Dr Hannah Critchlow

Neuroscientist, academic, author and science presenter who loves brain based chats plus jogs along the Cam towpath…

Hannah is an internationally acclaimed neuroscientist based at the University of Cambridge who demystifies the human brain using Radio, TV and Festival platforms.

Named as a Top 100 UK scientist by the Science Council for her work in science communication and as one of Cambridge Universities ‘inspirational and successful women in science’. She is an elected member of the Magdalene College Fellowship the European Dana Alliance for the Brain. Her choice of career stemmed from working as a Nursing Assistant at St Andrews Psychiatric Hospital.

Follow what Hannah’s up to:      



Physical activity is good for your connectome…


Science of Fate, Hodder & Stoughton, May 2019

In this engrossing and highly illuminating book… Critchlow brilliantly argues that this intimate knowledge can actually empower us to shape better future for ourselves’. The Bookseller, Editors Science Choice Book of the Week

‘A humane and highly readable account of the neuroscience that underpins 
our ideas of free will and fate – this is a book about the things we can 
change and the things we can’t and it will help give you some of the 
wisdom you need to know the difference.’
Professor David Runciman, Cambridge University & Host of Talking Politics podcast

‘It’s been the question that has inspired, stultified and petrified humanity across the millennia. What is our fate? From the goddess Nemesis to the theory of free will we’ve struggled. Until now. Acute, mind-opening, highly accessible – this book doesn’t just explain how our lives might pan out, it helps us live better.Bettany Hughes, Historian, Author & Broadcaster

Consciousness: A Ladybird Expert Guide, Penguin, June 2018

“A really impressive example of how scientific research can be made accessible and appealing, and it will fulfil a seriously important function in opening up such research to potential students as well as a wider interested public” Lord Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury.


Hay Festival Conversations: Thirty Conversations for Thirty Years, Hay Festival Press, 2017. , Hay Festival Press, 2017. 

Including a conversation between Bettany Hughes and Hannah Critchlow,  as part of the Raymond Williams Dailogue: The Ideas That Make Us where a classicist and a neuroscientist explore the Ancient Greek words Liberty, Comedy, Charisma, Xenia, Wisdom and Peace and travel both forwards and backwards in time, investigating how these ideas have been moulded by history and have made an impact on history and the human experience.

Judge of the prestigious 2018 Wellcome Book Prize, an annual British literary award sponsored by the Wellcome Trust to “celebrate the topics of health and medicine in literature”,including fiction and non-fiction.The winner receives £30,000 making it “one of the most remunerative literature awards on offer” 

Winner of the Prize: Mark O’Connell, To be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death.


Decoding Destiny: a BBC Radio 4 documentary https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00050p8

BBC 2 Family Brain Games with Dara O’Brian: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00062jk

BBC Tomorrow’s World Live The Future of the Mind: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lbxXLB_yOA

Channel 4’s Secret Lives of 4&5 year olds https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-secret-life-of-4-and-5-year-olds/on-demand/68153-004

Channel 4’s Face

Australian ABC Breakfast Show

The Russel Howard Show

BBC Radio 4 How to have a Better Brain: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b067gcj6/episodes/player

Cosmic Shambles: cosmicshambles.com/bookshambles/latitude_part2_2018

Naked Neuroscience: www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts/naked-neuroscience/wanderings-naked-brain

Live Events

“We’ve worked with Hannah for 4 years….she has an exceptional ability to communicate complicated ideas about science and technology in a way that speaks to the general public and to schools audiences. She’s lectured about developments in neuroscience at Hay several times to audiences of 1,000 and 1,750. It’s a scale that’s challenging for most teachers. She works the space like a rockstar. Each time she has had the highest possible response rating from the audiences, both from students and from professional adults.” – Peter Florence, Director of the Hay Festival

“Hannah was one of our favourite ever speakers at 5×15- she’s dynamic, and an incredible communicator of complex and profound ideas. She wowed our audience in Hackney with her laughing rats and astounding insights into the human brain- we can’t wait for her to come back to join us again.” – Daisy Leitch: Director of 5 x 15

“Hannah has been a leading presenter at the Cambridge Science Festival for many years, and thousands of people from schools and family audiences have really enjoyed her interactive demonstration lectures. Hannah’s clear and lively communication style has brought the subject of neuroscience alive and her popular talks have received great feedback. Hannah also carried out a number of thoughtful and targeted public engagement activities with community groups including Squeaky Gate, a charity empowering people including those with mental health issues through arts and music.” – Nicky Buckley, Former Head of Public Engagement, University of Cambridge

“The human brain is one of those subjects of such forbidding complexity that anything less than a clear, engaging, approachable and intelligent talk would leave an audience staring blankly at an imponderable galaxy of neurons and synapses. Hannah Critchlow’s lecture, to several hundred A-level Biology students, more than exceeded these testing requirements. She has the rare and important quality of being able to distil even the most recondite ideas for an audience beyond the laboratory and in doing so reminding a young audience that scientific inquiry is for anyone who is curious. It’s particularly exhilarating to see a group of students being guided expertly through the great leaps in understanding made in neuroscience, to learn about the truly wondrous advances still to be made and perhaps to wonder if they could be the ones who will be making the discoveries of the future.”  – Dan Powell, Director of A’Level Science Live

“Hannah gave a talk at the How To Academy’s annual Conference on How To Change the World and she was absolutely fabulous. It was a totally inspiring talk that had the audience completely rapt. She is the most brilliant communicator of science.” – John Gordon, Director of the How to Change the World Academy

Hannah Critchlow is the most brilliantly engaging speaker. She wowed a Shambala crowd of 200 at the festival in 2018, and we couldn’t wait to have her back this year. One of our absolute highlights of last year.”– Sophie Chatz, Shambala Festival programmer