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The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June - you can download a PDF of the programme here. We very much look forward to seeing you in May.
Click here to see a list of sold out events
Event 5 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Spowers is the Chief Engineer and Founder of Riversimple, whose goal is simple – to pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport. Spowers, Clancy and their team have created Rasa, a super-efficient, hydrogen-powered car. They are joined by Will Vaughan, CEO of Hereford Pedicabs and Cargo, who provide financially and environmentally sustainable services by bike – including parcel delivery, trade waste recycling, inner city advertising and pedicab hire.
Green-tech tinted glasses: how smarter agriculture can reduce farming’s footprint
Event 7 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Crop drones, precision pesticides, earthworm management, poultry software and GPS- directed tractors are just some of the new technologies that are revolutionising agriculture. The panel discusses agri-tech innovation helping farmers to become more efficient by using fewer resources. Browning is CEO of the Soil Association, Speller is an award-winning poultry farmer, Freestone a Linking Environment and Farming accredited farm manager.
Optimism and Success
Event 9 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Can delusional beliefs and distorted memories have redeeming features? Psychologists have consistently found that we are more optimistic than is warranted by the evidence. This form of ‘unrealistic optimism’ leads to mild distortions of reality but it has been shown to contribute to good mental health, motivation and productivity. Bortolotti is Professor of Philosophy at University of Birmingham.
The Solace of Quantum
Event 19 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
What is the multiverse theory? What is Entanglement? Superposition? What is quantum computing, and how does it help? You don’t have to be a quantum physicist to understand these things if you have one who can explain them to you. And we have Linde Wester.
Could Viruses Be Good For You? - Cardiff University Series 1
Event 23 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
We all know that ’flu is bad for you. And Ebola. And Zika. Why on earth are there so many viruses that cause such terrible diseases? And what does current research teach us about the fascinating rabbit-hole that is the world of virology?
The Future is Girl-Led
Event 30 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of Stemettes – an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers. Come and meet one of the world’s most inspiring and brilliant mathematicians, co-founder of Outbox Incubator: the world’s first tech incubator for teenage girls.
The Rise of the Robots
Event 44 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The lead curator of the Science Museum’s blockbuster show explores this very human obsession to recreate ourselves, revealing the remarkable 500-year story of humanoid robots.
Life: A Dialogue
Event 62 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
How and why do we survive, and what makes us unique? A conversation between a novelist and a scientist exploring the worlds they inhabit in Doctorow’s superb new speculative fiction Walkaway and Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes.
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Event 74 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
What is it that helps both scorpions and cyclists to survive? What do raw eggs and gyroscopes have in common? And why does it matter? The physicist explores the patterns and connections that illustrate the grandest theories in the smallest everyday objects and experience, linking what makes popcorn pop to Antarctic winds, coffee stains to blood tests or ketchup bottles to aliens in space. Every thread you pull in the fabric of daily life shows you something new about the intricate patterns of our world.
Cambridge Series: The Building Blocks of the Universe
Event 79 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
According to our best theories of physics, the fundamental building blocks of matter are not particles, but continuous, fluid-like substances known as ‘quantum fields’. The professor of theoretical physics explains what we know about these fields, and how they fit into our understanding of the universe.
The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
Event 85 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton replays and updates his predecessor, Abraham Flexner’s classic 1939 treatise, which describes a great paradox of scientific research: the search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs.
Reformations 2: The Internet
Event 96 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The writer and tech-geek reimagines Tim Berners-Lee’s invention and asks how the mantra 'This is for Everyone' can play now in a digital sphere of social media, hacking and global connectivity. With BBC Click's Spencer Kelly.
Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time
Event 99 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. The timetable arrives by steam train. A woman designs a 10-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister becomes stuck in the same four minutes for ever. Garfield offers a vivid and compelling exploration of the ways we have perceived, contained and saved time over the past 250 years. Chaired by Olivia Cole.
Event 117 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Join the superstar neuroscientist on a voyage of conscious discovery. A 1.5 kg brain tissue mass magically produces our individual view of the world, our myriad emotions, memories, associations and thoughts that make each of our lives unique. Why are neuroscientists only able to properly probe consciousness now? And what are we yet to discover? Come with an open mind...
Cambridge Series: Could and Should Robots Feel Pain?
Event 124 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence and robotics demonstrate that we are aiming towards creating something that is ‘human-like’ in various ways. What sort of experiences should these beings have? And what does the answer to that question tell us about ourselves? Anthropologist Dr Beth Singler is Research Associate on the Human Identity in an age of Nearly-Human Machines project at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. Chaired by Daniel Davis.
Pale Blue Dot: Our Setting on a Stage of Stars
Event 148 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
A little bit of perspective now, as we catch up with what’s been happening in the universe over the past 12 months – including the discovery of a new system in February ringed with seven Earth-like planets that suggest, more hopefully than ever before, the possibility of the prospect of life. Lord Rees is the Astronomer Royal and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge.
The Fragile Brain: The Strange, Hopeful Science of Dementia
Event 164 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Taylor presents the newest research into the cause and cure of the life-changing neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s and dementia. She focuses on insights arising from the relatively new field of neuro-immunology: the increasing recognition of the important role of the immune system in the brain. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Cambridge Series: The start of life – how far should science go?
Event 181 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz is a Professor of Mammalian Development and Stem Cell Biology. Her passion lies in understanding how cells decide their fate for the very first time and how embryos build their architecture. This passion allowed her and her team to reveal the remarkable self-organising properties of human embryos, pioneering the way for future studies of human and mouse embryogenesis. She created a technique that almost doubles the time scientists can culture human embryos in the lab so they can study the beginnings of human life. It raises ethical issues about research on embryos and when an embryo becomes a human.
A Journey Through An Expanding Universe
Event 206 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
A spectacular tour, from the solar system to the most distant objects that have been observed reveals the vastness of the Universe, which began with an explosion 13.7 billion years ago. Hamuy shows that the Universe is tremendously dynamic and in permanent evolution. The astronomer is from Chile, a country that has become the Earth’s window into space. He was part of the team that detected the acceleration of the universe and the existence of a new dark energy component in the 1990s. Chaired by Martin Rees.
Mapping Herefordshire’s Landscape
Event 214 • • Venue: Compass
In the 1830s, a number of geologists, who were essentially border squires and clergymen, shared their knowledge of fossils with Roderick Murchison, which led to the eventual designation of the ‘Silurian System’. This appreciation of the landscape and being able to ‘read the land’ was also the inspiration in the county for the Picturesque Movement’. Olver explains the origins of the rock types and the local landscape and discusses the importance of Herefordshire in the formative years of geological science.
The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers
Event 218 • • Venue: Tata Tent
Modern science has begun to understand sea birds: their epic voyages, their astonishing abilities to navigate for tens of thousands of miles on a featureless sea, their ability to smell their way towards fish and home. Only the poets in the past would have thought of seabirds as creatures riding the ripples and currents of the planet, though that is what the scientists are witnessing now, too. But a global tragedy is unfolding. The number of seabirds is in freefall: a 70% decline, a billion fewer now than there were in 1950.
The Greatest Story Ever Told...So Far
Event 219 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Krauss takes us on a tour of science and the brilliant personalities who shaped it, often against political and religious indoctrination, enduring persecution and ostracism. He explains our current understanding of nature and the struggle to construct, and then to understand the greatest theoretical edifice ever assembled: the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Krauss is the author of the classic A Universe From Nothing and The Physics of Star Trek.
Cambridge Series: Body, Brain and Behaviour
Event 221 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Once considered separate and independent, it is now clear that the there is an intimate, two-way connection between the two most complex body systems: the immune system and the brain. So our behaviour can affect inflammation in the body, and immune cells can alter our behaviour. Reverend Alasdair Coles, Professor of Neuroimmunology examines the implications. Chaired by Daniel Davis.
The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations
Event 242 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
For thousands of years the human heart remained the deepest of mysteries; both home to the soul and an organ too complex to touch, let alone operate on. Then, in the late 19th century, medics began going where no one had dared go before. Morris gives us a view over the surgeon’s shoulder, showing us the heart’s inner workings and failings. He describes both a human story and a history of risk-taking that has ultimately saved countless lives. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Murder and the Making of English CSI
Event 246 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Burney, author of Murder and the Making of English CSI, and Machin, creator of the BBC’s Waking the Dead, discuss the history of English crime scene investigation. They will consider how, in the first half of the twentieth century, homicide investigations – in fact and in fiction – turned their attention from a primarily medical and autopsy-based interest in the victim’s body to analysis of minute trace evidence discovered at the murder scene..