Cambridge on countdown to Darwin Festival 5-10 July 2009 by luckboy


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									Cambridge on countdown to Darwin Festival: 5-10 July 2009
From 5-10 July 2009, the University of Cambridge and venues across the city are set to host a major international event to mark th the 200 anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species. More than 100 scientists, authors, artists and performers will debate and celebrate the impact of Darwin’s evolutionary theories at more than 40 events, including a conference, performance, fringe and exhibitions. Bringing together town and gown, the Darwin Festival promises to inspire and inform anyone with an interest in the big ideas and issues of our time, from religion, art, drama and media to pandemics, biodiversity, genetic manipulation and eugenics. The events are open to all (subject to availability), modestly priced and, in some cases, free of charge. All events take place at venues in Cambridge. Speakers and performers include: Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins, Dame Gillian Beer, Sir Terry Pratchett, Ian McEwan, Dame AS Byatt, Professor Janet Browne, Professor Harold Varmus (scientific advisor to the Obama administration), Professor Evelyn Fox Keller, Sir Brian Hoskins, Professor Sarah Coakley, Sir Peter Crane, Dr Richard Leakey, Lord Martin Rees, Professor George Levine, Professor Steve Jones, leading soprano Susan Gritton, poet Ruth Padel and many more. Festival conference The five-day Festival conference comprises 20 daytime sessions where world-leading experts will take part in debate on a range of hot topics where opinion is often strongly divided. Themes include: Darwin’s universal impact; Society and health; Human nature and belief; Darwin and modern science; and What does the future hold? Tickets are available for morning or afternoon sessions. Evening and Fringe events To complement the core programme, over 20 events will bring Darwinian-inspired themes to life through the arts, including new plays at the ADC Theatre, a musical journey at West Road, comedy at the Junction and film at the Arts Picturehouse. The Fringe programme will extend to community venues, bars and street performance. Explorer exhibits Visitors can enjoy Explorer sessions to view exhibits at several University museums, sites and the Botanic Garden. For instance, visitors can tour Darwin’s old rooms in Christ’s College or see manuscripts from his time on the Beagle at the University Library exhibition Voyage Round the World. A major exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum illustrates how Darwin influenced the painting of great artists such as Cezanne and Monet. Darwin Festival director Miranda Gomperts said: “Nowhere else this year will you find such breadth of expertise gathered in one place, at one time, to discuss and celebrate Darwin’s work. Darwin’s theories form the basis of modern biology, underpin much contemporary medicine and have had an enormous impact on the arts, humanities and social sciences. Yet public debate about evolution still evokes strong views. In this anniversary year, we wanted to put these issues in the spotlight and bring experts from all disciplines to Cambridge, the place that opened the door on the world to the young Charles Darwin. The Festival is a key event in the University of Cambridge’s 800th anniversary year. We hope that as many people as possible will enjoy this unique opportunity and discover how Darwin’s ideas can help us tackle the challenges we will face in the future.”

Evening event highlights include: Sir Terry Pratchett & Professor Jack Cohen discuss the Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch 7.30pm, 7 July, Bristol-Myers Squibb Lecture Theatre, Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Rd Tickets: £10 from / 01223 765440 Darwin in Fiction: Ian McEwan, David Amigoni, Dames AS Byatt & Gillian Beer 7.30pm, 8 July, Cambridge Corn Exchange Tickets: £20 / £15 from / Corn Exchange / tel: 01223 357851 Recital: Darwin, Poetry and Music with soprano Susan Gritton, pianist Iain Burnside and poet Ruth Padel 8.00pm, 10 July, West Road Concert Hall Tickets £20 from / 01223 765440 Film: Angels and Insects 3.00pm, 8 July, Arts Picturehouse Tickets: £6.60 from / 0871 704 2050 Play: This View of Life by Matt Wilkinson 8-10 July, ADC Theatre Tickets: £6 / £5 from the ADC, / 01223 300085 Play: Re:Design by Craig Baxter 9-11 July, ADC Theatre Tickets: £9 / £7 from the ADC, / 01223 300085 Comedy: Carole Jahme is Sexually Selected! 8.00pm, 10 July, The Junction Tickets: £10 / £8 from the Junction, / 01223 511511 Sixth-forms are welcome to make group bookings, with a special rate on offer. For a full programme and bookings, visit or call 01223 765440 (ends) Notes to editors • Charles Darwin attended Christ’s College, Cambridge between 1828 and 1831, and from 1836-7 • Cambridge is home to the vast majority of Darwin’s output, including specimens from his voyage on the Beagle, manuscripts, correspondences, working papers, notebooks and journals • Endless Forms is a pioneering exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 16 June that will explore the influence of Darwin’s discoveries on visual artists • The University of Cambridge Library will host A Voyage Round the World from 6 July; this exhibition will bring together manuscripts and specimens from the Beagle collections in Cambridge University • Exhibitions, workshops and tours will also take place at a range of other Cambridge venues, including the Botanic Garden, The Sedgwick Museum and Zoology Museum. Media information: Stuart Roberts: 01223 764982 / email Donna Semmens: +44 1353 669939 / email

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