The Perse School

The 42

Connecting pupils to experts, ideas, complex questions and inspiring experiences


We take full advantage of our Cambridge location to host lunchtime and evening talks by experts from the world of academia, the arts, business, charities and the public sector, and technology.

Named after Douglas Adams’s ultimate answer to the ultimate question in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the 42 Society is a programme of inspiring lectures designed to broaden student minds and interests, challenge views and introduce new ideas.

The 42 brings in a varied range of experts at the top of their field to share their work and experiences with pupils. There are up to 20 talks each year, sometimes more, on a varied range of subjects; subjects fall well outside the boundaries of the school curriculum, and frequently cross disciplinary boundaries.

The benefits to our students are enormous. Not only do the talks furnish them with valuable material for university applications and personal statements, they directly connect our pupils to world experts in their field, inspiring them to think beyond the boundaries of their classroom learning and encouraging their own independent research.

A 42 lecture can spark a train of thought which leads to lively discussion with peers and teachers, wider reading, work experience, real-world connections and events, and, sometimes, university and career decisions.

The 42 programme of external speakers rivals the programmes of the very best universities. Our plans to develop it include podcasted lectures and an even more diverse and high-profile range of talks.



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