Royal Institution Explores Evolution, Philosophy And Doom

Image by Tim Mitchell.

Image by Tim Mitchell.

The Royal Institution gets most press in December, when it stages the prestigious RI Christmas Lectures for children. Yet the Mayfair venue holds regular public events all year round, including some upcoming humdingers in the run up to summer. Snap up tickets now:

EVOLUTION: Robin Dunbar explores why humans evolved such a sophisticated intelligence, and what it means to be human. 6 May

APOCALYPSE: If our civilisation was destroyed by war or asteroid, how could we rebuild? Lewis Dartnell explains the skills we’d need. 8 May

RISK: Gerd Gigerenzer discusses the unrealistic hopes and fears that come from a poor understanding of risk. 20 May

HIGGS: A look at the current state of particle physics, focusing on the discovery of the Higgs boson, what it is, and what it does. With John Butterfield. 27 May

DARK MATTER: More particle stuff, as Gianfranco Bertone describes the discovery of Dark Matter and how it changed our understanding of the universe. 28 May

PHILOSOPHY: A three-part strand sees John O’Keefe conjure neuroscience and Kant to describe how we perceive space; Sandra D Mitchell explores the usefulness of intellectually reducing organisms to component parts; and Karl Friston explains how minimising surprise is the key driver behind most behaviour. 2/10/17 June

WONDERS OF THE WORLD: Jheni Osman probes the science behind manmade and natural wonders. For example, did you know that trees cannot grow beyond 116m? 18 June

SPORT: Steve Haake looks at the history of sports equipment, and whether we’re reaching a limit where further improvements might be seen as cheating. 3 July

SOCIAL BRAIN: Why do we care what others think, and what binds us together? Bruce Hood looks at the goings-on in the brain that promote and control our social behaviour. 8 July

POLAR: Chris Turney looks back to the Antarctic expedition of 1911-1914 and explains how the climate measurements taken then are still of use, and being compared with new data from a current expedition. 17 July

The Royal Institution also holds regular Friday Evening Discourses — more involved lectures where you have to dress up smart for some reason. Look out, too, for a programme of family events, short courses and a monthly science-themed book club. You can also visit the building’s Faraday Museum any weekday for free.

Tickets for the events listed above are £12 (adults), £8 (concession), and all are held in the famous lecture theatre where everybody from Michael Faraday to Brian Cox has spoken.

The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS. Follow the RI on Twitter @RI_Science

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