Medicine

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Gavin Francis

Adventures in Human Being

Hay Festival 2015, 

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.

Gavin Francis

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Peter Hitchens and Johann Hari

A Rational Debate About Drugs

Hay Festival 2015, 

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.

Peter Hitchens and Johann Hari

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Jenny Agutter, Heidi Thomas, Pippa Harris

Call The Midwife

Hay Festival 2015, 

The star, screenwriter and producer of the television drama discuss the stories and period of Jennifer Worth’s best-selling books with Virginia Nicholson.

Jenny Agutter, Heidi Thomas, Pippa Harris

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David Nott talks to Rosie Boycott

War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line

Hay Festival 2019, 

For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria. He has also volunteered in areas blighted by natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. Driven by both the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.

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Bettany Hughes and Hannah Critchlow

The Raymond Williams Dialogue: The Ideas That Make Us

Hay Festival 2015, 

A classicist and a neuroscientist explore the Ancient Greek words Liberty, Comedy, Charisma, Xenia, Wisdom and Peace and travel both forwards and backwards in time, investigating how these ideas have been moulded by history and have made an impact on history and the human experience. Hughes is the author of Helen of Troy – Goddess, Whore and The Hemlock Cup. Critchlow is named as a British Council's Top 100 UK Scientist for her work in communication.

Bettany Hughes and Hannah Critchlow

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Andrew Solomon

The Wellcome Book Prize Lecture: Far From the Tree

Hay Festival 2015, 

The winner of the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize introduces his wise and compassionate book Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love. Ten years in the writing, it tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. Chaired by Hay Festival President Stephen Fry.

Andrew Solomon

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Steve Hilton talks to John Mitchinson

More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First

Hay Festival 2015, 

Humans don’t always behave as you expect them to. Sometimes their responses and actions are completely irrational – we don’t always make perfect decisions – but the model we base everything on is a rational one. Why? If we design our systems, our government, and all the products and services we use for perfect, rational people, is it any wonder they aren’t working? The Stanford academic and political advisor believes that change is possible and necessary: that we can create a more local, more accountable, more human way of living that will make us more productive, more fulfilled and ultimately happier.

Steve Hilton talks to John Mitchinson

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Usha Goswami

Cambridge University Series 1: Dyslexia and the Brain

Hay Festival 2015, 

How can neuroscience help us to understand the sensory processing differences that can give rise to learning difficulties like dyslexia? Goswami is Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience.

Usha Goswami

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Paul Dolan

Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life

Hay Festival 2019, 

Happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a variety of studies ranging over wellbeing, inequality and discrimination to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness. He shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting fulfilment. Some of these might involve not going into higher education, choosing not to marry, rewarding acts rooted in self-interest and caring a little less about living forever. By freeing ourselves from the myth of the perfect life, we might each find a life worth living. Chaired by Horatio Clare.

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Derek Smith

Cambridge University Series 10: Pandemic Research and the Ethics of Creating a Deadly Flu Strain

Hay Festival 2015, 

The 1918 global flu pandemic wiped out around 50 million people. In the last 300 years there have been around three flu pandemics every century. We must constantly be on alert for the next one. Global efforts, including those of Professor Derek Smith, to understand how pandemics are caused, will help us mitigate and even prevent future pandemics. However this work has the perverse downside of also generating new, potentially deadly, viruses in the laboratory. Professor Derek Smith will talk about the ethical issues this raises. Chaired by Dan Davis.

Derek Smith

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Jane Haynes, Martin Scurr and Kate Wood

Doctors Dissected

Hay Festival 2015, 

The authors of Doctors Dissected discuss what might be the most formative experiences, or rites of passage, on the journey to becoming a doctor. Psychotherapist Jane Haynes talks to two 'experienced' doctors, her co-author Martin Scurr and contributor Kate Wood, about these unforgettable moments in their lives. Personal, conversational and unpredictable, Doctors Dissected steals behind cultural issues into the heartlands of doctors who are drawn to a life in medicine, conducting an autopsy as to the consequences of choosing a profession in which the practitioner is constantly faced with lonely decisions that very often are a matter of life and death.

Jane Haynes, Martin Scurr and Kate Wood

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Christianne Glossop and Glyn Hewinson

Bovine TB: The Cattle, the Farmers, the Vets and the Badgers

Hay Festival 2015, 

BTB can be harmful to humans and is fatal for cattle. Managing a breakdown can be economically disastrous and extremely stressful for farmers. The campaign to eradicate bTB combines challenging diagnostic science, field-by-field biosecurity, veterinary monitoring and political will. Glossop is Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, and has made the implementation of a comprehensive TB eradication programme her highest priority. Hewinson is a globally respected scientist in the field of TB immunology and diagnostics, who worked on the collaborative project that led to the sequencing of the M Bovis genome. They talk to Peter Florence.

Christianne Glossop and Glyn Hewinson

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Martin Rees

Can the Next Generation Inherit a Better World? A Scientist’s Hopes and Fears

Hay Festival 2015, 

In 1902 HG Wells wrote ‘Humanity has come some way, and the distance we have travelled gives us some earnest of the way we have to go. All the past is but the beginning of a beginning; all that the human mind has accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.’ The astronomer boldly explores post-human evolution and offers a SWOT analysis of mankind’s short- and longer-term futures. He considers the risks of asteroid impact, climate change and, most worrying of all, the downsides of biotech, AI and other fast-advancing technologies. Chaired by Dan Davis.

Martin Rees

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Suzanne O’Sullivan

It’s All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness

Hay Festival 2015, 

A third of men and women visiting their GP have symptoms that are medically unexplained. In most, an emotional root is suspected and yet, when it comes to a diagnosis, this is the very last thing we want to hear, and the last thing doctors want to say. The consultant neurologist takes us on a journey through the very real world of psychosomatic illness.

Suzanne O’Sullivan

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Camila Batmanghelidjh, Helena Kennedy and Sue Berelowitz talk to Jon Snow

Why Does it Happen?

Hay Festival 2015, 

The sexual abuse of children by adult men is a global problem. It appears to happen in every sector of society and the exposure of paedophile rings is a daily news story. But why does it happen at all? Batmanghelidjh runs Kids Company, Kennedy is a human rights lawyer, Berelowitz is Chair, national inquiry into child sexual abuse linked to the family.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, Helena Kennedy and Sue Berelowitz talk to Jon Snow

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Michelle Moram, Clare Burrage and Debra Skene

The Royal Society Platform: The Next Big Thing

Hay Festival 2015, 

Every year the Next Big Thing session at Hay profiles some of the most extraordinary and visionary research work being adventured in the UK. From brain imaging to materials discovery, three Royal Society Research Fellows discuss their work in cutting edge science with broadcaster Claudia Hammond.

Michelle Moram, Clare Burrage and Debra Skene

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Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive

Hay Festival 2015, 

Aged 24, the writer’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how Haig came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. Chaired by John Mitchinson.

Matt Haig

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June Andrews

Dementia: The One-Stop Guide

Hay Festival 2015, 

Across the world, 44.4 million people live with dementia. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the dementia of parents, partners, siblings or friends. And as much of the world struggles with an aging population, dementia is set to become ever more of a challenge for societies and individuals. But still most people who are diagnosed, or who are dealing with the diagnosis of a loved one, feel as though they are alone. Professor Andrews, one of the most distinguished clinicians in the UK, aims to fill this gap, providing practical information and support for living with, or caring for, dementia.

June Andrews

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Rosie Harding

Dementia and Vulnerability

Hay Festival 2015, 

‘You can have a dog put to sleep but my mother had to go through hell.’ End of life issues are especially difficult for people with dementia and their family carers, as the person themself is often unable to make and communicate their views in a way that would be respected by our autonomy-centred healthcare decision-making frameworks. Drawing on empirical data from a socio-legal study funded by the British Academy, Professor Rosie Harding of the University of Birmingham explores the social, ethical and legal challenges of maximising dignity for those dying with, and of, dementia.

Rosie Harding

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Noel Fitzpatrick talks to Matt Stadlen

Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet

Hay Festival 2019, 

The Supervet recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.

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Carol Black

Cambridge University Series 5: Is Work Making Us Ill?

Hay Festival 2015, 

Do our workplaces promote health and well-being? And, if they did, what difference would it make? Dame Carol Black is an Expert Adviser to the Department of Health, the Chair of Nuffield Trust, the leading independent advisory body for healthcare policy in the UK, and the Principal of Newnham College. She was author of a 2008 report for the government on well-being at work.

Carol Black

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Luke Clements and Anne Cottringer

Cardiff University Series 4: Does Your Carer Take Sugar?

Hay Festival 2015, 

There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. There’ll be more soon as the demography changes. The Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Health and Social Care Law examines the reality of today and the implications for the future with film-maker Anne Cottringer.

Watch the YouTube video here

Luke Clements and Anne Cottringer

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Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet

Hay Festival 2019, 

The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

Matt Haig

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Phil Hammond

Staying Alive: How To Get the Best Out of the NHS – Advice From a Doctor

Hay Festival 2015, 

The NHS is our most treasured institution, but even caring doctors have too many patients and too little time, while patients often feel too overwhelmed, embarrassed, intimidated or ill to ask the right questions. Dr Hammond will show you how to get your GP to listen to you and take your symptoms seriously, how to get hold of your patient records so you can ensure they’re correct, how to get a second opinion and, most importantly, how to get better (and in turn help make the NHS better too).

Phil Hammond

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Diarmaid MacCulloch

The British Academy Platform: Sex and the West

Hay Festival 2015, 

As society becomes more liberal, the Churches often seem more entrenched. The Oxford historian explores how Western Christianity’s complex and often divisive ideas about sex, marriage and gender have their roots in a story that began 3,000 years ago. Chaired by Anita Anand.

Diarmaid MacCulloch