Wednesday 24 May 6.30


Professor Lynn Gladden
The ‘magnetic eye’: Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to advance medicine and engineering

Lynn Gladden studied Chemical Physics at the University of Bristol before training as a schoolteacher, and then did a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. Lynn heads up the Magnetic Resonance Research Centre in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology in the University, where she is a Professor of Chemical Engineering. She was also Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Cambridge 2010-2016.

Monday 29 May 6.30
Preceded by a Children’s Lecture at 4.30


Lord Robert Winston
‘What makes us happy?’

What led to French philosopher Michel de Montaigne thanking fortune for the pain he suffered? Or why did Mahler apparently stop composing after his meeting in Holland with Sigmund Freud? Why was Alfred J Prufrock in T S Eliot’s poem so chronically depressed and suffering so much lack of self-esteem? Shall we ever really understand what makes us happy?

To some extent, the ability to be happy is inherited, but social scientists have emphasized that various environmental influences – health, a stable society, economic advantages, play a major role. Professor Winston examines the role of brain imaging, hormone study, sexuality, child development, pharmacology and psychological research in understanding how science may help us be happier. Happy people tend to live longer, and recent research suggests we tend to get happier as we get older. Is this simply because we become more forgetful? Can we make ourselves happier and if so, will knowledge of brain function and how we might manipulate it give us more fulfilled lives?

Lord Winston is Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London. In the 1970s he developed gynaecological surgical techniques that improved fertility treatments. He later pioneered new treatments to improve in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and developed pre-implantation diagnosis. This allowed embryos to be screened for genetic diseases and has allowed parents carrying faulty genes to have children free of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis. He now runs a research programme at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College that aims to improve human transplantation. Robert Winston has over 300 scientific publications about human reproduction and the early stages of pregnancy. Robert Winston is also Chairman of the Genesis Research Trust – a charity which raised over £13 million to establish the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology and which now funds high quality research into women’s health and babies. He is passionate about the communication of science to people of all ages and has written books for children, adults and presented numerous documentaries and radio programs.

Monday 5 June 6.30


Dr Emily Shuckburgh
Might Ely become an island once more? A future world of rising seas and changing climate.

Polar Explorer and Oceanographer, Dr Emily Shuckburgh is a climate scientist and is deputy head of the Polar Oceans Team at the British Antarctic Survey, which is focused on understanding the role of the polar oceans in the global climate system. She holds a number of positions at the University of Cambridge (fellow of Darwin College, member of the Faculty of Mathematics, associate of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, associate fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy, member of the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment and fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership). She is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and co-chair of their Climate Science Communications Group, a trustee of the Campaign for Science and Engineering and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences. She has also acted as an advisor to the UK Government on behalf of the Natural Envrionment Research Council.

Wednesday 7 June 6.30


Dr David Summers
‘What Darwin didn’t know…’

Charles Darwin published ‘On the origin of Species’ in 1859. This seminal text changed science for ever and completely changed our understanding of the natural world. But there are some things Darwin didn’t know or understand at the time which are potentially even more earth shattering. David Summers takes us on a journey through the history of genetics.

David Summers did his undergraduate degree in Cambridge where, despite an initial intention to become a chemist, he found himself specialising in genetics. After graduation he moved to Oxford to undertake a D. Phil studying the plasmids of Staph aureus and then to Glasgow University where he switched to his all-time favourite bacterium, E. coli, for his post-doctoral work. After six years north of the border he returned to Cambridge University where he has remained ever since. For well over a decade his research interests remained rooted in plasmid biology but more recently this has morphed into an interest in bacterial signalling, including control of the bacterial cell cycle and antibiotic resistance. David served as Head of the Department of Genetics from 2004-9 and has been Director of Studies in Biology at Gonville and Caius College since 1991. He chairs the Cambridge University Faculty Board of Biology.

Monday 12 June 6.30


Dr Carolin Crawford
Exploring the Solar System

Carolin is Public Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy in the University of Cambridge and Admissions Tutor, College Lecturer and Fellow of Emmanuel College . Carolin is an observational astronomer with many years of active research experience, carried out alongside – and later eclipsed by – a growing role in the public communication of science. This was recognised by her appointment as the Professor of Astronomy for Gresham College 2011 – 2015. She is the Public Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, where she runs an active public outreach programme. She can often be found discussing astronomical matters with a variety of audiences, including on both national and local radio.

Wednesday 14 June 6.30


Dr Gina Radford
The Health of the Nation – Challenges and opportunities for the 21st Century

Gina is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, a post she took up in January 2015. Her main area of responsibility is the non-communicable disease aspect of public health. Prior to her current role she has held a number of roles in public health, at local and regional level. Most recently she was as Centre Director for Anglia and Essex for Public Health England, and helped lead nationally on the public health response to Ebola. She was until recently Chair of one of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committees. She has previously worked on a number of national projects, including leading the Department of Health’s response to the Shipman Enquiry, undertaking a review of specialist public health for CMO Scotland, chairing a national short life working group looking at the issue of making difficult decisions in NHS Scotland, and undertaking the evaluation of the first pilot (regional bowel cancer detection pilot) for the Be Clear on Cancer National Awareness and Early Diagnosis (NAEDI) campaign, on behalf of the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK. Outside work, Gina is an ordained Minister in the Church of England. She enjoys riding, walking the ageing dog, reading, and is the village duck warden!

Sunday 18 June 6.30


Professor Sarah Coakley
‘Is there a Future for “Natural Theology”? Evolution, Cooperation and the Question of God’

Sarah Coakley is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge and an honorary canon of Ely Cathedral. In this lecture she introduces the heart of the argument of her recent Gifford Lectures on evolutionary cooperation, but extends it in a new way to reflect on what force ‘natural theology’ can or should have in contemporary culture and spiritual practice.