Christmas Lectures

Former student takes the lead

We were delighted to hear from former student, Sophie Scott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, who contacted to let us know that she has the honour of leading the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures this year! 

Sophie Scott

Join Sophie Scott, in unravelling the fundamentals of human and animal communication in the lecture series entitled ‘The language of life’. Professor Sophie Scott will take us on a fascinating journey through one of the fundamentals of human and animal life: the unstoppable urge to communicate.

Lecture One looks at how we gained the remarkable instrument that is the human voice. Sophie will explore how laughter provides a link to our animal past, how our voice box has changed the shape of our faces and why we sound the way we do. In Lecture Two Sophie will explore the hidden code of communication, the more secret and sometimes more sinister side of human interaction – everything we say without opening our mouths – from contagious behaviours to the emotional clues in smell, and whether information wired directly into our brains is really a future we want.

And in Lecture Three, Sophie will examine one of the biggest puzzles in science – how and when humans first evolved language – revealing the huge amount of raw brain power and sensory skill needed to understand even a simple sentence and how we convey as much meaning through our tone, pace and pitch of voice as we say with our words.

Along the way it they will feature a modern-day return to classic television moments from past Lectures such as Sir David Attenborough’s ‘The Language of Animals’ from 1973, and may even attempt a world record.

To read more about the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures please visit the website and don’t forget to tune in on Boxing Day!