The genetic lottery

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 14 September


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

This event has already taken place

  • Is DNA destiny?

    Credit: Kadumago via wikimedia commons


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Event description

Scientists like Kathryn Paige Harden have shown that DNA makes us different, in our personalities and in our health—and in ways that matter for educational and economic success in our current society.

In this talk, she will introduce the latest genetic science, dismantling dangerous ideas about racial superiority and challenging us to grapple with what equality really means in a world where people are born different.

Harden believes our refusal to recognise the power of DNA perpetuates the myth of meritocracy, and she argues that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society. Reclaiming genetic science from the legacy of eugenics, she will offer a bold new vision of society where everyone thrives, regardless of how one fares in the genetic lottery.

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Event type

This is a livestream event where the speaker and audience come together online. 


These online events are free for everyone to access. However, donations are an extremely important source of support for us and we would be most grateful if you are able to contribute. We are a small, independent charity and receive no government funding.  Our income from ticket sales and venue hire has been significantly reduced and will continue to fall. Donations, alongside our membership subscriptions are vital to our development and survival.

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About the speaker

Kathryn Paige Harden is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas, where she directs the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab and co-directs the Texas Twin Project. She is a graduate of Furman University (2003) and the University of Virginia (2009). She currently teaches “Introduction to Psychology” in a synchronous massive online class. The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality (2021, Princeton) is her first book. She lives in Austin with her two small children and one large dog.


The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you register but miss the live stream, the video will be available to you via the same link for up to a week after the event date.

The Royal Institution is part of the Amazon Affiliate Programme and book links on this page are affiliate links, which means it won't cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link. All proceeds help support the charitable work of the Ri. Affiliate disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate The Royal Institution earns from qualifying purchases.

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