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Department of Engineering

Cambridge celebrates 10th anniversary at Hay Festival

Cambridge celebrates 10th anniversary at Hay Festival

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cambridge Series at the Hay Festival, with academics from across disciplines speaking about their research.

We are proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cambridge Series this year. It is a fantastic way to share fascinating research from the University with the public.

Ariel Retik

Twenty-four academics from across the disciplines will take part in this year’s Cambridge Series of talks at the Hay Festival, one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the world.

The Series celebrates its 10th anniversary at the Festival in 2018. This year it features a range of speakers, with experts on everything from conspiracy theories, digital fakery and the history of islands to the future of MRI, human-like robots and how plants can think without a brain.

The Series is part of the University of Cambridge’s commitment to public engagement. The Festival runs from 24th May to 3rd June and is now open for bookings.

This year's line-up includes from the Arts and Humanities and Social Science: Hugo Drochon on conspiracy theories; Ella McPherson on digital fakery and human rights reporting; Professor Jaideep Prabhu on frugal innovation and how entrepreneurs are learning to do more - and better - with less; Sarah Nouwen on how international law addresses the tensions between the need for peace and the desire for justice in the aftermath of civil wars; Professor Diane Coyle on GDP and how countries can tell if we are getting richer or not; Sujit Sivasundaram on the history of islands and their impact on the modern world; Shruti Kapila on the origins of modern anti-terror legislation in India's struggle for independence and reverberations today; Lucy Delap on men and feminism; Dacia Viejo Rose on the politics of reconstructing cultural heritage; and Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett on the menace of monolingualism.

From the world of science speakers include Ferdia Gallagher on the future of MRI scans​; Professor Ottoline Leyser on how plants 'think' without a brain; and Hatice Gunes on how social robots can contribute to the public good. Lucy van de Wiel will speak about egg freezing and how reproductive technology is changing in the 21st century.

In addition, there will be discussions on automatic translation and on making art from science: Helena Sanson, Marcus Tomalin (Research Associate in the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the Department of Engineering) and Professor Bill Byrne (Professor of Information Engineering) will debate how automatic translation works and whether machines will ever be able to replace a ‘human’ translator while Professor Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins, artist-in-residence at the University's Psychology Department, will explore the subjective experience of thinking and the fundamental role that storytelling plays  in understanding our past and determining our futures. Their discussion will be based around “The Moustachio Quartet”, in particular “Eissenstrom”, the last in the series of novels published by Clive Wilkins, which deals specifically with memory and perception.

Several of the speakers have new books out - Helen Castor will talk about her new book, Elizabeth I: a study in insecurity, and will explore how England's iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity; Terri Apter's book, Passing Judgment: praise and blame in everyday life, shows how the way we praise and blame our children, our colleagues, our friends and our partners may sustain or break our relationships with them; and Cecilia Brassett, Emily Evans and Isla Fay will speak about their book, The Secret Language of Anatomy, which describes the fascinating origins of the words we use to describe our anatomy.

Charlie Gilderdale, NRICH Project Secondary Coordinator, will hold six interactive Thinking Mathematically workshops with Alison Eves of the Royal Institution. Also taking part in the Festival from the University of Cambridge are Professor Diane Reay from the Faculty of Education and neuroscientist Professor Ed Bullmore.

Peter Florence, director of the Hay Festival, said: "Cambridge University nurtures and challenges the world's greatest minds, and offers the deepest understanding of the most intractable problems and the most thrilling opportunities. Every Hay Festival week for the past 10 years they have brought that thinking to a field in Wales to share it with everyone. What a wonderful gift."

Ariel Retik, who oversees the Cambridge Series, said: “We are proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cambridge Series this year. It is a fantastic way to share fascinating research from the University with the public. The Hay Festival draws an international cross-section of people, from policy makers to prospective university students. We have found that Hay audiences are highly interested in the diversity of Cambridge speakers, and ask some great questions. We look forward to another wonderful series of speakers, with talks and debates covering so many areas of research and key ideas emerging from Cambridge, relevant to key issues faced globally today."

*To book tickets, click here. For the full line-up of the Cambridge Series and times, click here. Picture credit: Marsha Arnold.

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