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Convergence: Information, evolution and intelligent design
Wednesday 25 March, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
The concept of information is fundamental to all areas of science and
ubiquitous in today's Internet Age. However, it is still not well understood
despite being recognised for more than 40 years. In this talk, Daniel Dennett
will explore steps towards a unified theory of information, through common
threads in evolution, learning, and engineering.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Telescopes of the future: Bringing the Universe into focus
Friday 27 March, 7.50pm – 9.15pm
As our exploration of the cosmos continues, future observatories will cast light
on some of the biggest scientific questions we face today: how the Universe
began, how it evolved, and whether life exists on other planets. Sarah
Kendrew will introduce you to the marvel of astronomy's new generation of
telescopes that will revolutionise our view of the Universe in the next decade.
Tickets: £17/£11 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Science Lives Here
Science on demand
Catch up with events, watch our short films and
animations, rediscover past CHRISTMAS LECTURES,
enjoy the best science films from across the web,
and use our ExpeRimental series to do science
experiments at home. All on the Ri Channel.
Faraday Museum
Explore the world-changing science throughout the
Ri's history, from 1799 to today. From Faraday’s
original 1850's laboratory and the first electric motor
to Davy’s miners’ lamp, everywhere you look you’ll
discover something amazing!
Free admission
Become a member
Claudia Hammond presents: 'The science of Breaking Bad'
Thursday 16 April, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time, 'Breaking
Bad' is a show with science at its core. With a genius chemist as its main
protagonist, it explores complex themes of morality. Chemist Dave Smith
and psychologist Julian Boon will delve into the science behind the show, in a
discussion chaired by presenter and 'Breaking Bad' fan Claudia Hammond.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Ri Lates
Ri Lates: Questioning reality
Friday 17 April, drop in between 6.30pm and 10.30pm
Can we trust what we perceive to be out there in reality? What
happens when our brain is telling us something else? And can we
ever understand something when it seems to be two things at once?
Come to our adults-only building takeover with workshops, short films,
demonstrations and talks to answer these questions and more.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Student
Members go free (18+)
Helen Keen presents: 'A night of ice and fire'
Wednesday 22 April, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Could fire-breathing dragons ever exist? What really happens when royalty
inbreeds? Could real-world pyromancers create Wildfire? And can you actually
crush someone's skull with your bare hands? Comedian Helen Keen, from BBC
Radio 4's 'It Is Rocket Science', and Newcastle Centre for Life's Ian Simmons
combine facts, jokes, quizzes and live demonstrations to explore the 'science'
of the hit TV show 'Game of Thrones'.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
The extreme world of ultra intense lasers
Friday 24 April, 7.50pm – 9.15pm
When lasers were invented over half a century ago, they were hailed as a
'solution looking for a problem'. As well as their everyday applications,
scientists are now using the lasers to miniaturise particle accelerators, make
astrophysical conditions in the lab, and create fusion energy. Kate Lancaster
will lead you through this extreme world, with demonstrations along the way,
in celebration of the International Year of Light.
Tickets: £17/£11 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Ri Members experience more at great value! Get free
tickets to public programme events, special offers at
the Ri and discounts on food and drink in our Bar +
Kitchen. Membership starts at just £15 a year.
More information at
14–10 Club
Exclusively for professionals from the finance, legal
and management sectors who want to keep their
interest in science and mathematics alive, the Ri’s
14–10 club meets monthly to hear from experts in a
social atmosphere in the heart of Mayfair.
See for more details
Science short courses
Aimed at anyone who wants to explore a subject in
more depth than a one-off lecture, but without the
formality of a university course, our short courses
provide you with access to world-class researchers in
a social atmosphere to explore some of the most
fascinating topics in science.
Visit for details
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, AG Manly Charitable Trust, AWE, Brian Mitchell Charitable
Settlement, The Causeway Foundation/ Causeway Technologies plc, Clothworkers’ Foundation,
Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust, DG Marshall of Cambridge Trust, DS Smith Charitable
Foundation, The Dulverton Trust, EMC Heritage Trust Project, Equitable Charitable Trust, ERA
Foundation, Ernst & Young LLP, The Foyle Foundation, GM Morrison Charitable Trust, Golden Bottle
Trust, Hiscox plc, John Lyon’s Charity, Kirby Laing Foundation, L’Oréal (UK) Ltd, The MacRobert Trust,
Olswang LLP, P&G Prestige, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society of Chemistry, Simon
Gibson Charitable Trust, The 29th May 1961 Charity.
The Royal Institution
21 Albemarle Street, London
Telephone +44 (0)20 7409 2992
Email [email protected]
Front cover image: Scanning electron micrograph of
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and
a dead human neutrophil. Credit: NIAID via Flickr
Ticket booking
Book online at
or call +44 (0)20 7409 2992
9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday
Royal Institution open
8.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday
Registered Charity No. 227938
January – April 2015
Particle Fever
Tuesday 13 January, 7.00pm – 9.45pm
To celebrate the restarting of the Large Hadron Collider this year, join us as
we follow six brilliant scientists during the LHC's 2009 launch in this special
screening of ‘Particle Fever’. After the film screening, Harry Cliff will give a
short talk about how LHC activities have developed since the filming of Particle
Fever and what we can expect from the years to come.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Good listeners and smooth talkers: Communication in a challenging world
Tuesday 20 January, 7.00pm - 8.30pm
Everyday spoken communication typically occurs in complicated, distracting
and noisy environments. Join researchers from seven European countries for
talks and interactive demonstrations, exploring what influences the ability to
understand speech, what makes a ‘listener’ good or bad (whether human or
machine), and what talkers do to smooth the way to better communication.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Things to see and hear in the fourth dimension
Tuesday 27 January, 6.00pm – 7.15pm
Cut pizzas in new and fairer ways! Fit a 2p coin through an impossibly small
hole! Make a perfect regular pentagon by knotting a piece of paper! Maths
is a game. Join stand-up mathematician Matt Parker on a journey through
narcissistic numbers, at least two different kinds of infinity, and more in this
family-friendly event. Aimed at ages 7+
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Quantum biology: An introduction
Wednesday 28 January, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
In the first of three guest-curated events on quantum biology, Jim Al-Khalili
invites Philip Ball to introduce how the mysteries of quantum theory might
manifest themselves at the biological level. He will explain how the baffling
yet powerful theory of the subatomic world might play an important role in
biological processes.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Revenge of the microbes
Friday 30 January, 7.50pm – 9.15pm
Bacteria are our ancient enemies, evolving clever ways of outmanoeuvring
our natural defences and scientific technologies. With the development of
antibiotics, it seemed we would reign supreme. But now, with antibiotic
resistance on the rise, the bacteria are again gaining ground. Why are bacteria
so insidious and what can we do to stop them? Jennifer Rohn investigates.
Tickets: £17/£11 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
The oldest light in the Universe
Thursday 12 February, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
In the International Year of Light, join astrophysicist Roberto Trotta to discover
what the oldest light in the cosmos, the luminous echo of the Big Bang itself, can
tell us about the fundamental nature of the Universe, the 'All-There-Is'. Discover
the challenges he overcame to describe it using only the most common 1,000
words in the English language!
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Andrew Szydlo's blaze of steel
Tuesday 17 February, 6.00pm – 7.15pm
After the storming success of his family-friendly talk at the Ri and on the Ri
Channel, Andrew Szydlo is back to take us through the fantastic world of steel
and iron. Expect spectacular white hot reactions, wacky colour changes and
chemical illusions in this demonstration-packed performance.
Aimed at ages 7+
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Half life
Thursday 5 March, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
In 1950, Bruno Pontecorvo, one of Britain's brightest atomic physicists,
disappeared without trace. He re-surfaced six years later. In the USSR. In this
talk, based on unprecedented access to archives, letters, surviving family
members and scientists, Frank Close exposes the truth of Pontecorvo’s life
behind the Iron Curtain, and reveals why he went so suddenly.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Periodic success
Thursday 19 February, 6.00pm – 7.15pm
The periodic table has been an emblem of science for over 100 years.
Explosions, poisonings, space exploration and novelty Victoria parlour games
are all contained within the chemist's favourite poster. Join chemical physicist
and material scientist Jamie Gallagher on a guided tour of the most famous of
scientific images in the place where 10 elements were discovered– the Ri itself.
Aimed at ages 7+
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Birth of a theorem
Monday 9 March, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
What goes on inside the mind of a mathematician? Where does inspiration
come from? Fields Medal winner Cedric Villani will combine passion and
imagination to take us on a fantastical adventure through the beautiful and
mysterious world of mathematics.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Family Fun Day: Sparks will fly
Saturday 21 February, Drop in between 11.00am and 4.00pm
The 2014 CHRISTMAS LECTURES are all about taking control of the devices
in your life, using what you have and creating something altogether new and
exciting. Join the revolution! Learn to hack your home and take control at this
Family Fun Day, with opportunities to play, create and transform things around
you. Aimed at ages 6–12 but all ages are welcome.
Tickets: £12/£6 3–18 year olds. Faraday Members go free. Associates and
adult Members can book two free junior tickets.
Quantum biology: Does life depend on quantum mechanics?
Tuesday 24 February, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
Quantum mechanics is still a controversial and, to some, counter-intuitive theory.
And yet, more and more research is investigating how this theory may be applied
to the biological world. In the second of three guest-curated events by Jim AlKhalili, Johnjoe McFadden and Hans Westerhoff will debate the merits of quantum
biology and whether it has any significance to our world.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
What does art do best?
Friday 27 February, 7.50pm – 9.15pm
Grayson Perry, potter, artist and winner of the Turner Prize, uses art to depict
disturbing subjects, examine social phenomena and question identity. In this
Discourse, he will explore a question he often asks himself – what is it that art
does best? And how does it contribute in a way that other forms of questioning
and creativity do not?
Tickets: £17/£11 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
The Anthropocene: The human epoch, and how it shapes our planet
Wednesday 11 March, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
We live at a moment of deep change, between one geological time and another.
Only recently have we realised that our actions have altered this planet and
that we now shape nature. We are moving from the Holocene to a new era,
the Anthropocene. Jan Zalasiewicz and Christian Schwägerl will discuss the
innovations, fears and promise of a pivotal moment in planetary history.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Quantum biology: A revolution in science
Tuesday 17 March, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
To end Jim Al-Khalili’s series of events, three researchers explain how
quantum theory is being applied to their own work in this cutting-edge field of
scientific discovery. Nigel Scrutton will explore proton tunnelling in enzymes,
Alexandra Olaya-Castro will discuss her latest research in photosynthesis and
Jenny Brookes will explain her work on a quantum model of olfaction.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
U3A at the Ri: Dinosaurs, epigenetics and the Higgs
Monday 23 March, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
The University of the Third Age once again teams up with the Ri for an
afternoon of fascinating science talks. Palaeontologist David Hone will explore
how dinosaurs behaved, biologist Nessa Carey will look at the fascinating
world of epigentics and physicist Jon Butterworth will tell the story of the
discovery of the Higgs boson.
Tickets: £20 for non-U3A Members.
U3A Members should book through their local branch
John Tyndall: In the sky, not under it
Wednesday 4 March, 7.00pm – 8.30pm
As Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Ri, 1853–1887, John Tyndall made
major contributions to scientific knowledge in magnetism, in identifying
what we now call the greenhouse effect, in discovering why the sky is blue
and in glacier behaviour, . To celebrate the launch of the first volume of his
correspondence, Ri historian Frank James presents talks on Tyndall’s early life,
his relationship with the Ri and the future of collaborative humanities research.
Tickets: £12/£8/£6 Associates. Fellows/Members/Faraday Members go free
Image: Cédric Villani, Fields Medal Winner. Credit to Jérôme Bonnet