RI Christmas Lectures

I’ve been watching the Royal Institution Christmas lectures on FIVE, with Professor Chris Bishop: Hi-tech Trek – The Quest for the Ultimate Computer. The lectures are fun, and especially great for kids. Unfortunately, they seem to have been scheduled at the worst possible time. The lectures are broadcast from 7:15pm-8:00pm. Whilst this may be a prime-time slot, it is unfortunately competing with two major soap operas. I wonder what most people will choose to watch….

I much preferred the old scheduling: These lectures used to be aired over the holiday period (25th-29th) at around noontime. As such, families tended to be sitting around, doing jigsaw puzzles, with the only competing TV being some old film or other. I think this worked. People need a bit of gentle encouragement to engage with science programmes. Pitching them against Coronation Street, alas, will not work.

The 2008 Christmas lectures aren’t available online yet (not sure they should be anyway!), so here’s some Carl Sagan from the 1977 batch for your delectation:

or if you prefer, some Richard Dawkins from 1991:

8 thoughts on “RI Christmas Lectures

  1. dark_daedalus says:

    Billions and Billions…
    [audio src="http://www.setileague.org/drseti/audio/carl.mp3" /]

  2. physicsandcake says:

    Trust you to find that! It’s really sweet 🙂 I shall indeed raise my glass to cosmic Carl this new year’s eve.

    P.S. Just for you: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dj_empirical/2264635054/

  3. Wils says:

    I’d totally forgotten about the christmas lectures, cheers for the reminder. They’re available online here: http://demand.five.tv/Series.aspx?seasonBaseName=RoyalInstitutionChristmasLecturesSeason2008 , although I suspect they may not work if you’re outside the UK unfortunately.

    Cool blog by the way!

  4. dark_daedalus says:

    I do quite like the ones here :


    But this is a bit early.. next month.

  5. physicsandcake says:

    Hey Wils, thanks for the link! 🙂

  6. Wils says:

    Hey, no problem. Did you catch the lectures on Wednesday and Thursday? It was cool to see quantum computing and quantum information get a fair bit of coverage in a big public outreach event like the Christmas lectures.

  7. physicsandcake says:

    Wils: I did indeed. It’s good to see QC get some TV time – I think there should be an RI series dedicated to just that! (Although I am slightly biased 😉 )

    Maybe in the next few years…

  8. Sinead says:

    Erm this appeared on my RSS feed saying it was written 5 minutes ago lol

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