The author of Broken Soup, The Ant Colony and Finding Violet Park which was awarded the Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction shares insights about her work and invites your questions.
For the 3,000 children in London’s Science Museum and the many thousands of others around the country, 15 December 2015 was a day filled with pride and excitement. Major Tim Peake’s successful International Space Station mission confirmed the UK as a Space-faring nation, and is inspiring a generation of young people. The Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic describes the challenges involved, the progress made and the potential benefits to life on earth as the company strives to create the world’s first commercial Space line.
Sagar is a performance poet in the Kannada language, the Keralan poet Thampi writes in Malayalam. They’ve created a multi-lingual performance translating and writing together with the Cymraeg (Dafydd) and English-language (Davies) poets from Wales.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. He explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all of his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, “the greatest man since the Deluge”. Wulf’s biography won the Costa Prize. Chaired by Professor Philip Davies.
Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively, free-thinking voices of antiquity. The A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge brings to life the fascinating ideas of Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; and Epicurus and his followers. He shows how the early Christians came to define themselves against atheism, and so suppress the philosophy of disbelief.
The geneticist, author of Creation: The Origin of Life/The Future of Life explains how the evolution of music is notably similar to biological evolution: sampling closely mimics synthetic biology, as wholesale pieces of other organisms are swapped to add functions and behaviours for our purposes. And now, as with the copyright issues that strangled creativity in hip-hop, patents in genetics act as crippling hindrances to scientific progress.
The new novel about modern family lives by the author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. “Jacob and Julia Bloch are about to be tested: By Jacob’s grandfather, who won’t go quietly into a retirement home. By the family reunion, that everyone is dreading. By their son’s heroic attempts to get expelled. And by the sexting affair that will rock their marriage…"
Following the drought of 2012, the community of Gumbi in rural Malawi decided they needed to diversify to protect their families from further famine and create a brighter future for their children. They decided that education was the key. Today, thanks to the support of the Gumbi Education Fund, Book Aid International and others, Gumbi has a small library, three villagers are qualified teachers, and three more are going to university. John Vidal, who covered the famine in the Guardian,and Patrick Kamzitu from Gumbi, will tell this inspiring story. They are joined by broadcaster and historian Bettany Hughes, a long-term supporter of the Gumbi Education Fund and Emma Taylor, Book Aid International’s Head of Communications.
Ever wondered how robots work, what they do and why we even have them? Join the Science Museum as they take you on an amazing interactive journey into the world of robots. Discover how we program them, how they’re engineered and which is better – robot technology or human biology. This exciting and engaging science show features incredible live robot demonstrations and experiments that will blow your circuits.
There are dramatic differences in health between countries and within countries. But this is not a simple matter of rich and poor. A poor man in Glasgow is rich compared to the average Indian, but the Glaswegian’s life expectancy is 8 years shorter. In all countries, people at relative social disadvantage suffer health disadvantage, and dramatically so. Within countries, the higher the social status of individuals, the better is their health. But globally these health inequalities defy usual explanations. Creating the conditions for people to lead flourishing lives, and thus empowering individuals and communities, is key to development. Datar reports for BBC World News.
Initiator of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage Mabel van Oranje reflects on lessons learned from two decades of fighting for human rights and development, what it means to make the impossible possible and how to create coalitions for lasting social change. Mabel has co-founded numerous peace foundations and is a member of the Dutch royal family.
The best-selling author’s teenage heroine, Hel, knows every feeling of adolescence. But as goddess of the Underworld, when she behaves badly she doesn’t just get sent to her room; she gets sent to rule over the dead for all eternity! Hel has powers that most teens can only dream of – but they come at a price.
The depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders and kings.
The Director of the Festival Cumbre Tajin at the spectacular pre-Hispanic Mexican world heritage site in Veracruz explains the culture of the Totonac people, their relationship with Cortez and the Aztecs, the elemental power of the thunder god and the relationship of the people and the sacred city, with its Mesoamerican pyramids and rituals.