An evening of physics and ballet at the Royal Society

25 April 2013

Last night saw the official opening of the exhibition ‘Transactions. Spain in the History of the Royal Society,’ including a special, world première performance from the English National Ballet.

The exhibition and opening gala formed part of a series of events being held at the Royal Society in collaboration with the Prince of Asturias Foundation in Spain.

Last night’s ballet piece was performed to invited guests including the Spanish Ambassador, Federico Trillo, Fellows of the Royal Society and Laureates of the Prince of Asturias Foundation. After a visit to the exhibition, Tamara Rojo, 2005 Prince of Asturias Laureate for the Arts and director of the English National Ballet, presented a performance by members of the company.

The performance followed a public lecture by top physicists Professor Pedro Miguel Echenique and Sir John Pendry FRS, chaired by Dr Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of the science journal Nature. Both physicists’ work looks at the interaction between particles and light and each explained the focus of their work and gave their views on how their pure science research might be applied to the benefit of society in the future.

The ballet choreography itself was inspired by the physical sciences. In his notes, choreographer James Streeter said: “My idea of antigravity is a space in time that is untouchable. Creating a void. When the void is entered you are free to move effortlessly, changing directions simultaneously and moving in complete freedom.”

The final event in this week’s programme of cultural activities takes place tomorrow where Dr Valentín Fuster, a world-renowned cardiologist will be talking about the future of cardiovascular medicine and treatment.

Commenting on the week’s activities, Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society said: “We are very proud to be hosting a series of events with our friends at the Prince of Asturias Foundation. There is a great history of collaboration between Spanish and British researchers, which is still alive and well today.  It is an honour to be celebrating this relationship.”