The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, 2000

Professor Kevin Warwick gave the Year 2000 Royal Institution Christmas lectures. The series of five lectures were entitled “The Rise of the Robots” and were broadcast on Channel 4 from December 26th through to Saturday December 30th, 2000. The last lecture was broadcast live – for the first time ever.

The Christmas lectures were initiated in 1825 by Michael Faraday and are an opportunity for science to be presented in a readily accessible way, to young people. Apart from Michael Faraday, many other eminent scientists have presented the lectures, these include James Dewar, William Bragg, David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins and Susan Greenfield. Year 2000 though, was the first time that someone from Reading University presented the lectures.

Kevin, who originates from Coventry, was born in 1954. In that year the lectures were presented by his fellow Coventrian, Sir Frank Whittle, pioneer of the jet engine.

“It was a great honour to be asked to follow in the footsteps of people like Faraday and Whittle. It was also a fantastic opportunity to present the exciting field of robots, cyborgs and artificial intelligence to the general public”.

Awards received by Professor Kevin Warwick

  • Doctor of Science (DSc.) Imperial College, London, 1993.
  • Doctor of Science (DrSc.) Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, 1994
  • Received the “Future of Health Technology Award 2000” in the MIT Faculty Club, Boston, USA in September 2000.
  • Millennium Award from UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for “Schools Robot League” project, 2000.
  • IEE Senior Achievement Medal, 2004.
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) Aston University, 2008
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) Coventry University, 2008
  • Mountbatten Medal, 2008
  • Marcellin Champagnat Award, Universidad Marista, Guadalajara, Mexico, 2009
  • Golden Eurydice Award, Brussells, 2009
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) Bradford University, 2010
  • Honorary Doctor of Technology (DTech.) Robert Gordon University, 2011
  • Awarded the Ellison-Cliffe Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2011
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) University of Bedfordshire, 2012
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) University of Portsmouth, 2012
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) Kingston University, 2014

Other Achievements

  • Appears in the Heinmann Advanced Level Physics Book, with regards to the future of implants.
  • Team (Ben Hutt and Iain Goodhew) responsible for robot on permanent display in the Digitopolis section of the Science Museum, London. Interactive, collective mobile robot behaviour. Chip from first implant experiment also on display at the same venue.
  • Appeared in 1999 Guiness Book of Records for robot internet experiment.
  • Cover story for February 2000 issue of US magazine “Wired”.
  • One of 30 contributors for the THES/ Oxford University Press Book entitled “Predictions”, billed as 30 Great Minds of the Future. (S. Griffith ed.). Some fellow contributors: J K Galbraith, S Greenfield, R Dawkins, N Chomsky, A C Clarke.
  • Robo Sapiens book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’ Alusio gives good coverage.
  • Youngest ever Fellow of City and Guilds of London Institute.
  • Selected as one of the 6 scientists for Channel 4 “Living Science” programme – making science more accessible to children.
  • “Britain’s leading prophet of the Robot Age” so called by Gillian Anderson (X-Files)
  • 2001 Selected by readers of Esquire magazine as one of the UK’s Top 50 Sharpest Men
    Appeared in 2002 Guiness Book of Records for second chip implant experiment.
  • 2002 Chosen by The Institution of Electrical Engineers as one of the UK’s Top 10 Electrical Engineers

Positions Held

  • Member of the HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise Committee for unit 29, Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
  • Member of the Royal Society Committee for Aventis Science Literature Award.
  • Honorary Member, Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, Russia.
  • Member Loebner Prize Committee, Science Museum, London.
  • Director of University of Reading Teaching Company Centre. Helps link the University with Local industry through targeted projects.