Henry Marsh and Lone Frank

Wednesday 30 May 2018 at 20:00 Dronningesalen
Henry Marsh and Lone Frank at The Black Diamond, talking about life and the brain.
Henry Marsh and Lone Frank at The Black Diamond, talking about life and the brain.


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Admissions of a brain surgeon
The British brain surgeon Henry Marsh has had a long career during which he has, quite literally, stood with other people’s lives in his hands. In his memoir Do No Harm (2014) he gives a unfiltered account of the great responsibility his work involves, his victories and the fatal consequences even the tiniest errors can have – both for him and the patient. Marsh can be heard at The Black Diamond in conversation with the writer, biologist and science journalist Lone Frank.

Do No Harm took the reviewers by storm and, among other things, inspired the writer Karl Ove Knausgård to visit Marsh, who was in Albania helping other brain surgeons. Knausgård followed Marsh during two operations, about which he wrote a report.

Since his debut book, Marsh has written Admissions (Neither the sun nor death), where he places his life as a doctor in perspective. And with Marsh’s knowledge of what old age can bring, it is not without anxieties that he considers life now that he can just make out the end of his own on the horizon. In the book March begins by stating that his dearest possession is his suicide kit, which he has in the event of being struck down by dementia or some other incurable disease that can lead to a humiliating and unworthy death.

Life, death and the brain
Like Marsh, Lone Frank has researched into the brain. In her book Lystens Pioner (The Pioneer of Desire) she discusses, for example, the possibility of – and ethical issued involved in – changing human behaviour via ‘deep brain stimulation’, where researchers insert electrodes into the brain. She has also been a moderator for Brain Waves, which is a series of conversations at The Royal Library where key researchers and artists shed light on the very latest brain research and its consequences.

Henry Marsh and Lone Frank share a rational, scientific approach to humanity and human activity. When they meet at The Diamond, they will talk about brain science, using Marsh’s latest book as their point of departure, but they will also deal with existential considerations to do with life and death. 

Henry Marsh (1960) studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University, but broke off his studies to study medicine instead. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and was made a consultant surgeon in neurosurgery in 1987. In 2014, his debut book Do No Harm came out, which was given the highest possible recommendation (six stars) by Jyllands-Posten. In 2017, Admissions (Neither the sun nor death) appeared, which was also given rave reviews.

Lone Frank (1966) is a qualified biologist from the University of Copenhagen, and she has a PhD in neurobiology. She is a science journalist on Weekendavisen. She has been awarded the Svend Bergsøes Fonds formidlerpris, Fremtidsprisen and The Danish Writers’ Association’s Prize for Non-Fiction. Apart from Lystens Pioner (2016) she has published the books Det smukke genom (The Beautiful Genom, 2010), Den femte revolution (The Fifth Revolution, 2007), Klonende tigre (Cloned Tigers, 2005) and Det nye liv (The New Life, 2004).