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Professor Danielle George to make sparks fly in 2014 CHRISTMAS LECTURES®

19 Aug 2014

Electrical engineer from The University of Manchester set to deliver the 2014 CHRISTMAS LECTURES at the Royal Institution.

Professor Danielle George - photographer Paul Wilkinson

Professor Danielle George will present the demonstration packed, three-part series called ‘Sparks will fly: How to hack your home’ at the Royal Institution of Great Britain which will air on BBC FOUR this Christmas.

The Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering, who specialises in radio frequency and microwave communications, will reveal how viewers can change the world from their very own home by taking control of the devices we use every day. She will take three great British inventions – a light bulb, a telephone and a motor – and demonstrate how viewers can adapt, transform and ‘hack’ them to do extraordinary things. This is tinkering for twenty-first century.

Danielle, who grew up in Newcastle, said: “When I was eight years old I was given a telescope by my parents and I was fascinated - I would get up in the middle of the night to watch lunar eclipses. It was the first time I realised how mathematics and physics could be used in a practical and useful way and I knew immediately that this kind of hands-on investigation was what I wanted to do in life.

“Today’s generation of young people are in a truly unique position. The technology we use and depend on every day is expanding and developing at a phenomenal rate and so our society has never been more equipped to be creative and innovative. I want young people to realise that that they have the power to change the world right from their bedroom, kitchen table or garden shed.

“If we all take control of the technology and systems around us, and think creatively, then solving some of the world’s greatest challenges is only a small step away. I believe everyone has the potential to be an inventor!”

Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution said: “Our aim with ‘Sparks will fly: how to hack your home’ is to bring to life the incredible ingenuity, innovation and creativity of engineering. I am delighted that Danielle is presenting this year’s lectures and I am sure that the passion and energy she has for her profession will inspire a whole new generation of engineers.”

Filmed in front of a live audience in the iconic theatre at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the original science events for children were started by Michael Faraday in 1825 and have long been seen as a favourite British Christmas tradition. Since 1825, Lectures have been given by many distinguished scientists including Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Lord George Porter and Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Danielle will be the sixth woman to present the prestigious CHRISTMAS LECTURES and the second in a row following Professor Alison Woollard who presented Life Fantastic in 2013.

‘Sparks will fly: How to hack your home’ was commissioned by BBC FOUR and BBC Learning. Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC FOUR said: “I am tremendously excited by the year's lectures from the Royal Institution. As an inveterate electronics tinkerer in my youth, I think these lectures by Danielle - on how you can co-opt everyday tech to all kinds of wild and wonderful uses - will be both stimulating and enthralling. I'll be watching avidly.”

The 2014 CHRISTMAS LECTURES are produced by Windfall Films for BBC FOUR.

Tickets to the filming of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES are available by ballot to members and fellows of the Royal Institution and UK registered schools only. Information about the different levels of Ri membership available and apply for tickets.

See here for more information on the entire series. You can watch past CHRISTMAS LECTURES for free on the Ri’s science video channel