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Bristol professor named as Royal Institution's Christmas Lecturer

30 August 2011

A University of Bristol psychologist has been chosen to give the 2011 Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures. These original science events for children were started by Michael Faraday in 1825 and have long been seen as one of the most important events in the scientific calendar.

Renowned experimental psychologist Professor Bruce Hood, Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre, will deliver the demonstration-packed, three-part series – entitled Meet Your Brain – in the iconic theatre at the Royal Institution.  The lectures will also air on BBC Four in late December.

Professor Hood will explore how our brains work and just what makes us truly human.  He will explain how you create your own version of reality, what makes your brain decide what information to trust and what to ignore (without you even knowing!) and why you are programmed to read other people's minds.

Professor Hood said: “I am truly thrilled to be asked to present the 2011 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.  I am honoured to follow in the very large footsteps left by all the great scientists who have made this event part of this nation's Christmas tradition.”

Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution said: “We’ve chosen a topic this year that lends itself particularly well to lively demos and audience participation, both well-loved features of the Christmas Lectures.  Bruce is an eminent scientist, and has a lovely way of communicating with an audience.  In fact, the selection panel was captivated with his demo tape, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the lectures develop over the next few months.”

Richard Klein, BBC Four Controller said: “I am delighted that once again BBC Four is televising this year's Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures. A charming blend of science, entertainment and showmanship has been a hallmark of this extraordinary lecture series over the years.  The lectures are a perfect fit with BBC Four's determination to be the channel that offers intelligent entertainment for people – young and old – who have curious minds and like to think.  This year's theme, on the human mind and how it works, promises to be an unmissable addition in the series.”

Cassian Harrison, Commissioning Executive, Science and Natural History said:  “We’re incredibly pleased to be broadcasting the Christmas Lectures again this year, and I’m sure that this year’s subject and lecturer will deliver some truly eye-popping science  for our Christmas viewers.”

The 2011 Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures are supported by the Wellcome Trust.  Since they began in 1825, lectures have been given by many distinguished scientists including Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Lord George Porter and Dame Nancy Rothwell.

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