From climate change and extending the human lifespan to political extremism and reporting from war zones, this year’s Darwin College Lecture Series will focus on some of the extremes faced by society. 

Each series of the Darwin College Lectures his built around a single theme, approached in a multi-disciplinary way, and each lecture is prepared for a general audience by a leading authority on his or her subject. The theme for this year’s lecture series, now in its 32nd year, is ‘Extremes’. The lectures are free and open to the public, and are held on Friday evenings during Lent Term at Lady Mitchell Hall on the University’s Sidgwick Site.

The first lecture of the 2017 series is ‘Extreme Weather’ and will be given by Darwin Fellow Dr Emily Shuckburgh, who is also deputy head of the Polar Oceans Team at the British Antarctic Survey. In her lecture, she will discuss the scientific evidence surrounding the causes and consequences of climate change and the prospects for the future. Dr Shuckburgh is co-author of a recently-published Ladybird book on Climate Change which has been written with co-authors HRH The Prince of Wales and Tony Juniper, former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth.

Next week’s speaker is Nassim Nicholas Taleb from New York University, and author of the bestseller The Black Swan. Taleb will speak on the theme of ‘Extreme Events and How to Live with Them.’ His research shows where conventional statistical tools fail, such as the conventional law of large numbers, and how robust statistics are not robust at all.

Other speakers this term include Professor David Runciman on Dealing with Extremism; ocean rower Roz Savage on her story of rowing solo across the Atlantic and Pacific; Professor Andy Fabian on Extremes of the Universe; Oxford’s Professor Sarah Harper on Extreme Ageing; and the BBC’s Lyse Doucet on reporting from extreme environments. Full details of the series are available at:

“We have again attracted a mix of outstanding speakers, representing the natural and the social sciences, as well as the humanities and the world beyond academia,” said Julius Weitzdörfer, who convened the series with Duncan Needham. “All of them are not only highly interesting people, but also excellent communicators.”

Admission to the lectures is free and open to all, however those interested in attending should arrive early in order to secure a place in the main hall (lectures start at 5.30pm). An adjacent overflow theatre (with a live TV feed) is provided for those who cannot be seated in the main hall.

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