Night shot at Hay Festival

A host of Cambridge academics, including Nobel Laureate Sir John Gurdon, will be speaking on subjects ranging from stem cell technology and Alzheimer’s to the future of North Korea and the history of conspiracy theories at this year’s Hay Festival.

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

Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival

The Cambridge Series has been running for six years at the prestigious Festival and is part of the University’s commitment to public engagement. The Festival runs from 22nd May to 1st June and is now open for bookings.

This year's line-up includes Sir John Gurdon who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. He will talk about his pioneering work on cloning.

Other speakers include Dr Ha-Joon Chang on economics, classicist Professor Paul Cartledge on after Thermopylae, Dame Barbara Stocking, former chief executive of Oxfam GB and president of Murray Edwards College, on the challenges for women in the workplace, Professor Chris Dobson and Dr Mary Dobson on Alzheimer's and other plagues, economist Professor Noreena Hertz on smart thinking and Professor Robert Mair on tunnelling into the future of our cities.

Professor Richard Evans, president of Wolfson College, will talk about the history of conspiracy theories, Dr John Swenson-Wright from the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will ask if North Korea is the perennial crisis state and Dr Robin Hesketh from the Department of Biochemistry will attempt to demystify cancer.

Several of the talks will take the form of a conversation: Professor Simon Blackburn will debate the uses and abuses of self love with journalist Rosie Boycott; novelist and playwright Biyi Bandele, a former Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Churchill College, will be in conversation with Dr Malachi McIntosh from the Department of English about migrant writing; Professor Henrietta Moore, William Wyse Chair of Social Anthropology, will talk about the future of civil activism with Ricken Patel, founding President of Avaaz, the world's largest online activist community; and psychologist Dr Terri Apter will debate how women follow, resist and play with the stereotypes that define them with author and alumna Zoe Strimpel.

Other Cambridge academics speaking at Hay are Professor Stefan Collini discussing higher education’s two cultures - the humanities and science - and historian Professor David Reynolds.

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. And for one week a year they bring that thinking to a field in Wales and share it with everyone. That's a wonderful gift."

Nicola Buckley, head of public engagement at the University of Cambridge, said: “The Cambridge series is a wonderful 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 fantastic 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."

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