Ri Lates: Rules of attraction

Drop in between 6.30pm and 10.30pm, Friday 24 October

This event has already taken place

  • Ferrofluid spike

    Ferrofluid spike

  • Darner Dragonflies

    Darner Dragonflies' aerial mating

    Credit: Teddy Llovet via Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/teddyllovet/3284315372/
  • Field in magnetised iron filings

    Credit: Author via Wikimedia Commons (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
  • Guppy coppia gialla

    Credit: Marrabbio2 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Type

    Adults-only Lates
  • Speakers


Standard £12

Concession £8

Associate members £6

Free to Members, Faraday Student Members and Fellows

Event description

If you’ve ever wondered why the kids get all the fun science, this night is for you!

The human experience is mediated by the rules of attraction, whether by gravitation, chemical bonds, or whatever makes us fall in love. Try your hand at all things attractive at the Royal Institution’s first adults-only building takeover.

Could you fall in love with a robot? What happens to liquid when you fill it with iron filings? And what does the shape of a penis tell you about an animal’s social life? Find out the answers to these questions and so many more through hands-on workshops, activities, science demonstrations and stimulating talks.

Make your own gunpowder, sniff out a partner, play with magnets, have a drink, and grab some food to the live jazz music before practising the rules of courtship at our dance workshops. This night will be an eclectic way to end the week!

Plan your night

Download your programme for the night and make sure you don't miss your favourite activity!


The weird world of courtship

Judith Mank will take us through the weird world of courtship, from guppy's fiery colours to the turkeys whose sexy features aren't shown off when their brother is around.

Secrets of animal sex

Join Sally Le Page for a light-hearted romp through the bizarre jungle of animal sex lives. Every species has come up with a weird and unusual solution for the birds and the bees, and every story gives us a glimmer of insight into the wonderful world of behaviour and evolution.

Opposites attract! The magnetic pull of nature 

We've all heard of the phrase 'opposites attract' but where does it come from? Come and find out and hear how we are all attracted to one another with Kirthika Mohan. Explore the wonderfully magical world of magnetism from iron filings to funky fluids, from super magnets to levitation and last but not least, from Earth to Space!


Here's a snapshot of what you can expect to find throughout the building on the night. All activities are included in the price, although some have limited spaces so come early to book yourself a slot!

Love zoo
We all know love can make people act a bit strangely but what happens in other animals? Find out about some of animal kingdom’s craziest courtship rituals and how hormones and other chemical cues affect who mates with whom. Experts from the Society of Biology and the Society for Endocrinology share lots of fun facts about the science of love and invite you to join in the Love-Zoo-Sing-Along.

Come to the Royal Veterinary College’s creative area to make your own Birds of Paradise plumage headdress. See the specimens on display for inspiration and model your new look at our photobooth.

Dissect a heart
From Greek philosophers to modern day colloquialisms, the heart has been linked to emotions and love. And we all know that heart-racing feeling when we’re near someone we find attractive. Come and dissect a heart to find out what’s actually going on inside your chest. Not for the faint-hearted!

Judgement calls
What happens to your judgement when you find someone attractive? And how does it affect your eye contact? Take part in Dr Isabelle Mareschal’s psychology experiment to find out how you really behave.

Robot love
Can you have feelings for a robot? And can it tell that you’re interested in it? Find out with Professor Peter McOwan and his team from Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, who will be demonstrating the latest facial recognition technology, as well as a drumming robot to befriend.

Attractive stuff!
Get your fill of materials science at our hands-on magnetic play area. Use magnetic attraction and iron filings to create your own molten iron pictures, and have a play with our magnetised silly putty and ferrofluid.

The LEGO beginnings of the Universe
Join the outreach team from Queen Mary University, and take a tour of the origins of the Universe using LEGO. Embrace your youthfulness and build your own Universe, learning about the four forces that have shaped our Universe.

Playing with ferrofluid

Timed workshops

These workshops have limited spaces so come early on the night to sign up.

Gunpowder making workshop
7-7.30pm, 7.30 – 8pm, 9pm – 9.30pm, 9.30pm – 10pm
Get that mix right, transfer some electrons, and create the right attractive conditions to set off your own gunpowder in this workshop. Learn how, just as with the laws of attraction, when a more exciting option becomes available, bonds are broken and new molecules are made.

Dating games
7pm - 9pm
Join Science London, a branch of the British Science Association, for speed dating with a difference. Using facial recognition technology, they'll explore the idea that we are more likely to be physically attracted to people with similar features to our own. All with the help of MC Kent Valentine. Fancy testing it out? Sign up on arrival. 

Ri archives tour
7pm, 8pm and 9pm
Join an exclusive 40-minute tour of our archives with our Curator of Collections. 

Blues dancing class
8pm - 9pm
Join Victoria Marbles for an introduction to blues dancing in the mezzanine.


Enjoy live jazz, swing and funk music with the Max Fagandini Quartet from 7-7.45pm and 9-9.45pm.

Please note

This event is for adults only. If you look younger than 21, you may be asked for ID at the door.

Event type

Download your programme for the night

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