The author made plans to cycle the legendary Via Heraklea. It was an ancient path that took him deep into the world of the Celts: their gods, their art, and, most of all, their sophisticated knowledge of science. Gradually, a lost map revealed itself, of an empire constructed with precision and beauty across vast tracts of Europe. Oriented according to the movements of the Celtic sun god, the map had been forgotten for almost two millennia.
This year’s lecture is given by the editor of the best-selling and fabulous anthology Poems That Make Grown Men Cry. 100 men – distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theatre and human rights – confess to being moved to tears by poems that haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.
Growing up in 1970s Suffolk in a crumbling giant of a house with wild, tangled gardens, the celebrated jeweller was left to wreak havoc by invention. Without visible parental influence but with sisters to love him and brothers to fight for him, he made nature into his world. Creation became a compulsion, whether it was go-karts and guns, cross-bows and booby-traps, boats, bikes or scooters. And then it was jewellery. He talks to Georgina Godwin.
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.
The Iranian human rights lawyer and activist tells of her fight for reform inside Iran, and the devastating backlash she faced after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Having fought tirelessly for democracy, equality before the law and freedom of speech, Ebadi became a global voice of inspiration. Yet, inside her own country, her life has been plagued by surveillance, intimidation and violence
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.
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.