Debate is the beating heart of our festival - from Nobel Laureates to Pulitzer Prize winners, HowTheLightGetsIn is home to world-leading thinkers pushing their disciplines forward.

Explore our wide-ranging debates panel for this year's festival. View our expansive speaker lineup here and explore our full programme of events here.

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Maverick philosopher Slavoj Žižek, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and revolutionary primatologist Richard Wrangham debate whether it's time to say goodbye to good and evil.

Former Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and leading Modi critic Shashi Tharoor discuss the West's role in a changing world. Are countries such as Russia, China and India forming a new world order that won't conform to Western values?

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roger Penrose and popular string theorist Brian Greene go head-to-head on the fundamental structure of the universe: has the search for supersymmetry failed? If string theory no longer explains the world, what does?


The Centre of the UniverseRESIZED.dc

The Centre of the Universe

Neil Turok, Lisa Randall, Martin Cohen
javier martinez hUD0PUczwJQ unsplash

The Game of Life

Slavoj Žižek, Steven Bonnell, Lisa Miller
Economics in Trouble.dc

Guesses, Errors and Economics

Gillian Tett, Guy Standing, Richard Werner
Imagining the Universe.dc

Imagining the Universe

Roger Penrose, Iain McGilchrist, Esther Freud
Ancient Traits in a Modern World.dc

Ancient Traits in a Modern World

Sunetra Gupta, Subrena E. Smith, Anders Sandberg
Capitalism and the Climate.dc

Capitalism and the Climate

Helen Czerski, Rebecca Henderson, Troy Vettese
The Morality of Sex.dc

The Morality of Sex

Maya Oppenheim, Steven Bonnell, Myriam Francois, Isabel Millar
Down the Wormhole.dc

Down the Wormhole

Lisa Randall, George Ellis, Matt O'Dowd
Life Death and Specialisation.dc

Life, Death and Specialisation

David Healy, Nick Lane, Caitjan Gainty
My Mind and Your Thoughts.dc

Me, My World and I

Gary Lachman, Hannah Critchlow, Barry C. Smith
The Danger and Desire of the Frontier.dc

The Danger and Desire of the Frontier

Nolen Gertz, Bahar Gholip, Cory Doctorow
Philosophy at War.dc

Philosophy at War

Michael Shermer, Marika Taylor, Hilary Lawson
Your True Self.dc

Your True Self

Joanna Kavenna, Betty Sue Flowers, James Tartaglia
Rhetoric and Reality.dc

Rhetoric and Reality

Nolen Gertz, Betty Sue Flowers, Joscha Bach
The Rational and the Irrational

Taking Leave of Reason

Rory Sutherland, Michael Shermer, Joanna Kavenna, Rebecca Roache
Based on a true story.dc

Based on a True Story

Remi Adekoya, Esther Freud, Peter Egan
jason leung jCBzW Q UGI unsplash

Diplomacy, Deception and Disaster

Jessica Berlin, Laurie Bristow, David Omand, Malcolm Rifkind
The Sanction Trap.dc

The Weapon That Failed

Simon Jenkins, Bronwen Maddox, Michael Clarke
In Search of Fairness.dc

Brains, Beauty and Bad Judgement

Rory Sutherland, Janne Teller, Remi Adekoya
Virtue Ethics and Mob Morality.dc

Virtue Ethics and Mob Morality

Sophie Scott-Brown, Simon Blackburn, Peter Tatchell
The Quantum Hoax.dc

The Quantum Hoax

Joscha Bach, Ruth Oulton, Neil Turok, Dominic Walliman
What We Dont Know.dc

What We Don't Know

Tommy Curry, Marika Taylor, Rupert Sheldrake
Myths Metaphysics and the Matrix.dc

The Matrix, Myths and Metaphysics

Eric Weinstein, Becky Parker, Hilary Lawson
Beauty and the Meaning of Life.dc

Beauty and the Meaning of Life

George Ellis, Suchitra Sebastian, Denis Noble
The Future of Knowledge.dc

The Future of Knowledge

Samson Kambali, Sophie Scott-Brown, Tim Blackman
Democracy in the Dock.dc

Democracy in the Dock

Ruth Kinna, Jesse Norman, Thangam Debbonaire
The Best and Worst of All Possible Worlds.dc

The Best and Worst of All Possible Worlds

Paul Horwich, Ben Burgis, Tasneem Zehra Husain
Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Emma Bryson, Harriet Wistrich, Peter Tatchell
Justice in Jeopardy.dc

Justice in Jeopardy

David Livingstone Smith, Harriet Wistrich, Myriam Francois
Manners Maketh Man.dc

Manners Maketh Man

Billy Bragg, Grafton Tanner, Sophie Scott-Brown
The Meaning Puzzle.dc

The Meaning Puzzle

Samson Kambalu, Rebecca Roache, Hilary Lawson
The Blame Game.dc

The Blame Game

Lola Young, David Livingstone-Smith, Guy Standing, Claire Ogley
Beyond the BoundaryRESIZED.dc

Beyond the Boundary

Lisa Miller, Nick Lane, Paul Bickley
Reality Models and Mayhem.dc

Reality, Models and Mayhem

Bjørn Ekeberg, Michael Shermer, Sunetra Gupta