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Cambridge Neuroscience at the Hay Festival

The Hay Festival is one of the most prestigious cultural and literary events in the world. For the last nine years the University of Cambridge has been partnering with the Festival to deliver The Cambridge Series which gives a taste of the research being conducted at the University. The Series is part of the University’s public engagement work and draws on the University’s two flagship public engagement events, the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas. The Hay Festival runs from 25th May to 4th June 2017.


Increasing Consciousness...

Dr Hannah Critchlow, Outreach Fellow at Magdalene College

28th May, 11.30am

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... 

Hannah Critchlow is selected for Hay 30 – celebrating a new generation of thinkers, supported by The CASE Foundation


Could, and should, robots feel pain?

Dr Beth Singler, Research Associate on the Human Identity in an age of Nearly-Human Machines project at the  Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

28th May, 1pm

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 will expand on the role of 'Pain in the Machine' in our understanding of the robotic and the human through examples from her research and a short documentary.


The body, brain and behaviour

The Reverend Alasdair Coles, Professor of Neuroimmunology

30th May, 11.30am

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.  What are the implications, asks Reverend Professor Alasdair Coles?


The Wellcome Book Prize Lecture: Autism and Minds Wired For Science

Simon Baron Cohen, Professor of Psychopathology

2nd June, 11.30am

Autism and scientific talent are linked. Scientists have more autistic traits, mathematicians have higher rates of autism and people with autism score higher on ‘systemising’. So is autism a ‘disease’ or ‘disorder’ or is the framework of ‘neurodiversity’ a more humane and accurate lens through which to view autism?

The Wellcome Book Prize lecture aims to celebrate the place of medicine, science and the stories of illness in literature and culture, and how these stories add to our understanding of what it means to be human.  Baron-Cohen is a judge of the 2017 prize and Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge.


Sex, Lies and Brain Scans

Barbara Sahakian and Julia Gottwald, Department of Psychiatry

3rd June May, 10am

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has proved to be game-changing for understanding the brain. Through fMRI, patients in a persistent vegetative states have been able to communicate, and unconscious biases have been uncovered. Join Barbara Sahakian and Julia Gottwald as they explore how this technique could be used, and abused, in the future. Sahakian is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge; Gottwald is a PhD student.

Peter Pan and the Mind of J M Barrie

Dr Rosalind Ridley, Senior Member of Newnham College and former Head of the UK Medical Research Council's Comparative Cognition Research Team in the Department of Psychology

4th June, 10am

Rosalind Ridley views the Peter Pan stories through the eyes of a neuroscientist and explores J M Barrie's interest in cognition, theory of mind and the nature of consciousness. Barrie's stories are rich in post-Darwinian questions about the origins of human nature and the mental abilities of animals, children and adults.


Posted on 28/04/2017

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