Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture


The idea of the Douglas Adams Memorial Lectures arose during a 2002 meeting between Save the Rhino's Founder Director Dave Stirling, current Director Cathy Dean, and Douglas’s family. The  annual lectures would be on one of the many themes in which Douglas was interested – conservation, exploration, science, space, language, music, humour -and would benefit the charities with which Douglas was so closely involved:  Save the Rhino International and the Environmental Investigation Agency.

In 2003, the very first DAML took place at the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street, with Richard Dawkins – introduced by Stephen Fry – taking the stage to talk about the ‘strangeness of science’. Since then these Memorial Lectures have played host to a fantastic range of speakers, many, but not all of whom knew, Douglas personally. In 2006, when the Royal Institution was being redeveloped, the Lectures moved to the Royal Geographic Society in South Kensington, where they have remained ever since, apart from 2012, when we celebrated  what would have been, Douglas’s 60th birthday. The only way to do this was with a party and so, family and friends, alongside Save the Rhino and the EIA, set about filling the Hammersmith Apollo. With a star-studded cast, the 3,655 capacity venue in central London was packed out to celebrate in true Adams style.

Benefiting from the Lectures are the causes that Douglas supported, and the opportunity to speak to new audiences, attracted by physics, maths or genomes, is a vital aspect of Douglas’s legacy. Below is a full list of the speakers and their topics to date.


2003 Richard Dawkins: Queerer than we can suppose: the strangeness of science

2004 Robert Swan: Mission Antarctica

2005 Mark Carwardine: Last Chance to See… Just a bit more

2006 Robert Winston: Is the Human an Endangered Species?

2007 Richard Leakey: Wildlife Management in East Africa – Is there a future?

2008 Steven Pinker: The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

2009 Benedict Allen: Unbreakable

2010 Marcus du Sautoy: 42 - The answer to life, the universe and prime numbers

2011 Brian Cox: The Universe and Why We Should Explore It

2012 Douglas Adams The Party

2013 Adam Rutherford: Creation: the origin and the future of life

2014 Simon Singh and Roger Highfield: The Science of Harry Potter and the Mathematics of The Simpsons

2015 Neil Gaiman:  Immortality and Douglas Adams

2016 Professor Alice Roberts: Survivors of the Ice Age

You can watch the 2015 DAML at the Royal Geographic Society here. Sign up to our regular newsletter RhiNews and to be one of the first to know about next year’s event.