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.
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.