Country Life Magazine: My Favourite Painting

Country Life Magazine asked Robert to talk about his favourite painting.

‘Historians suggest that Federico is always painted from the left side because of disfigurement after losing his right eye in combat.  The missing bridge of his nose is mysterious – after the injury, did he have the bridge removed surgically, to retain peripheral vision from his left eye for combat? The puzzling kyphosis, the humpback deformity depicted in various portraits, is hardly ever mentioned. Dr Antoni, the New York osteologist, argues this resulted from the weight of his armour. I am grateful to Karen Watts at the Royal Armouries museum who says his chest armour would have weighed around 26kgs; his helmet perhaps 1kg. Quite heavy – but 15th Century armour was carefully fitted being supported most evenly around the body.  And painted from the left? Some neuroscientists opine that left dominant portraits are often of individuals unconsciously wishing to show their sensitive side (controlled by the right cranial hemisphere).  Perhaps Montefeltro was a bruiser, but he ensured that Urbino be noted for courtesy, refined manners and its civilisation.’

Utterly Amazing Science shortlisted for the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize 2015

We were delighted to hear that Utterly Amazing Science has been shortlisted for the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize 2015.

The Society awards a prize each year to the best book that communicates science to young people. The prize aims to inspire young people to read about science and promotes the best science writing for the under-14s.

Publishers across the UK submitted their best recent books and an adult shortlisting panel has narrowed down the choice to a shortlist of six.

The winning book will be selected entirely by groups of young people from schools and youth groups around the UK. Each group forms a Judging Panel that looks at all the shortlisted books and chooses a winner.

Read more on the Royal Society’s website.

Scientists contribute to Time Out’s top 100 sci-fi movies

Robert Winston, amongst other scientists, sci-fi experts, filmmakers, critics and writers pick their favourite science fiction films for Time Out.

See Robert Winston’s contributions here

  • The Lost World (Hoyt 1925)
  • Alien (Scott 1979)
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey (Kubrick 1968)
  • Metropolis (Lang 1927)
  • Mars Attacks (Burton 1996)
  • Men In Black (Sonnenfeld 1997)
  • Gattaca (Niccol 1997)
  • The Golem (Wegener 1920)
  • Nosferatu (Herzog 1979)
  • Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut 1966)

What do you think? Click Here for the full Time Out article and top 100 to see where Robert’s choices came in the line up.

Top toys to take on a plane this summer

Robert Winston teamed up with British Airways to find out which toys would keep children most amused in-flight.

  1. 86 per cent of parents struggle to keep their kids occupied on plane journeys
  2. British Airways Holidays conducts social experiment, led by Professor Robert Winston, to find the top toys to take a plane
  3. Parents and experts say ditch the iPad and give youngsters Play-Doh and Loom Bands instead

School’s out for most of the country this week and ahead of the great family getaway British Airways Holidays surveyed parents to understand their travel worries and discover the top toys to take on a plane.

British Airways found the biggest concern parents had when flying with their youngsters was keeping them entertained, with 60 per cent of parents revealing they were unable to keep their child occupied for longer than 30 minutes.

The airline conducted a social experiment, placing 30 youngsters on a flight for two hours with a selection of toys. The children, aged two to 10, were given 90 minutes playtime and observed by scientist Robert Winston and a team of educational psychologists. To view a video of the experiment visit:

The surprising findings revealed that it was actually the cheapest toys that kept the children occupied for the longest. Play-Doh and toy-of-the-moment Loom Bands topped the list with 80 per cent of children and 70 per cent of parents saying they would take these on a flight in the future. Both toys, costing just 74 pence and £1.99 respectively*, kept more than half of the children occupied for longer than 40 minutes.

The most popular toy among two to five year olds was Play-Doh, while Loom Bands were a firm favourite with the five to 10 year olds. Timeless classics such as Lego and Top Trump cards also scored highly with this age group; keeping them entertained for an average of 37 and 33 minutes respectively.

Professor Winston, said: “Although the temptation is for parents to play a film in the hope that their child falls asleep, activity based toys, such as lego, sticker books and travel games are also a great way to keep them engaged. Bringing out a different toy at regular intervals is guaranteed to keep them quiet for longer than 90 minutes.”

In the poll of 2,000 people a quarter of those surveyed said they worried about their children disturbing other passengers, while more than half were nervous about disrupting their youngster’s sleeping pattern.

Dr Vivian Hill, educational psychologist from the Institute of Education, said: “Toys that spark the imagination and encourage creativity, rather than static toys like soft toys and dolls, are proven to keep children occupied for sustained periods.”

Ian Ellis, toys buyer at John Lewis, said: “Loom bands have been hugely popular. We started selling them at John Lewis a couple of months ago and in the last few weeks we have really seen them take off. It has been such a big playground phenomenon with children wanting the newest colours and sets, we will be introducing more to our range as the trend continues.”

British Airways top ten toys to take on a plane:

1)      Loom Bands

2)      Playdoh

3)      Lego

4)      Top Trumps

5)      Uno

6)      Usborne Activity Cards

7)      Magnetic travel game

8)      Aquadoodle!

9)      Finger puppets

10)   Sticker book

Dr Vivian Hill shares her top tips for a stress free flight with children:

  1. Have drinks to hand they can sip on for take off and landing so they don’t concentrate on the air pressure; which can affect children more than adults
  2. Buy new toys and games for the flight as newer toys entertain them for longer
  3. Bring out different toys at regular intervals. Wrapping them and giving them as presents works really well
  4. Concentrate on packing activities as opposed to static objects such as dolls and cuddly toys
  5. Think of games with extended play. Finger puppets and activity cards are both toys that can be drawn out to last a lot longer
  6. Think about games that you don’t need to carry. Verbal games like I Spy and Twenty Questions are good ways to pass the flight time
  7. If it’s an evening or night flight take pyjamas. Getting children ready for bed will help avoid disrupting their sleep pattern

‘Utterly Amazing Science’ launched at Hay Festival

Robert Winston launched his new, pop-up children’s science book at Hay Festival. Publisher’s Dorling Kindersly organised the early publication of 125 copies of the book, which is out in July 2014.

Professor Winston promoted science to an audience of 1100 children and their families and answered questions such as “What are butterfly wings made of?’ and ‘If the Earth is round and turning, why are we never upside down?’


Robert Winston launches a free fertility advice service

Professor Robert Winston is launching a new service to help those seeking impartial fertility advice.  The service, run through the charity Genesis Research Trust, will then see questions anonymised and published, along with Professor Winston’s  personal blog. The advice is offered free of charge but it is hoped that those receiving advice will make a donation to the charity to ensure it continues its vital research into women’s and babies’ health.

The service launched in  March 2014.

The Essential Baby Care Guide – new DVD out in February 2014

Narrated and introduced by Professor Robert Winston, The Essential Baby Care Guide combines expert advice and how-to videos covering all aspects of baby care including breastfeeding, formula feeding, introducing solids, sleeping, crying, development, everyday care as well as first aid and baby health.

The Essential Baby Care Guide will be launching in Tesco in February 2014 as the complete guide (RRP £19.99) as well as short single subject DVD (RRP £3.99) and is available to buy on Amazon or The Essential Parent Company website