We really enjoyed the eagerly anticipated Christmas Lectures, presented on the BBC from the Royal Institution for 80 years now, which this year looked at energy.


They were held in the wonderful lecture theatre in which Michael Faraday first presented his experiments with electricity and electro-magnetism that initially informed the electric motor but who most recently has inspired the genre busting generation of electric vehicles from Tesla and the world's fastest accelerating electric car unveiled just this week in Las Vagas from Faraday Futures.

While we're talking about electric cars, the image above shows Prof Daniele George of Manchester University racing a Tesla Model S against a top of the range Bentley and winning by a long mark and getting nearly as excited as Nick did when he borrowed a Tesla Roadster recently.

Who needs petrol headed Top Gear or whatever it's called these days. This is electric television!


This venue is particularly special for us as it's the location we chose to launch a renamed STEAM Co. at the Kidcrafters conference  we curated there three years ago for parents who care think and do. Take a look at the summary film here below with talks from amazing speakers including Pro Guy Claxton, Graham Brown-Martin, Steve Vranakis, Creative Director of Google Labs and Tom Morley, now a STEAM Co. Inspirator. (You can see all the talk films here)

how much fun can YOU have making machines?

Our favourite part of the Christmas lectures was the Rube Goldberg Machine they set up to run right round the building and up and down the stairs.

It reminded us of the amazing Chain Reaction we were helped our friends at the Cambridge Science Centre build in Cambridge Corn Exchange a year or so ago.

Watch them both below and count the number of energy transfers, while looking out for the STEAM Co. Lego Robo Croc and rocket launch!

Ri's Rube Goldberg Machine (click to play)

STEAM Co. 'Chain Reaction' (click to play)


There were three Christmas lectures this year, presented by Saiful Islam, all relevant to the challenges to the world faces around energy and transportation.

This was all particularly relevant to STEAM Co. given our work with one of our first sponsors, National Grid and our STEAM Inventors sampler talk which looks at electric cars and energy.

Also we've been invited to work with schools and companies up in Bridlington and Hull, the centre of the UK's renewables industry. The Ron Deering UTC which opens in Hull in September is specifically looking to give its students the STEAM skills that these emerging industries will also desperately need.

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So, now put the kettle on and enjoy them, while they're free. This is Family TV at it's best. This is an education. Great work Ri. Thank you.

1. Let There Be Light!

How to generate and store energy, firstly how to generate energy without destroying the planet in the process. Play.

2. People Power

How humans as living machines actually use energy, asking whether it's possible to 'supercharge' the human body and increase its performance. Play.

3. Fully Charged

How to store energy, with the UK generating far more energy today than 80 years ago, finding better ways to store it is vital for our futures. Play.

See all the episodes on iPlayer here free until the end of January 2017

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