The annual Malvern Festival of Innovation returns next month with a programme highlighting how advances in science, technology and business practice improve the way we live, work and play.

The speaker at the opening event on Monday, October 7, is award-winning writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown.

He will explore Bonkers Things about the Universe, highlighting thought-provoking and profound science whilst providing a new perspective on life and the Universe in which we live.

Marcus was formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he studied under renowned physicist Richard Feynman.

Now he is cosmology consultant for New Scientist and has written a number of popular science books including The Ascent of Gravity which was The Sunday Times Science Book of the Year 2017.

More recently he has written Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: 50 Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe.

Marcus has also been regular guest on the BBC 4 comedy-science show, It’s Only A Theory with Andy Hamilton and Reginald D. Hunter, and often appears on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.

Dr Adrian Burden, the founder of the Malvern Festival of Innovation, said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming Marcus to kick-start the Festival this year. Creativity and discovery often occur with an open mind and fresh-thinking.

"Marcus will provide a fascinating perspective of the world in which we live; asking if babies are powered by rocket fuel, if we could fit the entire human race in the volume of a sugar cube, showing that 98 per cent of the universe is invisible, and explaining why time travel is not ruled out by the laws of physics.”

The rest of the week will include a packed programme for school students, business professionals and families.