Erwin SchrödingerThe Erwin Schrödinger Lecture is an annual event named after the noted Austrian scientist. Schrödinger was a theoretical physicist and a significant contributor to the wave theory of matter, a form of quantum physics. He mathematically devised an equation of wave mechanics that bears his name. He was a co-recipient of the 1933 Nobel Prize for physics. Today he is popularly known for the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat. Image credit: "Schrodinger" by Nobel foundation / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Speakers in the 27-year history of the lecture include Professor Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society and 2001 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology winner, and Professor Stephen Hawking, from the University of Cambridge. You can watch many of the events again below.

Past lectures: watch again

Dr Jennifer Doudna, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for her work on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system, gave Imperial’s 2021 Schrödinger lecture.

Dr Jennifer Doudna

CRISPR: The Science and Opportunity of Genome Editing (2021)

Dr Doudna's groundbreaking development of CRISPR-Cas9 as a genome-engineering technology, with collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, earned the two the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and forever changed the course of human and agricultural genomics research. 

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2020: On coin tosses, atoms and forest fires

Professor Sir Martin Hairer

On coin tosses, atoms and forest fires (2020)

Fields Medallist Professor Sir Martin Hairer explores some of the mathematical objects arising naturally in probability theory, as well as some of their surprising properties. In particular, he will show us how one of these objects was involved in the confirmation of the existence of atoms over 100 years ago and how new properties of related objects are still being discovered today.

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2019: The Cassini Spacecraft Mission at Saturn

Professor Michele Dougherty

The Cassini Spacecraft Mission at Saturn (2019)

Hear all about the Cassini Spacecraft Mission at Saturn’s surprising discoveries and mission results. Michele Dougherty, Professor of Space Physics and Head of Department of Physics, presents the 31st annual Schrödinger Lecture from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2017: Data, data everywhere but lets just stop and think

Professor David Hand

Data, data everywhere but lets just stop and think (2017)

Big data and open data hold tremendous promise. But the hype often ignores the difficulties and risks associated with this promise. Beginning with the observation that people want answers to questions, not simply data, Statistician Professor David Hand explores some of the difficulties and risks which lie along the path to finding those answers, and examines how they may be overcome.

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2016: Can we feed the world sustainably?

Professor Sir Gordon Conway

Can we feed the world sustainably? (2016)

Every individual across the globe should have the right and ability to access adequate, safe, and nutritional food at all times, but achieving worldwide food security is not going to be easy. We face growing populations, changing diets, lack of good water and land, and the impact, already being felt, of climate change. We can do it using the modern tools of agroecology, crop and livestock breeding, and smallholder-centred institutions, but it needs political leadership. Sir Gordon Conway, one of the world's foremost experts on global food needs, describes the challenges we face and the tools we need to overcome them.

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2014: Shedding new light on Schrödinger's cat

Professor Serge Haroche

Shedding new light on Schrödinger's cat (2014)

Quantum theory has allowed scientists to understand better the subatomic world, and led to revolutionary technologies including computers, lasers and atomic clocks. In spite of its successes, quantum physics can seem strange and counterintuitive. It describes a world in which the concepts of waves and particles are deeply intertwined; and has led to the bizarre notions of superposition, which allows particles to exist in many concurrent states until observed, and entanglement, whereby particles control the state of distant and seemingly unconnected partners within a system.

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2013: End to end: telomeres and ageing

Dr Elizabeth Blackburn

End to end: telomeres and ageing (2013)

Nobel laureate Dr Elizabeth Blackburn explains how the ends of our chromosomes are linked to ageing in the 2013 Schrödinger lecture.

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The Schrödinger lecture 2012 - Metamaterials: new horizons in electromagnetism

Professor Sir John Pendry

Metamaterials: new horizons in electromagnetism (2012)

Invisibility cloaks are just one of the potential radical uses of these new materials, as Professor Sir John Pendry explains. Recorded at Imperial College London on 06 November 2012.

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The Schrödinger lecture 2011: What is life?

Sir Paul Nurse

What is life? (2011)

In spring 1943, Nobel Prize winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger gave a series of lectures at Trinity College, Dublin. These lectures were subsequently published as the non-fiction science book 'What is life?'. Schrödinger took a physicist's approach to the question, asking whether living organisms could be understood in terms of fundamental matter. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule, has credited the book as being the inspiration for his initial research. In this lecture, Nobel Prize winner and President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, also takes inspiration from the book to ask what can we now say about the nature of life?

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From Einstein's intuition to quantum bits: a new quantum age? (2010)

Professor Alain Aspect

From Einstein's intuition to quantum bits: a new quantum age? (2010)

Distinguished CNRS scientist Professor Alain Aspect delivers the 2010 Schrödinger Lecture on quibits. Lecture summary: In 1935, with co-authors Podolsky and Rosen, Einstein discovered an amazing quantum situation, where particles in a pair are so strongly correlated that Schrödinger called them "entangled". By analysing that situation, Einstein concluded that the quantum formalism was incomplete. Niels Bohr immediately opposed that conclusion, and the debate lasted until the death of these two giants of physics, in the 1950's.

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The Schrödinger Lecture 2006: "Trust me, I'm a physicist" - the weird world of quantum entanglement

Professor Sir Peter Knight FRS

"Trust me, I'm a physicist" (2006)

The weird world of quantum entanglement. Professor Sir Peter Knight FRS, delivers the 18th Annual Schrödinger Lecture. Recorded on 31 January 2006 at Imperial College London

Architecture in NanoSpace (2006)

Professor Sir Harold Kroto

Architecture in NanoSpace (2006)

Professor Sir Harold Kroto, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, presents the nineteenth Schrodinger Lecture.