2011 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures Announced!

Royal Institution Lecture Theatre

Finally, after a very long wait, I am pleased to announce that the Royal Institution of Great Britain has chosen yours truly to present the 2011 Christmas Lectures.The Christmas Lectures are demonstration-packed, fun-filled science events for young people. Started by Michael Faraday in 1825, they are now broadcast on UK television every Christmas and have formed part of the British Christmas tradition for generations. After some years on commerical television last year they made a triumphant return to the BBC.

Michael Faraday Presenting a Christmas Lecture in 1856

I grew up with the Christmas Lectures as a child and I am truly honoured to be following in the very large footsteps of Faraday, Bartlett, Huxley, Attenborough, Sagan and Dawkins. The last time they had a psychologist was back in 1967 when my late friend and colleague Richard Gregory presented, “The Intelligent Eye.” The only other psychologist to be given this honour was Sir Frederick Bartlett in 1948. As you can imagine I am both filled with pride but very nervous. This is great for me, great for Bristol University and great for the field of psychology.

The series is entitled “Meet Your Brain” with three separate lectures, “What’s in your head? Who’s in charge here anyway” and “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” These will cover the structure of the brain and how it operates, the organization and control of mental processes, and social perception and cognition. So a fairly broad territory to cover.  I hope I can rise to the occasion and be great for the Christmas Lectures. There is an announcement in today’s Times but you can find out more from the Curious Minds 9 August 2011 Royal Institution Newsletter that it sent to its members this weekend.

19 Comments

Filed under General Thoughts, In the News

19 responses to “2011 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures Announced!

  1. That is truly terrific news, Bruce. Very exciting. Congratulations.

  2. Rox

    We’ll see you on the £10 or £20 note before very long.

  3. Don

    Great news. Wish you luck.

  4. Gerard Simons

    It simply sounds wonderful. Let the lectures be graced with the beauty and splendour of the spirit of Christmas as well.

  5. brucehood

    Well Rox, I hope you would grant me a little more credibility than tack salesman – this is kind of a big deal in the UK. But fear not – I will endeavor to keep the humour element😉

  6. So how does one score a seat to see this discussion live, please?
    It could be interesting as I’ve looked at some research from the Institute of Noetic Science in California…and did not think the brits would ever go there!🙂 Goocluck

  7. Rox

    I was referring to the credibility of Christmas, not your credibility. Easter, which appears to be devoted purely to chocolate, is even worse.

    I know how big a deal it is. I actually went to a lecture there when I was a sixth-former in Surrey, long ago. And not everybody gets on the banknotes. A pity Newton was abolished.

    Is this the street where you have to drive on the right ? No, that seems to be Savoy Court, but I’m sure there’s something like that …..So mind how you go.

    • Rox

      The Royal Institute is in Albermarle Street, of course. That was the very first one-way street in London because the lectures were so popular that they caused (horse-drawn) traffic jams. I’m sure they will have to instal temporary traffic lights for yours, and provide some special constables to boot.

      • brucehood

        Rox: Wow that is amazing. They didn’t tell me about that but then there are lots of things I am going to have to learn.
        ceciliawyu: Would help if you can find a 11-16 yr-old but there is a lottery system not unlike the tickets for Wimbledon according to the RI website here
        http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayContent&id=00000005296
        Institute of Noetic Science..hmm.. not really my thing but I was interested to discover that this was started by a moonwalker Edgar Mitchell – just goes to show you that “There’s nought as strange as folk!”

        • Anonymous

          Lol. just saw this response. been busy. hope ur talk went well…..trust me…the institute of noetic science is down to earth compared to being tricked into a dinner date with some dude from lawrence livermore….:p odd…yes….queer …no…..it takes a certain types of mind to think astral travel and astrophysics. lol.

  8. Rox

    “nowt so queer”, I think you’ll find.

    • brucehood

      Funny, I made the same spelling mistake in “SuperSense” got picked up on it by readers and still did nowt about it. Must be the poshness in me🙂

  9. polomint38

    Do you think that a top psychologist is having a big blowout session the week you are recording the lectures and the only one not invited is you?

    Joking aside, I’m sure it will be great fun for you, a joy for the audience on the day and beat Eastenders, Corrie and whichever sitcoms have specials on at Christmas in the ratings war.

    All the best and blow them away,

    Regards,
    Bruce Taylor

  10. Pingback: A Very Christmassy Lecture « Cubik's Rube

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