Situated in Mayfair, the beautiful Ri building has been home to some of the world’s greatest scientists since 1799. Inside, the building boasts sweeping staircases, gorgeously old bookcases, the circular lecture theatre (famously known from the Christmas lectures), and a downstairs laboratory.
Entering the Ri, I was immediately taken by the sound of live jazz and friendly chatter. Gleeful guests wandered and pondered, learning about sexual natural history whilst sipping on wine or eating chocolate-dipped marshmallows. Many visitors exhibited wild, colourful headdresses that they had made themselves at the upstairs Birds of Paradise plumage table.
A feast of knowledge was available at the different stands, from taking part in a heart dissection to learning about the evolution of sexual characteristics. I could hold stick insects and gaze at their sexual dimorphism, dissect a flower, play with Ferrofluid and magnets, or explore the latest facial recognition software. Never before have I been at such an interactive and engaging scientific event.
As well as enabling you to explore your creative side and get your teeth into some serious science, this first ever lates event was a great night out. The crowed spanned all adult age groups, who enjoyed the blues dance class together, had fascinating conversations and learnt collaboratively about all topics sexual.
Several short lectures took place in the Ri theatre during the course of the evening. Guests learnt about the courtship routines of different species, including the sexy erectile snood of male turkeys and the guppy fish’s fiery colours. In the talk entitled ‘Secrets of Animal Sex’, some extremely strange sex lives were unveiled.
The evening had a great vibe; it felt almost like a ball – but sciency. The night was perfectly pitched (I didn’t queue once, always had something fun to do) and I’ve come away from ‘Rules of Attraction’ with a head full of weird and wonderful facts.
A quirky, energetic, classy, creative, science night out. Definitely a night that I’ll remember.
Image: Humphrey Davey at the Royal Institution, image displayed under Wikipedia Commons