Tue, 17 September 2019

6:45 pm - 8:00 pm

Remarkable Minds: Three Reith Lecturers Imagine Our Future

Anita Anand, Martin Rees and more


Conway Hall

25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

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Join Anita Anand as she meets three remarkable minds: Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, nanotechnologist Alec Broers, and former supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption.

For more than seventy years, the BBC’s annual Reith Lectures have stood at the summit of British intellectual thought, advancing a universal truth that we forget at our peril: ideas have the power to change the world.

In this event, the BBC’s Anita Anand brings together three former Reith Lecturers – world-leading thinkers in the fields of science, technology and the law – to reflect on the state of the world and where we are headed.

Cosmologist and former President of the Royal Society Baron Martin Rees will explore trust in 21st century science. As public confusion around issues such as climate change and vaccination safety lead to crises across the globe, what role should scientists play in explaining the risks we face?

This year’s Reith Lecturer, former Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption, will consider how the decline of politics and the rise of law to fill the void serves to reduce our liberty. Has our desire for security and less risk undermined our freedom?

And nanotechnology expert and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge Alec Broers will reflect on the role technology will play in reshaping the human species. Humankind has depended on technology since the dawn of civilization. But can society cope with the newest cascade of technological advances?

Join us for a remarkable gathering of three of the most original and influential thinkers of our time.

Remarkable Minds: A Celebration of the Reith Lectures (Headline, £20) comes out on 22 August.

The Speakers

Anita Anand

Presenter of the Reith Lectures

Anita Anand is a broadcaster, journalist, author and the presenter of the Reith Lectures. Her predecessor, Sue Lawley, hosted for seventeen years before handing over to Anita in 2018 for Professor Margaret MacMillan’s series ‘The Mark of Cain’.

Lord Martin Rees

Astronomer Royal

Martin Rees is Astronomer Royal, and has been Master of Trinity College and Director of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University.

Alec Broers

Engineer and Nanotechnology Pioneer

Baron Alec Broers is a British electrical engineer. Born in India and educated in Australia and England, he spent 20 years working in research and development for IBM in the US before taking up joining the University of Cambridge. He is a former president of the Royal Academy of Engineering and served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1996-2003.

Jonathan Sumption

Historian and former Supreme Court Justice

Lord Sumption is a British judge and historian. He served as a Justice of the Supreme Court from 2012 to 2018. He has written several books of Medieval history including The Age of Pilgrimage, the Albigensian Crusade, and four books on the Hundred Years War, the third of which, Divided Houses, won the 2009 Wolfson History Prize.