The ‘happiness’ of our society is a topic under scrutiny at the University of Birmingham this evening (1 March 2006), when author, economist and government advisor, Lord Layard, delivers the 28th annual ‘Happiness Lecture’.

Richard Layard’s book, ‘Happiness, lessons from a new science’, published last year, is a very fresh approach to answering the question of what makes societies happy. In the book, he explores why, as societies become richer, the people within them do not become happier. Everybody wants to earn more money but why are we rarely happier when we do? Combining economics, brain science, sociology and philosophy the book explores, quite literally, how we can make society ‘happier’, and Lord Layard touches on these issues in tonight’s lecture.

The Baggs Memorial Lecture has been an annual event since 1976. Thomas Baggs was an alumnus of the University of Birmingham who went on to become a teacher, journalist and a war correspondent for the Daily Mail before pursuing a successful career in advertising and publicity for the USA automobile industry. When he died in 1973, Thomas Baggs bequeathed a substantial sum to the University to provide for an annual public lecture on the theme of “Happiness - what it is and how it may be achieved by individuals as well as nations.”

Over the years, many distinguished speakers have tackled the topic from their own personal viewpoint, including Yehudi Menuhin, Alan Bennett, Maureen Lipman, Trevor McDonald and Robert Winston.

The lecture takes place this evening at 6.30pm at the Leonard Deacon Lecture Theatre in the University’s Medical Schoool, on Vincent Drive, Edgbaston. The event is at capacity, however cancellation tickets are available from the Aston Webb reception before 4pm today on a first come, first served basis.


Further information:

Rachel Robson – Press Office, University of Birmingham

Tel: 0121 414 6681 / email: