5 episodes

The Romanes Lecture is an annual public lecture at Oxford University. The first was given in 1892 by William Gladstone. Subsequent speakers have included Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Sir Isaiah Berlin, Iris Murdoch, Edward Heath, AJP Taylor, Tony Blair and Sir Paul Nurse.

The Romanes Lecture Oxford University

    • Education

The Romanes Lecture is an annual public lecture at Oxford University. The first was given in 1892 by William Gladstone. Subsequent speakers have included Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Sir Isaiah Berlin, Iris Murdoch, Edward Heath, AJP Taylor, Tony Blair and Sir Paul Nurse.

    The Limits of Science

    The Limits of Science

    Lord Rees of Ludlow delivers the 2011 Romanes Lecture. Telescopes reveal the remote universe; accelerators probe the subatomic world. Thanks to such instruments, astronomers have established, in outline, how our cosmos has evolved from a still-mysterious beginning more than 13 billion years. Billions more years - and perhaps even an infinite time - lie ahead of it. But 99 percent of scientists focus neither on the very small nor the very large, but on the even greater complexities of our everyday world. Materials science, biology and the environmental sciences proceed apace, revealing remarkable insights, and opening up an ever-widening range of applications - both opportunities and threats. We live on an ever more interconnected and crowded planet, where each person is empowered by transformative technology but is making increasing demands on the world's resources. There is a widening gulf between what science enables us to do, and what it's prudent or ethical actually to do. The Earth has existed for 45 million centuries but this is the first when one species, ours, can determine the long-range planetary future. The stakes are high; optimum policies require a longer-term and less parochial perspective than normally prevails in political debate, the deployment of the best scientific advice, and engagement of a wider public. In science itself, the most dramatic conceptual advances are the least predictable. But, in scanning these intellectual horizons, we must be mindful that there may be fundamental limits to our understanding - concepts about key aspects of reality that human brains (even computer-aided) can't grasp. Lord (Martin) Rees was the President of the Royal Society from December 2005 to December 2010. He is Master of Trinity College and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. He is also Visiting Professor at Leicester University and Imperial College London. He was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1995, and was nominated to the House of Lords in 2005 as a cross-bench peer. He was appointed a member of the Order of Merit in 2007.

    • 54 min
    The Limits of Science (Transcript)

    The Limits of Science (Transcript)

    Lord Rees of Ludlow delivers the 2011 Romanes Lecture. Telescopes reveal the remote universe; accelerators probe the subatomic world. Thanks to such instruments, astronomers have established, in outline, how our cosmos has evolved from a still-mysterious beginning more than 13 billion years. Billions more years - and perhaps even an infinite time - lie ahead of it. But 99 percent of scientists focus neither on the very small nor the very large, but on the even greater complexities of our everyday world. Materials science, biology and the environmental sciences proceed apace, revealing remarkable insights, and opening up an ever-widening range of applications - both opportunities and threats. We live on an ever more interconnected and crowded planet, where each person is empowered by transformative technology but is making increasing demands on the world's resources. There is a widening gulf between what science enables us to do, and what it's prudent or ethical actually to do. The Earth has existed for 45 million centuries but this is the first when one species, ours, can determine the long-range planetary future. The stakes are high; optimum policies require a longer-term and less parochial perspective than normally prevails in political debate, the deployment of the best scientific advice, and engagement of a wider public. In science itself, the most dramatic conceptual advances are the least predictable. But, in scanning these intellectual horizons, we must be mindful that there may be fundamental limits to our understanding - concepts about key aspects of reality that human brains (even computer-aided) can't grasp. Lord (Martin) Rees was the President of the Royal Society from December 2005 to December 2010. He is Master of Trinity College and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. He is also Visiting Professor at Leicester University and Imperial College London. He was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1995, and was nominated to the House of Lords in 2005 as a cross-bench peer. He was appointed a member of the Order of Merit in 2007.

    Tony Blair: The Learning Habit

    Tony Blair: The Learning Habit

    UK Prime Minister Tony Blair delivers the 1999 Romanes lecture, explaining what the government is seeking to achieve in its programme of education reform, and how as a nation in the 21st century we can achieve a ‘learning habit’ across society.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Gordon Brown: Science and our Economic Future

    Gordon Brown: Science and our Economic Future

    UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivers the 2009 Romanes Lecture, arguing that investment in science and the next generation of scientists is key to the UK's future competitiveness.

    • 50 min
    Muhammad Yunus: A Poverty-free World?

    Muhammad Yunus: A Poverty-free World?

    Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and pioneer of microcredit, gave this year’s Romanes lecture on ‘A poverty-free world: When? How?’.

    • 37 min

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