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Stephen and Martyn Poliakoff in Conversation

Two of Britain’s most celebrated figures who work in fields – chemistry and cinema – which, on the surface, appear to be completely unconnected. But are they really so different?

One is a BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning director and playwright. The other is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering and the 2019 winner of the Faraday Prize. Chaired by The Art of Innovation curator Tilly Blyth, the brothers Poliakoff come together to discuss the connections between science and art, the similarities and differences in their working processes, and to explore exactly where that spark of inspiration comes from for both scientists and artists.

Head shot of Stephen Poliakoff


Stephen Poliakoff CBE has directed numerous films, theatre productions and television since becoming resident playwright at the National Theatre aged just 22 – collecting multiple awards through his career. His latest work, Summer of Rockets, premiered on BBC Two in May 2019, receiving critical and audience acclaim

Image of Martym Poliakoff



Martyn Poliakoff CBE FRS FREng is Research Professor of Chemistry at Nottingham University, a global leader in green science and the narrator of The Periodic Table of Videos. He was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for science communication in 2019.



Part of our Art of Innovation exhibition exploring the dialogue between scientists and artists over the last 250 years.

Scheduled dates