Publish date: 27 December 2023

UCLH consultant Dr Arjuna Nagendran featured in the Royal Institution’s prestigious series on Boxing Day; this year presented by Professor Mike Woolridge on artificial intelligence (AI). 

Artificial intelligence is one of the most rapidly evolving fields of science and came to the forefront of public consciousness in 2022 with the release of ChatGPT. As more and more AI tools have begun to enter mainstream use, this year’s Lectures are a timely look at the current research around AI and its potential. 

Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson Photography

In three CHRISTMAS LECTURES, shown on BBC Four and iPlayer over the festive period, Mike Wooldridge, Professor of AI at Oxford University and Director for AI at The Alan Turing Institute in London, explored the latest AI research and unravelled the myths about how the technology really works. 

Dr Arjuna Nagendran, consultant at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery and Queen Square Centre of Neuromuscular Diseases, featured in the first of this year’s Lectures, which examined how artificial neural networks are inspired by real-life neural structures in the brain. 

Speaking of his involvement, Dr Nagendran said: 

“It was a delight to contribute to this year’s Lectures in a small way. I’m a great fan of the Royal Institution and taking part in the brainstorming for this year’s series was an unforgettable experience.” 

The prestigious series has been running since 1825, established by Michael Faraday as an exciting new way of presenting science to young people. With the exception of four years during the Second World War, The Lectures have continued annually since. Other world-famous scientists to have given Lectures include Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Dame Nancy Rothwell, Hannah Fry, Sir Jonathan Van-Tam and Dame Sue Black. 

The 2023 CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution were broadcast on BBC Four on 26, 27 and 28 December and are now available to watch via iPlayer