The world-famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins presents the CHRISTMAS LECTURES® on "our own growing knowledge of how life grows up in the universe."

Just as children grow up to be adults, so too does life gradually evolve on a planet over thousands of generations, to move from “nonliving simplicity” to become “living complexity”.

As Prof Dawkins explains in his introduction to the series:

"At least one planetary life form – our own – has begun, almost within living memory, to achieve intelligent understanding of how it grew up – intelligent comprehension of its own history and place in the universe."

Combining beautiful writing (see the original Lectures programme opposite) with a range of illuminating demonstrations, the series featured a variety of wildlife, a virtual reality Lecture Theatre, and special guests – including the late Douglas Adams reading an excerpt from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The Lectures were recorded and broadcast at 3pm on the BBC on: Thursday 19, Saturday 21, Monday 23, Saturday 28 and Tuesday 21 December 1991.

The picture gallery to the right also includes images from the Japanese tour of the Lectures in the following year. 

Media Gallery

  • Japan Tour

    Richard Dawkins presents his Christmas Lectures series in Japan, summer 1992.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Japan Tour

    Richard Dawkins presents his Christmas Lectures series in Japan, summer 1992.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Japan Tour

    Richard Dawkins presents his Christmas Lectures series in Japan, summer 1992.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Japan Tour

    Richard Dawkins presents his Christmas Lectures series in Japan, summer 1992.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Japan Tour

    Richard Dawkins presents his Christmas Lectures series in Japan, summer 1992.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Japan Tour

    Richard Dawkins presents his Christmas Lectures series in Japan, summer 1992.

    Image: The Royal Institution

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CHRISTMAS LECTURES 1991 - Growing Up in the Universe

Life, the universe and our place within it. By Professor Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, Ri, 1991

Image: The Royal Institution