The Welsh actor has made some of the most articulate interventions in political debates of the past years. Now returned home from Hollywood to Port Talbot, he talks about culture and society and the humane vision and tradition that Bevan inspires. Chaired by Phil George.
How could what we know about the brain influence how we learn and teach? What are the challenges and opportunities?
We have a lifetime’s association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. The doctor takes us on a journey through health and illness, offering insights on everything from the ribbed surface of the brain to the secret workings of the heart and the womb; from the pulse of life at the wrist to the unique engineering of the foot. If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: the explorer and author of Empire Antarctica leads the reader on an adventure through what it means to be human.
It’s 100 years since drugs were first banned, and drug use and drug crime have continued to grow steadily across the world. What are people addicted to? Are any of the policies adopted around the world based on scientific data? Are any of them working? Hari is the author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War Against Drugs; Hitchens is the author of The War We Never Fought. Chaired by Hernando Alvarez, editor of BBC Mundo.
The comedian, writer, performer and mental health campaigner suffered bouts of depression throughout her life. She completed her Masters in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy at Oxford in 2012. She explores how we sabotage our sanity, how our brains work and how we can rewire our thinking – often through simple mindfulness techniques – to find calm in a frenetic world.
The writer, producer and one of the stars of the television adaptation of Jennifer Worth’s East End nursing memoir share the pleasures of working on the stories.
Is the welfare generation a myth? What can our economy gain from an older workforce, and how can our politicians and policy makers harness the potential in an ageing population?
The author of The Compatibility Gene introduces the revolutionary new science of the immune system with its breakthrough medical cures. He discusses how stress, sleep and ageing affect our health. “As David Attenborough opens our goggling eyes to the natural world without, so Daniel Davis brings us face to face with the stunningly clever and, yes, beautiful world within” – Stephen Fry. Davis is Professor of Immunology at the University of Manchester.
Chaired by the Adam Rutherford, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Inside Science.
Alzheimer’s and Other Plagues
Plagues have changed history, stopped armies in their tracks and altered the fate of nations. Mary and Christopher Dobson outline the impact of plagues on human history and reflect on related challenges that will be faced by future generations. Their talk ranges from the plagues of antiquity and the medieval period to the recent pandemic of HIV/AIDS and includes discussion of the increasingly prevalent afflictions of ageing and affluent societies, including dementia and diabetes.
In October 2011 James Cracknell, two-time Olympic gold-medal rower and one of the greatest endurance athletes the world has ever known, suffered a seizure at home as his young son looked on in horror. A man who had known no limits, a man who had practically achieved the impossible, was now struggling to master life’s simple challenges.
A year earlier, as James undertook yet another endurance challenge in Arizona, he was knocked off his bike by the wing mirror of a petrol tanker. It had smashed into the back of his head at high speed, causing severe frontal lobe damage. The doctors weren’t sure if he would recover and, if he did, whether he would ever be the same again.
Touching Distance is an extraordinary, honest and powerful account as James and his wife Bev confront for the first time the lasting effects that the accident has had on their lives. It is the story of a marriage, of a family and of one man’s fight back to be the best husband and father he can be.
The psychologist looks at trauma in relation specifically to refugees in conflict zones. As consultant to the UN he has worked with refugees and other survivors of political violence in many countries. Fantlova is a Holocaust survivor and author of The Tin Ring: How I Cheated Death. Hamilton is Chair of Lapidus UK.
The star, screenwriter and producer of the television drama discuss the stories and period of Jennifer Worth’s best-selling books with Virginia Nicholson.
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is both of these things and more,; and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. The winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize talks about his research and investigations. Chaired by Stuart Proffitt.
An introduction to families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, Solomon documents repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.
The Professor of Neuroscience discusses the process of normal decision-making – our strategies, biases that affect us and influential factors. She will describe the abnormal patterns found in patients with conditions such as severe depression, Alzheimer’s and accidental brain damage. Examining how the brain can be manipulated to improve cognitive function in these patients, she will consider the use and the ethical questions of ‘smart drugs’.
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.
The consultant psychiatrist to Liverpool FC, Sky ProCycling, Ronnie O’Sullivan and the England football team introduces The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness. Chaired by Martin Chilton.
Are you willing to venture into the depths of your brain? Dr Critchlow will shock your senses, read your mind and explore how current neuroscience is shaping how we see our lives. Suitable for intrepid adventurers of all ages.
Love Bombing is the psychologist’s very simple technique, which helps most children from three years to early teenage. Because so many parents have periods of living very busy or miserable or complicated lives, most of us need to reconnect with our children from time to time. Love Bombing does the job. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
There has been an explosion of interest in stem cells within the scientific and medical communities and also among politicians, pharmaceutical companies, ethicists and religious groups. They may have great potential to treat diseases that cannot be cured with current medicines. But how realistic are those expectations? Chaired by Brenda Maddox.
How will health improvements and a declining birth rate, economic uncertainty and political turbulence affect an ageing population in Britain and around the world? There are new challenges here for states and for individuals. How might we re-imagine lives that run four score years and ten, and longer? Harper is Professor of Gerontology at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing. She is the author of How Population Change will Transform Our World. On 1 May she will be become the Director of The Royal Institution. Chaired by Guto Harri.