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Romanes Lecture

The Romanes Lecture is a prestigious free public lecture given annually at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, England.

The lecture series was founded by, and named after, the biologist George Romanes, and has been running since 1892. The lecture can be on any subject in science, art or literature, approved by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

"Oxford has been said to be the home of lost causes. ... her splendid distinction, when corrupting greed and glorified ignorance are so largely dominant in the national life, still to be the birth-place of high aspirations, still the shelter and sanctuary of noble ideals."
Nature and Man (1905) by Lankester



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Year Title Lecturer
1892 Academic SketchAn Academic Sketch Gladstone, William EwartWilliam Ewart Gladstone
1893 Evolution and EthicsEvolution and Ethics Huxley, ThomasThomas Huxley
1894 Effect of External Influences upon DevelopmentThe Effect of External Influences upon Development Weismann, AugustAugust Weismann
1895 Obligations of the Universities Towards ArtThe Obligations of the Universities Towards Art Hunt, William HolmanWilliam Holman Hunt
1896 English National CharacterThe English National Character Creighton, MandellMandell Creighton
1897 MachiavelliMachiavelli Morley, JohnJohn Morley
1898 Types of Scenery and Their Influence on LiteratureTypes of Scenery and Their Influence on Literature Geikie, ArchibaldArchibald Geikie
1899 Humanism in EducationHumanism in Education Jebb, Richard ClaverhouseRichard Claverhouse Jebb
1900 Evolution of English LexicographyThe Evolution of English Lexicography Murray, James Augustus HenryJames Augustus Henry Murray
1901 German school of historyThe German school of history (Never delivered due to Acton's health) Acton, LordJohn Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton
1902 Relations of the Advanced and the Backward Races of MankindThe Relations of the Advanced and the Backward Races of Mankind Bryce, JamesJames Bryce
1903 Modern Views on MatterModern Views on Matter Lodge, OliverOliver Lodge
1904 MontesquieuMontesquieu Ilbert, CourtenayCourtenay Ilbert
1905 Nature and ManNature and Man Lankester, Edwin RayEdwin Ray Lankester
1906 Sturla the HistorianSturla the Historian Ker, William PatonWilliam Paton Ker
1907 Frontiers Curzon, GeorgeGeorge Curzon
1908 Optimism of Butler's 'Analogy'The Optimism of Butler's 'Analogy' Holland, Henry ScottHenry Scott Holland
1909 Criticism and Beauty Balfour, Arthur JamesArthur James Balfour
1910 Biological Analogies in HistoryBiological Analogies in History Roosevelt, TheodoreTheodore Roosevelt
1911 Romances of Chivalry on Greek Soil Bury, John BagnellJohn Bagnell Bury
1912 Lord Chatham as an Orator Butler, Henry MontaguHenry Montagu Butler
1913 Imperial PeaceThe Imperial Peace: An Ideal in European History Ramsay, William MitchellWilliam Mitchell Ramsay
1914 Atomic TheoryThe Atomic Theory Thomson, J.J. J. Thomson
1915 Science and the Great War PoultonE. B. Poulton
1918 Some Aspects of The Victorian Age Asquith, Herbert HenryHerbert Henry Asquith
1920 Idea of ProgressThe Idea of Progress Inge, William RalphWilliam Ralph Inge
1921 Roland à Roncevaux (French language) Joseph Bédier
1922 Theory of relativity and its influence on scientific thoughtThe theory of relativity and its influence on scientific thought Eddington, Arthur StanleyArthur Stanley Eddington