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The human cosmos

In this talk, Jo Marchant discusses her new book ‘The Human Cosmos’. Jo explores our historical fascination with the cosmos and how new technology might be changing our relationship with the night sky.

NASA/Goddard/SDO via Flickr

Event description

Humans have been in awe of the cosmos for the last 20,000 years. Our innate relationship with the stars shaped who we are. Our art, religious beliefs, social status, scientific advances and even our biology.

In this talk, Jo Marchant discusses her new book ‘The Human Cosmos’. Jo explores our historical fascination with the cosmos and how new technology might be changing our relationship with the night sky. 


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About the speaker

Jo Marchant, PhD, is an award-winning journalist, speaker and author of the New York Times bestseller 'Cure: a journey into the science of mind over body'. Her writing explores the nature of humanity and our universe, from the science of the mind-body connection and the mysteries of past civilisations to the awesome power of the night sky.

She has written extensively on how we can use our minds to improve our health, using techniques from mindfulness and virtual reality to drug-free medicines. She is also fascinated by how human societies through history have made sense of the world, with articles investigating ancient enigmas such as cave paintings, pyramids, hidden manuscripts and lost technology. Her latest book, 'The Human Cosmos', tells the story of humanity’s relationship with the night sky and the universe beyond.

Jo trained as a scientist: she has a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London, and an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She previously worked as a senior editor at New Scientist and at Nature, and her articles have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and Smithsonian magazine

Her radio and TV appearances include BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week and Today programmes, NPR’s Fresh AirCNN and National Geographic. She has captivated live audiences around the world, including at the Royal Institution in London, the Hay Festival, the Edinburgh Science Festival, the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Dutch-Flemish Institute in Cairo.

Her latest book 'The Human Cosmos' is available now on Amazon and in all good book stores.


The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you miss the live stream, it will be available to watch on WebinarJam for the following 72 hours.

How to watch live

1. Register for the livestream by clicking the ‘Register now’ button above.

2. Enter your first name and email address and click ‘Register now’.

3. The registration completion page will give you your link to the live stream 'room'.  Simply click the link and bookmark the page so that you can return to it later

You should also receive a confirmation email containing your link. If not, check your spam filter and mark the email as safe so that you will receive further emails from us about this event.

Your link gives you access the WebinarJam live stream room. If the live stream hasn’t started yet, this will be a ‘waiting room’. When the live stream begins, you can submit your comments and questions via the chat forum. Keep an eye on the chat forum for further links, e.g. if you'd like to buy the speaker’s book

Don’t worry if you miss the live stream. You will receive an email with a link to access a replay video, which will be available for 24 hours after the live stream. Check your spam filter if you don't receive this email. The video will also be uploaded onto our YouTube channel.

If you have any issues with your registration, please contact us at

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 procceeds help support the charitable work of the Ri. Affiliate disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate The Royal Institution earns from qualifying purchases.