Accessibility statement

You're viewing an archived page from a previous Festival of Ideas. See this year's festival »

Herding Hemingway’s Cats
Kat Arney

  • Thursday 16 June 2016, 7.40PM to 8:30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • Berrick Saul Building, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

University of York logo

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We are told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

But while we have all heard of genes, do we know how they work? With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat Arney, author of the acclaimed new book Herding Hemingway’s Cats, will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

For example, did you know that there are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes? These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they are turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. Come along and learn more.  

About the speaker

Dr Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. Her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, is about how our genes work.


The book will be available to buy from the Waterstones' stall at this event.


Festival tweets