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Cathy Newman to deliver Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2019

Author and newsreader Cathy Newman, author of Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention, has been announced as the speaker for Humanists UK’s 2019 Rosalind Franklin Lecture on the evening of 7 March in central London. 

First hosted by Humanists UK in 2016, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture has fully established itself as a key part of the Humanists UK calendar. The lecture is timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, and is named after Rosalind Franklin, the pioneering chemist who was so crucial to the discovery of the unique double helix structure of DNA.

Cathy Newman is one of Channel 4 News’ main studio presenters. She joined Channel 4 News as political correspondent in January 2006 after seven years writing for the Financial Times. She is an award-winning  investigative journalist whose scoops have exposed various political scandals and high-profile abuses. She was the only broadcast journalist to travel with Angelina Jolie and the then-Foreign Secretary William Hague to the Congo as part of their campaign against sexual violence. In 2000, Cathy won the prestigious Laurence Stern Fellowship, spending four months following in the footsteps of Woodward and Bernstein at the Washington Post. The paperback edition of her book Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention is on sale on 7 March.

As well as covering other areas, Newman’s lecture will examine the motivations of brilliant women, many famous and many unknown, whose campaigning efforts and ingenuity have helped shape the world we live in today. While many of us will be familiar with Emmeline Pankhurst, Maries Stopes, and Beatrice Webb, fewer will know the inspirational stories of Dorothy Lawrence, who achieved her ambition to become a First World War correspondent by pretending to be a man; or developmental biologist Anne McLaren, whose work in genetics paved the way for in vitro fertilisation; or motorbike racer Beatrice Shilling, whose engineering brilliance helped RAF pilots combat the Luftwaffe

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘Cathy Newman is well-known to millions of people across the UK as a diligent and determined journalist who isn’t afraid to ask challenging questions to get to the truth. That dedication to finding the truth has also led her to uncover many of the secret histories of unsung women heroes from the 20th century. This makes her an ideal speaker for our Rosalind Franklin Lecture, named after one of British science’s great, under-recognised pioneers.’

Tickets cost £15 for the general public and £10 for students. You can get yours at

Held in the week of International Women’s Day, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture explores and celebrates the contribution of women towards the promotion and advancement of humanism –  whether through achievements in science, philosophy, or the promotion of democracy and human rights – in the UK and around the world.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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