Perfect Christmas science fare

Supplementary content information

Man giving a presentation holding round-bottom flask filled with luminous green liquid, on the wall behind him is a large periodic table made of glowing coloured squares

The EPSRC is pleased to be supporting Dr Peter Wothers' delivery of this year’s Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures entitled The Modern Alchemist which will be aired on BBC Four at 20:00 on 26, 27 and 28 December.

When medieval alchemists staged spectacular stunts in front of royalty they never revealed the secrets of their mystical potions and fire-breathing creations. Today's chemists can perform equally impressive feats, but they do so to explain and explore the extreme frontiers of our material world. Dr Peter Wothers is the Modern Alchemist. In this year's Christmas Lectures he will unpick the chemistry of the world around us - looking at Air, Water and Earth - three of the original ancient Greek elements that tantalised alchemists for centuries.

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC’s Chief Executive said: The Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures have entertained and informed the public, young and old, since 1825 and via television since 1966. They are a fantastic way of inspiring the scientists of tomorrow and they are the perfect Christmas fare, rich, full of flavours but easily digestible. We are very proud to be supporting their delivery.

Dr Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution said:

EPSRC plays a crucial role in funding physical science research in the UK and its support of the Christmas Lectures, which this year are on chemistry, also demonstrates their commitment to public engagement with science. The 2012 series, presented by Cambridge chemist Dr Peter Wothers will explore the chemistry in the world around us using amazing demonstrations, experiments and the odd explosion. It is exciting to think how many young people who watch the lectures will be inspired to become our next generation of scientists, and to recall the number of EPSRC scientists who were entertained and inspired by the famous programme themselves.

Reference: PN 93-12