Autumn events 2016

Our exciting programme of events from September to December is now open for booking. Don't miss out!

  • Very Large Array

    The Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope.

    Credit: Dave Finley, NRAO/AUI/NSF
  • Join Ed Yong on 1 September to find out how you are controlled by the multitudes of bacteria within you.

    Credit: Professor Ben-Jacob via Wikipedia
  • Remember to come hear how memories are made on 6 September from the winners of the world's biggest prize in neuroscience.

    Credit: Andreashorn via Wikimedia
  • What do the Royal Navy and gold medallists have in common? They are the best at what they do. Find out what it takes to be the best on 7 September.

    Credit: Royal Navy via Flickr

Autumn programme

Welcome to the Ri’s autumn programme of events. Running from 1 September until the end of November, these events are now available to book online and include visits from past Christmas Lecturers, Discourses from scientists at the forefront of their research, family-friendly explorations of exciting topics, as well as our usual full programme of talks in our famous lecture theatre.

Read on for some of the highlights or browse our What's On calendar online to book your events today.

Don't forget, Ri Members benefit from free and discounted tickets.


The UK's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies, will discuss the impending antimicrobial resistance crisis, Chris Bishop will unpack the ideas behind neural networks, machine learning and artificial intelligence and explore the opportunities these technologies offer.

In November, join physicist David Tong as he drills down to the quantum fields that are theorised to be the fundamental building blocks of the Universe.

Christmas Lecturers return

Join a variety of our former Christmas Lecturers as they stand at Faraday's desk in the theatre once more. Ian Stewart  guides you through the mathematics of the Universe, Marcus du Sautoy travels to the edge of the knowable and Chris Bishop delivers a Discourse.

  • Fractals like the Mandelbrot set, long thought to be useless curiosities, can be used to describe complex natural phenomena.

    Credit: Wolfgangbeyer via Wikipedia

  • Space telescopes like the Hubble have allowed us to look further into space than ever before.

    Credit: NASA, ESA via Wikimedia

  • By programming computers in layers, machines are able to learn as they go.

    Credit: Akritasa via Wikimedia

Answering the big questions

This season at the Ri we are tackling some of the biggest questions in science.

Those curious about the cosmos will be delighted to explore questions of its origin and our knowledge of it, including a look into whether we're alone in the Universe with Jim Al-Khalili and astrophysicist Sean Carroll's appraisal of how the laws governing it affect our daily lives in the big picture.

For the budding neuroscientist, we'll discuss how memories are formed in the brain and why consciousness even exists.

Lighthearted talks

This autumn's programme has something for everyone, from an evening dissecting the fact and fiction of Star Trek to a look into the surprising science behind winning games.

  • Surprise your senses with this season's Family Fun Day.

    Credit: Katherin Leedale

  • One way to heat atoms up enough so that they fuse together is by shooting giant lasers at them.

    Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory via Wikimedia


This season's Family Fun Day is all about the senses, so get ready for some sensational demonstrations, talks and experiments.

We also have physicist Kate Lancaster showing off how giant lasers could save the world, Dr Karl bounding through great moments in science, Tom Whipple showing you how to win at life, and Stephen Ashworth serving up a second helping of Kitchen chemistry.

Short Course

This season, we have one week-long course on quantum theory. Over five 90-minute sessions, James Millen will demistify one of the most important frameworks in modern physics.

Filming our events

Many of the events in this programme will be filmed and available on the Ri Channel a few months after the event. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notifications each time a video is released.

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