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Institute of Advanced Study

Seeing Further: an evening on the magic of science with Bill Bryson and guests

Tuesday, 19 October 2010, 18.00-19.30

The Gala Theatre, Durham

Presented by Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study in partnership with the Royal Society as part of their 350th Anniversary celebrations

Supported by the Durham Book Festival

Durham University is proud to host an evening with international best-selling author Bill Bryson in conversation with four distinguished contributors to the book Seeing Further: the Story of Science and the Royal Society.   This event will feature award winning biographer Richard Holmes OBE; science writer, broadcaster, and biographer, Georgina Ferry; award winning science writer, Philip Ball; and President of the Royal Society, Lord Martin Rees.   

Seeing Further  is a lavishly illustrated book that has been created in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.  Edited and introduced by Bill Bryson with contributions from a host of scientists, historians and novelists, it tells the story of science from 1660 to the present day and looks ahead to what the next 50 years might bring.   Guaranteed to be a highly enjoyable and stimulating evening, this event offers a wonderful opportunity for the public to engage with a distinguished panel of scientists and writers and ask questions about their contribution to the book and their ideas about science in the 21st Century. 

The event will take place on the evening of Tuesday, 19 October 2010 in the Gala Theatre and is supported by the Durham Book Festival.  Tickets went on sale on 20 August 2010 and this event is now sold out.  However, if you wish to be placed on the Gala waiting list should any tickets be returned then please contact the Gala Box Office (0191 332 4041).

About the Panel

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is a US-born journalist and author, who has lived most of his adult life in England, and is best known for his series of books observing life in North America, Britain, Europe and Australia.   In 2003 he published A Short History of Nearly Everything, in which he attempts to understand - and, if possible, answer - the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bill sought to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us.   The Royal Society, to mark their 350th Anniversary, invited Bill to edit a book that would tell the story of science and the Royal Society since 1660, and is the book that is being celebrated by Durham University on 19 October. 

Philip Ball

Philip Ball

Philip Ball is Consultant Editor at Nature and former winner of the Royal Society Science Books Prize with Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another.   He is author of Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour; H2O: A Biography of Water; and the recent novel, The Sun and Moon Corrupted.  He writes for a number of publications including New Scientist to the New York Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times and New Statesman covering topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.   

Georgina Ferry

Georgina Ferry

Georgina Ferry is a critically acclaimed science writer, author and broadcaster.  Over the years she has covered many topics, mainly in the life sciences, but she is currently particularly fascinated by the lives of scientists and their interactions with the societies they lived in.   Her books include first biographies of Dorothy Hodgkin, the only female Nobel Prize winner for science, and Max Perutz, a refugee from Nazism who created the lab where Watson and Crick unravelled DNA, and who won the Nobel prize for understanding 'the breathing molecule' that makes blood red.

Photographer Stuart Clarke

Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes is a renowned historian and biographer and author of acclaimed biographies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.   He writes and reviews regularly for various journals and newspapers, including the New York Review of Books.   His most recent book, The Age of Wonder, an examination of the life and work of the scientists of the Romantic age who laid the foundations of modern science,was shortlisted for the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded an OBE in 1992.

Lord Martin Rees

Martin Rees

Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Astronomer Royal.  In 2005 he was appointed to the House of Lords and elected President of the Royal Society.    His current research deals with cosmology and astrophysics, especially gamma ray bursts, black hole formation, and also cosmic structure formation, especially the early generation of stars and galaxies that formed at the end of the cosmic dark ages' more than 12 billion years ago relatively shortly after the "Big Bang".  He is the author or co-author of more than 500 research papers, as well as seven books (five for general readership), and numerous magazine and newspaper articles on scientific and general subjects.