What is the role of black holes in the universe? Reynolds is Plumian Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University and an expert in the astrophysics of black holes. He will outline what light the latest research throws on one of the biggest questions in our quest to understand our universe.
The UK’s first black Cabinet minister discusses how books have influenced him. From reading donated books in sub-Saharan Africa’s first children’s library to working for the development of Africa at government level, Lord Boateng will share his unique perspective on how books can shape people, communities and countries’ futures. Chaired by bibliophile and actor, star of Bridget Jones, Drop the Dead Donkey and Between the Lines Neil Pearson.
Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Our vision is a world where everyone has access to the books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.
Almost seventy-five years have passed since D-Day, the day of the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance on that chill June morning. If Allied forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in northern France, the road to victory would be open. But if the Allies could be driven back into the sea, the invasion would be stalled for years, perhaps forever. An epic battle involved 156,000 men, 7,000 ships and 20,000 armoured vehicles. The desperate struggle that unfolded on 6 June 1944 was, above all, a story of individual heroics – of men who were driven to keep fighting until the German defences were smashed and the precarious beachheads secured. Their authentic human story – Allied, German, French – has never fully been told until now.
The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride twenty-five horses across a distance of 1,000 km. In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.
The historian shows how liberal democracy, and Western history with it, was profoundly reimagined when the post-war Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, Kohl. The late 20th-century heyday they oversaw carried the Western democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War and into the economic boom of the 1990s. But equally it led them into the fiasco of Iraq, to the high drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8, and ultimately to the anti-liberal surge of our own times. The present crisis of liberalism enjoins us to revisit these times with close attention. The era we have all been living through is closing out; democracy is turning on its axis once again. Chaired by Peter Florence.
The pre-eminent primatologist offers a whirlwind tour of new ideas and findings about animal emotions, based on his renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees and bonobos. De Waal discusses facial expressions, animal sentience and consciousness, the emotional side of human politics, and the illusion of free will. He distinguishes between emotions and feelings, all the while emphasising the continuity between our species and other species. And he makes the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we haven’t a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same is true for our emotions. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
A conversation with the dynamic poet, broadcaster and teacher, whose latest books include Worker’s Tales, Reading and Rebellion, and his memoir So They Call You Pisher! Chaired by Peter Florence.
“Sensations presents a radically new story of British art. It connects the artists of today with British culture more than three hundred years ago as it finds an unexpected thread that links William Hogarth and Tracey Emin, Thomas Gainsborough and Lucian Freud. What they share is an eye for the real world. I hope this book will change how you see Britain, and its art” – Jonathan Jones.