Our Previous Programmes


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Events held in 2015-2016

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Behind-the-Scenes @ JET Tokamak Culham

Wednesday 23rd September 2015

Wednesday 23rd September 2015

Dr. Martin O'Brien, Head of Theory and Modelling at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

The Joint European Torus (JET), located at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, is the world’s largest and most powerful tokamak. It is designed to study fusion in conditions approaching those needed for a power plant.  

Visit Vienna - talks, tour and tastings

Friday 9th October 2015
to Sunday 11th October 2015

Friday 9th October 2015
to Sunday 11th October 2015

Miranda Bellchambers, President of Imperial College Club of Germany

The Imperial College Club of Germany e.V welcomes Friends to its annual meeting to be held in Vienna. Welcome by the British Ambassador, talks on energy, radio therapy, and photochemistry. Wine tasting and dinner in a Viennese Heuringer.

Water: weirdest chemical in the universe

Monday 12th October 2015

Monday 12th October 2015

Alok Jha, Science Correspondent ITV News The Infinite Monkey Cage andDara O Briain’s Science ClubImperial Alumnus and author of The Water Book

Water is so common as to seem boring. But this is a profoundly strange substance, which defies the normal rules of chemistry. It has shaped the Earth, its life, our civilisation and it has a surprising origin - outer space. This is a story which takes us back to the beginning of the universe and connects you to everything and everyone else.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Trauma: healing the brain

Monday 2nd November 2015

Monday 2nd November 2015

David Sharp, National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Professor of Neurology, Imperial College London

Advanced neuroimaging is improving outcomes after traumatic brain injury (TBI), by focusing on common cognitive impairments in domains such as memory and attention. His research uses changes in network function to guide the development of novel treatment strategies.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Improbable things always happen

Tuesday 17th November 2015

Tuesday 17th November 2015

David J Hand OBE, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Senior Research Investigator, Imperial College London, Author of the Improbability Principle

Extraordinarily rare events are anything but. In fact, they’re commonplace. Not only that, we should all expect to experience a miracle roughly once every month. “An unusual day is when nothing unusual happens.” But why?

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Annual General Meeting

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Thursday 3rd December 2015

The Annual Report will be presented by Chairman, Roderick Rhys Jones with Accounts presented by Treasurer, William Blackburn.

The Annual General Meeting of Friends of Imperial College will be held onThursday 3 December at 6pm in the meeting room opposite Lecture Theatre 1, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College London.

A perfect theory: a biography of General Relativity

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Pedro Ferreira, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford, Author of The Perfect Theory, Imperial Alumnus

In the centenary year of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity Professor Ferreira tells the story of how our present understanding of space, time, and gravity has emerged over the century.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made

Tuesday 19th January 2016

Tuesday 19th January 2016

Gaia Vince, winning author of the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books with 'Adventures in the Anthropocene'

The Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books celebrates outstanding popular science books from around the world. Come and hear from the award-winning author of 2015.

Heritage Tour of The Royal Institution

Friday 29th January 2016

Friday 29th January 2016

Frank A.J.L. James, Professor of the History of Science, Head of Collections and Heritage at the RI, Imperial Alumnus

Guided tour of the Royal Institution seeing where Davy, Faraday, Tyndall and the Braggs made their major scientific discoveries as well as their apparatus including the original miners’ safety lamp and the world’s first electric transformer.

Quantum Mechanics in a nutshell

Wednesday 3rd February 2016

Wednesday 3rd February 2016

Dr Simon Foster and PhD students from the Controlled Quantum Dynamics group, Dept. of Physics, Imperial College London

Join the PhD students from the Controlled Quantum Dynamics group as they show you all you need to know to become a quantum physicist, helping you to take a peek into the quantum realm and see how the quantum revolution has only just begun and how it will shape the world of tomorrow. Suitable for schools.

Mountains, magmas and mushes

Thursday 25th February 2016

Thursday 25th February 2016

Professor Matthew Jackson, TOTAL Chair of Geological Fluid Mechanics, Dept. of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London

Recent research is challenging the traditional model of volcano plumbing.  Discover how we now think magma is supplied to volcanoes, and the implications for eruption frequency and prediction, and evolution of the Earth’s crust.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Friends Soiree: Antarctica - hazards and honours in the name of science

Tuesday 1st March 2016

Tuesday 1st March 2016

Roderick Rhys Jones, Chairman of Friends, Chairman British Antarctic Monument Trust, Imperial Alumnus

One dictionary definition of soiree is an elegant evening gathering, usually at someone's home. Friends soirees feature in-depth, rich conversation and exploration of their subject matter. They are much smaller than lectures and are held in the prestigious Solar Room at 170 Queens Gate, Imperial College London. At this soiree, Rod will recount his experiences as a surveyor with the British Antarctic Survey in the ‘60s, talk about the importance of Antarctic science, why he set out to create memorials “to those who lost their lives in Antarctica in pursuit of science” and his return on a voyage to remember in Antarctica.

The SABRE engine - powering future space access

Thursday 17th March 2016

Thursday 17th March 2016

Dr Robert Bond, Corporate Programmes Director of Reaction Engines, Imperial Alumnus

The revolutionary SABRE air-breathing rocket engine, has the potential to transform access to Space. This lecture will explore the unique characteristics of the SABRE engine and the prospects it offers for a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle with aircraft-like operation.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Heritage Tour of The Royal Institution

Friday 1st April 2016

Friday 1st April 2016

Frank A.J.L. James, Professor of the History of Science, Head of Collections and Heritage at the RI

Guided tour of the Royal Institution seeing where Davy, Faraday, Tyndall and the Braggs made their major scientific discoveries as well as their apparatus including the original miners’ safety lamp and the world’s first electric transformer.

Behind-the-scenes @ Bletchley Park

Saturday 23rd April 2016

Saturday 23rd April 2016

John Sanderson, Friends Committee Member and past President of the Royal College of Science Association

Guided tour to Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing housing the largest collection of historic computers in Europe. Witness the reconstruction of EDSAC – the first really useful programmable computer.

Microchip medicine - POSTPONED

Tuesday 26th April 2016

Tuesday 26th April 2016

Chris Toumazou, Regius Prof. of Engineering, Director of the Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology, Founder and Chief Scientist for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.&

This lecture has been postponed until the Autumn through unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Friends. We apologise for any inconvenience.  

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Meet the science authors at the Imperial Festival

Saturday 7th May 2016
to Sunday 8th May 2016

Saturday 7th May 2016
to Sunday 8th May 2016

Friends present the science books strand of the Imperial Festival programme in collaboration with the College.

Visit the Imperial Festival on 7-8 May for a packed weekend of activities, talks, tours and more – all celebrating the best of Imperial’s innovative research.Drop in to chat with over 500 researchers and immerse yourself in interactive science demonstrations, from playing the heart and lung lottery game to tasting an edible solar system.New for 2016 are the Health & Wellbeing zone, Energy & Environment zone and Transport zone, joining the popular Superbugs zone, Robots zone and Research zone.You can also chat to Festival favourites Talkaoke about the scientific issues of the day, get acquainted with Imperial’s fleet of vintage vehicles and let George the Dragon show you the joys of engineering.The full Festival Programme can be seen here. The Imperial Festival is open: Saturday 7 May 12.00 – 18.00 Sunday 8 May 12.00 – 17.00

Behind-the-scenes @ The Dyson Robotics Lab

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Andrew Davison, Professor of Robot Vision, Dept. of Computing, Head of the Dyson Robotics Lab at Imperial College London

Focussed on pushing forwards the frontier of real-time 3D computer vision and perception technology, the Dyson Robotics Lab looks to enable the next generation of smart real-world robots for the home and beyond.

An audience with Sir Mark Walport

Tuesday 17th May 2016

Tuesday 17th May 2016

Sir Mark Walport FRS FMedSci, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science, Professor of Medicine, Imperial College London

Sir Mark’s responsibilities include providing scientific advice to the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet and advising the government on aspects of policy on science and technology. He also leads the science and engineering profession within the Civil Service.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).

Friends Science tour of Tuscany

Tuesday 14th June 2016
to Sunday 19th June 2016

Tuesday 14th June 2016
to Sunday 19th June 2016

Friends Chairman, Rod Rhys Jones will be leading this Members - exclusive group comprising of 30 Members and Members guests of Friends. It promises to be a hugely fascinating trip. The tour will be taking place from the evening of Tuesday 14 June until Sunday 19 June, based around the centres of Pisa and Florence. We are delighted to say that Professor John Burland from Imperial College London will be joining the group in Pisa to explain on site how he stabilised the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We have also arranged for a visit to the European Gravitational Observatory, EGO, hosted by its Scientific Director Professor Francisco Fedicaro who was in Washington for the amazing announcement that gravitational waves have been observed by LIGO, a similar instrument in the US. It will be fascinating to see the actual instrument and hear what plans he has for future research. Arrangements have also been made to visit the LENS – the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy near Florence. THERE ARE TWO PLACES STILL AVAILABLE IN A DOUBLE/TWIN ROOM. EMAIL OUR ADMINISTRATOR HERE IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BOOK THESE PLACES.

Friends Summer Party

Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Wine, bites and conversation at the President’s elegant residence, 170 Queens Gate with senior members of College, our speakers, our members and their guests.   Invitations will be sent to members and registration will be opened during May 2016.