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Lancastrians to get an exclusive sneak peek of the 2018 Christmas Lectures as they are live streamed for the first time

UCLan is one of five UK locations to screen prestigious annual lecture

For the first time in its 184-year history, The Royal Institution (Ri) is offering Lancastrians an exclusive first look at this year’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES, as filming is streamed live from London to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), in Preston.

This year, the lectures are presented by anthropologist, author and TV presenter Professor Alice Roberts and geneticist Professor Aiofe McLysaght.

Together they will broach one of the most important questions and one we all ask: “Who am I?”. The lectures aim to get the whole nation thinking about questions of identity, from our evolutionary heritage and commonalities with the animal world, to the way in which the complex interplay between our modern environment and our genomes shape who we are.

The streaming events, in Preston and four other UK cities, will allow the public to engage with this important topic live as the lectures are filmed, an opportunity previously only available to Ri members.

UCLan will show Lecture 2, examining our relationship to our closest evolutionary relatives and how we diverged from them, at 6.00pm on Thursday 13 December in the Darwin Lecture Theatre – home to the UCLan and Ri Young Scientist Centre.

Entry is free but places are limited and must be booked via Eventbrite.

Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution, said: “This marks an exciting development for the Royal Institution and the CHRISTMAS LECTURES and fits well with our objective to give as many people as possible the opportunity to discover, discuss and critically examine science

“The fact we are able to put on these events demonstrates the enduring appeal of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES and the power of science to inspire and engage. Questions regarding identity and the forces that make us who we are have always been of immense importance but perhaps never so pressing as they are now. I believe these Lectures will help us better understand what makes us unique as individuals and what unites us as a species.”

The other live stream events will be hosted in Manchester, Cambridge, Belfast and London. Each of the host sites will show one of this year’s lectures in real time as they are filmed in the Royal Institution’s iconic lecture theatre.

All three lectures will be available to watch on BBC Four between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, allowing viewers to follow what will surely be a captivating and enlightening examination of who we are.

The event marks the latest chapter in a long history of science communication. The CHRISTMAS LECTURES are the longest running science communication series in the world. Having been delivered every year since 1825. They were the first science programme to be broadcast on UK national television in 1936 and have been broadcast every year since 1966.


Professor Alice Roberts

Rachel Atkinson | 27 November 2018