A highlight of the seasonal TV schedule in the UK, the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures have always provided a nice slice of science in the midst of the hymns and carols. Now many of the RI’s classic lectures are featured in a new video channel…
An ongoing project that will see all the Christmas Lectures uploaded, along with a host of other content produced by the Royal Institution, the Ri Channel already offers some gems from the organisation’s lecture series of old.
The site has been designed by Bureau for Visual Affairs (full disclosure: they designed the CR website) and one of the interesting aspects of the build is that the RI’s entire lecture archive has been transcribed, so that all the videos are fully searchable. Users can even click through to specific time codes in the films, add their own footnotes, and link to other videos.
Professor Carl Sagan’s cracking 1977 presentations on the Earth, the Solar System and Mars exploration, for example, are well worth watching; while Professor Bruce Hood’s 2011 exploration of the workings of the human brain also includes extra video blogs he made during his tenure. David Attenborough’s Christmas Lectures from 1973 are also made available online for the first time.
The Tales from the Prep Room videos reveal how many of the Ri experiments are devised and built. One looks at laser diffraction, for example, while another details the carpentry involved in creating an Ames room (see the film here)…
A further film documents the Ri’s experiments in creating Argon ice, “a noble gas in solid form” no less (watch that one here).
In addition to the RI’s archival films and self-produced spots, the website now has a wide selection of other science-related videos curated from the web. It’s aim is to become something of an online hub for the science-minded and those interested in discovering more about the world. More at richannel.org.