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University College

Durham Castle Lecture Series

The Durham Castle Lecture Series is devoted to bringing high-profile speakers to Durham who can contribute to academic and public discussion on issues of global significance. Each of the specially invited presenters has made an outstanding contribution over a sustained period of time.

This is your chance to see, hear and learn from incredible speakers, to ask questions and think about answers. The aim is to have a create a vibrant atmosphere for intellectual debate on major issues.

The lectures will take place in the stunning setting of Durham Castle's Great Hall. With a maximum capacity of 250 the Great Hall provides a unique, historic location.

All of the lectures in the series are free and open to all. Some events requre a free ticket, please see the individual lecture listings for information.

Doors open from 7.30pm.
Lectures begin at 8pm, with questions for the speaker at 9pm.

The Durham Castle Lecture series has been made possible thanks to a generous gift from Santander Universities.

Upcoming Lectures

27 April 2016 - Professor Adrian Bejan

J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University.

"Life and Evolution, as Physics"

Outline: In this lecture I draw attention to the theoretical work that places the phenomenon of evolution and life in physics, the biological and the geophysical realms together. I show that all evolutionary forms of flow organization are in accord with and can be predicted by the physics law that governs evolution in nature: the constructal law. I focus on us. We are evolving as the “human & machine species.” This evolution is visible and recorded in our lifetime. I illustrate it with the evolution of commercial aircraft, the cooling of electronics, and modern athletics, a special laboratory for witnessing the evolution of animal locomotion. Physics explains and predicts life and evolution.

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4 May 2016 - Prof Dr Markus Gabriel

Chair for Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy, Director of the International Centre for Philosophy, University of Bonn.

“Why the World Does Not Exist"

Outline: I will argue that there is no such thing as a unified absolute totality of everything which exists. The world – in the sense of an all-encompassing entity or domain – does not exist. This undermines the very idea of a worldview, be it scientific, religious or metaphysical and therefore has important consequences for our culture.

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18 May 2016 - Professor Carlos Frenk - CANCELLED

Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics, and Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), Durham University; Principal Investigator of the Virgo Consortium.

Everything from Nothing, or How our Universe was Made"

Outline: Cosmology confronts some of the most fundamental questions in the whole of science. How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of? How did galaxies and other structures form? There has been enormous progress in the past few decades towards answering these questions. For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components: ordinary atoms, exotic dark matter and a new form of energy called dark energy. Gigantic surveys of galaxies reveal how the universe is structured. Large supercomputer simulations can recreate the evolution of the universe in astonishing detail and provide the means to relate processes occurring near the beginning with observations of the universe today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental issues, like the identity of the dark matter and the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.

Please note that this lecture has been rescheduled to 2017 due to unforseen circumstances. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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Lecture Videos

5th October 2015 - Professor Dani Rodrik

Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"The Future of Growth in Developing Countries"

The last 15 years were a period of rapid growth and economic progress in the developing world. Yet slowing Chinese growth and the prospects of monetary tightening in the United States have recently reversed the prevailing tide of optimism about developing countries. In this talk, I will reconsider the fundamentals of economic catch-up and examine the future prospects for convergence.

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The Future of Growth in Developing Countries by Professor Dani Rodrik

The Future of Growth in Developing Countries by Professor Dani Rodrik

Views: 792

Professor Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, delivered this lecture on Monday 5 October 2015. This lecture was held jointly with the Global Policy Institute, at the Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre, Durham Law School, as part of Durham Castle Lecture Series 2015/16.

The Future of Growth in Developing Countries Q&A Session

The Future of Growth in Developing Countries Q&A Session

Views: 72

Q&A Session which accompanies the lecture The Future of Growth in Developing Countries, delivered by Professor Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, on Monday 5 October 2015. This lecture was held jointly with the Global Policy Institute, at the Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre, Durham Law School, as part of Durham Castle Lecture Series 2015/16.


27 January 2016 - Professor Catherine Malabou

Professor in Philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University

The Anthropocene: A New History”

Outline: I will interrogate the notion of "Anthropocene" as a specific temporal determination situated at the boarder of nature and history. The Anthropocene is both a geological era and a historical moment. Clearly, such a phenomenon requires a new concept of history, in which nature plays a central role, and ceases to be the eternal recurrence of the identical to become a genuine source of events. A phenomenon like global warming can thus be analysed as a historical turn of nature. New notions like deep history, negative universal history, neurohistory, are currently be used by historians, theoreticians of environment, and evolutionary biologists. I will propose a philosophical approach to these new determinations.

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10 February 2016 - Professor Hans-Werner Sinn

Professor of Economics and Public Finance, University of Munich; President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Lessons from the Euro Crisis”

Outline: The euro has driven southern Euro into a deep economic crisis, because it created an inflationary credit bubble that eventually burst. The lecture will describe the events, reflect on the causes and will describe the events and draw lessons for Europe’s future development.

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Watch the Durham Castle Lecture Series: Video Archive

Cutting Edge at Castle

Durham Castle Museum website