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Saturday, 3 February 2024

Lit and Sci

How we discovered the secret of sex

Why did it take 200 years to work out where babies come from?

Speaker: Matthew Cobb
Sat 9 March, 7.30pm
Hebden Bridge Town Hall

The Hebden Bridge Literary and Scientific Society is delighted to present Matthew Cobb on Saturday March 9th, 2024, at 7.30pm in The Town Hall.

He is a Professor of Zoology at Manchester University and a regular guest on Radio 4 in the science programmes such as: The Infinite Monkey Cage, The Life Scientific, and The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry. He can also be heard on BBC Radio 3 and the BBC World Service.

Matthew possesses a vast range of scientific specialisms. His keen sense of curiosity and ability to communicate his ideas, in a way that captivates the non-specialist, makes him an ideal speaker for the Lit& Sci.

After becoming an expert on the mating behaviour of fruit flies, and the way maggots and ants use smell as a means of communication, Matthew's research and publications have taken on a more popular aspect. Of course, fruit flies, maggots and ants are fascinating, but a book called The Egg and Sperm Race: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth (written by Matthew in 2007) might have a slight edge in the popularity stakes. Not surprisingly, it won the Thomson Reuters/ Zoological Record Award for Communicating Zoology.

In the last few years, Matthew's writing of popular science books has made him into a much sought after speaker. His book, Life's Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race to Crack the Genetic Code, was shortlisted in 2015 for the £25,000 Royal Society Winton Prize. In 2020, The Idea of the Brain was the only science work to be shortlisted for the £50,000 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. It was also chosen as one of The Sunday Times' Books of the Year and The Daily Telegraph listed it as one of its 50 best books of 2020.

For us, in March, he has reprieved his ideas from The Egg and Sperm Race in a talk called, 'How we discovered the secret of Sex – why did it take 200 years to find out where babies came from?'

Please come and enjoy listening to Matthew Cobb in what promises to be an intriguing evening's entertainment of talk, slides and questions. This is our last presentation until September 2024 when we feature Sally Wainwright the writer of Happy Valley.

You can buy tickets in person at the Town Hall (Monday to Friday 9.30-3.30 cash or cheque only), or online by visiting:

The Lit & Sci website

More Lit & Sci coverage from the HebWeb