The Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures are a yuletide tradition going back hundreds of years. My book 11 Explorations into Life on Earth is a celebration of those lectures, past and present, that explore the wonders of the living world.

Sir David Attenborough kindly wrote a foreword for the book, reflecting on his experiences of delivering his series of lectures on the languages of animals, in 1973.

Other famous names who stepped up to give their lectures include Richard Dawkins, Desmond Morris and Julian Huxley (who among other things co-founded the World Wildlife Fund).

The book spans a century of lectures and reveals how our understanding of the natural world has advanced, but also how ideas of the importance of nature and the need to protect and conserve the planet have been around for a long time.