Light and the quantum (Friday Evening Discourse)

7.50pm - 9.15pm, Friday 25 September

The Theatre

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: NASA/Sonoma State University/Auore Simonnet


Standard £17


Associate members £11


Free to Members, Faraday Members and Fellows

Event description

The properties of light which could not be explained through classical physics helped to kick-start the quantum revolution. Soon after, strange quantum phenomena were described - state superpositions, entanglement and the realisation of "Schrödinger’s cat". In celebration of the International Year of Light, join Nobel Laureate Serge Haroche to explore these quantum phenomena, the role of light in an explosion of discovery and possible applications of the counter-intuitive quantum logic.

About the speaker

Serge Haroche is a French physicist who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with David J. Wineland for "ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems", a study of the photon. He is now professor of quantum physics at Collège de France, where he is also the president of the institution.

Food and Drink

The Discourse is a perfect occasion to meet like-minded people who share an enthusiasm for science and technology!

Our Discourse drinks reception in the Atrium provides a vibrant and welcoming social space where Ri members and their guests can meet each other, share a drink or two with canapés and explore 200 years of science innovation in the Faraday Museum before attending the Discourse in our famous lecture theatre. The reception runs from 6.30pm – 7.30pm and tickets are £15 per person for Ri members and their guests. Please select the relevent option when booking your tickets.

A fine dining menu is also served before and after the Discourse in our restaurant and restaurant reservations are open to Ri members and non-members. To book your table, please call 020 7670 2956.


  • Canapés at the Royal Institution

Please note

If you haven't been before, please note that Friday Evening Discourses are traditional events that date back to 1825. With that in mind, many attendees like to wear smart evening dress, though this is not a requirement.

There is also a certain level of tradition and ceremony during the event, including: the speaker and host walk through the doors as the clock bell rings at exactly 8pm; the speaker starts the talk with no introduction or hellos, and should finish at 9pm as the clock bell rings again; the speaker is locked in a room 10 minutes before the talk begins to prevent them running away (legend has it that once a speaker escaped just before the discourse). 

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.


This event will be filmed and availble to watch on the Ri Channel a few weeks afterwards.

Become a member

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