Prof Gay Gibson and Dr Lionel Feugere from the university's NRI will feature in the first lecture, titled "Say it with Sound" on Boxing Day.

This year's lectures are titled "The Language of Life" and Gay and Lionel will feature in the first one "Say it with Sound."  The lectures will be broadcast on BBC4 and each episode is shown twice.  

The "Say it with Sound" lecture will be broadcast on 26 December at 8pm and repeated on 27 December, for full details see the programme information.

'Say it with Sound'

From musical mosquitoes to rumbling elephants, Say It with Sound explores how humans and other animals use noises to communicate. Sophie Scott, a professor of neuroscience at University College London, is joined in the theatre by a chorus of chirping crickets, hissing cockroaches and groaning deer to reveal the very different ways that animals have adapted their bodies to send audible messages that are vital to their species. She also explores how and why the human voice evolved to become the most versatile sound producer in the natural world.

Gay and Lionel present novel research by Gay (NRI), Prof. Ian Russell (University of Brighton) and their colleagues who first demonstrated a unique form of sound communication used by male and female mosquitoes to locate a suitable mate; mosquitoes interact with each other by continuously altering their respective wing beat frequencies, creating a 'mating duet.' If they eventually harmonise at a frequency in common, a successful mating is the likely outcome.

The lectures will be available on the Royal Institution website from 1 January 2018.