Venue: The Bowling Green.

Robert Newman is a well-known comedian, author and political activist. In 1993, Newman and his then comedy partner, David Baddiel, became the first comedians to play and sell out the 12,000 seat Wembley Arena. Rob is the only comedian ever cited by a paper published in international science journal Nature. He has also written about neuroscience and robotics for Philosophy Now.

After volunteering for a brain-imaging experiment meant to locate the part of the brain that lights up when you’re in love, Rob Newman emerged with more questions than answers. Can brain scans read our minds? Are we our brain? How can you map the mind?

Rob’s new book Neuropolis – based on his live stand-up show and new BBC Radio 4 comedy series – seeks to answer these questions and provides a thought-provoking and wryly amusing exploration of the scientific breakthroughs that have turned brain science upside down.

He argues that the dehumanising claims of most current neuroscientific findings derive from a combination of philosophical blunders and a version of evolutionary biology that owes little to Darwin. He questions why brain science books are devoted to such a peculiarly pessimistic world view, when exciting advances in neuroscience go untold, such as awe-inspiring discoveries about the origins of memory in ancient oceans. 

Newman also offers up hilarious accounts of his own participation in neurological experiments. Debunking common, even brainless interpretations of brain science, he celebrates the more intriguing and underreported advances in neuroscience in his signature nonconformist, charming and witty voice.