Bleehen Lecture, Cambridge

On 26 May Robert will be delivering the inaugural Bleehen Lecture at the Old Divinity School, St John’s College Cambridge.  He will be speaking on The Science of God.  The lecture is named after Professor Norman Bleehen who was the first Cancer Research Campaign professor of clinical oncology in the University of Cambridge and a fellow of St. John’s College.


Visit to Newcastle College

Robert will be delivering a public lecture in Newcastle on Thursday 14 May.  This is a dual initiative of Newcastle College and the Literary and Philosophical Society with the aim of benefiting the public through facilitating free lectures by leading thinkers.  The theme of the current lecture series is “On the Edge”.  Please note that the lecture is now fully booked.

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

Science Year by Year

From the discovery of the wheel to the worldwide web our thirst for innovation is what makes us human. Science Year by Year takes a fascinating look at our heritage of invention and explores how science has shaped the past and how it may shape the future.

Science Year by Year has a new discovery for everyone in the family, with global coverage of all major scientific advances. Groundbreaking thinkers such as Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin are covered, with their discoveries clearly explained and situated in scientific history with illustrated timelines. Revolutionary innovations such as measuring time, gears and plastics are detailed alongside scientific artefacts such as navigation tools and flying machines.

Science Year by Year is perfect for anyone interested in invention and innovation with exciting discoveries to be made by all.

Hear Professor Winston talking about the book in this podcast.


Find Science Year by Year on

DK (2013)

ISBN 978-1409316138


Child of our Time

For thirteen years, the BBC has been following the lives of 25 children who were born at the turn of the millennium. In the latest two episodes of this long-running series, Robert Winston discovers how the children’s lives are changing as they enter their teenage years, and how their parents are coping with them growing up.