Professor Aoife McLysaght to lecture at this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

The prestigious lectures will be broadcasted on BBC Four between Christmas and New Year

Aoife McLysaght, Professor of Genetics at Trinity, will feature on this year’s Christmas Lectures, to be broadcasted on BBC Four between Christmas and New Year.

Today, the Royal Institution announced that Professor McLysaght will be joining Professor Alice Roberts, an evolutionary biologist, in attempting to answer the question “Who Am I?” This year marks the first time a special guest lecturer has been appointed in the Christmas Lectures’ 194-year history.

There are three lectures in the series; “Where do I come from?”, “What makes me human?” and “What makes me, me?” Professor McLysaght was appointed as Genetics Society Guest Lecturer, with her genetics expertise designed to complement Professor Roberts’ knowledge in biological anthropology.

The lectures, organised by the Royal Institution, will be filmed in the Royal Institution’s theatre between December 11 and December 15. It will be produced by Windfall Films for BBC Four.

Professor McLysaght commented on the importance of the programme, saying: “The Christmas Lectures are a special opportunity to make serious science fun and accessible to a wide audience. I am honoured and excited to join Alice, using my research in the field of molecular evolution, to help in bringing our evolutionary story to life.”

Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institute, Professor Gail Cardew, said: “I’m delighted to see two outstanding female scientists coming together to unravel many secrets at the biological level, and spark a conversation about what identity means in today’s world.”

Professor McLysaght is a seasoned science communicator. She has given many talks at public events, including at Brian Cox and Robin Ince’s Christmas Science shows. In 2016, Professor McLysaght gave the prestigious JBS Haldane Lecture of the Genetics Society, at the Royal Institution. Earlier this year, she was a chair at the Schrödinger at 75 conference hosted by Trinity.

The Christmas Lectures began in 1825, only stopping during World War II. Previous speakers include Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Danielle Olavario

Danielle Olavario is a former SciTech Editor of Trinity News. She is a Microbiology graduate.