HowTheLightGetsIn Festival 2015

Apr 9, 2015


21 MAY – 31 MAY

‘Back to Big Thinking’ The Guardian

650 events 200 speakers 11 days    9 stages 2 festival sites

The world’s largest philosophy and music festival is back. HowTheLightGetsIn returns to Hay-on-Wye to explore the festival theme: Fantasy and Reality. The festival is famed for bringing together thought-provoking debate with legendary parties. And this year there’ll be a whole new festival site with all day entertainment for everyone, including Music, Cabaret, Circus, Vintage rides, and a Fayre.

The 2015 programme is set to be bigger and better than ever,  with a line-up of world-leading speakers and performers spanning from Roger Penrose, Natalie Bennett, Lawrence Krauss, Paul Krugman, Simon Baron-Cohen, John Searle and Warren Ellis to Mike Skinner, Rae Morris, Lianne la Havas, Jamie Woon and Molotov Jukebox. Highlights are set to include:


Everything We Know Is Wrong (23 May)

Lawrence Krauss, Steve Fuller, Kenneth Cukier. Gabrielle Walker hosts.

At a time of uncertainty and doubt, we often suppose that science alone uncovers the truth. Yet a recent study found 90% of scientific papers are unrepeatable. Should we see science as a flawed method and look elsewhere for our truths, or is it the only direct line to reality we’ve got? Outspoken philosopher of science Steve Fuller and The Economist‘s Kenneth Cukier are joined by best-selling theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, live from Australia, to tell Gabrielle Walker why so much of what we think we know is wrong.


March of the Machines (24 May)

Roger Penrose, Warren Ellis, Nigel Shadbolt. Gabrielle Walker hosts.

Evil artificial intelligences are luckily confined to fiction. Yet leading scientists claim that intelligent machines are ‘the most serious threat facing mankind’. Are they right or could a mind free from human prejudices create a better world? Or is all talk of artificial intelligence a deluded fantasy? Physicist Roger Penrose, computer scientist Nigel Shadbolt, and novelist and digital age icon Warren Ellis consider the threat of intelligent machines.


Mind, Myth and Madness (24 May)

Richard Bentall, Simon Baron Cohen, Clare Gerada. Polly Toynbee hosts.

From schizophrenia to depression we assume our psychiatric diagnoses are real.  But as the mental health epidemic turns global, the categories now seem like the cause. Is it time to abandon our biological account of mental illness? Or is it the best strategy we’ve got? Polly Toynbee interrogates Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, former Chair of the Royal College of GPs Clare Gerada and author of Madness Explained Richard Bentall.


Unexplained Events (29 May)

George Ellis, Michael Duff, Nancy Cartwright. Tara Shears hosts.

We assume all events are caused by something.  Yet we refer to random chance be it a freak accident, or the state of quantum particles.  Might causality be a fiction and inexplicable events written into the universe, or with greater understanding could we find an explanation for everything? Templeton Prize winning cosmologist George Ellis, Imperial string theorist Michael Duff and American philosopher of physics Nancy Cartwright untangle cause and effect.


The Universe Code (31 May)

Peter Atkins, Chiara Marletto, James Ladyman. David Malone hosts.

We think information provides facts about the world around us. Yet some now claim that information is primary, more fundamental than matter. Could information provide the ultimate constituents of the world?  Or is this a delusion borne from the specific and passing vocabulary of a digital age? Eminent Oxford chemist Peter Atkins, quantum information pioneer Chiara Marletto and author of Everything Must Go James Ladyman decode the universe.


For media accreditation, images and interview requests, contact Claudine Levy.

E: claudine.levy@artandideas / M: 07914537354


Tickets and further information available at

IAI is offering an Insider Code exclusive to RDF followers. You will be able to use the code for a 10% discount on event tickets until midnight on Wednesday 29th April.
Enter the IAI Security Code RDF15

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2 comments on “HowTheLightGetsIn Festival 2015

  • This idea of repeatability. There are two kinds: when the original people can’t reproduce results, it was probably just a statistical fluke. When original people can, but others cannot, they did not specify their recipe closely enough, or they made some error in performing the experiment (leak in double blind) or made some statistical error interpreting the results.

    Also what percentage of scientific papers are repeated by an independent group? We may be taking a lot too easily.

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