The Cardiac Rehab Lecture is given annually by a distinguished public figure – past speakers have included Lord Owen, Dame Margaret Hodge, Baroness Virginia Bottomley, Phil Spencer, Bill Bryson, Alan Titchmarsh and many other notables. 

This year the lecture features its first Nobel Prize winner, Sir Paul Nurse. Sir Paul (pictured) is a geneticist who was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries about the protein molecules that control the division of cells in the cell cycle. 

Throughout his distinguished career Sir Paul has received numerous awards for his scientific work including a knighthood, Order of Merit, Companion of Honour and Legion d’Honneur. 

He is a past president of the Royal Society and is currently the Director of the Francis Crick Institute. He has received more than 60 honorary degrees and Fellowships. Philip Pullman has described him as “about as distinguished a scientist as there could be”!

He is also a great communicator and has published a book What is Life? which explains how living cells work and what it means to be alive. This is also the title of his lecture. Using his personal experiences he will share with us the obstacles, the lucky breaks and the thrilling eureka moments of making scientific discoveries.

Sir Paul has strong views about the importance of science and its applications to the personal and societal problems of our everyday life. He believes that scientific leaders “have a responsibility to expose the bunkum”. They should take on politicians, and expose nonsense during political debates. 

To survive the challenges that face the human race, from climate change to pandemics, it is vital that we all understand what life is. As Sir Paul says: “We have a special responsibility for life on this planet. We need to care about it, we need to care for it. And to do that we need to understand it.”

The charity

Alton Cardiac Rehab has been treating cardiac patients since 1976 and has been the model on which many other centres throughout the UK have based themselves. 

The charity offers treatment for patients recovering from cardiac conditions, helping them to recover as quickly and completely as possible and also helping them to avoid further heart illness in the future. It also offers treatment to those at high risk of heart problems – aiming to protect them for the long term – and others whose medical conditions can be helped by exercise treatment.

The centre piece of their courses is a supervised programme of exercise.  “Graduates” from the programme are encouraged to continue with healthy living and the centre provides them with facilities for long term exercise. 

The lecture is an important fund-raising event for the charity.

The lecture – What is Life?

This will be held at Alton Maltings on Thursday, November 23. The evening opens at 7pm with generous provision of drinks and home-made canapes. This is followed by the Lecture at 8pm. Tickets at £27 from Alton Cardiac Rehab – 01420 544794.