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This year 6 researchers in MPLS departments will be speaking at the Hay Literary Festival, which takes place in Hay on Wye, 24 May 3 June.

The festival "inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be." Events aim to allow a dynamic exchange of ideas, and features a range of speakers, including scientists. 

Below are the researchers from the departments of Computer Science, Mathematics and Chemistry who are set to take part this year.

Nigel Shadbolt

THE DIGITAL APE: HOW TO LIVE (IN PEACE) WITH SMART MACHINES
Monday 28 May 2018, 2.30pm Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

The smart-machines revolution is re-shaping our lives and our societies. Shadbolt dispels terror, confusion and misconception. We are not about to be elbowed aside by a rebel army of super-intelligent robots of our own creation. We were using tools before we became homo sapiens, and will continue to control them. How we exercise that control – in our private lives, in employment, in politics – and make the best of the wonderful opportunities, will determine our collective future well-being. Shadbolt is one of the UK’s foremost computer scientists. He is a leading researcher in artificial intelligence, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, and chairman of the Open Data Institute, which he co-founded with Tim Berners-Lee.

Ursula Martin

ADA LOVELACE: THE MAKING OF A COMPUTER SCIENTIST
Wednesday 30 May 2018, 1pm Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and his highly educated wife, Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer and has become an icon for women in technology. But how did a young woman in the 19th century, without access to formal school or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science? Ursula Martin is a professor at the University of Oxford whose research interests span mathematics, computer science and the humanities.

Peter Atkins

CONJURING THE UNIVERSE: THE ORIGINS OF THE LAWS OF NATURE
Friday 1 June 2018, 1pm Venue: Good Energy Stage

The marvellous complexity of the Universe emerges from several deep laws and a handful of fundamental constants that fix its shape, scale, and destiny. There is a deep structure to the world which at the same time is simple, elegant, and beautiful. The University of Oxford professor asks: Where did these laws and these constants come from? And why are the laws so fruitful when written in the language of mathematics? 

Marcus du Sautoy

THE GREAT UNKNOWN
Saturday 2 June 2018, 11.30am Venue: Oxfam Moot

Every week seems to throw up a new discovery, shaking the foundations of what we know. But are there questions we will never be able to answer - mysteries that lie beyond the predictive powers of science? Marcus du Sautoy invites us to consider the problems in cosmology, quantum physics, mathematics, and neuroscience that continue to bedevil scientists and creative thinkers who are at the forefront of their fields. He challenges us to consider big questions - about the nature of consciousness, what came before the big bang, and what lies beyond our horizons - while taking us on a virtuoso tour of the great breakthroughs of the past. He celebrates the men and women who dared to tackle the seemingly impossible and had the imagination to come up with new ways of seeing the world. The mathematician holds the University of Oxford's prestigious Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science.

David Reutter and Jamie Vicary

Workshop: BUILD YOUR OWN QUANTUM COMPUTER
Thursday 31 May 2018, 12pm - 1.30pm and Friday 1 June 2018, 1pm - 2.30pm Venue: Scribblers Hut

Enter the Qubit Zone for a workshop where you will learn about the incredible world of quantum computers, and even build your own. The team from the University of Birmingham and University of Oxford will give an accessible introduction to mysterious quantum phenomena, including qubits, superposition and entanglement, and then let you loose with your own quantum circuitry to try it all out for yourself.