The Royal Institution of Great Britain is an incubator of scientific innovation. Open your mind and discover the nuances of new thinking in a season of talks from leading experts across different scientific and cultural fields. The 2020 Spring Programme of events is themed around 'Who's in control?', 'Saving our planet' and 'the Future of Health'. The talks take place in the historic Royal Institution lecture theatre in Mayfair and span the personal implications of parenting in an online age to the revelatory discoveries triggered by understanding how light travels through the universe.
Culture Whisper rounds up our highlights from the new season of talks.
The science of thrill (Discourse)
Friday 28 February, 7:20pm - 8:45pm
What's so enjoyable about being hurled at top speed or plunged upside-down on a rollercoaster? Thrill engineer Brendan Walker, founder-director of ride design company Studio Go Go Limited, shares his expertise on the fascinating science behind our need for speed. Drawing on examples from the last 15 years, Walker will reflect on the creative and technical feats that go into engineering thrilling adventure experiences.
Easy speaking and effortless listening
Tuesday 3 March, 7pm - 9:30pm
Speaking and listening should come naturally, but when there are second languages, multiple conversations or large crowds thrown into the equation, communication can take a lot of effort. Researchers from seven European countries combine their skills to explore how we can simplify speech and take the effort out of listening. After the panel discussion, audience members can participate in a series of demonstrations, from experiencing artificially enhanced speech to watching brainwaves and pupil dilation.
Lightspeed: The greatest revelation in modern science
Wednesday 11 March, 7pm - 8:30pm
Multi-award-winning physicist Professor John CH Spence illuminates the fascinating science and history of the speed of light. The revelatory discovery that light moves at the same speed in all frames of reference has shaped innovations from Ancient Greece and Einstein to modern nuclear weapons. Learn how the search for the elusive 'aether' informs the history and future of science.
Wednesday 18 March, 7pm - 8:45pm - talk ends at 8:15pm for a clothes swap
Fast fashion is plaguing the planet, but can style ever be sustainable? A panel of experts in design, consumerism and ecological issues explore our appetite for new clothes and the new technologies and ideas that can reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry to make it more sustainable. Following the discussion there will be a clothes swap, so remember to bring one (clean) item of clothing that you no longer want so you can exchange it for something more exciting.
Wednesday 8 April, 7pm - 8:30pm
From charting cycles on an app to posting that first fuzzy ultrasound scan online, our children's digital identity now begins before birth. Then come the social media updates charting each developmental milestone and cute new outfit. But what are the implications of this digital sharing culture? Associate Dean and Professor of Law Leah Plunkett shares the pitfalls of putting children's private information on a public forum and delves into the legal system that facilitates 'sharenting'.
|What||Science on your terms: The Royal Institution Spring Programme|
|Where||Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
28 Feb 20 – 03 Apr 20, Event times vary