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Institute of Advanced Study

Durham Alumnus George Alagiah OBE helps launch Durham Book in London

(21 May 2009)

The Durham University Society Association for Durham Alumni (DUSada) hosted a wonderful launch event for the Durham University book, 'Thinking About Almost Everything', at the British Academy in London on Tuesday evening (19 May 2009). The event, which was sold out within 48 hours, was attended by over 70 Durham alumni, as well as other friends and supporters of the University, and saw a wide ranging and lively discussion unfold around some of the themes addressed in the book, but with a particular focus on the science/culture interface, a long standing vexed issue, recurrently sparked by debates such as evolution and creationism, ethics of genetic engineering, and interventions to prolong life. The discussion was excellently chaired by renowned broadcaster, author and Durham University alumnus George Alagiah OBE, and the panel comprised Professors Ash Amin and Michael O’Neill, co-editors of the book, and three of the book’s contributors, Professor Chris Hutchison (Biological Sciences), Dr Robert Song (Theology and Religion), and Professor Pat Waugh (English Studies).

The news that the book will be going on sale in the US and Canada in late Autumn and that within a few months of being published, the book is going into a second print run, was announced at the launch by Andrew Franklin, publisher and managing director of Profile Books.

The book contains over 60 short and elegantly written essays that are placed together in unusual thematic groupings and sparkle with the energy of fresh and original thinking. The essays are written by many of Durham University's leading scientists, literary scholars, historians, musicologists, geographers, philosophers, archaeologists, and anthropologists. The book claims a special place for ideas, arguing that they provide a vantage point and can help us understand the best ways of shaping the world we inhabit. The essays are designed to give the reader a way into complex ideas that emanate from Universities; to get a taste for an idea so that they can develop their own understanding and interpretation of the world.