Category: Lectures and events

Bright Sparks of the Universe

Bryson Gore has made the demonstrations for the Royal Institution Christmas lectures for many years. This talk makes electrons visible, recreating the events that led to their discovery and showing some of the bizarre things that they can do.

Resetting the Human Compass: The Use and Value of the Arts

How might the arts help 'reset' the direction of the human compass in our difficult times? Is an instrumentalist approach to the arts and culture ever a good thing? Knighted for his services to literature and Poet Laureate from 1999 – 2009, Sir Andrew Motion proposes answers to these questions, with reference to his own education as well as poems by Alice Oswald, Seamus Heaney and William Wordsworth.

Free Speech, Idiocy and the Challenge of Citizenship

What use are rights we do not exercise? Peter Bradley calls for a reinvigoration of our commitment to free expression and argues that association between citizens and the free, face-to-face exchange of ideas, information and opinions is a key not just to rebuilding trust and participation in our democracy but also to creating a more successful, a more robust and indeed a happier society. This is fourth of the Mondays at One series of lectures, From St Paul's Cross to Hyde Park Corner: Public Oratory in London from the Middle Ages to the Present Day.

International Criminal Tribunals: Experiments? Works in Progress? Institutions that are here for Good, or Maybe Not?

In the last twenty years several international courts have been established to try crimes committed in armed conflicts. Public expectation of what these courts may achieve is high; but are the courts living up to that expectation? Is the public expectation realistic and part of a liberal tradition; may it be seen as 'judicial romantic', according to courts capabilities they can never have? Are the courts always bound to be tainted by political influence that makes it probable they will ultimately fail? What sense can be made of the permanent International Criminal Court - the ICC - when Russia, China and the USA decline to accept its jurisdiction for their own citizens but can, as permanent members of the Security Council of the UN, refer individuals from other non-member states to the ICC for trial? And would it matter if the ICC failed? Has enough already been done to chart a way ahead that will allow the law a proper role in the service of countries, or communities in countries, at war? In any event, are war crimes trials the best partner of politics in the search for peace? Are there times when it may be better to let history go in the interests of a better safer future?

Is it all in the genes?

It has long been observed that mental disorders tend to run in families. However, many types of behaviour show this phenomenon and these range from rare types of movement disorder that are completely genetic to such examples as career choice or religious denomination that are largely influenced by family culture. Geneticists have used twin and family studies to tease out the extent to which mental illness runs in families because of shared genes or shared environment and for most disorders have found that genes play a substantial role. Environment also has an important influence but this appears to consist mainly of factors that are specific to the individual and not shared within families. More recent studies are beginning to identify specific genes as well as to investigate their interplay with specific environmental effects. There are also interesting emerging findings on the role of genes on response to treatment of mental disorders.

JUDICIAL CONTROL OF REGULATION

How have judges treated the new issues and what oversight have they over the HFEA? There are issues here of general legal interest concerning regulation and discretion. The case of Diane Blood, who used gametes taken from her deceased husband, will be re-examined, along with the effect of media attention to such cases, the availability of powers of enforcing the law and how it is affected by European treaties.

‘This Ain’t the Shop for Justice’ Crime in Dickens’s London

From his childhood acquaintance with London, when he feared he might become ‘a little robber or a little vagabond’, Charles Dickens was fascinated by crime. His novels all include criminal activity of some kind as he investigates criminal psychology and the causes of crime. Dickens lived through a period of considerable development in society’s treatment of criminals: the foundation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829, the Detective Force in 1842, the same year as the New Model Prison opened at Pentonville; the ending of transportation and of public executions; the word ‘penology’ was first used in 1838, the year he began to publish Nicholas Nickleby. Dickens engages with these issues very fully, both in his fiction and in his journalism, as this talk will explore.

Disappearing London

Dr Justin Dillon, Chair of Council, London Wildlife Trust/King's College London

LONDON'S PAST: THE MAPPING OF LONDON 1297-1900

Part of the Visual Impressions of London lecture series at 1pm on Mondays. Peter Barber is the Head of Map Collections at The British Library.

Tomorrow’s Cities

This is the 2014 Annual Lord Mayor's Lecture, delivered as a part of the Long Finance conference on 'Measuring Up Cities'. The Rt Hon Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of the City of London presents her vision of the city of the future, how governance will change, and what new resources planners and citizens will draw on to control and shape the space around them. This is the 2014 Annual Lord Mayor's Lecture, delivered as a part of the Long Finance conference on 'Measuring Up Cities'.

Notations, Patterns and New Discoveries

While ideas are undoubtedly more important than mere notations, the power of a good notation cannot be over-stated. As an example of this, in the mid-1980's a notation was developed for juggling tricks. It was found when using this notation that there were hitherto unexpected connections between existing tricks, and emerging patterns in the notation suggested the existence of new, previously unknown tricks. These in turn led to new ways of thinking about, teaching, and learning existing tricks, as well as providing new material on which to build.

Olympism: Education

Education through sport is seen as the cornerstone of Olympic ideology. How has this key aim been implemented by London 2012?

Olympism: Ethics and Politics

The first of a series of three lectures, in the run-up to the London Olympic Games 2012, that will consider the ethical and political values of the Olympic Movement, and their significance for education in schools and universities.

Olympism: Fair Play

Fair Play is at the heart of sports ethics, and of Olympic ethics. But what does it mean, and how does it work?

Soothing the savage breast

Can music heal? For centuries its therapeutic virtues have been extolled. The various uses to which it is put are described and the scientific studies that evaluate its benefits. The possibility of music having socially damaging effects is also considered.

Darwin and Derivatives: 19th Century Insights into 21st Century Finance

What lessons might the financial sector learn from Darwin's theory of evolution?

The Ageing Eye

As the eye ages, profound structural changes occur, leading to visual impairment and even blindness. Exciting discoveries in biological science and surgery are opening up possible new treatments for these common conditions. The economic impact on society as populations become older and the role of governments and charities will be discussed.

The Book of Universes

A special event to mark the publication of Professor Barrow's new book, 'The Book of Universes', available from The Bodley Head publishers: http://www.rbooks.co.uk/product.aspx?id=1847920985 This is a book about universes, a story that revolves around a single unusual and unappreciated fact: that Einstein’s famous theory of relativity describe universes – entire universes. Not many solutions of Einstein’s tantalizing universe equations have ever been found, but those that have are all very remarkable. Some of them describe universes that expand in size, while others contract; some rotate like a top and others are chaotic. Some are perfectly smooth, while others are lumpy, or shaken in different directions by tides of energy; some oscillate forever, some become lifeless and cold, while others head towards a runaway future of ever-increasing expansion. Some permit time travel into the past, and others allow infinitely many things to happen in a finite amount of time. Only a few allow life to evolve within them; the rest remain unknowable to conscious minds. Some end with a bang, some with a whimper. Some don’t end at all. Our story will encounter universes where the laws of physics can change from time to time and from one region to another, universes that have extra hidden dimensions of space and time, universes that are eternal, universes that live inside black holes, universes that end without warning, colliding universes, inflationary universes, and universes that come into being from something else – or from nothing at all. Gradually, we will find ourselves introducing the latest and the best descriptions of the Universe we see around us today, together with the concept of the ‘Multiverse’ – the universe of all possible universes – that modern theories of physics lead us to contemplate. These are the most fantastic and far-reaching speculations in the whole of science. Other cosmology and astronomy books focus on particular topics – dark matter, dark energy, the beginning of the universe, inflation, life-supporting coincidences, or the end of the universe – but this book introduces the reader to whole universes in a coherent and unified way.

Privacy and Publicity in Family Law: Their Eternal Tension

There is general agreement among non-family lawyers that family procedures should be more transparent. But exactly what role should the media play in matters of family justice?

The History of the Lord Mayor’s Show

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the longest established and best known annual events in the City of London, dating back to 1215. This lecture will reveal the fascinating history of the show.

What has the City ever Done for us?

The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor, Alderman David Wootton, examines the role, contribution and connections of the City and business - fundamental elements of our community.

The Lost Hospitals of London: The Bethlem Hospital

Bethlem Hospital was an integral part of London’s charitable provision for the poor in medieval and early modern times. Hand in hand with public benevolence went great public interest in the objects of charity. Until 1770, the Hospital was open (at specified times of the week) to any member of the public who wished to see inside, and ‘poor boxes’ were strategically placed near the entrance for donations. Bethlem was by no means the only early modern hospital to permit this level of public access to its inner workings, but it is probably the best known for having done so. The memory of Bethlem’s display of the misery of its patients for entertainment and gain is a powerful metaphor to this day. Bethlem Archivist Colin Gale will explore the reality behind this metaphor via written and pictorial sources from the Hospital’s own archives and the published writings of visitors.

The UK and the new face of Europe

How will the Eurozone crisis impact on the UK's relationship with the EU? In the past, the UK has always insisted on keeping a seat at the heart of the system. But it now suggests that it would be happy for Eurozone members to integrate more closely in order to withstand the crisis, without joining in itself. In this new world, will there be a two tier or even a three tier Europe - the ins, the pre-ins and the outs (of which the UK would be by far the biggest member)? How sustainable would such a structure be over time? What are the benefits of the UK's EU membership, and could they be put at risk by domestic and European political pressures? If there is going to be a referendum on Britain's position in Europe, what are the main arguments for continuing a strong relationship with our European partners? This is the 2013 Gresham Special Lecture.

The Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands Lecture: Get Shorty

Patience is a virtue. But does it have value? Andrew Haldane will discuss the importance of patience to growth and stability, its recent evolution and its implications for financial markets and systems. There is evidence that capital market myopia – short-termism – may be mounting. If so, what if anything should be done about it? Andy Haldane delivers this year's Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands lecture. The event is chaired by Professor Michael Mainelli. This is the 2011 Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands Lecture.

From Soap Boxes to Tea Sets: How the Suffragette Movement got into people’s Hearts and Homes

The women in the suffrage movement were modern day experts on public campaigning, infiltrating hearts and homes with messages for ‘the cause’. Antonia Byatt, who was the first director of The Women’s Library, looks at some of the techniques they used to get the women’s vote into the public mind. From public marches across the country (with all the associated press coverage) to badges, teacups and cook books, they were highly skilled at taking the campaign into people’s everyday lives. This is second of the Mondays at One series of lectures, From St Paul's Cross to Hyde Park Corner: Public Oratory in London from the Middle Ages to the Present Day.

Vienna and Schubert: Fantasy in F Minor, D. 940

Florian Mitrea and Alexandra Vaduva, piano duet. This is a part of the series of lectures and concerts, European Capitals of Music. Famous musical capitals provide the framework for this series of lectures with live music. The first three concentrate not only on 19th century Vienna, but on Schubert in Vienna and writing chamber music. Why did this music happen then, where was it played, who provoked, preformed and paid for it? And was it considered successful? The final three ask similar questions of other capital cities: 20th century chamber music in Paris, baroque music in London under the shadow of Handel, and virtuoso violin playing in Rome focused on Corelli, the 300th anniversary of whose death is being celebrated this season. The works in each programme are played by present members of the Royal Academy of Music.

Vienna and Schubert: The ‘Trout’ Quintet

Schubert Quintet in A, D.667 ‘Trout’ Eleanor Corr violin Xin Xin Liu viola Hannah Rose Innes cello Jack Maran Hewetson double bass Morta Grigaliunaite piano This is a part of the series of lectures and concerts, European Capitals of Music. Famous musical capitals provide the framework for this series of lectures with live music. The first three concentrate not only on 19th century Vienna, but on Schubert in Vienna and writing chamber music. Why did this music happen then, where was it played, who provoked, preformed and paid for it. And was it considered successful? The final three ask similar questions of other capital cities: 20th century chamber music in Paris, baroque music in London under the shadow of Handel, and virtuoso violin playing in Rome focused on Corelli, the 300th anniversary of whose death is being celebrated this season. The works in each programme are played by present members of the Royal Academy of Music.

What is this thing called “love”?

How hormones, phermones and bonding chemicals connect with the experiences of sexual arousal and romantic love. To what extent are we victims of our brain chemistry and neural processes? What are the evolutionary origins and adaptive values of "falling in love"?
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