We own radiation-emitting phones, regularly get diagnostic x-rays, and submit to full-body security scans at airports. We worry and debate about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety of nuclear power plants. Jorgensen introduces key figures in the story of radiation, from Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays, and pioneering radioactivity researchers Marie and Pierre Curie, and Thomas Edison to the victims of the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Tracing the most important events in the evolution of radiation, Jorgensen explains exactly what it is, how it produces certain health consequences, and how we can protect ourselves from harm.
A conversation about our relationship with food: what we choose to eat, and how the world can feed itself today. Wilson’s book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat looks at how we form our tastes and diets. Fresco’s Hamburgers in Paradise explores macro questions of surplus and obesity, the productivity of agriculture and how best we can aim to feed 8 billion people around the world. Boycott is the Mayor of London’s Food Commissioner.
At a time when migrations and borders are again central to our politics and national identity, the archaeologist looks back in time, to the creation of what was then Europe’s largest earthwork, Offa’s Dyke. He examines the role of the Mercian kingdom as a European power, and the ways in which Alfred and the Saxon kings rewrote that history. Chaired by Jesse Norman, MP for South Herefordshire, through which Offa’s Dyke approaches Hay.
UN peacekeepers are bound, at the very least, to do no harm. But what happens when the peacekeepers bring untold suffering to those they are sent to protect? In 2010 a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers brought cholera into Haiti, a country where the disease had not existed for more than 100 years. More than 800,000 people have been infected and more than 9,000 have died. Yet no remedies have been made available to the victims, and the UN has relied on legal immunity to resist any claims being brought to court. Freedman and Lemay-Hebert are Senior Lecturers at Birmingham University’s Law School and International Development Department.
photo courtesy of Justin Griffiths-Williams
McMullan and Mair have carefully selected the nine most fascinating documents held by The National Archives relating to Shakespeare’s life. Presented together for the first time, these are some of the most significant documents in the world that track Shakespeare’s life as a citizen of London, a businessman, a family man, a servant to the King, and even possibly a thief and a subversive. They explore both his domestic and professional lives, what it meant to live in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, and the social impact of his plays. McMullan is also the editor of the new digital Norton edition of the complete plays.
Civil war has been a recurring feature of human societies throughout history, and an essential catalyst for major international conflict. Focusing on the numerous civil conflicts that have occurred throughout the world since the Second World War, Kissane asks what the recent social science literature adds to what we already know about civil war. The LSE professor uses insights from historical sources from the ancient Greeks onwards, to explain the extreme violent experience of so many parts of the world today. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
How will Earth’s climate respond to rising concentrations of carbon dioxide? Wolff uses records of the past, including those from Antarctic ice cores, to see how climate has responded to natural disturbances in the past. He is the Royal Society Research Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and one of the world’s leading experts on polar ice-cores and Palaeoclimate.
Harris’ new novel tells the story of a veteran Latin teacher in a Yorkshire Grammar school, facing all the changes of modern education and the disruption of reconnecting with a former pupil from his past. Chaired by Laura Powell, Features Commissioning Editor at the Daily Telegraph and author of The Unforgotten.
Learn about the art of cartooning and comic illustration from two top creators of characterful creatures. Northfield’s Julius Zebra is back with a new mad-cap adventure in Bundle with the Britons and Milway’s adventurous pig and his hamster sidekick return in Pigsticks and Harold and the Pirate Treasure.
Wells introduces his anthology of essays about the actors, playwrights and family members around the bard, throwing new light on Shakespeare’s wealth, his family and personal relationships, his working life and his social status. Wells is one the world’s greatest Shakespeare experts, editor of both the Penguin and OUP editions of his work, President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and author, most recently of Shakespeare, Sex and Love and Great Shakespeare Actors. He is joined by the great novelist and essayist, Margaret Drabble, who started her working life as an actress at the RSC, and is a contributor to Wells’ new book, The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography.
The acclaimed environmentalist and campaigner, author of What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? charts the dramatic explosion of human population and consumption and its impact on climate change and our planet. He offers rigorous and clear analysis, and a fresh perspective on what we might do next.
It was only a coincidence that the NHS and the Empire Windrush, a ship carrying 492 migrants from Britain’s West Indian colonies, arrived together. On 22 June 1948, as the ship’s passengers disembarked, frantic preparations were already underway for 5 July, the Appointed Day when the nation’s new National Health Service would first open its doors. The relationship between immigration and the NHS rapidly attained, and has enduringly retained, huge political and cultural significance. The Warwick University historian interrogates and re-balances the political history of Britain’s response to immigration. Her current Wellcome Trust-funded work develops a People’s Encyclopaedia of the NHS and a Virtual Museum of the NHS. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
The author was terrified of beetles until she started to write Beetle Boy, when she discovered that they support the eco-system of the whole planet. As a result, she created Baxter the rhinoceros beetle, side-kick to Darkus, who needs all the help he can get to find his missing father, in this funny and heart-warming story. Dr Sarah Beynon is an expert entomologist and head of Beynon's Bug Farm, with some very cool beetles.
The acclaimed historian shares his profound love of trees and reverence for nature, rooted in the family estate of Tullynally in Ireland. He travels to the Tibetan border in search of a particular magnolia, to Eastern Patagonia to see the last remaining giants of the Monkey Puzzle tree, while the first of the Chinese-inspired gardens at Tullynally was planted entirely with seeds from south-west China. An expedition to Tibet’s Tsangpo Gorge goes awry only to lead to a fruitful exploration of the Rongchu Valley, which yields more than 100 bags of seeds, including the Tibetan golden oak, the Tsangpo cypress and blue-stemmed maples.
In a digital society we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others, to work as they did in the C20th. The Oxford thinkers explain how “increasingly capable systems’, from tele-presence to artificial intelligence will bring fundamental change in the way that the practical expertise of specialists is made available in society. The authors argue that our current professions are antiquated, opaque and no longer affordable, and that the expertise of the best is enjoyed only by a few. In their place, they propose six new models for producing and distributing expertise in society. Chaired by Bronwen Maddox.
The Royal Literary Fund was set up in 1790 to help professional authors. Past beneficiaries have included Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, D H Lawrence and Dylan Thomas. Last year it helped 200 writers, though not all of them are quite so famous yet. In 1999 a Fellowship scheme was established to place writers in universities to help students with their writing skills. Since it began it has placed 450 writers in posts at 120 higher education institutions. The inaugural RLF Lecture at Hay is given by the pre-eminent biographer of Shelley and Coleridge, author of The Age of Wonder, Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer and Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer.
Small presents three trajectories of the Qur’an’s history that are featured in his book Qur’ans: Books of Divine Encounter. The first is the theological idea of the eternal word of God entering time and space as text, and the effect this idea has had on the decoration of the Qur’an. The second is the effect this theological idea has had on the uses of the Qur’an in recitation, medicine, and mediation with the unseen world. The third is how the Qur’an came to be in its present form with how it’s written and oral versions have always been inextricably intertwined. Small is a Manuscript Consultant to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
The way the body moves, feels, breathes, and engages with the world has been viewed very differently across times and cultures. For centuries, we were believed to be composed of souls that were part of the body and inseparable from it. Now we exist in our heads, and our bodies have become the vessels for that uncertain and elusive thing we call our true selves. The way we understand the material structure of the body has also changed radically over the centuries. From the bones to the skin, from the senses to the organs of sexual reproduction, every part of the body has an ever-changing history, dependent on time, culture, and place. Fay Bound Alberti is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow in History at Queen Mary University of London.
Calling all Roald Dahl fans, wordsmiths and wannabe writers! Don’t be biffsquiggled. Come and join our Word Wizards as they swashboggle their way through the wonderful writing of Roald Dahl. Through games and performance we’ll find how to gobblefunk with words and hear all about the amazing new Roald Dahl Dictionary.