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Reith Lectures

Reith 2005
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The Lecturer: Lord Broers

Lord Broers

This year's Reith Lecturer is the distinguished engineer, Lord Broers. Alec Broers is President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. He was also Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University 1996 until 2003.

He was a pioneer of nanotechnology and the first person to use the scanning electron microscope for the fabrication of micro-miniature structures.

In the five lectures, he sets out his belief that technology can and should hold the key to the future. He says: "It is time to wake up to this fact. Applied science is rivalling pure science both in importance and in intellectual interest. We cannot leave technology to the technologists; we must all embrace it. We have lived through a revolution in which technology has affected all our lives and altered our societies for ever."

Lord Broers was educated at Melbourne University and the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College), and then worked in the research and development laboratories of IBM in the USA for 19 years before returning to Cambridge in 1984 to become Professor of Electrical Engineering (1984-96) and Fellow of Trinity College (1985-90).

He subsequently became Master of Churchill College (1990-96) and Head of the University Engineering Department (1993-96). He was knighted in 1998 and created a life peer in 2004. He is married with two children.

Lord Broers says: "I have chosen technology as the subject of my Reith Lectures because it is exciting and fast moving and because it shapes our lives. Technology provides the means for the third world to join the first world and, besides, if we do not understand it better we will fall behind in our own intellectual, social and material development. I have spent my life creating technology and it is a huge privilege to be given this chance to explain its importance."

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Lecture audio and transcripts will be available after each broadcast.

  • Lecture 1:
    Technology will Determine the Future of the Human Race

  • Lecture 2:

  • Lecture 3:
    Innovation and Management

  • Lecture 4:
    Nanotechnology and Nanoscience

  • Lecture 5:
    Risk and Responsibility


    What was the greatest invention of the last 200 years? In conjunction with You and Yours we invite you to help answer this question in a listeners' poll
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