Skip to main content

Ri Christmas Lecture live stream at the National Science and Media Museum

See Dr. Hannah Fry and the Royal Institution in Bradford this Christmas, as the world’s longest-running science lecture is beamed live to the National Science and Media Museum.

Royal Institution Christmas Lecture Live Screening
Thursday 12 December 2019, 17.00–20.00
Recommended for ages 11+
Event information and tickets

Returning after 2018’s sell-out live pilot screenings around the UK, the popular Royal Institution Christmas Lecture comes to the National Science and Media Museum on Thursday 12 December 2019, bringing renowned mathematician, TV and radio personality Dr. Hannah Fry to the big screen.

Also being broadcast later in December on BBC Four, the limited-capacity live stream event will beam into Bradford at the museum’s newly independent Pictureville Cinema, offering a sneak preview of Dr Fry’s keynote theories before the rest of the country has the chance to catch up.

Having applied mathematical theory to dating and the algorithms of love, Science Museum Group Trustee Dr Fry presents her ideas in the new lecture Secrets and lies: the hidden power of maths. The lecture will reveal the ways in which maths, rules and patterns influence our daily lives, exploring how miracles can be understood with probability, how big data dictates the trends we follow, and how algorithms secretly influence our life choices.

In this lecture, Dr Fry will seek to find the luckiest member of the audience. Do the biggest events in our lives rely on luck, or does probability allow us to understand and predict complex systems?

Dr Hannah Fry said:

“I am thrilled that the National Science and Media Museum will be part of this year’s live streaming of the Ri Christmas Lectures. I know the museum is as passionate as I am about bringing STEM subjects to life for young people, and I hope as many as possible take the opportunity to see this great annual tradition as a live event in the museum’s fantastic cinema.”

Following a successful pilot in just five venues last year, the 2019 lecture series will now be shown at 20 locations throughout the country.

Vicky Clifton, Head of Learning and Participation for the museum, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting the live stream of the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture in Bradford. Dr Hannah Fry brings an entirely new perspective to maths and learning for people of all ages and is a real leader in the field. By relating maths to everyday life, this lecture will be engaging for even the non-mathematicians among us, changing the way we see the world around us. As a museum we have a learning focus on STEM and this drive is making it possible to have exciting events like this in the city. This is a great learning opportunity for kids and adults alike, plus we’ll be making it festive with a complimentary mince pie and hot chocolate for everyone attending.”

Tickets for the event are available exclusively from the National Science and Media Museum’s website, priced at £3 for young people aged 11+ and £6 for over-18s, with complimentary tickets available for carers.

The event is also a great opportunity for schools to get involved. School groups can book using the email address learning@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk

The Ri has been supported in its live streaming programme by the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), which brings together all the major public science centres and museums across the UK, and by the Ri’s funding partner KPMG.

Shaun Fitzgerald, Director of the Ri, said:

“We want to connect as many people as possible with science and this is a wonderful opportunity to extend the reach of one of our flagship events. As well as being an amazing show, the Christmas Lectures represent the ideal opportunity to critically examine the impact of science in our lives. We are delighted that thousands more people can enjoy the magic of the Lectures live, in such amazing venues. Michael Faraday would most definitely approve.”

Dr Penny Fidler, Chief Executive of ASDC, said:

“Our passion is democratising science and enabling people everywhere to explore science and new ideas. We are delighted to be partnering with the Ri to enable the excitement of the filming of this world-famous lecture series to be available to young people and communities across the UK.”

Filming of the 2019 Lecture Series will be live streamed from the Royal Institution’s iconic theatre on 12, 14 and 17 December 2019, and broadcast on BBC Four between Christmas and New Year.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Katie Canning, Press and PR Manager: +44 (0)1274 203 027 / katie.canning@scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk

Robert Davies, Ri Press Office: +44 (0)20 7670 2991 / rdavies@ri.ac.uk

Notes for editors

About the National Science and Media Museum

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

About the 2019 Christmas Lecture

Secrets and lies: The hidden power of maths

In three lectures Hannah Fry unmasks the hidden numbers, rules and patterns that secretly influence our daily lives…in ways we could never imagine.

She exposes how our gut instincts are often unreliable, while an unseen layer of maths drives everyday life in powerful and surprising ways.

Life’s most astonishing miracles can be understood with probability. Big data dictates many of the hot new fashions we follow. Even our choice of what we watch on TV, or our choice of who we marry, is secretly influenced by computer algorithms.

In a series of lectures packed with mind-boggling demos and live experiments, Hannah shows us how to decode life’s hidden numbers; to help us all make better choices, sort fact from fiction, and lead happier lives. But she also warns how our unwavering faith in figures can lead to disaster when we get the sums wrong.

Unravelling suspicious statistics, engineering meltdowns and deadly data, Hannah asks big ethical questions about the trust we place in maths today. Are there any problems maths can’t or shouldn’t solve? Do computer algorithms have too much control over our lives and privacy? Could AI decide if someone lives or dies?

Ultimately, by probing the limits of maths and its role in our modern world, Hannah ends up revealing and celebrating what makes our human minds so unique.

About Dr Hannah Fry

Dr Hannah Fry is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study patterns in human behaviour, particularly in an urban setting. Her research applies to a wide range of social problems and questions, from shopping and transport to urban crime, riots and terrorism. 

Alongside her academic position, Hannah is an experienced public speaker taking the joy of maths into theatres and schools, and has been a regular speaker at the Royal Institution.

Her critically acclaimed BBC documentaries include Britain’s Greatest Invention, City in the Sky (BBC Two), Magic Numbers: Hannah Fry’s Mysterious World of Maths, The Joy of Winning, Horizon: The Honest Supermarket: What’s Really in Our Food?, The Joy of Data, Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic, and Calculating Ada (BBC Four).

She also co-presents The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry (BBC Radio 4) and The Maths of Life with Lauren Laverne (BBC Radio 6). Online, her YouTube videos have clocked up millions of views, including her popular Ri talks on the Ri YouTube channel.

Hannah has also authored a number of books. Her latest, Hello World: How to be human in the age of the machine (Penguin Random House/Transworld) was shortlisted for the prestigious Bailie Gifford Prize for Non Fiction and the Royal Society Book Prize.

She is very much looking forward to presenting this year’s Christmas Lectures, delving into the hidden power of maths.

Follow Hannah on Twitter and Instagram at @fryrsquared and find out more information on her website.

About the Royal Institution’s 2019 Christmas Lecture’s supporters

The Royal Institution would like to extend its sincere gratitude to The Lloyd’s Register Foundation for their generous contribution as the Christmas Lectures major supporter, and to our other Christmas Lectures supporters, UK Research and Innovation and Schlumberger. To find out how you can join our community of Christmas Lectures supporters, please contact development@ri.ac.uk.

The Ri would also like to thank those people and organisations who generously gave or offered their time and premises to support the photographs available with this release: Conrad Shawcross, Southwark Council, Friends of Dulwich Park, the Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation, the British Library, Shadow Robotics, and the Science Museum.

About membership at the Royal Institution

Our members are at the heart of the Ri and their support is vital in helping us deliver our mission to build on our heritage and create opportunities for everyone to discover, discuss and critically examine science and the way in which is shapes the world around us. By becoming a Ri Member, you will join a community of like-minded people who share a curiosity about, and passion for, science. Members receive free or better than half price tickets to Ri lectures as well as entry into the Christmas Lectures ticket ballot and a host of other associated benefits. Find out more about membership and the Ri’s programme of talks and events on the Ri website. 

About the history of the Christmas Lectures

The Christmas Lectures are the Royal Institution’s biggest and most famous, demonstration-based science events for young people. They are broadcast on UK television every Christmas and have formed part of the festive tradition for generations—often being compared to the Queen’s Christmas message and the Carols from King’s.

The Christmas Lectures have been inspiring children and adults alike since 1825. The Lectures were initiated by Michael Faraday at a time when organised education for young people was scarce. He presented 19 series himself, establishing an exciting new way of presenting science to young people.

The Christmas Lectures have continued annually since the 1825 series, stopping only for four years during World War II. Many world-famous scientists have given the Lectures including Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and Dame Nancy Rothwell.

The Christmas Lectures were first broadcast on television by the BBC in 1936 which makes them the first science show on UK national television. They have been broadcast on television every year since 1966 on the BBC and in later years on Channel Five, Channel Four and more4. In 2010, the Lectures returned to BBC Four.

In 2016 a commemorative Christmas Lecture book, 13 Journeys through Space and Time, was published for the first time.  A second book in the series, 11 Explorations into Life on Earth, with a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, was published in November 2017 and the third volume, 10 Voyages Through the Human Mind, in October 2019.

About the Royal Institution

The Royal Institution’s (Ri) vision is for a world where everyone is inspired to think more deeply about science and its place in our lives. Home to eminent scientists such as Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy and Kathleen Lonsdale, its discoveries have helped to shape the modern world. Just as importantly these scientists recognised the importance of sharing their work with the wider public.

Today it continues its mission to build on its heritage and create opportunities for everyone to discover, discuss and critically examine science and how it shapes the world around us. An independent registered charity, the Ri provides science education, public engagement, and heritage activities for people of all ages and backgrounds across the UK and around the world. These activities include the world-famous Christmas Lectures; public talks from the world's greatest thinkers in its historic lecture theatre; a national programme of Ri Masterclasses for young people in mathematics, engineering and computer science; hands-on science workshops in its L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre; award-winning animations and films; and the preservation of its scientific legacy through the Faraday Museum and archival collections.

About the Christmas Lectures producer, Windfall Films

Windfall Films has an international reputation as a producer of innovative factual television. Recent productions include The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway, about the construction of Crossrail, for BBC 2; Horizon: The Placebo Experiment: Can My Brain Cure My Body? with Michael Mosley; and How to See a Black Hole: The Universe’s Greatest Mystery for BBC Four.

Windfall is one of the leading producers of science and technology programmes in the UK and is part of Argonon Group. The company has collected numerous awards for its programming, including BAFTAs for Inside Nature’s Giants, D-Day: As It Happens and Murder Trial, an Emmy and National Academy of Sciences Award for Your Inner Fish and a Wildscreen Panda Award for The Bat Man of Mexico.

Past programmes include: Horizon: Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones, Horizon: Body Clock: What Makes Us Tick? and Alastair Campbell: Depression and Me (BBC2); Britain’s Viking Graveyard and Secrets of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings (Channel 4); Chris & Michaela: Under the Christmas Sky (BBC2); The Blitz: Britain on Fire (Channel 5); Strip the Cosmos (Discovery Science); Hidden Britain by Drone with Tony Robinson (Channel 4); and Saving Planet Earth: Fixing a Hole, the story of the hole in the ozone layer (Channel 4).

About UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine.

It is among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables, and is committed to changing the world for the better.

Its community of over 41,500 students from 150 countries and over 12,500 staff pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems.

Follow UCL on Twitter at @uclnews or watch the UCL YouTube channel.