Lectures are open to all and there is no charge for admission. However regular attendees are expected to be members of the society.
Note the change from the usual venue/time as shown below

7:45pm for 8:00pm

Lecture Theatre (SLINGO-LT)
JJ-Thomson Building, (Building No 3)
The University of Reading,
Whiteknights, Reading.


Monday 2 December 2019


the animals and plants that time has left behind
Richard Fortey, Natural History Museum

Despite a commonly held view that evolution moves ever onwards and upwards, there are, scattered around the globe, living survivors that tell the story of ancient worlds. Many of these organisms have come through global crises that reorganised the entire biosphere through mass extinction: several of them have outlived both trilobites and dinosaurs. I spent several years visiting these messengers from the past in their natural habitats, to find out if there was some common factor in their longevity, or whether they were simply lucky. The journey took me to Yellowstone Park, remote mountains in China, east coast USA, New Zealand, and to several places in Australia. In my talk I shall describe the lives of these survivors, explain their significance, and explore the threats they now face to their continued existence. We need to conserve what Charles Darwin termed “living fossils” for future generations.

Prof. Richard Fortey D.Sc. FRS FRSL is an emeritus merit researcher in palaeontology at the Natural History Museum and writer of a number of popular science books. Richard was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1997 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Letters in 2009. He is a former President of the Palaeontological Association and the Geological Society of London and has received a number of awards for both his academic research and popular science writing, including the Lyell Medal from the Geological Society of London and the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize.
Richard Fortey is a leading expert on trilobites and has named a large number of taxa, as well as undertaking research on evolution and origin of arthropods. He has authored a number of widely-acclaimed books, including The Hidden Landscape, Life: a Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth and Trilobite! His book Survivors: the Animals and Plants that Time has Left Behind will form the subject of this lecture. Richard has also presented a number of popular television series on a wide range of natural history topics and is deeply engaged in the public understanding of science.

Programme 2020

The programme for 2020 as currently proposed is also available as a pdf document.

Other programmes

Previous years programmes and other programme information can be found on the About us page.