Dr Mark Miodownik presents the 2010 CHRISTMAS LECTURES®.

From the very large to the very small, the Kings College London scientist investigates why size is an important factor for both living and non-living matter.

Beginning his journey into the world of scale with a furry friend, Mark reveals why hamsters fare better than humans when jumping from the top of a skyscraper. We find out why mountains don't grow any taller, why the size of an elephant means it has trouble dancing, and why ants can lift many times their own body weight compared to humans.

Plus, Mark scales down to the molecular level to reveal why chocolate tastes so good and returns again to explain how sperm whales – one of the world’s biggest animals – have developed nifty ways of diving deep into the ocean. 

On giving the lectures, Dr Miodownik said:

"I'm delighted to be delivering the CHRISTMAS LECTURES®. I watched the lectures when I was small and it feels amazing to be on the other side of the show. Hopefully, they will continue to inspire another generation of young scientists."

The CHRISTMAS LECTURES® in 2010 were originally broadcast on BBC Four and were sponsored by Microsoft Research.

Microsoft Research

Media Gallery

  • Mark Miodownik conducts research in the field.

    Christmas Lectures 2010

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    The set.

    Image: Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    The lectures were filmed by Windfall Productions.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Mark rehearses with jelly balloons.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    This snowball and snowflake might weigh the same, but because of air resistance they won't fall at the same speed.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Picking an ant for weighing.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Performer Tim Cockerill shows Mark the UK's only remaining flea circus.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    A young audience member hopes to take part in a demonstration.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    A weightlifter impresses Mark with his strength.

    Image: The Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Mark alongside the world's biggest ruler.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Mark gets to grips with the UK's only remaining flea circus.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Christmas Lecturer Mark Miodownik.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Could we reach space without a rocket?

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Why are mountains like Martian molehills?

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Why do elephants have the last laugh?

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    How does chocolate melt in your mouth?

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Christmas Lectures 2010

    Why is an ant stronger than a weight lifter?

    Image: Royal Institution

Related link(s)

Related download(s)

CHRISTMAS LECTURES 2010 - Size Matters

From the very large to the very small, discover why size matters. By Professor Mark Miodownik

Mark Miodownik, CHRISTMAS LECTURES 2010

Image: The Royal Institution