This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 6 June 2024, 8pm to 9pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

By the time a baby is born, its brain is equipped with billions of intricately crafted neurons wired together through trillions of interconnections to form a compact and breathtakingly efficient supercomputer. Pioneering experimental neurobiologist William Harris will take you on an extraordinary journey to the very edge of creation, from the moment of an egg’s fertilisation through each step of a human brain’s development in the womb - and even a little beyond.

William, author of Zero to Birth, will guide you through some of biggest discoveries of how the brain is built. He will take up the most challenging questions that scientists have asked and are still asking about the developing brain, with the hope of giving you a sense of  our current understanding. He will try to weave the parallel evolutionary story of human brain development that begins billions of years ago, when multicellular animals first emerged from single-cell organisms, revealing how the growth of a foetal brain over nine months reflects the brain’s evolution through the ages.

Join him and learn how the brain’s incredible feat of orchestrated growth ensures that every brain is unique, and how breakthroughs at the frontiers of science are helping us to decode many traits that only reveal themselves later in life.

This event will take place live on Zoom Webinar. You will receive a link to join a couple of days before the event and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too. 

About the speaker

William A Harris is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy at the University of Cambridge, UK. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he is the co-author of Development of the Nervous Systemand Genetic Neurobiology and the co-editor of Retinal Development.


University of York