Lloyd's Register Foundation

Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Royal Institution to work together in recognition of more than two centuries of shared heritage and a commitment to inspiring young people with the wonders and applications of science.

Saiful Islam is the 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES presenter
Paul Wilkinson

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Celebrating 80 years since the Royal Institution’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES were first televised, chemist Professor Saiful Islam from the University of Bath explores one of humankind’s biggest challenges: how to generate and store energy, with guest appearances from Christmas Lecturers past.

In this year’s commemorative series, demonstrations will be inspired by classic television moments from past Lectures which include George Porter’s ‘The Natural History of a Sunbeam’ from 1976, Peter Wothers’s ‘The Modern Alchemist’ from 2012 and Danielle George’s ‘Sparks will fly’ from 2014. Saiful will be joined on stage by a host of very special guests – past Christmas Lecturers.

The 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES are produced by Windfall Films for BBC Four. The three part series will be broadcast on 26, 27 and 28 December at 8pm.

For more information on this year’s series, please visit:


Gail Cardew, Professor of Science, Culture and Society at the Royal Institution, said: “We are delighted that the Lloyd’s Register Foundation have chosen to partner with us as our major supporter for the 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES. Our organisations share a rich heritage: the very first televised lecture by GI Taylor FRS was on shipping and I've been amazed to hear that so many people with connections to Lloyd’s Register over the last two centuries were also members of the Ri. More importantly, both organisations share a commitment to inspiring young people about science as well as ensuring the applications of science are used responsibly and safely for the benefit of society. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together through the 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES.” 

The 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES programme supported by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and a wider community of supporters, will involve three live shows in the Ri’s iconic lecture theatre, a UK television broadcast and will make the Lectures available to an international audience through the Ri Channel and social media activities. The partnership will support thousands of teachers and students up and down the country through education initiatives including the launch of a touring live show for schools and Continuing Professional Development sessions for teachers inspired by the Lectures, an online engagement project called ‘I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here’ and free online teaching resources to help teachers bring the magic of the Lectures into the classroom.

On 22 December 1936, a highlight from that year’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES was broadcast from Alexandra Palace, only seven weeks after the opening ceremony of the BBC’s Television Service. The topic was shipping, another fitting link to the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and its legacy of supporting the maritime industry.

Here is the description of the Lecture from an archived Radio Times clipping:

Lloyd's Register Foundation

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a UK charity, established in 2012, which funds the advancement of engineering-related education and research and supports work that enhances safety of life and property. It is funded partly by the profits of its operating group, Lloyd’s Register Group Limited (Lloyd’s Register), a global engineering, technical and business services organisation.

Its vision is to be known worldwide as a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education that makes a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. In support of this, it promotes scientific excellence and acts as a catalyst working with others to achieve maximum impact.

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s strategy for 2014-2020 focuses funding on four strategic themes: promoting safety and public understanding of risk; advancing skills and education; supporting excellent scientific research; and accelerating the application of research. Four research themes have been prioritised: structural integrity and systems performance; resilience engineering; human and social factors; and emergent technologies.

See more at: www.lrfoundation.org.uk/strategy 


Two historic UK charities, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Royal Institution (Ri), have come together to launch a year-long programme of innovative and creative public engagement activities inspired by the world-famous CHRISTMAS LECTURES. Thanks to the Foundation’s generosity, the Ri’s 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES will reach millions of young people, their families and their teachers from across the UK and beyond.

The 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES series ‘Supercharged: Fuelling the Future’, will explore one of humankind’s biggest challenges: how to generate and store energy. It will be presented by Saiful Islam, Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Bath.

This year’s series will also celebrate an incredible anniversary for the CHRISTMAS LECTURES as it marks 80 years of television history since they were first broadcast on the BBC in 1936, making the CHRISTMAS LECTURES the world’s oldest science series.

Professor Richard Clegg, Chief Executive of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation said: “The Lloyd's Register Foundation is proud to be a major supporter of the Royal Institution’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES. This year's series is on the subject of energy which is also dear to the heart of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. As a charity, we share complementary aims with the Ri to connect people with the world of science and inspiring the next generation. We're also a global charity so looking forward to continuing to work with Ri afterwards on taking the lectures abroad and maximising their impact internationally.” 

The shared history between the two charities stretches back to the founding of the Royal Institution in 1799. John Julius Angerstein was the first known Chairman of the Society for the Registry of Shipping (the precursor to Lloyd's Register) between 1790–1797, and in 1799 he became one of 58 founding proprietors of the Royal Institution. Each proprietor contributed fifty guineas in order to establish: