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The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures


RobertW

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Joined
Feb 11, 2011
Messages
20,483
The Royal Institution of Great Britian have hosted their "Christmas Lectures" on a topic of Science every year since 1825 (except during 1939-45).

These lectures have been presented to children of all ages to foster within them how wonderful the world of science around them is. They have been broadcast usually for one hour a day over 3-5 days every Christmas from St. Stephens Day onwards.

The lectures themselves have been presented by some of the greatest scientists that have ever lived - from the likes of Michael Faraday (who hosted the lectures for ten consecutive years from 1851-60), John Tyndall, James Dewar, W.H. Bragg, Carl Sagan to even David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This year the lectures are presented by Dr. Peter Wothers with his topical chemistry entitled "The Modern Alchemist" with the lectures focussing on air, water and earth.

The Royal Institution of Great Britain | 2012 Christmas Lectures

They are fantastically designed lectures with interesting demonstrations from which children (and adults) can learn about the science ongoing in the world around them.

The lectures start tonight on BBC4 at 8PM and are available on the website of the Royal Institution and the BBC iplayer thereafter.
 
Last edited:


D

Deleted member 17573

Already booked and the missus told what to do with her Soaps - but thanks for the reminder.
 

Eire1976

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
14,152
The Royal Institution of Great Britian have hosted their "Christmas Lectures" on a topic of Science every year since 1825 (except during 1939-45).

These lectures have been presented to children of all ages to foster within them how wonderful the world of science around them is. They have been hosted usually for one hour a day over 3-5 days every Christmas from St. Stephens Day onwards.

The lectures themselves have been presented by some of the greatest scientists that have ever lived - from the likes of Michael Faraday (who hosted the lectures for ten consecutive years from 1851-60), John Tyndall, James Dewar, W.H. Bragg, Carl Sagan to even David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This year the lectures are presented by Dr. Peter Wothers with his topical chemistry entitled "The Modern Alchemist" with the lectures focussing on air, water and earth.

The Royal Institution of Great Britain | 2012 Christmas Lectures

They are fantastically designed lectures with interesting demonstrations from which children (and adults) can learn about the science ongoing in the world around them.

The lectures start tonight on BBC4 at 8PM and are available on the website of the Royal Institution and the BBC iplayer thereafter.
A very good British tradition. Why promote this on an Irish political website?
 

Munnkeyman

Moderator
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
7,168
Thanks for the reminder Robert, just set the TV recorder.
 

Mushroom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
15,761
Oh sorry, I thought this site was about Irish politics and matters that concern Ireland. My bad
Maybe instead of trying to be smart (something that is evidently far beyond your cerebral capabilities) you might consider watching the RI lectures - because you just might learn something.

If you had watched them last year, for example, you would have learned how to make a bomb out of custard powder - an invaluable skill for slab heads like you.
 

slippy wicket

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2010
Messages
4,559
Maybe instead of trying to be smart (something that is evidently far beyond your cerebral capabilities) you might consider watching the RI lectures - because you just might learn something.

If you had watched them last year, for example, you would have learned how to make a bomb out of custard powder - an invaluable skill for slab heads like you.
Those custard bombs are great craic, we used to make them in secondary school.
Very interesting use of everyday equipment.
 

RobertW

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Joined
Feb 11, 2011
Messages
20,483
An absolutely superb first programme.

Started with the composition of air by introducing the components of air into a large vessel. It was then followed by a singing recount of Jim Lehrers "The Elements" song.

The reaction of phosphorus (from distilled urine) with air (oxygen) was impressive and led straight back to the origins of alchemy (chemistry).

Samples of children holding the noble gases and comparing their densities then occurred with a particular focus on helium and xenon. Helium-3 has medical practicalities as when inhaled it gives a detailed outline of a persons lungs. The lecturer, Dr Peter Wothers, inhaled xenon and experienced feelings of deep relaxation, happiness with a deep (rather than squeaky with helium) voice leaving Xenon with medical practicalities as an anaesthetic. Indeed a small child, Riley Xenon Joyce, was introduced by his parents as the first person ever to receive Xenon treatment when born. He was initially starved of oxygen at birth. Xenon was replaced very temporarily and Riley was saved from permanent brain damage.

http://www.richannel.org/christmas-lectures/2012/peter-wothers#/peter-wothers--xenon

The reaction of phosphorus (from distilled urine) with air (oxygen) was impressive and led straight back to the origins of alchemy (chemistry).

Samples of children holding the noble gases and comparing their densities then occurred with a particular focus on helium and xenon. Helium-3 has medical practicalities as when inhaled it gives a detailed outline of a persons lungs. The lecturer, Dr Peter inhaled xenon and experienced feelings of deep relaxation, happiness with a deep (rather than squeaky with helium) voice leaving Xenon with medical practicalities as an anaesthetic. Indeed a small child, Riley Xenon Joyce, was introduced by his parents as the first person ever to receive Xenon treatment when born. He was initially starved of oxygen at birth. Xenon was replaced very temporarily and Riley was saved from permanent brain damage.

The lecture then focused on the alkali metals with potassium heated in a vacuumed flask . .. . Leading to vapourous potassium with a magnificent purple glow. Reducing atomic radii across the second period of the periodic table from lithium to carbon (diamond) with weaker bonds for the gases nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine was superbly demonstrated.

The focus of the lecture turned to oxygen and respiration with liquid oxygen poured onto Rice Krispies and ignited leading to a large flame with huge amounts of energy released. A demonstration showing the levels of carbon dioxide in inhaled and exhaled air using limewater then occurred.

Two superb demonstrations showed the effect of what would occur if oxygen levels in the atmosphere differed from 21%. .greater than 21% makes all living things much more combustible and, at 15%, life is very much possible but combustion of papers (and using lighters) is extremely difficult to achieve. Matches cannot remain lighting for more than a second or so after ignition due to lower levels of oxygen at 15%.

The lecture then moved onto nitrogen gas and started with the violent effects of taking a hammer to a small drop of nitroglycerine on filter paper and nitrogens everyday practicalities in a Nitrogen-Sodium mix in vehicle air bags. Nitrogen fixation through electric storms was impressively demonstrated using a Jacobs ladder passing thousands of volts between two electrodes in a sealed circuit. From the ceiling a tesla coil (capable of generating one million volts) was used and it was magnificent to observe in action and nerve wracking.

The lecture then focused on the alkali metals with potassium heated in a vacuumed flask . .. . Leading to vapourous potassium with a magnificent purple glow. Reducing atomic radii across the second period of the periodic table from lithium to carbon (diamond) with weaker bonds for the gases nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine was superbly demonstrated.

The focus of the lecture turned to oxygen and respiration with liquid oxygen poured onto Rice Krispies and ignited leading to a large flame with huge amounts of energy released. A demonstration showing the levels of carbon dioxide in inhaled and exhaled air using limewater then occurred.

Two superb demonstrations showed the effect of what would occur if oxygen levels in the atmosphere differed from 21%. .greater than 21% makes all living things much more combustible and, at 15%, life is very much possible but combustion of papers (and using lighters) is extremely difficult to achieve. Matches cannot remain lighting for more than a second or so after ignition due to lower levels of oxygen at 15%.

The lecture then moved onto nitrogen gas and started with the violent effects of taking a hammer to a small drop of nitroglycerine on filter paper and nitrogens everyday practicalities in a Nitrogen-Sodium mix in vehicle air bags. Nitrogen fixation through electric storms was impressively demonstrated using a Jacobs ladder passing thousands of volts between two electrodes in a sealed circuit. From the ceiling a tesla coil (capable of generating one million volts) was used and it was magnificent to observe in action and nerve wracking.

A superb programme with the second part tonight at 8PM focussing on water.
 
Last edited:

Victor Meldrew

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2007
Messages
7,172
The same laws of science apply in the UK as here!
I remember seeing them as a kid on the telly. I was the only nerd in the house and they were the best thing on TV over the christmas.

BBC nurtured my love for all things scientific. The Lecturers were so inspiring. Like all truly intelligent people they could communicate the complex to all ages.

A wonderful institution.
 

Davidoff

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
1,485
I remember seeing them as a kid on the telly. I was the only nerd in the house and they were the best thing on TV over the christmas.

BBC nurtured my love for all things scientific. The Lecturers were so inspiring. Like all truly intelligent people they could communicate the complex to all ages.

A wonderful institution.
Pity they changed the time-slot.

The programme used to be on around 11 in the morning, which was ideal, because a motivated viewer had a chance of getting his paws on the remote.

There's too much soapy competition at 8 in the evening.
 

RobertW

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2011
Messages
20,483
An absolutely superb first programme.

Started with the composition of air by introducing the components of air into a large vessel. It was then followed by a singing recount of Jim Lehrers "The Elements" song.

The reaction of phosphorus (from distilled urine) with air (oxygen) was impressive and led straight back to the origins of alchemy (chemistry).

Samples of children holding the noble gases and comparing their densities then occurred with a particular focus on helium and xenon. Helium-3 has medical practicalities as when inhaled it gives a detailed outline of a persons lungs. The lecturer, Dr Peter Wothers, inhaled xenon and experienced feelings of deep relaxation, happiness with a deep (rather than squeaky with helium) voice leaving Xenon with medical practicalities as an anaesthetic. Indeed a small child, Riley Xenon Joyce, was introduced by his parents as the first person ever to receive Xenon treatment when born. He was initially starved of oxygen at birth. Xenon was replaced very temporarily and Riley was saved from permanent brain damage.

The Modern Alchemist : Ri Channel

The reaction of phosphorus (from distilled urine) with air (oxygen) was impressive and led straight back to the origins of alchemy (chemistry).

Samples of children holding the noble gases and comparing their densities then occurred with a particular focus on helium and xenon. Helium-3 has medical practicalities as when inhaled it gives a detailed outline of a persons lungs. The lecturer, Dr Peter inhaled xenon and experienced feelings of deep relaxation, happiness with a deep (rather than squeaky with helium) voice leaving Xenon with medical practicalities as an anaesthetic. Indeed a small child, Riley Xenon Joyce, was introduced by his parents as the first person ever to receive Xenon treatment when born. He was initially starved of oxygen at birth. Xenon was replaced very temporarily and Riley was saved from permanent brain damage.

The lecture then focused on the alkali metals with potassium heated in a vacuumed flask . .. . Leading to vapourous potassium with a magnificent purple glow. Reducing atomic radii across the second period of the periodic table from lithium to carbon (diamond) with weaker bonds for the gases nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine was superbly demonstrated.

The focus of the lecture turned to oxygen and respiration with liquid oxygen poured onto Rice Krispies and ignited leading to a large flame with huge amounts of energy released. A demonstration showing the levels of carbon dioxide in inhaled and exhaled air using limewater then occurred.

Two superb demonstrations showed the effect of what would occur if oxygen levels in the atmosphere differed from 21%. .greater than 21% makes all living things much more combustible and, at 15%, life is very much possible but combustion of papers (and using lighters) is extremely difficult to achieve. Matches cannot remain lighting for more than a second or so after ignition due to lower levels of oxygen at 15%.

The lecture then moved onto nitrogen gas and started with the violent effects of taking a hammer to a small drop of nitroglycerine on filter paper and nitrogens everyday practicalities in a Nitrogen-Sodium mix in vehicle air bags. Nitrogen fixation through electric storms was impressively demonstrated using a Jacobs ladder passing thousands of volts between two electrodes in a sealed circuit. From the ceiling a tesla coil (capable of generating one million volts) was used and it was magnificent to observe in action and nerve wracking.

The lecture then focused on the alkali metals with potassium heated in a vacuumed flask . .. . Leading to vapourous potassium with a magnificent purple glow. Reducing atomic radii across the second period of the periodic table from lithium to carbon (diamond) with weaker bonds for the gases nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine was superbly demonstrated.

The focus of the lecture turned to oxygen and respiration with liquid oxygen poured onto Rice Krispies and ignited leading to a large flame with huge amounts of energy released. A demonstration showing the levels of carbon dioxide in inhaled and exhaled air using limewater then occurred.

Two superb demonstrations showed the effect of what would occur if oxygen levels in the atmosphere differed from 21%. .greater than 21% makes all living things much more combustible and, at 15%, life is very much possible but combustion of papers (and using lighters) is extremely difficult to achieve. Matches cannot remain lighting for more than a second or so after ignition due to lower levels of oxygen at 15%.

The lecture then moved onto nitrogen gas and started with the violent effects of taking a hammer to a small drop of nitroglycerine on filter paper and nitrogens everyday practicalities in a Nitrogen-Sodium mix in vehicle air bags. Nitrogen fixation through electric storms was impressively demonstrated using a Jacobs ladder passing thousands of volts between two electrodes in a sealed circuit. From the ceiling a tesla coil (capable of generating one million volts) was used and it was magnificent to observe in action and nerve wracking.

A superb programme with the second part tonight at 8PM focussing on water.
 

NLPete

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
573
Its the presentation thats got the quality. Science must be beaten into submission for them to accept the truth as in the Darwin (borrowed)Theory, Truths that lay hidden because university wings would have to be re-named due to the inacuracy of their patrons discovery and political and societal bias.

For example, did you know that it wasnt the English robbing food from Ireland that caused famine and so many to die. it was a volcano called Tambora!

Well who'd have thought!

Tambora...Tamboran...Hmmm
 

Starfire

Active member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
175
For example, did you know that it wasnt the English robbing food from Ireland that caused famine and so many to die. it was a volcano called Tambora!
It was the English with a ship from the Isle of white lying of Kinsale and dischargeing a cargo of rotten potatoes, then 'sinking' with no lost of hands, hands being picked up by a sister ship which just happened to be in the area.

Quote from John Mitchel - a writer living in the 1840's " God may have made the blight but it was the English who made the famine." Great Famine (Ireland) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A claim was made by a U.S. professor of law, Francis A. Boyle that the Famine was genocide by the British against the Irish, meaning that the famine was part of a deliberate policy of planned extermination.
 

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