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All science is political. Though the scientific methods have been designed over the centuries to free our understanding of reality from the baggage of perceptive and psychological biases, and the grubby world of politics, it's an ideal we strive for, but have never achieved. All new discoveries exist in the culture in which they are born, and are always susceptible to abuse. In this talk, Dr Adam Rutherford will be exploring how the abuses in his own fields of evolution and genetics - by politicians, ideologues and by scientists themselves - were central to the most heinous crimes of modern history. Adam will be arguing that scientists must know their own histories, and how Darwin's phrase 'ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge' should be a mantra for our times.
The Royal Society David Attenborough Award and Lecture is awarded annually to an individual for outstanding public engagement with science. The award, open to everyone, recognises high quality public engagement activities. The award is named after the United Kingdom’s best-loved naturalist and broadcaster, and honorary Fellow of the Royal Society, David Attenborough. In 2021, this award was given to Dr Adam Rutherford for his contribution to strengthening public confidence in science through radio, TV, films, talks and books, and in particular, for challenging racist pseudoscience.
Attending the event
- The event is free to join and there is no registration required
- Live subtitles will be available in-person and virtually
Attending in person
- This lecture can be attended in person at the Royal Society
- Doors will open to the public at 6.40pm BST. Entry will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and cannot be guaranteed
- Travel and accessibility information
Attending live online
- The lecture will also be livestreamed here and on the Royal Society YouTube channel
- You can take part in the live Q&A
- This event will be recorded (including the live Q&A) and the recording will be available on YouTube soon after the event
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