Jones mixes cultural investigation, art appreciation and dental history in an ingenious and wonderfully entertaining account of how we only learned to really smile in Revolutionary France. Colin Jones is Professor of History at Queen Mary University of London. He talks to Rothschild, winner of the Wodehouse Prize and chair of the National Gallery.
A dazzling vision of the future. Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ‘ems’: scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer and you have a robot brain but recognisably human. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science and economics, Hanson uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems. Chaired by Daniel Davis.
Hawes takes a long view to ask: did the Germans destroy the culture of Rome or inherit it? Did Bismarck unify Germany or conquer it? Where are the roots of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich? Why did it lose? By what miracle did a better Germany arise from the rubble? Is Germany now the last Western bastion of industrial prosperity and rational politics? Or are the EU and the Euro merely window-dressing for a new German hegemony?
In our divided world, children need empathetic skills more than ever. The author explores empathy themes in an inspiring, interactive Empathy Lab workshop based on her new book. She will lead children through activities designed to help them discover and understand other people’s feelings and perspectives.
Autism and scientific talent are linked. Scientists have more autistic traits, mathematicians have higher rates of autism and people with autism score higher on ‘systemising’. So is autism a ‘disease’ or ‘disorder’ or is the framework of ‘neurodiversity’ a more humane and accurate lens through which to view autism?
The Wellcome Book Prize lecture aims to celebrate the place of medicine, science and the stories of illness in literature and culture, and how these stories add to our understanding of what it means to be human. Baron-Cohen is a judge of the 2017 prize and Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge.
This small country, tucked in the northwestern corner of the Horn of Africa, is a template for what is achievable on the continent. And it’s an antidote to the constant cycle of pessimism about Africa that dominates the Western thought on the current state of the continent. How did the country move from famine, poverty and war to a thriving and prosperous multi-party democracy? Harper is Africa Editor at the BBC World Service and author of Getting Somalia Wrong; Mire is a Swedish-Somali archaeologist.
Factories that forage, X-ray glasses that can see energy, why price is not value and lots of stupid stuff as well. The Director of Research in Industrial Sustainability explores how the industrial system is (slowly) changing and why free energy is ignored. He explains how to be an environmental optimist and how to love factories. Chaired by Jane Davidson.
Kalfar’s The Spaceman of Bohemia is an extraordinary vision of the endless human capacity to persist and risk everything in the name of love and home. Nors’ Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is a witty, gut wrenching, lyrical tale of one woman’s journey in search of herself when there’s no-one to ask for directions. The Danish novelist is longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. They talk to Rosie Goldsmith.
The Language Prof’s Hay lectures are legendary feats of erudition and humour. His latest book is Making Sense: The Glamorous Story of English Grammar.
You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till it’s Gone: Valuing the NHS
A toxic combination of anxiety, rhetoric and mechanistic solutions can lead to dangerous neglect of the human factors that require attention if the NHS is to survive and thrive as a safe, compassionate and effective service. Penny Campling and John Ballatt have decades of experience in senior roles in the NHS. They are the co-authors of Intelligent Kindness: reforming the culture of healthcare. Their work has been widely influential among clinicians, managers, policy makers and educators in healthcare.
The Elizabeth Bryan Foundation Trust is a charitable trust founded in memory of the eminent paediatrician Elizabeth Bryan, whose work with families with twins, or multiple births, brought together the best of skilled medical practice with a profound commitment to the wellbeing of her patients and their families. Their central focus is on the values she placed highest herself: compassion, empathy and intelligent kindness – not only between staff and patients but among the staff of the NHS, both clinical and non-clinical.
The award-winning investigative journalist takes aim at the official versions of UK history and the British establishment’s culture of secrecy. He examines key episodes – including the long denial of the existence of Bletchley Park, the time of talking to terrorists and the modern surveillance state and the convenient loopholes in the Freedom of Information Act.
The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015 came into full force in April 2016. It puts a legal responsibility on the Welsh public sector, including the Welsh Government, to consider sustainability in all of its actions. The potential for this to change the private sector too is huge but how much progress has been made during the first year of implementation? Environment Minister, Davidson was the original architect of this Act. Howe is the Commissioner currently responsible for delivery.
The TV and radio personality and teen ambassador discusses how magic and messed up life can be. Find out how she was inspired to write a book for young people to help them with all the big, bad and beautiful things that growing up is all about: from mental health to families to first love, and everything in between.
Thanks to a £35 million investment from Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge, Hannon’s and Bunch’s teams of scientists are forming international research collaborations to map tumours at a level of detail that has never previously been imaginable. Using cutting edge biology, chemistry and even astrophysics, they are tackling the challenge from two angles: Bunch is building a ‘Google Maps’ of cancer, whilst Professor Hannon’s use of virtual reality will allow scientists, doctors and patients to walk within tumours. These new perspectives could transform how we understand and treat all types of cancer. Cervantes-Watson is CRUK’s Director of Funding Innovation.
Jo Malone has created a globally renowned fragrance and beauty business and, more recently, her new brand Jo Loves. She talks about her incredible journey from modest beginnings as a teenager struggling with dyslexia and leaving school with no qualifications, to being diagnosed with breast cancer at 37 and becoming an international brand name and one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Reason, we are told, is what makes us human, the source of our knowledge and wisdom. But if reason is so useful, why didn’t it also evolve in other animals? If it is that reliable, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? Mercier’s provocative and brilliant suggestion is that reason helps us justify our beliefs and actions to others, convince them through argument and evaluate the justifications and arguments that they address to us.
From the Yangtze to the Yellow River, China is traversed by great waterways, which have defined its politics and ways of life for centuries. Water and irrigation have been so integral to China’s culture, economy, growth and development that it provides a window on the whole sweep of Chinese history. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
The inspirational teacher, Phil Forder, brings the two writers in residence and the Director of HM Parc Prison, Bridgend to discuss the literary programme he’s pioneered and our sister Festival there that’s now in its ninth year. They discuss the impact of education and empathy, literacy and literature, and offer a vision of a successful reformation of prison experience. They talk to Peter Florence.
Alex Rider is back. Join the author as he reveals what’s in store in the next chapter of his legendary character’s life as he is forced to leave his home in San Francisco and head back east. There are some old friends and old enemies and, above all, there is plenty of action, adrenaline and adventure.
Follow the adventures of Hip, a wise and cool hippo, and Hop, his excitable best friend. Hip and Hop are looking forward to the Blueberry Hill bike race. But will Hop have the courage to get back on his bike? He will need your help! Join the hip-hop artist and author for a storytelling session packed with awesome rhythms and rhymes.