I was really fortunate to be offered tickets to go and see the Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution this year. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been to the RI before, but now I have, I really do want to go back there and have a good poke around their museum.

I loved the display of optical instruments in the cafe:

Optics

The lecture theatre is much smaller than I imagined it from having seen the lectures on the television. And it was quite steep. All the adults were up in The Gods looking down, but we still got a pretty good view. As a science geek it was a real thrill to be in a space that had seen some of the big names of science give talks – Michael Faraday, Richard Dawkins, David Attenborough and even Carl Sagan (list of speakers here)

It was quite fascinating to see all the TV people doing all the behind the scenes work. We didn’t have too many retakes to do. The biggest problem occured when the laptop all set up to take an x-ray reading just didn’t work. I’ve felt that pain many times. Thankfully it had just been left on and had run out of battery power.

Xmas Lectures

The theme of the lecture was the 300 Million Year War and it was all about how plants have evolved some fantastic defence systems to fight back against the onslaught of herbivores. This lecture looked mainly at some of the chemical defences such as stings and poisons. I felt very sorry for the chap who ate one of the hottest chillis going. That was one experiment they didn’t ask the kids to take part in!

If you want to see the lectures – they will be on More 4 from 21 – 25th December at 7pm. It’s well worth a look. And you will be able to talk about it via Twitter after each show.

And go visit the Royal Institution website. They have some great teaching resources for Science teachers at all Key Stages. Go and take a look.