Forget fleeing to the countryside: this month, all the beautiful people are keeping it urban. As author Leo Hollis unleashes Cities are Good for You (Bloomsbury), the benefits of “positive urbanisation” will be explored at the Future of Places forum in Stockholm from 24th to 26th June (www.futureofplaces.com). The forum will try to tease out why some cities are sublime and others slum-like. It’s the first of three gatherings leading to a major conference in 2016, Habitat III.
How will science fare in this month’s spending review? The annual outlay of £4.6bn has been ring-fenced but the UK spends only about 1.79 per cent of GDP on research and development (the EU average is 2.03 per cent). Research Councils UK has recommended a 10-year cross-party commitment to allow for long-term planning. Scientists point out that graphene—a new form of carbon that earned its Manchester University discoverers a Nobel prize—may not have come to light under the current political fad for picking short-term winners.
Another slow-burner of British science, Peter Higgs, who postulated his eponymous boson nearly 50 years before Cern found it, will be at the Cheltenham Science Festival (4th to 9th June). It’s an impressive line-up: James Watson and Jim Al-Khalili also feature. But pandas are banned, at least in the soiree run by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, who are in need of a ‘“face” for their laudable campaign. Warthogs? Worms?