7.20pm to 8.45pm, Friday 3 February
This event has already taken place
Today’s computers are lightning-fast. But sometimes we want to make sure that they can’t solve a particular task quickly (perhaps for security purposes). This issue lies at the heart of the P vs NP problem, one of the most famous conundrums in computer science, which Kevin Buzzard will explore in this Discourse.
Kevin Buzzard is a British mathematician and currently a Professor of Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London. He specialises in algebraic number theory.
Discourses are one of the Ri’s oldest and most prestigious series of talks. Since 1825, audiences in the theatre have witnessed countless mind-expanding moments, including the first public liquefaction of air by James Dewar, the announcement of the electron by J.J. Thomson and over 100 lectures by Michael Faraday. In more recent times, we have had Nobel laureates, Fields medal winners, scientists, authors and artists – all from the cutting-edge of their field. Discourses are an opportunity for the best and brightest to share their work with the world.
Steeped in nearly two centuries of tradition, a Discourse is more than just a lecture. To keep the focus on the topic, presenters begin sharply at 7:30pm without introduction and we lock the speaker into a room ten minutes ahead of the start (legend has it that a speaker once tried to escape!) We also ask guests to dress smartly to add to the sense of occasion.
Discourses are free for members - consider joining today.
Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.
There will also be a cash bar on the Mezzanine before the Discourse, where you can relax, meet likeminded people with an interest in science, and have a drink.
The dress code for this event is smart (ties optional, no jeans or trainers). Please note, if you are not dressed smartly you may be asked to sit in the gallery.
Please be aware that this Discourse starts at 7.30pm, but all attendees must be seated in the theatre by 7.20pm. This is half an hour earlier than previous Discourses.
Benefit from free and better than half-price tickets, special offers and access to the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot.