UCL News


Royal Institution at UCL

14 February 2006

UCL is hosting the Royal Institution's famous Friday Evening Discourses during 2006 while the institution's grade-I listed building is being refurbished.

The opening discourse was delivered by UCL Provost and President, Professor Malcolm Grant on 17 February 2006. Friday Evening Discourses are an integral part of the Royal Institution's events calendar and were established in 1826. The 180th series of discourses coincides with the 180th anniversary of the founding of the University of London, as UCL was originally named.

Professor Grant's talk, entitled 'GM: what's all the fuss about?' explored questions surrounding this controversial topic from the perspective of the UK National Debate on GM 2002-2003, which Professor Grant was appointed by the government to lead.

In addition, Professor Tadj Oreszczyn (UCL Bartlett School) gave a Royal Institution 'Out and About' lecture at the Glasgow Science Centre at 7pm, 15 February 2006 on 'Green Houses of the Future'. He said: "It is staggering that just under half of Britain's energy use and carbon emissions are a result of buildings. Also, the current UK target is to reduce our carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. We can help to reduce these emissions just by tackling energy efficiency in the home. But how exactly do we do that?" Professor Oreszczyn talked about how we can all make basic changes to our homes now to reduce our energy consumption as well as looking at the next generation of energy saving devices that will be incorporated into our homes in the near future.

Dr Bernard Bulkin, Vice Chair for Climate Change, Energy and Transport of the UK Sustainable Development Commission discussed whether technology can save the planet on 24 February 2006, followed by Christopher Shaw, Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics at King's College London, on 3 March 2006, whose discourse is entitled 'Motor neurone disease: how can we lengthen a very short straw?'. Professor Christine Davies, Head of the Particle Physics Theory Group at Glasgow University, will round things up on 10 March 2006 with her discourse, 'Getting to the heart of matter - the story of quarks'.

Friday Evening Discourses start at 8pm, and are followed at 9pm by a reception. Tickets cost £12 and are available through the Royal Institution. These discourses are by tradition formal occasions, and while evening dress is not obligatory, it is customary.