What is life? (Discourse)

7.20pm to 8.45pm, Friday 25 October

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London
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Price

Free for Ri Members and Ri Patrons

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Ri Young Members £7

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Standard £20

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Concession £15

Event description

In this Discourse, Sir Paul Nurse will consider the question 'What is Life?' by discussing five great ideas of biology, ranging from the ‘Cell’ to ‘the Logic of Life’. By considering these concepts a direction of travel is set towards a definition of life.

About the speaker

Sir Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist whose discoveries have helped to explain how the cell controls its cycle of growth and division. Working in fission yeast, he showed that the cdc2 gene encodes a protein kinase, which ensures the cell is ready to copy its DNA and divide. Paul’s findings have broader significance since errors in cell growth and division may lead to cancer and other serious diseases.

More about Discourses

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 JJ 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!). Some of our guests dress smartly for our Discourse events to add to this sense of occasion.

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

Membership

Discourses are free for Ri Members and Ri Patrons. Join us today and support us on our mission.

Food and Drink

The Atrium cafe will be open before and after the talk. Check out the delicious menu and call 020 7670 2973 or email ri@ri.ac.uk to reserve your table.

There will also be a cash bar before the Discourse, where you can relax, meet likeminded people with an interest in science, and have a drink.

Timing note

Please be aware that this Discourse starts at 7.30pm, but all attendees must be seated in the theatre by 7.20pm. 

The doors will open at approximately 6.45pm.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.

Filming

This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.

Accessibility

The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email: events@ri.ac.uk.

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing events@ri.ac.uk.

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop. 

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