The book of humans: The story of how we became us

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Wednesday 12 September

The Theatre

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Adam Rutherford

Price

Standard £16

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Concession £10

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Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but are we really any more special than other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns, and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox - that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special - lies at the heart of who we are.

In an original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford will explore how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire, or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.

About the speaker

Dr Adam Rutherford is a science writer and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. He has written and presented many award-winning series and programmes for the BBC, including the flagship weekly BBC Radio 4 programme Inside Science and The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry with Dr Hannah Fry. He is the author of two previous books, Creation, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Prize, and A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived. 

Our chair for the evening, Dr Hannah Fry, is an Associate Professor in the mathematics of cities from University College London. In her day job she uses mathematical models to study patterns in human behaviour, and has worked with governments, police forces, health analysts and supermarkets. Her TED talks have amassed millions of views and she has fronted television documentaries for the BBC and PBS; she also hosts the long-running science podcast, ‘The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry’ with the BBC.

Timing

The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.

Book signing

Copies of Adam's book, 'The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us', will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.

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