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This event is part of our series of lightning lectures at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition 2019. Perfect for getting a taste of science, why not catch one (or more) of these electrifying 15 minute talks?

It might surprise you to hear that plastic surgery was born not in the Hollywood Hills in the midst of the rich and famous, but from the battlefields and the trenches of World War I. Never before this time had such firepower been seen in battle and with this came an increase in the number and severity of facial injuries from the front line.

Dr Andrew Bamji joins us to explain the major advances in facial reconstruction surgery during the Great War and to share some harrowing stories from post-war patients. He will introduce you to the father of modern plastic surgery, Harold Gillies, who set up a facial hospital in Kent during the war and revolutionised the field and explore why some of his ideas are still considered important today.

Please note that this talk contains images that some visitors may find distressing.

Running times

This event will run at 12.45pm and 4.30pm and last approximately 15 minutes.

Talk - admittance for our talks is first-come, first-served. Please ensure you arrive early for talks as we can get busy at the weekends and you may need to queue to get into the building.

Attending the event

  • Free to attend
  • No registration required
  • Limited spaces, admittance based on venue capacity
  • Seats allocated on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Doors open 5 minutes before start of event
  • Suitable for ages 14+
  • Travel and accessibility information - contact us directly to arrange any specific accessibility requirements
  • Food and drink will be available for purchase at our onsite café

For all enquiries, please email

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