About Life Fantastic - the Royal Institution 2013 Christmas Lectures

About Life Fantastic - the Royal Institution 2013 Christmas Lectures

This year's London Royal Institution 2013 Christmas Lecturer is Alison Woollard from Oxford, who will provide three lectures on:

1) Where Do I Come From?

Your life stems from a single cell. Yet within the trillion of cells that make up your body lies a fundamental conundrum. Each cell contains identical DNA, yet muscle cells are very different from skin cells; blood cells are very different from brain cells. How does each of your cells ‘know’ exactly what to do? And when? And where?

2) Am I a Mutant?

As we understand more about mutations it could help us devise new treatments for genetic conditions. But are we prepared to genetically engineer humans?

3) Can I Live Forever?

How do cells know when to die? What controls the ageing process and could we ever halt it? Developmental biology and genetics give us new insights into how cells work and what happens when genes switch on and off.

Those wishing to understand how CLL develops via mutations and how chemotherapy and the new small molecule drugs function by targeting specific pathways in hopefully just cancerous B-Lymphocytes, may find these lectures will provide a helpful background.

Life Fantastic will be broadcast on BBC Four at 8pm on 28, 29 and 30 December.

After appearing on BBC iPlayer, the full series will be available to watch for free on the Ri Channel in January 2014.

More detail on the lectures:


Transcript of Alison Woollard's interview by Robyn Williams, the presenter of Australia's Science Show on Radio National; Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC):


This will give you some additional background on what will be covered in the lectures.

Podcast and Audio download of the above interview are available here:



A recent sunset seen through eucalyptus tree branches, with a couple of the distinctive Norfolk Island Pines, which are popular around here, in the background.

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2 Replies

  • Always worth watching but this one should be very interesting for us - thanks for highlighting

  • Sounds interesting! Pines planted for sailing ships?

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