It’s the closest we ever come, as humans, to a transformation as profound as that from a caterpillar into a butterfly. In the first two months of our existence, each of us changed from a single egg to a flat disc, to a hollow tube, to a little creature with stumpy arms and legs, to something that looked recognisably human. And in the course of that embryological development, there were echoes of earlier stages of evolution, harking back to very ancient ancestors – ancestors we share with living insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles.
The story of how a human body develops, from a single cell to a complex organism, is – Alice Roberts argues – the most fascinating narrative that science has to offer us.
Professor Alice Roberts is a biological anthropologist, author and broadcaster. She’s interested in the evolution, structure and function of humans, and our place in the wider environment. Having originally studied and practised medicine, she then became a university lecturer, focusing on biological, evolutionary anthropology. She is passionate about public engagement with university research and teaching, and advocates a wider role for universities in society. She has been Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham since 2012, and has worked extensively with the Wellcome Trust and other institutions in public engagement roles.
Alice Roberts has presented a wide range of biology and archaeology programmes on television. Her television debut came as a human bone expert on Channel 4’s Time Team, in 2001. After presenting Coast on BBC2, she went on to write and present a range of BBC series, including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us, Prehistoric Autopsy and Digging for Britain, as well as several Horizon programmes.
Alice has written nine popular science books, including The Incredible Human Journey, Evolution: The Human Story, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, and her latest – Tamed: Ten species that changed our world.
Images – Lorian Reed-Drake, David Stevens
Thursday 25 October
7.30pm–9.30pm (inc. interval)
£20 / £17.50 concs.