Martin Rees

The James Mirrlees Lecture

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Sat 24 Sep
16:30 UK

We are honoured to welcome the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor Martin Rees, to deliver the inaugural lecture in memory of Sir James Mirrlees, the Galloway-born winner of the Nobel Prize for economics.

This century is the first, in 45 million centuries of the Earth's history, when one species has the planet's future in its hands. Humanity's ever-heavier collective “footprint” on our planet could leave a ravaged and depleted biosphere for future generations. New technologies - bio, cyber and space - can combat these threats and enhance everyone's lives. But they are so powerful and our world so interconnected, that even small groups, by error or design, can create disruption that cascades globally. 

Minimising these instabilities - and ensuring that the “Global South” benefits fully from new technology - poses novel challenges to society and governance. Science Is crucial, but how it is applied should concern all citizens, and be guided by values that science itself can't provide.

About the Speaker

Baron Rees of Ludlow is a cosmologist and astrophysicist. He is the 15th Astronomer Royal, appointed in 1995, and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 2004 to 2012 and President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. His most recent book, If Science Is To Save Us, is published this month by Polity Press.

About James Mirrlees

James Mirrlees was a British economist and winner of the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Born in Minnigaff in 1936, he was educated at Douglas Ewart High School, followed by the University of Edinburgh and Trinity College, Cambridge.

Copies of Martin Rees's book On the Future are available here.

Filed in: non fiction