Some of the world’s foremost thinkers, writers and scientists will gather in Cambridge next week to mark 200 years since Charles Darwin’s birth with a festival in his honour.


The most eminent names from the sciences include Richard Dawkins and Lord Martin Rees, pictured, while Discworld author Terry Pratchett and poet Ruth Padel come from the arts to ensure the festival represents the widespread and continuing influence of Darwin.

Nobel prizewinners Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Rockefeller University and Harold Varmus will fly in from the United States to join a host of experts to explore Darwin’s continued legacy.

They will be joined by everything from string quartets to street dancers and opera singers to rappers for the festival celebrations in the city where Darwin was at university from 1828.

This year has seen all manner of events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the naturalist’s birth – but none can challenge the scope or ambition of this week-long celebration of the man and his legacy.

The festival runs from Sunday (5th) to Friday (10th) and different city venues will share the experience.

The week will also be a great opportunity for the public to explore and experience the importance of Darwin’s legacy.

Festival director Miranda Gomperts said: “Many events this year have celebrated Darwin’s 200th anniversary, but we believe the University of Cambridge’s Darwin Anniversary Festival is unique in demonstrating why Darwin’s theories continue to matter, and how they will continue to help us understand science, medicine, society and culture.

“And nowhere else this year will you find the breadth of expertise gathered in one place, at one time to debate and discuss these issues.”

In addition to lectures and discussions, participants can enjoy a range of exhibitions, shows and fringe events.

The festival is a key event in the year which sees the University of Cambridge mark its own 800th anniversary.

The festival at a glance:

Participants include: Richard Dawkins; Lord Martin Rees; Professor George Levine; Ian McEwan; Professor Steve Jones and Terry Pratchett.

Debates featured: Darwin’s Universal Impact; Society and Health; Human Nature and Belief; Darwin and Modern Science; What Does the Future Hold?

Visit the Festival website, link above, for details on tickets and times of events.

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