Wednesday, August 13, 2008

David Attenborough's 1973 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

"The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures have been held in London annually since 1825." [see Wikipedia] Michael Faraday (who is quite the man) is the star of the series which continues to this day. He lectured a record of 19 times between 1827 - 1860! The scene of one of his lectures is depicted on a UK 20-pound note and is a depiction I remember from my childhood.

In 1973, Sir David Attenborough, who has inspired many a naturalists' career in Singapore and elsewhere, participated in this grand event by giving a series of five lectures over five days, on "The Language of Animals":
  1. "Beware" (Wed 26 Dec 1973)
  2. "Be mine" (Thu 27 Dec 1973)
  3. "Parents and children" (Fri 28 Dec 1973)
  4. "Foreign languages" (Sat 29 Dec 1973)
  5. "Animal language, human language" (Sun 30 Dec 1973).

The videos are available at the Royal Institution of Great Britain's webcast archive (you have to “shop” and “checkout” but can watch the webcast for free).

This excellent series of videos (and a dashing David) are available on YouTube courtesy of threespeed. Due to YouTube's 10 minute limitation, the series of five hour-long lectures are in 30 parts!

Besides highlighting these clips to the biodiversity and animal behaviour students, they serve as appropriate inspiration just before my module-heavy semester begins. I'll soak in ol'David to stoke those flames of passion and hope some fire is evident during the 8am ecology lecture!

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