Ep4: The Ultraviolet Garden – Growing Up in the Universe – Richard Dawkins


Oxford professor Richard Dawkins presents a series of lectures on life, the universe, and our place in it. With brilliance and clarity, Dawkins unravels an educational gem that will mesmerize young and old alike. Illuminating demonstrations, wildlife, virtual reality, and special guests (including Douglas Adams) all combine to make this collection a timeless classic.

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children were founded by Michael Faraday in 1825, with himself as the inaugural lecturer. The 1991 lecturer was Richard Dawkins whose five one-hour lectures, originally televised by the BBC, are now available free online, courtesy of The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. The entire 5-hour program is also available on a 2-DVD set through our online store.

The DVD includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French and Polish.

Read the transcript:

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Originally broadcast as The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children, 1991.




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  1. phillip blanc

    i cant express how ridiculous i felt when i realizes, upon repeat viewing, that that was actually Douglas Adams(#^_^#)

  2. UV0023

    Just done watching the 5th episode, these lectures were way ahead of their time, everybody should know about shows like this I found out about it recently at the age of 28, it would've been great If I had the chance to watch it at an early age.

    It's a crime not to air this show in every channel of every country.

    Man, Richard Dawkins is a living encyclopedia!

  3. Stoned

    What else could we expect from Dawkins, his logic is well and truly unquestionable. His mind is an excellent computer and he has helped to program us and infect us with his knowledge, now we must infect the rest of humanity with this virus which just so happens to be the cure of all cancerous religions.

  4. Citriano Torres

    The introduction suggesting that Dinosaurs evolved into mammals and eventually into humans is quite ridiculous. Dinosaurs went extinct.

  5. mikejackey

    Computer viruses are more sophisticated these days. They can monitor everything you do on your computer. A little bit more than just useless self-replication.

  6. starchild

    just brilliant – watching them so many years after they were done and still mind blowing and relevant. Dawkins is just brilliant – he and Carl Sagan.

  7. differous01

    28:40 "…somehow, without violating the laws of physics and chemistry, a molecule arose which just happened to have the property of self copying."
    A small crystal will grow into a large crystal in an environment where its own molecules are abundant;

    CaSO4·2 H2O crystals fill the 'Cave of the Crystals', H20 crystals cover both of the earth's polar regions, and some Pre-Cambrian life forms, like Charnia, have similar fractal properties.

  8. Louise Haley

    I really wish the Monty Python Team had made a movie of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" back in the '80s.
    Imagine John Cleese as Zaphod, Michael Palin as Arthur Dent etc directed by Terry Gilliam with his zany cut-out animation instead of today's slick CGI effects. I also loved the 1981 BBC tv series (better than 2005 movie).


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