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Update Monday 2 March: Please note this lecture has been postponed.

Black and white formal portrait of Charles Sherrington.

The Sherrington Prize Lecture 2020 (Public Understanding of Science) is to take place on Thursday 12 March 2020 at 4pm in the Large Lecture Theatre, Sherrington Building.

Sir Charles Sherrington (1857 - 1952) came to the Department in 1913 as the Waynflete Professor of Physiology; Charles was recommended for the chair unanimously without any other candidates being considered. He said of Oxford that its real function in the world “is to teach…what is not yet known”.

While at Oxford, Sherrington kept hundreds of microscope slides in a specially constructed box labelled Sir Charles Sherrington’s Histology Demonstration Slideswhich has been preserved and is kept in the Department today.

Sherrington received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1932 with Edgar Adrian for their work on the functions of neurons. Prior to the work of Sherrington and Adrian, it was widely accepted that reflexes occurred as isolated activity within a reflex arc; instead Sherrington and Adrian showed that reflexes require integrated activation and demonstrated reciprocal innervation of muscles, a principle now known as Sherrington's Law. 

The talk held in his honour, entitled Democracy, Social Cohesion and Technology; the place of robust knowledge, is due to be given by Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZM FRSNZ FMedSci FRS.

Sir Peter Gluckman is Chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) and President-elect of the International Science Council (ISC). He heads the Centre for Science for Policy, Diplomacy and Society in the University of Auckland. From 2009 - 2018, he was Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Ministers of New Zealand. He has served on several IMF and OECD advisory groups related to science and technology and to the digital transition. Sir Peter has written and spoken extensively on science-policy, science-diplomacy and science-society interactions. In 2016, he received the AAAS award in Science Diplomacy.

Sir Peter originally trained as a paediatrician and biomedical scientist and holds a Distinguished University Professorship in the University of Auckland, New Zealand and honorary chairs at the University College London, University of Southampton and National University of Singapore. He was formerly Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (and founding Director of the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland. He has published over 700 papers and reviews in perinatal physiology, growth and metabolism, neuroscience, evolutionary biology and evolutionary medicine. He has authored both technical and popular science books including Ingenious: the unintended consequences of human innovation (with M Hanson, Harvard 2019).

Following his lecture, there will be a drinks and canapes reception in the Sherrington Reception Foyer. All welcome!