to be happy. His deepest belief was that we can all be happy in a meaningful, sustained way – and he led by example. Life deals the same challenges in ancient Greece or the modern world. Aristotle’s way is not to apply rules, it’s about engaging with the texture of existence, and striding purposefully towards a life well lived. Chaired by Charlotte Higgins.
Nature’s uses and abuses, physical, social and psychological, and one man’s quest to help save the world’s oldest and greatest tree specimens. One of Britiain’s best-known environmental campaigners joins New York Times journalist and author Jim Robbins.
The anthropologist takes a revealing look at the quirks, habits and foibles of the English people. Fox has deciphered yet more enigmatic behaviour codes, adding new rules, new subcultures, new chapters and over a hundred updates. She talks to Sarfraz Manzoor.
We are thrilled to launch the publication of the conclusion to the Ibis Trilogy with a rare interview with the novelist. It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war. One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Flood of Fire follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China’s devastating defeat, to Britain’s seizure of Hong Kong.
Photo: Jerry Bauer
Take a fresh look at Shakespeare with the Blue Peter Award-winning author as she gives action-packed retellings of Macbeth, Hamlet, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Romeo and Juliet.
University of Worcester Series
Our ability to treat bipolar disorder is hampered by the limits of our understanding of its causes. In conversation with Clare Dolman of Bipolar UK, The Professors of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry who lead the Bipolar Disorder Research Network explore the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. They consider factors that can lead to both mania and depression, and examines recent and future advances in the treatment of this mental illness.
It seems to be increasingly difficult to talk about sexism, equality and women’s rights in a modern society that perceives itself to have achieved gender equality. Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a collection of over 10,000 women’s daily experiences of gender inequality.
Thanks to a £35 million investment from Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge, Hannon’s and Bunch’s teams of scientists are forming international research collaborations to map tumours at a level of detail that has never previously been imaginable. Using cutting edge biology, chemistry and even astrophysics, they are tackling the challenge from two angles: Bunch is building a ‘Google Maps’ of cancer, whilst Professor Hannon’s use of virtual reality will allow scientists, doctors and patients to walk within tumours. These new perspectives could transform how we understand and treat all types of cancer. Cervantes-Watson is CRUK’s Director of Funding Innovation.
Assuming no previous linguistic knowledge or familiarity with Middle English, Horobin introduces us to the wonders of Chaucer’s language and the importance of reading him in the original, rather than modern translation.
Tom Keely has lost his bearings and cut himself off. He intends to keep it that way, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman from his past and her introverted young boy…The author of Cloud Street, Dirt Music and the memoir Land’s Edge launches a heart-stopping novel written with breathtaking tenderness. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.
In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, has a vision for a new kind of war: attacking the enemy where they least expect it – from behind their own lines. Despite the intense opposition of many in British High Command, Winston Churchill personally gives Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he can find. With unprecedented access to the SAS secret files, unseen footage and exclusive interviews with its founder members, the author of Operation Mincemeat, A Spy Amongst Friends and Agent Zigzag tells the remarkable early story of the Herefordshire Regiment.
Digital disruption and innovation are like any tools: capable of being used and abused. How are these technologies already influencing our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours and how do we ensure that these tools bring real and lasting benefits to society? Rahaf Harfoush is a digital anthropologist and best-selling author of The Decoded Company, and Yes We Did: An Insider’s Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand. Rahaf is the founder of Red Thread, a think-tank specialising in digital culture. She is currently working on her third book called Hustle and Float about the intersections of technology, contemporary work culture and a post-work society. Formerly, Rahaf was the Associate Director of the Technology Pioneer Programme at the World Economic Forum, and the Research Coordinator on Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. She was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Shaper, and by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society as a Rising Talent for her thought-leadership in the fields of digital culture and technology.
The popular philosopher from The School of Life believes that empathy – the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living.
The Booker Prize-winning author makes a rare public appearance to discuss his life and work with Sean Rocks, presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1.