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Gresham College

Gresham College

Gresham College is continuing to run lectures online in February: among our highlights are the Lord Mayor’s lecture on 1 Feb and Professor Chris Whitty’s lecture on Vaccination on 10 Feb.  You can sign up for any events (all free) online via the webpage and will get an email reminder 10 minutes ahead of the lecture.

Building Back Better: The City’s Role in a Green-Led Economic Recovery

Solving climate change is not something that can be achieved overnight; it is a long journey, one that is complicated by the economic problems we face after Covid-19. Every industry has a role in not only helping the economy recover from the pandemic, but also ensuring that any recovery is green-led. The City of London is a world leader in ‘Green Finance’ and has an important role in helping the country – and the world – to ‘build back better’. Through supporting sustainable infrastructure and creating green financial products, the City – and the UK’s – financial and professional services can fight climate change and, at the same time, support economic growth. Join the Lord Mayor and a panel of experts, Dr Mark Carney, Liv Garfield and Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas, to find out more about how the City can help us transition to a sustainable and resilient future for all.

Monday 1 February 2021, 6pm-7pm, Online, free (or watch later)

An Introduction to Programs

Niklaus Wirth said Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs. But programs are more than that. They are ubiquitous in modern life, but only a tiny minority of the population know how to program. Programmers, coders or developers are therefore seen as the most rarefied of individuals – disconnected from society yet with enormous influence and power. This lecture by Professor Richard Harvey examines what programming is, who invented it, and how it is changing to better represent the needs of modern society.

Tuesday 2 February 2021, 6pm-7pm, Online, free (or watch later)


Vaccination has transformed the outlook for many previously lethal infectious diseases. It has, however, caused controversy since its beginnings, even when used for widely feared diseases such as smallpox. For many infectious diseases we do not have a vaccine, and may never get one. Vaccination is increasingly being considered for cancers, including ones with no infectious trigger. This lecture by Professor Chris Whitty will consider several aspects of the science and public debate about vaccines.

Wednesday 10 February 2021, 6pm-7pm, Online, free (or watch later)

Mata Hari: Femmes Fatales

Mata Hari was an erotic dancer who, in 1917, was executed by the French army for treason. This lecture by Professor Joanna Bourke will describe how she has been portrayed as the ultimate femme fatale, extracting information from hapless men through exploiting her sensual charms. She was white, beautiful, and heterosexual, yet had to be punished for transgressing the boundaries of femininity. Similar to many Evil Women, she was believed to be deceitful, rapacious, immoral, and controlling. She was lustful and, like a black widow spider, a threat to men everywhere.

Thursday 11 February 2021, 6pm-7pm, Online, free (or watch later)

Should We Inherit?

The baby boomers have accumulated assets and have generous occupational pensions. Professor Martin Daunton will ask: should they pass these assets to their descendants, with the risk of growing inequality, or should they be taxed to benefit society as a whole? Is inheriting morally dangerous? Or are inheritance taxes theft? And who should inherit? Different societies have different rules: in most of Europe assets have to be shared between family members. What is the impact on social mobility and inequality?

Tuesday 16 February 2021, 6pm-7pm, Online, free (or watch later)

Russian Piano Masterpieces: Stravinsky

Lecture-recital by Professor Marina-Frolova-Walker and pianist Peter Donohoe. Stravinsky’s solo piano output contains one of the absolute pinnacles of piano virtuosity, the Three Pieces from Petrushka. Stravinsky always wrote his music at the piano, and the feel of chords-under-fingers, pushing against each other, overlapping and colliding goes a long way towards explaining his unique harmonic imagination. Where the Romantics had turned the piano from a complex machine into a living, breathing musical being, Stravinsky, on the contrary, wanted to bring the mechanical aspects to the fore.

Friday 26 February 2021, 6pm-7pm, Online, free (or watch later)

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