There are many different versions of our creation story. Baggott tells the version according to modern science. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, he starts with the Big Bang and travels right up to the emergence of humans as conscious intelligent beings, 13.8 billion years later. Chaired by Dan Davis.
Over the past decade, we have sent thousands of people to fight on our behalf. But what happens when these soldiers come back home, having lost their friends and killed their enemies, having seen and done things that have no place in civilian life? Through wide-ranging interviews with former combatants, the war correspondent tells the story of our veterans’ journey from the frontline to the reality of return and asks: why do people who are trained to thrive within the theatre of war so often find themselves ill-prepared for peace? He talks to Jamie Hacker Hughes, the PTSD and trauma specialist, Visiting Professor of Military Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University.
Contributors to a ground-breaking new book, Roald Dahl: Wales of the Unexpected, discuss the vital presence of Wales in the work of ‘the world’s number one storyteller’. This is Dahl wonderfully defamiliarised in his centenary year through the lens of the country of his birth and early life.
Presented by The Welsh Academy
The impact of social media on society today is undeniable - sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin have millions and even billions of users. Nurse, an academic at Oxford's Department of Computer Science, considers the positive uses of social-media information, while also explaining the various security and privacy risks associated with having a digital footprint. Shedding light on what social media is, as well as how it works, he will show how to understand what you are telling the world when you join in with social media, and how to recognise good information from bad, as a reader.
From Henry III’s elephant at the Tower to George IV’s love affair with Britain’s first giraffe and Lady Castlereagh’s recalcitrant ostriches, Grigson’s tour through the centuries amounts to an impressively detailed history of exotic animals in Britain. On the way we encounter a host of fascinating and outlandish creatures, including the first peacocks and popinjays, Thomas More’s monkey and Lord Clive’s zebra, which refused to mate with a donkey until it was painted with stripes. It is also the story of all those who came into contact with them: the people who owned them, the merchants who bought and sold them, the seamen who carried them to our shores, the naturalists who wrote about them, the artists who painted them, the itinerant showmen who worked with them, and the collectors who collected them. Grigson is now an honorary professor at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Chaired by John Mitchinson.
Recent advances in space exploration imaging have allowed us now to see landscapes never before possible. Murdin shows some of the greatest views and vistas of Mars, Venus’s Titan, Io and more in their full glory. Towering cliffs, icy canyons: the scenery is out of this world; all captured with the latest technology by landing and roving vehicles or by very low-flying spacecraft. Murdin is Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge.
Discover the good, the bad and intriguing world of online dating and rural matchmaking with Farmer Wants a Wife presenter Catherine Gee. Duncan Cunningham is founder of The Dating Lab, which has launched dozens of dating sites including Country Living Magazine’s own country-loving.co.uk. After seeing tens of thousands of dating profiles he knows the difference between eye-catching and off-putting. Country Living columnist and author Imogen Green, has written extensively about her personal experience of rural romance and will share her highlights and low points. Followed by a drinks reception to chat to the speakers and meet like-minded country singletons. Who knows where it might lead?
New technology with the potential to reduce and mitigate our impact on the environment is emerging on every scale from the global to the domestic. Geo-engineering could counteract climate change by intervening in Earth’s natural systems, while new consumer technology offers greener cars and smarter homes. What are the latest ideas? And which technologies will be the most effective at securing a sustainable future? Mark Shorrock is the CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power. Davenport is CEO of Good Energy.
Thrilling new tales of espionage from two emerging stars of the genre. An unlikely hero dives into the chaotic madness of Russia and Georgia’s deadly covert conflict, in a rapid-fire tale of corporate espionage gone awry in Morgan Jones’ The Searcher. Will Flemyng, the hero of Naughtie’s Paris Spring, is an embassy man caught up in the évenements of April 1968. For 11 years Morgan Jones worked at the world’s largest business intelligence agency. He advised Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds and African mining companies. Naughtie presented the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 for 21 years, interrogating lots of the people Morgan Jones worked for. They talk to Georgina Godwin.
Sariolghalam is Professor of International Relations at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University and is one of Iran’s best-selling authors. For 26 years he has taught and conducted research on contemporary history and Iran’s relations with the outside world. His acknowledged skill has been to find ways to navigate Iran’s red lines in public discourse, and to avoid being targeted for being outspoken in print. The political establishment not only tolerated his writings, it has also been influenced by them. And Iran’s next generation views them as having helped to frame the 2015 nuclear agreement and expectations for the future.
One hundred years ago Einstein predicted the esoteric phenomena of gravitational waves. Last September they were directly detected for the first time, from the violent collision of two black holes. That event marked the beginning of a new chapter in our study of the cosmos. Cardiff University scientists heavily involved in the LIGO project (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) will discuss the experience of making this landmark observation, the incredible science and fascinating personal stories behind it, and what it means for the future of our understanding of the universe. The speakers are both based at the School of Physics and Astronomy. The event is chaired by their colleague Professor Haley Gomez.
We are locked in by our buildings, roads and homes, and the high, unsustainable energy use they depend on. Lindsay Mackie of the New Weather Institute; Howard Johns, author of The Energy Revolution and author Andrew Simms discuss how we can instigate the transformational change required to make our homes and cities viable in the future.
Why do zombies walk with their arms outstretched? How can newborn babies grip an adult finger tightly enough to dangle unsupported from it? From early tools to machinery, from fists to knives to guns, from papyrus to QWERTY to a swipeable screen; the history of civilisation is a history of what humans do with their hands. Mankind’s story is marked out by profound changes in how we use our hands; and it is also marked by underlying patterns that never change. And as much as the things we do with our hands reflect our psychological state, they can also change that state profoundly…The psychoanalyst is the author of Why do Women Write More Letters Than They Post? and Promises Lovers Make When It Gets Late. Chaired by Daisy Leitch.
Meet four producers who have identified a specialist market and are making farming pay. Will Chase re-invented himself from potato grower to purveyor of posh crisps, Tyrrell’s, then sold the company to form Williams Chase Distillery, making gin and vodka. Illtud Llyr Dunsford of Charcuterie Ltd is a seventh-generation farmer flying the flag for home-cured meats and reviving a taste for veal. Jane Scotter of Fern Verrow farms fruit and veg biodynamically, and Stephen Jones is growing quinoa, the new superfood previously chalking up thousands of food miles from South America. Chaired by Dan Saladino of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme.
Birmingham University Series
Film-makers are often attracted to Shakespeare’s plays with their vivid characters, exciting stories and scope for new takes on familiar subjects. But ever since the pictures started talking, the language has been a challenge both in quality and quantity; there isn’t the need for so much dialogue in a medium where showing trumps telling. Jackson has been text consultant for several feature films – including all of Kenneth Branagh’s versions of Shakespeare’s plays – and many stage productions. His books include Shakespeare and the English-speaking Cinema, Shakespeare Films in the Making, and The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film.
Three contributors to the new Logaston anthology charting the history of the Cathedral City recover stories from its past. Heather Hurley recounts the boatbuilding industry and the Wye river trade; archaeologist Nigel Baker introduces new discoveries about the Saxon period; Chris Pullin talks about Hereford as a C12th centre of learning with links to the Arab world. Chaired by Nicola Goodwin of BBC Hereford and Worcester.
Terrifying Tudor? No. Rotten Roman? No. It’s Martin Brown – the ever-popular illustrator of Horrible Histories. In Martin’s action-packed show full of jokes, drawing and fantastic facts, he will reveal secrets about illustrating the bestselling series and show why everyone can draw. With tons of activity and audience suggestions, all the family will enjoy this Horrible show.
The wildlife broadcaster and smallholder uses her journey with her sheepdog puppy Teg to frame her examination of this very special relationship. Written with warmth and love, and packed full of stories about rescue dogs, guide dogs, service dogs and medical dogs, this event is a joy for anyone with a four-legged friend. In conversation with host of The News Quiz, Miles Jupp.
Most stories we hear about the army relate to the service of men. But one hundred years on from the formation of women’s units, front-line combat roles are made available to female soldiers. Join the National Army Museum with project partners artist Carol Adlam and writer Helen Cross, as they discuss the forgotten voices of women in the army, and how a new graphic anthology, made with female soldiers, will bring their stories to life.
What makes us human? We all start off as a single fertilised egg, but within nine months the newborn brain has more than 100 billion cells and has made over 100 trillion connections. How is our perception of the world already pre-programmed in the womb? This illustrated talk looks at key moments in brain development in order to understand what it is that makes us human. Dr Topun Austin is a Consultant Neonatologist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Dean of Hereford Cathedral explores the history and present-day significance of the shrines to the saints that can be found in many cathedrals and abbeys, and in pilgrimage destinations. He traces their importance in the UK’s spiritual life from medieval times and considers how people and church buildings were influenced by shrines in their midst. He recounts their destruction during the Reformation and what was happening during the hidden years before the tide turned in both Anglican and Catholic churches in C19th.