The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures were started in 1825 by Michael Faraday who gave 14 of them himself. He wanted to give children some formal education which was sadly lacking at the time. The Lectures have been inspiring children and adults ever since. This year’s Lectures are given by Prof. Sue Hartley of Sussex University , an ecologist specialising in the study of plant-animal interactions, and are entitled “The 300 million year war”.
The 300 million year war with Prof Sue Hartley
Prof Sue Hartley will show plants in a completely different light. She says plants are “complicated, cunning, beautiful and with plenty of tricks up their sleeve. And what’s more, we humans are dependent on them in ways you’d never imagine. As well as much of our food, our drugs, medicines and materials are all by-products of this epic 300 million year war. ”
As usual, this years Lectures are sold out but there are often seats available in the historic Library to watch the live feed. The Lectures will be televised on More 4 at 7pm on 21st – 25th December and available on DVD next year. I watched the first Lecture in the Library. It was done as a recorded television show with mistakes re-shot as they went. The Lecture was also stopped for commercial breaks to be added. This was slightly annoying but probably fascinating for the many young students and adults watching and taking part in the Faraday Theatre. The students included a party of 8 young women and 2 young men from different secondary schools in South Australia, all here as Maurice de Rohan Scholars for the series of Lectures, accompanied by 2 teachers. There is a similar party from South Africa n schools .
Ri Australia was opened in Adelaide, South Australia in October 2009. The Director of the Ri GB, Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE, was voted Honourary Australian of the Year in 2006 and has been Thinker in Residence in Adelaide twice, appointed by the Premier of South Australia, The Hon. Mike Rann MP.
• Plant wars – 5th December
• The animals strike back – 8th December
• Talking trees – 10th December
• Dangerous to delicious? – 12th December
• Weapons of the future – 16th December
Details of the Lectures can be found at
The lectures will be televised on More 4 at 7pm on 21st December.