‘Who would turn down the chance to speak at Hay?!’

Talks by Trinity Fellows at the Hay Festival 2017 are now available online (for a small fee). Among the Fellows speaking at the 30th Hay Festival were Professor Catherine Barnard, Dr Hugh Hunt, Professor David Tong, Lord Rees, Professor Greg Hannon and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen.



Three Fellows who took part in the Cambridge Series explain the attraction of the Hay Festival and the importance of academics engaging with the public.

Catherine Barnard, Professor of European Union Law and Employment Law, Faculty of Law

I am speaking at Hay because the University wants to contribute to the Brexit debate. As part of my work with UK in a Changing Europe, a non-partisan organisation set up to inform policy makers and the public about Brexit, I am required to do public engagement work. This takes a variety of forms from traditional engagement in seminars to ‘Facebook live’ discussions.

Brexit is one of the, if not the, biggest challenges facing this country at the moment. It will affect the lives of everyone. They need to be informed.


Dr Hugh Hunt, Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration at Cambridge, the Department of Engineering

Hugh in Great Court
© Paul Ashley

It’s important to energise the conversation about climate change, and the crisis facing the Arctic is a good place to start. Maybe the terrifying prospect of geoengineering will be enough to prick up ears.

Climate change is everyone’s problem. But no-one is taking it seriously. Seriously! We’re flying more than ever, we love our mangoes and pineapples, open-plan, well-heated homes and offices…the conversation starts here.

Hay is special. The audience is thoughtful and well connected. I also expect to see a lot of young people – they are the ones who we need to engage most urgently.



David Tong, Professor of Theoretical Physics, High Energy Particle Physics Group, the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Who would turn down the chance to speak at Hay?! For me, it’s enormous fun. I get a real kick out of explaining physics and, happily, there’s an appetite out there for the subject. One of the great things about Hay is that there’s an extended question and answer session with the audience. I’m looking forward to getting some challenging questions.

Is it challenging to talk about physics to a lay audience? Not at all. I get to explain how the Universe began, or what are we’re all made of, or what happens when you fall into a black hole. These are the greatest stories of all time. It’s hard to mess up when the material is this good.


Find out more about the Cambridge Series at the Hay Festival.

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