As part of our Focus Day, The Poetry and Music of Science, we explore the common ground between the art of the novel and scientific experimentation.
Our session begins with an introduction by Tom McLeish, the University of York’s first Professor of Natural Philosophy and author of The Poetry and Music of Science. We then welcome speakers including scientist Stuart Firestein of Columbia University, USA; Michael Brooks, author of The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook; Jennifer Rohn of UCL – who coined the phrase ‘lab lit’ for realistic novels featuring scientists as central characters; Jon Mee of the University of York; and Claire Preston, an expert in Renaissance Literature from Queen Mary University of London. The panel is chaired by Ed Vulliamy, author of When Words Fail: A Life with Music.
Our Festival Focus Day aims to break the silence on the deep creativity and imagination required in science. Why not join us for our other panel discussions, The Art of Visual Imagination and Wordless and Pictureless Forms of Mathematics and Music?
You may also enjoy a special exhibition by Alexandra Carr, Weight of Light, which runs throughout the Festival.
Image credit: Image courtesy of artist Alexandra Carr, The Leverhulme Trust, Durham University, The Ordered Universe Project and Ushaw College
About the speakers
Michael Brooks holds a PhD in quantum physics, but works as an author, journalist and broadcaster. He is a consultant at New Scientist magazine, co-host (with Rick Edwards) of the and the author of numerous books, including the bestselling non-fiction title 13 Things That Don't Make Sense. In his recent book, The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook, Michael discusses quantum physics with a Renaissance mathematician called Jerome Cardano. As well as leading an extraordinary life as a physician, astrologer, inventor and philosopher, Jerome was a mathematician who invented probability theory and imaginary numbers, the twin pillars of quantum theory.
Dr Stuart Firestein is the former Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences where his laboratory studies the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience, Stuart serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s programme for the Public Understanding of Science. He received the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an Alfred Sloan Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. His two books on the workings of science for a general audience, published by Oxford University Press, have been adopted by numerous High School and University science courses. Ignorance, How it drives Science was released 2012 and has been translated into nine languages. His second book, Failure: Why Science is So Successful, was released in 2016. A 2013 TED talk on the subject has over 1.9 million views.