More4 from 7pm. This year, they are given by Professor Sue Hartley  (pictured right) from the University of Sussex. Here is some blurb on the series from the Royal Institution called “The 300 million year war“.If you weren’t able to attend this years Christmas lectures in person, they are being televised tonight in the UK on
Plants might seem passive, defenceless and almost helpless. But they are most definitely not! Thanks to a war with animals that’s lasted over 300 million years, they’ve developed many terrifying and devious ways to defend themselves and attack their enemies. Vicious poisons, lethal materials and even cunning forms of communicating with unlikely allies are just some of the weapons in their armoury. Using these and other tactics, plants have seen off everything from dinosaurs to caterpillars.
In the 2009 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, Professor Sue Hartley will show you plants as you’ve never seen them before. They are complicated, cunning, beautiful and with plenty of tricks up their sleeve. And what’s more, we humans are dependent on them in ways you’d never imagine. As well as much of our food, our drugs, medicines and materials are all by-products of this epic 300 million year war.
So if you’re festively feasting this holiday, those brussel sprouts, carrots, potatoes won’t look so innocent now. The lectures are aimed at children, but can be enjoyed by kids of all ages (including grown ups). You can follow some of the action on twitter: hashtag #xmaslectures and @rigb_science. Speaking of Brussel sprouts, the related Royal Institution video How Much Methane Does A Cow Produce In An Hour? might also be of interest.
Since it’s the end of the year, happy holidays to you all (thanks for visiting O’Really?) hope to see you again in 2010.
- Hartley, S., & Gange, A. (2009). Impacts of Plant Symbiotic Fungi on Insect Herbivores: Mutualism in a Multitrophic Context Annual Review of Entomology, 54 (1), 323-342 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ento.54.110807.090614